Customer Review

912 of 1,000 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not loud enough, sibilant, slightly bright, January 30, 2006
This review is from: Sennheiser HD201 Lightweight Over-Ear Binaural Headphones (Electronics)
In summary this headphone has one general strength:
1) Decent sounding depending on your tastes and needs, given the price, and given the kind of sound you get from most other closed headphones of similar price.

However, the Sennheiser HD201 has 4 important weaknesses:
1) Has very low sensitivity: it takes a lot of volume/power to bring them to satisfactory or normal loudness levels.
2) It's a bit bright, bass is slightly lacking, making them sound slightly thin or "weak".
3) Has a tendency to be SSSSSSSibilant with some female vocals.
4) For a closed headphone, doesn't isolate that much.

Weakness #1 is critical if you are considering these headphones for listening to music from your laptop or portable players. If that's the case, it's very likely you won't be happy with the sound even at max volume. These headphones are REALLY hard to bring up to normal loudness levels. If you will use them with the headphone out of a receiver, or maybe with an electric piano (as I am), then you are probably ok.

Weakness #2 is very important if you are what's called a "bass-head". These headphones won't give you slamming rich bass. Bass is (slightly) on the weak side.

Weakness #3 is critical if you listen to a lot of female vocals, and you find it particularly annoying when your playback system enhances the letter "S" as in SSSSSSSay, SSSSSSilver, SSSSSSpoon, preCCCCCiSSSSSe, etc.

Weakness #4 is important if you are expecting these headphones to block all noises around you, you might be slightly dissapointed, it does block a bit but not too much.

If you don't care about isolation I would highly recommend the Koss KSC-75 instead of these Sennheisers. If you do want a closed headphone (either you want some isolation from outside noise, or you don't want to bother anyone around you with your music), and are willing to spend a little more, you should consider the Sennheiser HD280 or maybe the Audio Technica AT500.

The above sounds like a massive critique, and I'm giving it 3 stars because really for music these are not that great sounding headphones to me. However, these headphones sound relatively OK compared to how boomy or treble-happy are most other cheap headphones, whether open or closed. Compared to that trend, these are relatively decent. Yet, compared to other very inexpensive headphones known for surprisingly good sound (e.g. Koss KSC-75) these are not that great really.

PS. Another suggestion in general, if you are looking for any headphone related information you must check [...] it's really the place online for anything headphone-related.
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Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 48 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 26, 2006 3:55:00 PM PST
J. Vincent says:
... HD-280 and AT500 are $100 headphones... 4-5x the average price of these that's not exactly a "little more"

Posted on Jan 4, 2007 8:53:42 PM PST
Jamie says:
Thanks. Great comments. I was exactly intending to use these for listening from a laptop!

Posted on Sep 27, 2007 3:38:30 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 27, 2007 3:41:45 PM PDT
John Doe says:
These were plenty loud enough for me. I have a MacBook, and I generally set the system volume at about 40% when using these. On a Dell Inspiron 1100, I prefer about 20%. So there's a lot of room for people who like to listen louder than I do.

I also have used Sennheiser HD-202's extensively, and I haven't noticed any significant difference in volume.

If you're using these at your laptop's maximum volume and you wish they were louder, I recommend you get your hearing checked.

Posted on Jan 11, 2008 10:57:11 PM PST
MJG says:
Dude, these are $20 headphones. Why would you compare bargain-basement cans to $100+ models? I run my 201's with a Pioneer SX-1050 (120wpc), and these phones sound great for the money. I also use them w/ my MacBook, and they sound just fine. Would you compare a Honda Accord to a Cadillac Seville?! NO.

Posted on Mar 9, 2008 12:05:49 AM PST
I really like your comment. You got to the important points and briefly explained. Especially, SSSSSSS and CCCCC sounds haha.

Posted on Aug 21, 2008 12:01:00 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 21, 2008 12:03:08 AM PDT
I don't agree with any of the weaknesses you mention. If I'd become very picky with these headphones, sure I could point out some weaknesses, but certainly not to the extent you describe. I just cannot find myself in the points you mentioned anyway. So honestly what kind of trash did you plug them into?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 30, 2008 8:06:38 PM PDT
An ASUS laptop, an Ipod Mini, a Marantz AV Receiver, a Casio Privia Piano, and a Dynahi (one of the best existing headphone amplifier designs) connected to a Bel Canto DAC2 DAC. The latter is a high-end system. As you can see, I tested it with very different sources and amplification systems, from portable consumer level to high-end. That's the kind of systematic evaluation I do on headphones. I've been into headphones for years, have several headphones, and have compared dozens of models over the years on very different systems, from consumer level to the best amplifiers and sources, in my home, and in "Head-fi" enthusiasts meets. For whatever all that is worth.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 5:56:08 AM PST
I agree. My $20 Radio Shack headphones sound louder and fuller. The 201's are real thin sounding.

Posted on Apr 29, 2009 9:36:25 PM PDT
I use these headphones at work and, for the money, they're excellent. They can actually push out a fair amount of bass, you just need to have the power to do so (I plug them into a desktop computer).

I have EH series headphones as well and the EH's sound better and are louder but they cost more and don't fit as well.

For good sounding headphones that I can wear for hours and hours, there's no better deal than these HD-201's.

Posted on May 29, 2009 10:03:02 PM PDT
Proctor X says:
17 dollars and you still feel the need to complain... if you were so happy with your Koss why did you buy these headphones?

Bass is outstanding unless you are looking for headphones that distort what was intended during recording or production... your very weak complaint is that bass is parenthesis slightly parenthesis on the weak side..huh?

Suspect the sibilant complaint is just the headphones being faithful to the recording or possibly the style of the female vocalists you listen to- since you only complain about women vocalists. Do headphones add consonant noises? If so please provide substantial research... otherwise I believe it's probably the treble response being outstanding. but good for you for knowing a big word.

Concerning isolation- uhm, enclosed less than 20 dollar headphones... I'm not sure what $100 cans would offer as far as negating outside noise...

finally, concerning volume - totally user, file, and application relative - I was using windows media player yesterday and the volume was lowish- using VLC media player tonight and it's very loud...

I suspect this review was posted during a crybaby moment- you obviously want to look knowing- these headphones are great for under 20 bucks... if you think the koss are so outstanding 5 star them...
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