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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on February 27, 2012
If you are in the market for headphones at this price point, you are likely looking at both of these models. I ordered both, tried them out side-by-side, and returned one. I kept the Sennheisers.

Let me start by saying that I am NOT an audiophile. I was looking for headphones to use with my iphone, that I could use at work at a reasonable volume without disturbing, or being disturbed by, my neighbors with sound leakage. My previous headphones were the inner-ear style, and I found those to be extremely uncomfortable.

Second, I'll say that both the Sennheisers and the Shures are excellent, from a layman's perspective, and that you really can't go wrong with either. Again, a true audiophile would probably tell you something different, and be able to explain the technical side of why one is clearly superior, but I am not that guy.

So, why did I prefer the Sennheisers? The 2 main reasons are:

1. Better sound isolation. Not just a little bit, but a lot. With the Shure 440s, my wife was able to sing along with the song I was listening to at 50% volume from 12 feet away. Compare that to the Sennheiser HD 429's, and I had to get within arms length before she could even hear a noise, let alone be able to tell what the song was and sing along. Further, I had her turn up the volume of the television until I could hear it through the headphones. She got up to 30 with Sennheisers, compared to only 14 before sound started leaking through on the Shures.

2. Better comfort. This is obviously a personal preference, and will depend a lot on your head size and shape, but for me, the Shures felt like they were going to fall off every time I moved my head. The Sennheisers felt tighter, but not in an uncomfortable way. Just the opposite, actually. Then Sennheisers felt secure on my ears, and like it would be no problem to go jogging or working out in them, if I were so inclined.

2a. As far as long term comfort, I wore them each for 2 straight hours. This was a struggle with the Shures, because like I said, every time I moved my head, I felt the need to adjust them, and tighten them just a little bit. However, despite what is said about the Shure 440 earpads being bad and needing to replace them with the 840 earpads, I did not find the standard earpads to be uncomfortable at all. For the Sennheisers, they stayed comfortably secure the whole time, which I liked. The earpads are soft and very comfortable. When I took them off, I did notice how warm my ears must have been, because they felt cool when in the open air again. But I did not notice my ears being uncomfortably hot while actually wearing them, it was only when I took them off. I also found the padding on the top of the head to be more comfortable with the Sennheisers. The Shures started irritating the top of my head after about 45 minutes.

As for sound quality:

Again, not an audiophile. I tested both sets of headphones on a wide variety of music. I like my music to sound balanced, not to heavy on the low end or the high end. The Sennheizers seem to deliver more bass than the Shures. A bit too much on some settings, actually, but by using the "Acoustic" setting on the iphone equalizer, the Sennheisers sound very well balanced to this layman. For the Shures, I found the "Classical" setting to be the best. But you can play around and see what works for you.

Both sets were easily run by my iphone, without use of a headphone amplifier. But, with the better noise isolation, I was able to keep the volume lower with Sennheisers.

If there is one area where the Shures have a clear advantage, it is the wire. The Shures use a thick, coiled wire, like the one that connects from the base of a telephone to the handset. The Sennheisers have a just a long, thin, straight wire. It feels a little flimsier than the Shure wire, and might wrap around something without you even noticing. So, both wires give you the same range of motion, but the Shures do it neater, if that makes any sense.

TL;DR: The Sennheisers are the choice for me. They lost one star for the wire. I would rate the Shures at 3 stars, knocking off 1 for sound isolation and 1 for comfort. But like I said before, that comfort thing is highly subjective. Overall, the sound quality is equal. It is just a matter of finding the right setting for your preference.

Both are great choices for the price point, and I'm sure you'll be happy either way, but for me, the Sennheiser HD 429s hold a slight edge over the Shure SRH 440s.
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VINE VOICEon May 17, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A few months ago my son purchased a pair of Sennheiser headphones (Sennheiser HD201 Lightweight Over-Ear Binaural Headphones) to replace those that the dog had chewed. Since I have been somewhat skeptical of the true value of higher priced headphones, I thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast these headphones with those.

Sound Quality:

HD 201 - Sound quality is decent, without distortion, but the bass quality is not very strong.
HD 429 - Sound is excellent and there is a notable improvement in bass over the lower priced headphones.

Noise blocking:

HD 201 - These headphones slightly muffle external noise but in no way block it.
HD 429 - Another huge improvement over the lower priced headphones. These puppies really block out external noise. (I am the primary source of external noise to be blocked naturally.)

Comfort:

HD 201 - The padding and shape of the headphones is both attractive and functional and these headphones are slightly lighter than the other headphones.
HD 429 - Again, good padding and nice shaping. These are heavier but still light enough to wear all day.

Overall, is it worth paying more than double the price for the 429 headphones versus the 201's? If you are a music lover, especially one who likes a genre with heavier bass tones, and you plan to keep these for a couple of years - yes. That said, if you live in a household where headphones are on the pooches list of edible items, probably not.

Highly recommended for most music lovers.
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on April 15, 2012
I needed a new pair of 'cheapo' headphones for commuting, etc, and replaced my broken HD 515s with the HD 429. First off, I'm no audiophile, though I do love my at-home pair of Sennheiser HD 598s. Sennheiser has been good to me in always having excellent headphones, ever since I bought my first pair some twenty years ago, and I've bought one pair after another ever since.

For the most part, the HD 429 delivers what you expect from a low budget pair of headphones (though I wouldn't read too much into the promotional blurb's comment about bass; you'll still need an amp of some kind). I won't go into detail, as there are several great reviews already that do. All I'll say further about the sound is that I think the headphones could have been greatly improved if the headband had a teensy bit more stiffness to them.

However, what compelled me to write a review, is to highlight the cord Sennheiser decided to use with these headphones. It's very thin, and basically the same type of cord you get with earbuds made for MP3 players. I've noticed that Sennheiser says they did this to cut the weight on the headphone, but in my opinion, I would rather have had the increased weight (I'm not wearing over-the-ear headphones because I'm looking for the lightest thing possible), that comes with a higher quality cord that doesn't scare the bejesus out of me every time I-without thinking-grab/pull this pair of headphones by the cord (out of my bag, etc).

I generally do not return items, so I continue to use these headphones. I've heard that there is a one year warranty on the cord, but that's really not the point. If the cord does break, while the cord may be replaced for free, you're still out of your pair of headphones while you wait for a replacement.

I should stress that mine has not broken in a few weeks of use, but it looks and feels so fragile (let's face it, this type of cord makes far more sense with earbuds, which provide far less strain on the cord, then it does with over-the-ear headphones), that I have little faith in its lasting power. My Sennheiser headphones usually last 6+ years, and are almost always only replaced due to the headband or earcups falling apart (I did have a pair of HD 280s that blew out the right speaker after three years). We'll see if these HD 429s last as long. I sincerely doubt it.

I give it three stars because I don't want the cord to take away from the otherwise perfectly acceptable sound quality one expects in this price range.

Edit: 2/19/2013. As I had feared, the skinny cord is not very durable. Mine is frayed (internal wiring completely visible) in four different places, and the beginning points for countless future frays (rough bumps where the insulation is starting to break/crack), and I'm keeping an eye on sales to replace this (admittedly, still functional; but it's anyone's guess for how much longer) pair of headphones. I really hope Sennheiser re-thinks putting earbud cords on over-the-ear headphones in the future. Out of the 7 Sennheisers I've owned over the last two decades, this is the first pair that's left me disappointed.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Sennheiser HD 429 Headphones Black provide above average sound quality and comfort for a mid-range investment. These are not low-end budget headphones, and they are not a premium model either. When it comes to comfort, these may be the best in their class. As for durability and construction, they leave a lot to be desired. While sound quality is subjective, these will likely please those looking for a neutral sound stage but may disappoint bass junkies. As long as you know what you are getting, I think they are worth considering.

PROS
++ Excellent comfort, with cushions that don't itch or create as much heat /sweat as most alternatives
++ Good sound quality, comparable to other mid-range budget headphones
++ Very ergonomic fit, with no pinching or discomfort from the bands or earpieces
++ Attractive fit and finish with an understated look
++ One-sided cable is a nice feature not included with many similar units
++ Good noise isolation for a non-noise cancelling set of headphones
++ Included ¼ inch (6.3 mm) adapter plug for home A/V system and sound equipment use
++ Limited 2 year warrantee

CONS
-- Thin cable seems to provide limited durability
-- Hard-wired design prevents the upgrade or replacement of the cable if it breaks
-- Below-average efficiency will require you to turn up the volume on your mobile devices for the same sound output you would get with other headphones
-- No included accessories, like a case or cable winder
-- Bass is oversold; while it is balanced, it cannot really be called "powerful"
-- The list pricing is high given the materials and potential build durability issues, especially compared to other budget and mid-range headphones

SOUND QUALITY

Relative to similar units on the market, the sound efficiency of this set was lacking. Clarity was good, but required higher volume settings on mobile devices and sound equipment. That may make these better for those using headphone amplifiers. But users plugging these directly into their devices will notice a difference.

These are positioned as bass heavy, and I find them to be slightly neutral when compared to that description. There is adequate low end range for most users. Still, if extra bass is the only reason you are considering these, look elsewhere. These will not win the bass war anytime soon.

COMFORT

The best feature of these headphones versus most alternatives is the quality ear cushions. Not only are they comfortable, but they do not produce the sweat and humidity that is common with budget phones. They are also comfortable, not binding or pinching at all on the top and sides. The one-sided cable is also a big advantage over most budget and mid-range headphones.

BUILD QUALITY & ACCESSORIES

The cord is the source of most durability concerns. It is hard-wired and very thin. It is also very long. It does include a ¼ inch adapter, but that's the only "accessory" to speak of.

The missing feature I most long for is a detachable cable. Given the class of this product, it's hard to knock it for missing that. That feature typically comes with products costing 3X as much.

But this omission is compounded by the fact that the cable is very thin, leaving no confidence about its long term durability. And of course, even though the cable is extra long there is no included cable winder.

In addition, it would be nice if these included a case and were a little bit more compact for transport. Since they are made with rigid plastic and don't fold, it is not uncommon to crack the band or one of the earpiece hinges when throwing them into a packed backpack. Those features are often included with headphones in a class similar to these.

THE ALTERNATIVES

For those on an absolute budget it's hard to argue with the Sennheiser HD201 Lightweight Over-Ear Binaural Headphones. The body is more flimsy than these and less ergonomic. But they are only about one forth the investment. However, they lack the one-sided cable and the ear cushions are nowhere near as good.

The Audio-Technica ATH-M30 Professional Headphones also deserve consideration, as do the Sony MDR-V6 Monitor Series Headphones. While both of those units have durability issues too, both are probably still more durable than these. The main consideration in comparing them is fit and comfort. Neither of those are as ergonomic as these. But the Sony's include a soft-case and can be folded up for transport.

The very similar Sennheiser HD 419 Headphones seem to offer just about everything these do for 25% less. The only concern I have with those is that, like the Sennheiser HD 439 Headphones, they seem to have a more plush ear cushions that generally are not as comfortable for me. Your mileage may vary. The Sennheiser HD 449 Headphones include a carrying case and more connectors, but they are not worth the increased expense in my opinion. Other brands offer the desired feature mix at a better value.

Those looking for the enhanced bass these advertise should consider the Sony MDR-XB500 Extra Bass Headphones and the Sony MDR-XB700 Extra Bass Headphones. They are both discounted versus list at the current street prices. And while neither can be worn comfortably as long as this one, they do produce more bass.

CONCLUSION

While there are more premium headphones out there, these are worth considering. The quality is on par with this class of phones, but is not above and beyond the pack. I recommend them with the above reservations for those most interested in a comfortable set of headphones. But for those looking for durability and sound efficiency, I would recommend exploring the alternatives.

Enjoy.
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on February 11, 2015
the sound is actually pretty good. flat, which is what i was looking for. also they're comfortable, a little rough on ear cartilage for extended periods, but i've worn way more painful sets from other brands. the reason for one star, is that the vinyl covered ear padding is staring to peel away / disintegrate etc. i looked at when i bought these and it's just 10 days shy of a year. the issue, is when this starts to peel away, the headphones leak a lot more sound, resulting in a much weaker overall sound ( and also your deskmates, really start hearing what you're blasting into your ears). to return under warranty with sennheiser, you have to pay for shipping etc, which seems like a waste of time on a $45 pair of headphones. also to mention, these have sat on my desk, out of the sun, in a very temperature controlled environment, so this is purely cheap manufacturing. just know that these will last you about a year, if you buy them. boooooooo
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 3, 2013
Let me start by saying that I LOVE Sennheiser headphones. They are so clean and clear. For low-power devices like my iPhone and iPod, I really like my HD202s and for my big Yamaha amp I have my HD555s. The 202s are almost perfect except they are on-ear and start to hurt after an hour or so. Reading the descriptions on Amazon and Sennheiser-USA websites, I thought the 429 was basically the 202 in an around-the-ear format as the descriptions/specs are almost the same and I was willing to pay an extra $20 for the extra comfort. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The bass is fuzzy/muddy compared to the HD202.
Also the cable, the LONG cable, is very thin. I understand its made for portable devices but it doesn't seem up to Sennheiser's normal quality standards. There is also no tether/spool for the cable as there is for the HD202 -- so it just lays out there, WAY out there.
Honestly, the HD202ii sounds MUCH better for half the price and feels much more solid. If only they made an around-the-ear model. I was very disappointed with the HD-429 and sent it back. :(
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on April 7, 2014
I share a home office with my wife. Because of this, there are a few key features that I look for in a pair of headphones.

- Comfort
- Noise isolation
- Sound quality

So far I've been extremely happy with these Sennheisers. The comfort level is 10/10. They're very light and as a result they don't need a lot of pressure to stay in place, nor do they hang heavily on the ears or top of the head. There's ample room in the ear cups, so my ears don't become sore or tender after hours of use. Also, the padding across the top of the head is more than enough. I've had other headphones that would eventually bother the top of my head, or begin to feel as though they're smashing my ears, but these are so comfortable that I can wear them throughout the entire work day without any issue.

Now, these are not "Noise Canceling" or anything like that, but they do an excellent job of reducing the noticeable noise of anything going on around me. Like I said, I work from home, but I have two young boys that get out of school very early in the afternoon. They make a lot of noise, but when I'm wearing these headphones it's not even a problem.

Finally, the sound quality -- I'm far from an audiophile, but I think I can tell the difference between crap and not-crap. Previously I had a pair of over-ear headphones from Monoprice. They sounded great, clear mids/high and good bass, but they were pretty uncomfortable. These Sennheisers unfortunately don't sound quite as good as those Monoprice headphones, but don't get me wrong -- they still sound really good. Well, really good for the money spent. Specifically though, it's the bass that's lacking. It's there, but it's not super-prominent.

So here's my scores...

Comfort: 10/10
Noise isolation: 8/10
Sound quality: 7/10

For around fifty or sixty bucks, you can't go wrong with these.
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on May 2, 2014
It is March 14, 2015, one year after I purchased the Sennheiser HD429 headphones. My previous excellent review of these phones fail to tell one great failing of the manufacturer. Although they SOUND great still, and fit wonderfully and invisibly over the ears and on the head for long periods of time, there is a GREAT NEGATIVE.
My OLD portable Zalman tiny cupped headphones which fit over the ears and I have been using almost nightly for the past three years have one thing over the Sennheiser phones. The vinyl covering which surrounds the foam which holds onto the ear has NOT deteriorated in three years in the manner which the Sennheiser vinyl covering has.
The stuff is made to look and feel like leather. And in the Zalman example (Thirty dollars from another mail order store), it has stayed pristine and unbroken. The Sennheiser vinyl covering has broken and nightly sheds, what's left of it, all over me and the floor. Very soon, I'll have naked foam, a la 'old' Koss headphones, around the ears. I am not impressed. The sound is great, but it took an even older and larger pair of Radio Shack phones MANY years to lose this vinyl covering. I understand that it cannot last forever. FINE! This one started to deteriorate and fall away from the foam six months after purchase. THIS IS NOT GOOD!
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on January 17, 2014
A lot has already been said about these headphones, so I won't say much. I would like to add, however, that if you are (maybe) a female or rather a male with a smaller head, then you might want to pass on these. I don't have a "small" head per say, but I suppose it is thinner than most. These headphones are EXTREMELY comfortable, however, I think in the design phase perhaps they sacrificed some "headband tension" and decided to supplement the fit, instead, with some very nice, comfy, poofy, and cushion-y pads (at the top / ear muffs). If the headband was a tad tighter they would have been perfect.

Also a tip! If you are looking to buy headphones so for the purposes of enhancing your music experience, BUY A PRE-AMP. I'll say it again. Buy a pre-amp before you buy an expensive set of headphones. I bought these headphones and then I bought a "headphone amplifier" by "FiiO" (off of Amazon) and was amazed at what I learned. All this time I thought, "What I really need now are good headphones" when the reality was - even though I had bought a perfectly new laptop in 2013 - I had a crappy sound card (even after going through all the silly sound card drivers updates and so on). The laptop soundcard was hardly better than my mp3 player, a microsoft Zune. But when I plugged the headphone amplifier in, even with standard headphones, the depth in sound that I was originally looking for had arrived. Also, that amplifier combined with these headphones is absolute bliss.

So that's all I got for these headphones. Maybe someone who reads this will learn from me or do the same as me in regards to a pre-amp. I highly recommend it. In fact, I bought 3 pre-amps to give out as Christmas presents this year and I've been told numerous times already that it is one of the coolest gadgets they have ever owned. (Sorry I realize this sounds like a review for pre-amps now, but you get the gist.) Anyways, pre-amp : highly recommended - ESPECIALLY with these head phones.

Good luck!
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on June 12, 2014
I'll make no claims of audiophile heaven, as my ears are too old to judge. Suffice it to say that music played off a laptop through these headphones suits me fine.

The important thing is that I can comfortably manage to wear them for long periods of time--more so than any headphone I've ever put to use (not to mention the number of headphones I've trashed for the sadistic pain they inflict). These are my saving grace in a working environment where the chatter is just too intrusive and distracting. And, I just can't manage to wear anything that mashes my ears for more than half an hour. But, I can wear these for most the day, with only short breaks (of the sort one normally takes during the work day).

It would be nice to know in some standard measure how well these muffle external sounds, as that affects how loud I have to play music and white noise (incl. Gnaural). Most of the time I don't have to turn things up too loud, so the muffling is generally sufficient (though I'd be willing to try something that claims to do better than these--with the same level of comfort).
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