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Sennheiser HD438 Closed Circumaural Hi-Fi Headphone with Enhanced Bass (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

3.4 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

Available from these sellers.
Standard Packaging
  • High quality closed back around the ear headphones
  • Choice of two single sided cables for home/portable use.
  • Plush cloth ear cushions are ultra-light for extended listening comfort.
  • Includes 4.6' and 10' detachable cables.
  • 2 Year warranty
9 new from $115.14

Technical Details

Product Packaging: Standard Packaging
  • lightweight

Product Description

Product Packaging: Standard Packaging

Product Description

The HD 438 is part of a series of headphones designed to be an extension of consumers lifestyles.

From the Manufacturer

Inspired by custom wheels on today's hottest cars, the Sennheiser HD 438 over-ear headphones grabs attention and flaunts power. The 438 uses a soft, fabric ear cushion that's comfortable on any ear, for as long as you want to wear them. The acoustics are warm and full, with emphasis on low-end thanks to the powerful neodymium magnets.

Whether you are on the move or staying at home, the dynamic top-of-the-range HD 438 offers a balanced stereo sound image with precise detail. The closed circumaural design blocks outside noise for pure audio enjoyment, and the ergonomic design provides a superb all-round listening experience. The two included detachable single-sided cables--4.6 feet and 10 feet--let you decide on your preferred cable length.

Sennheiser HD 438

What's in the Box

HD 438, detachable cables (4.6 feet and 10 feet), 1/4-inch (6.3 mm) plug adapter


  • Frequency response: 17 - 22,500 Hz
  • Sound pressure level (SPL): 112 dB
  • Ear coupling: Around-the-ear
  • Transducer principle: Sealed, closed
  • Impedance: 32 ohms
  • Total harmonic distortion (THD): <0.1 percent
  • Connector: 1/8-inch (3.5mm)
  • Cable length: 4.6 and 10 feet (detachable)
  • Weight (including cable): 6.8 ounces

Optimized for MP3, iPod, iPhone (iPod and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc. registered in the U.S. and other countries), and portable media players.


The Sennheiser HD 438 is covered by a 2-year warranty with the backing of Sennheiser's worldwide service network.

Product Information

Product Packaging:Standard Packaging
Product Dimensions 8.1 x 3.7 x 9.3 inches
Item Weight 14.4 ounces
Shipping Weight 14.9 ounces
Manufacturer Sennheiser
Item model number HD438
Customer Reviews
3.4 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #3,156 in Electronics > Headphones > Over-Ear Headphones
#65,457 in Electronics > Portable Audio & Video > MP3 & MP4 Players & Accessories > MP3 & MP4 Player Accessories
#70,256 in Electronics > Home Audio & Theater
Date first available at Amazon.com July 24, 2009

Warranty & Support

Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here


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Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. K. Oleson on February 23, 2010
Package Type: Standard Packaging
I've owned these headphones for about a month and feel I'm ready to review them.

If I could pick two words to describe these headphones, the words would be Natural & Immersive.

I own a couple other Sennheiser products: the EH350 and the HD560. Comparing the three, the HD438 is my favorite. They're easier to drive than the HD560 and they sound better & are more comfortable than the EH350.

ipod 5.5g 30GB - Apple Lossless files
ipod 7g 160GB - Apple Lossless files
Denon PMA-250 Integrated Amp & Powermac - Apple Lossless files

Sound Quality:
Detail is very important to me, and the HD438 does disappoint. I hear all the little nuances in music that other lesser headphones (like the EH350) tend to smooth over. The HD438 has a pretty wide soundstage for a sealed headphone as well. Instruments are well separated as well. They have good bass, better than both the EH350 and HD560. I'd say the bass is neutral, not too boosted. Highs are clean and crisp, but not harsh in any way. These are the headphones you want for long, non-fatiguing listening sessions. Before breaking the headphones in, the mids seemed a bit recessed, but as they've broken in that problem no longer exists. Just beautiful, immersive, detailed music.

I listen to a lot of electronic music, and I find them very immersive and clear. They sound great listening to jazz too, cymbals sound very crisp and clear, and the other instruments sound natural. I also listen to some rock and ska, and I've been happy with their performance there as well. Bass is crisp and tight and the other instruments sound as they should. Since they sound so natural, they're quite intimate as well with other styles, like folk and classical.
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Package Type: Standard Packaging
Just received these, so these are my first impressions. More to come later - long term observations, measurements and photos.

1) Very light, all plastic construction. The only metal I can see are the screws holding the vertical hinge above the ear cup for slight swivel action

2) The pressure on the ears is just about right to give a good seal to the head, but not to make them uncomfortable over extended periods. The velour pad material though is warm to the feel. Perhaps good in the cool, but in this warm spring it's very noticeable (I believe leather effect replacements are available from Sennheiser). The ear cups fit perfectly around my ears, but with no spare room. It may be that being 'over the ear', not 'on the ear' 'phones, the encapsulation of the ears retains heat (Later, I shall try my Bose QCII headphones with their pad material and compare the feeling)

3) Don't like the "wheel trim" chrome design. Black and plain would be more aesthetically pleasing to me, but I can't see them when they are on, so not a major negative!

4) The bass is indeed accentuated, but not excessively. However, some songs seem too "bassy" and my preference would be to reduce the bass a little on those, but for rock music, like Queen and AC~DC, or songs with a strong drum beat, the bass is great, but not to the point of 'physically feeling' it on my ears, just a powerful sound, like it should be.

5) The mid range seems comparatively weaker. I've found a better compromise on my PC by selecting the "Live" equalizer setting which boosts the mids and the highs giving me a better overall sound. My iPod equalizer is on "Rock". Will have to see how these break-in with use.
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Package Type: Standard Packaging
I first learned of Sennheiser's new 4x8 line of closed headphones when I saw someone around my campus wearing an unfamiliar pair of Sennheisers. Devoted Sennheiser fan that I am, I looked into it and learned they were HD-448s. Eventually I decided to check out their little brothers, the HD-438s, and I am very happy I did. These are possibly the all-around best headphones for under $100 I've had opportunity to try.

I'll start with the sound quality. In short, these are far and away the best closed headphones I've ever heard; they compete ably with my similarly-priced open headphones in clarity. (They don't have super-pumped bass like the box seems to indicate) My Sennheiser HD-555s cost about the same and sound a bit better, but only barely. The 438s are a bit low on the mids compared to the 555s, which also have slightly more defined bass. But these differences are barely noticeable and the 438s have only had about ten hours of burn-in so far, so they'll likely improve. It's hard for me to definitively say that the HD-555s sound better. I've heard the HD-428 and 448 are less heavy on the bass and better suited for classical, jazz, or country; the 438s, on the other hand, are amazing for rock, metal, or music styles with bass.

Comfort-wise, these rank just below my Audio-Technica ATH-AD700s, which feel like a cloud on my head. Despite what the pictures would have you believe, the 438s have velour pads. They feel a bit cheaper than those on the 555s, but are still very comfortable. They are considerably lighter than the 555s and have less caliper pressure; they're almost too loose, but not quite. I could definitely wear these for hours-long listening sessions with minimal discomfort.
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