Friday, April 4, 2014

Sennheiser HD202 Headphones - Good Sound without paying an Arm and a Leg

I recently decided that I needed to upgrade my headphones. I have been using enclosed headphones at home and earbuds for the portable players that I have (CD player and MP3). I have bought the Sennheiser HD202 for home use for $20, shipping included.

About the Sennheiser HD202 

The Sennheiser HD 202 belongs to the DJ line of the model lineup. These headphones are enclosed, have replaceable leatherette ear pads and feature 10-foot (3m) Y-style cable. The headphones have nominal impedance of 32 Ohm and advertised to produce 18-18,000 Hz frequency response and less than 0.5 percent THD (total harmonic distortion).

My headphones are made of black plastic and fit me perfectly. They also seem to be durable. The 3-meter Y-type cable terminates with a compact 3.5-mm headphone plug that works well with portable devices. The headphones came in a blister pack, which also contained an adaptor for conversion of the headphones' 3.5 mm plug to 6.3 mm for use with home gear (my received has a 6.3-mm headphone plug).

Neither the adaptor nor the headphone jack itself are gold-plated, but that does not bother me much.


The headphones are rather light and do not create much pressure on my ears or the areas around my ears. The padded areas around the drivers are soft and cushy, but in warm weather may get moist. Since I mostly use these indoors, this is not a problem.

The cable is long enough to reach pretty far. I use the headphones with my receiver as well as with my iPod at home and in both cases the length of the cable is more than sufficient.

The HD202 take up a bit of space on the shelf where I keep them, but not as much as some larger headphones I have seen.

Sound Quality 

The most important quality of the headphones is the sound quality. The HD202 produces excellent sound (for the price) with well-defined bass, smooth frequency response and good treble. The detail level, instrument separation and placement is excellent and the overall sound quality is amazing at this price.

I definitely get the feeling of being able to hear instruments that I have not heard with the lesser headphones, e.g. stock iPod headphones or, worse yet, the stock headphones of the Philips HDD077 MP3 player.

The headphones did require some break-in time to sound their best. Not everyone believes in speaker/headphone break-in. What it is: you have to play music through the headphones at moderate volume for certain amount of hours before they start performing their best. I do believe that the sound of the HD202 improved after 30-45 hours of break-in. The bass got better as did the overall sound.

The HD202 can play pretty loud with portable gear like iPod Nano. Tip: if your gear has a graphic equalizer, try bumpig the bass (below 200 Hz) and the treble (at around 16 KHz) up a notch or two for warmer sound with better lower-end definition.

If you are thinking about buing the replacement headphones for your portable, make sure that your player can produce loud sound with your stock headphones first and expect the volume to drop a little with the HD202. But with better sound insulation than the majority of stock earbuds, the HD202 can compensate for some volume loss by reducing the amount of noise that enters your ear.


The HD202 have impedance of 32 Ohms, which should suit most portable as well as home gear.

Sound Insulation 

The HD202 proved decent sound insulation. They leak very little sound as well, which is important in public transport. Of course, they do not provide as much sound insulation as some other, more expensive headphones and they are not noise-canceling, but I found the insulation enough for the times when I decided to take them with me on the train.

The sound insulation of the HD202 is definitely better than over-the-ear Koss KSC75 headphones I also use occasionally and, of course, better than the earbuds that ship with MP3 players.


As of 12/2009, after 4 years of use, the HD202 is still in excellent working condition.

Pros: Low price, good sound, comfort, sound insulation, durability
Cons: Size

Bottom Line 

The Sennheiser HD202 is a good inexpensive way to get better sound from your portable MP3 or CD player or get good sound from your home gear without disturbing your family members or neighbors. I highly recommend it.

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