Sennheiser HD-206 review | MusicRadar

what is it?

affordable, entry-level, closed-back headphones, the sennheiser hd-206 replaced the long-standing hd-201 model in 2017 here at musicradar we have a longstanding relationship with the 201 that started with an emergency trip to a high street retailer to pick up a couple of cheap cans to use for a hastily arranged recording session down the road, and ended with us being impressed with how they sounded good for the money.

As a result, several pairs of 201s still grace our studio walls, having been our weapons of choice for multiple studio-related tasks over the years, from recording vocals and guitar and playing electronic drums to drawing. .. based programming and mixing.

Reading: Best headphone for studio mixing

physically, there is no difference between the hd-206 and the hd-201 that preceded it. the design is unchanged, with the same black and silver color scheme, identical running track-shaped ear cups that fully enclose the ear, generously trimmed with that familiar soft leatherette padding. There is the same wide vertical adjustment and a small degree of lateral swivel in the ear cups to ensure a comfortable fit for all head shapes. the headband tension is well calculated, providing a firm enough seal around the ear without being so tight that the earmuffs feel too tight on the sides of the head. the same non-detachable dual-core cable still splits at a point under the chin to feed each ear.

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In fact, if it weren’t for the model designation printed on the sides, you wouldn’t be able to tell the two models apart by appearance alone. on paper too, the specs are also identical, so what exactly has changed?

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performance and verdict

Since the two models are so physically alike, any difference there may be is due to sound, and when you put the 206 on, it’s actually a different story.

The 206 makes the 201 sound rather boxy by comparison, highlighting the previous model’s not-so-prominent bottom end and overly emphasized upper mids, shortcomings the 206 seeks to address. For starters, the bass response has been tweaked, and everything sounds much more powerful and present in the 100-200hz range. the upper mid region seems to have been tamed, and seems creamier and not as brash as the 201. the stereo soundstage is nice and wide, and there’s a lot of detail present throughout the frequency range.

cable length has been kept at 3m, which some might argue is too long. while it does have a tendency to tangle, the extra length can be an advantage when recording with guitars or electronic drums, for example. with long cables, you either love them or hate them – in the studio they’re pretty handy as they give you room to move around with your instrument without unplugging them, but if you use headphones a lot while out and about you might find the length a bit awkward and annoying.

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Because of this, we probably wouldn’t choose the 206 as our first choice simply for listening to music on the go. while perfectly suited for this, there are better solutions designed specifically for this purpose, with shorter, less cumbersome cables, collapsible designs, and a more “smiley curve” response suited to general mobile listening.

However, are they good studio headphones? well yes, for the money you can afford to have multiple pairs waiting for visiting artists to plug and abuse them. The closed design keeps out unwanted outside noise while reducing the chance of spills, and the lightweight construction and comfortable padding let you wear them for long periods without ear fatigue. for tracking purposes the sound is clear and full enough to fit, and even with that tight bass response these cans are flat enough to be suitable for general programming and mixing tasks.

so sound quality will never win any awards, and shouldn’t be expected to at this price, but the hd-206 represents a marked improvement over its predecessor. Adaptable, capable, and simply handy to have on hand, the 206 maintains the 201’s well-proven balance of versatility and value. What it may lack in forward-thinking design and quality materials, it more than makes up for in the areas for which it was designed and built: providing a decent sound for a minimum outlay.

practical demonstrations

round pike perch

thomas rex

ronald ivanciu


price: $49.99/£24.99 colour: black/silver frequency response: 21 – 18000 hz pressure level sound (spl ): 108 db total harmonic distortion: <0.7% ear coupling: circumaural (over ear) jack : 3.5/6.3 mm stereo cable length: 3 m driver principle: dynamic, closed weight: 215 g (165 g without cable) nominal impedance: 24 Ω

See also: Do Headphone Cables Make a Difference?

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