Right off the top I’m going to encourage any budding social media and music producers in need of their first pair of “real” headphones to take a good hard look and listen to the Sennheiser HD 471. This is a terrific headphone at a terrific price. Sennheiser’s website shows the price as $109, but they’re commonly available for around $70. Read on for the full scoop!
(The HD 471i is for iOS and HD 471g for Android devices. I had the 471i for this review.)
Sennheiser HD 471i ($109; ~$70 street)
After experiencing “cheap” gone wrong in my recent Cowin E7 review, I thought I’d cleanse my palate with an inexpensive offering from somebody who knows what they’re doing.
The Sennheiser HD 471i is a plain-Jane sealed, over-ear headphone. It’s pretty hard to put “cheap” and “precision German engineering” into the same sentence, but I’ll try. (They’re cringing in Wedemark about now.) While the Sennheiser HD 471i is quite obviously a low-cost product, I was impressed at every turn with how well it adressed every important area of headphone performance in an extremely cost-efficient manner. This is a great inexpensive headphone.
Styling is modern with understated elegance and a somewhat masculine look. A nice visual weight combined with a stealthily angled gimbals that blends into the oval ear capsules gives the HD 471i a confident, form-following-function look. The wavy glistening silver plastic oval outer covers of the headphone are the styling highlight; at first I though it was just okay, and then I saw how it looked like shimmering sound waves as the light played off the panels during head movement. Pretty cool, actually.
The defining comfort feature of the HD 471i its very low weight at 198gr. Lower weight means lower pressure on the pleather covered plain foam headband and ear pads. The pleather seems fairly nice and didn’t get sticky while wearing. Earpad oval openings are on the generous side of average at 55mm x 40mm, and are of adequate depth. The inner wall of the earpad is a breathable material, and there is a little relief behind the earpad giving a bit of extra room for the flap of your ear.
If the caliper pressure (clamping pressure) of the headphones is a bit too much for you, you can grasp the ends of headband itself at either end and bend out the middle part of the headband (where the pad is). I didn’t find the clampoing pressure too high, but some might. The headband material is very durable; watch the video for more information.
Headband adjustment arms emerge from within the headband itself and are detented. Adjustment slider friction is a tad tight, but stays very nicely secure in use. Once you’ve got everything set on the HD 471i, it’s very easy to take these on and off the head and be comfortable in place quickly. Long term comfort is likewise quite good due to the low weight. Don’t let the weight fool you, this is a very well built headphone.
Two cables are included with purchase: a 52″ long cable (just the right length for mobile use) with mic/remote compatible with iOS devices in the 471i and Andriod devices with the 471g, which terminates with a slender, straight 3.5mm TRRS (tip-ring-ring-sleeve) plug; and a 10′ long cable, terminated at the player end with a slightly heftier bodied straight 3.5mm TRS plug. The portable cable is rather thin, but I’ve got a lot of confidence Sennheiser built a sturdy part; the long cable is a bit thicker.
Both cables are connected at the headphone end to a custom 2.5mm TRRS plug. The shape of this plug end inserts deep into the body of the headphone and does a great job of preventing any jerking on the cable to be transfered to the plug and jack itself, which is a common failure with 3.5 and 2.5mm headphone jacks. The shape of this connector blends perfectly into the larger shape of the headphone capsule and virtually disappears. Just another example of Sennheiser using inexpensive common parts (2.5mm plugs and jacks) and improving them cheaplythe shape of the plug molding costs a bit more to design, but costs essentially the same during manufacture as a traditional plug shape.
Also included is a 3.5mm to 1/4″ adapter and a simple fabric draw-string bag.
I wish everyone built inexpensive items this well.
Lets have a listen.