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Sennheiser HD 490 Pro Headphone Review

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 9 5.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 74 44.6%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 66 39.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 17 10.2%

  • Total voters
    166

Robbo99999

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This is true. I've owned both of these headphones for quite some time, and I can confirm that they don't produce deep, deep bass. After EQing them to Harman, they seem a little more bassy to me than the HD650, but not enough to call it significant. Considering the current price of them, I said no and returned them.

Among the open headphone models, so far, I haven’t found one that suits me in terms of price/bass response ratio.
I'm waiting for the release of Fostex TH808. I hope for prompt publication of their measurements and listening impressions. Maybe later I’ll make a decision to buy.
(HD560s does very good bass after EQ, subjectively equal to my planar HE4XX also after it's been EQ'd to Harman).
 

Robbo99999

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I'm no expert here, but given the eq treatment, all headphone should sound virtually similar no? I don't own the HD650 myself but heard them from a friend of mine. They were fantastic without eq. I think there were some sub-bass insufficient but most accurate sounding headphones I've heard. With EQ. I'm sure it would be untouchable for price/performance despite the increase in distortion in the sub regions.
For some reason some headphones just don't do bass particularly well even after substantial EQ, and even at levels where you'd expect measured distortion to be acceptable. To name a few examples of open headphones that don't do bass particularly well after EQ in my own subjective experience: HD600 / HD800 / (K702 maybe included but does bit better than previous two re bass). Open headphones that do bass well after EQ in my own experience: HD560s / HE4XX. And of course re closed backs & IEMs then NAD HP50 and Truthear Zero Blue do some seriously good bass both before & after EQ.
 

solderdude

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Correct if such eq treatments are based on measurements (or at least subjective perception) with your own ear-head-torso.

When physically different headphones are equalized to same sound profile (FR) on a certain head(-simulator), they may sound/measure very different on other heads(-simulators), even more different than they were without equalization.

So don't use any EQ preset on internet unless you are the dummy head which those presets are made from/for.

In most cases, certainly when one can get a good seal, and with wildly varying frequency response headphones, one can get a definite improvement in tonality.
Of course.... adjust to taste and look at other measurements (different fixtures) as well to get an idea of what you may need to adjust a little.
Getting 'close enough' is usually good enough already and some tweaking to personal taste may make them more enjoyable.

IMO the headphones that need the least amount of corrections, in general, have the best results. That said, some may not measure as well but still can sound very pleasing.
 

usern

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a few examples of open headphones that don't do bass particularly well after EQ in my own subjective experience: HD600 / HD800 / (K702 maybe included but does bit better than previous two re bass).
HD800 has been one of the few headphones that I'm curious about to try or buy, but it's interesting that you say they don't do bass well after EQ. Is it because you can't get enough bass or there some weird distortion noise with EQ or something else?

I do agree that 560S is very good with bass EQ. Bass is important to me so if you say that HD800 is not good at that I might be interested on these HD 490 or the newer closed ones instead.
 

Robbo99999

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HD800 has been one of the few headphones that I'm curious about to try or buy, but it's interesting that you say they don't do bass well after EQ. Is it because you can't get enough bass or there some weird distortion noise with EQ or something else?

I do agree that 560S is very good with bass EQ. Bass is important to me so if you say that HD800 is not good at that I might be interested on these HD 490 or the newer closed ones instead.
I've kinda found that the HD800 doesn't have much impact in the bass even when you increase it, it's soft rather than defined & impactful. I'm still trying to get the EQ right on my HD800, I'm not constantly spending hours & hours on it, but I've got another session that I'll do sometime where I try to tune it subjectively from a measured best starting point. Personally, given my experience I don't think HD800 is worth it, not for the money, and it's not currently my best sounding headphone either, I think it's praps a bit overhyped because of it's initial status as a flagship headphone from all the way back in 2009. It is super comfortable though as the room for your ears is insane in terms of how much room there is in there. Soundstage & spatial effects aren't any better than my best EQ'd K702 - the K702 wins on that front currently too, but that's also a factor that the EQ is more optimised currently for me with the K702. I'm not sure you'll get much better than a properly EQ'd HD560s, I think getting the frequency response right is the biggest part of the battle and there might be some stuff happening above 8kHz that isn't really that measurable on GRAS that might be influencing people's sound quality perceptions too. I think I'm currently of the opinion that there's no point trying out more headphones until there is somekind of personal HRTF breakthrough to make them sound exactly like high quality speakers in a room, although I'd be interested to try the Dan Clark E3 as the ultimate headphone given I like Harman Tuning, but for me my opinion is there is nothing left worth trying beyond what I've currently achieved with my headphones using EQ (my mind might change on this but probably not, albeit I'm still interested in seeing what headphones come on the market & how they measure & how they review here.) My own recommendation would be not to buy the HD800, but some will disagree with me, which is ok.

(I don't regret buying my HD800 though, I like to have it in my collection as it's a unique & iconic headphone, and I like to have it for future listening reference, and maybe future EQ experimentation, so I don't regret buying it at all, in fact I'm pleased to have it, just I wouldn't recommend it.)
 
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Toli

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@amirm is the stock cable balanced or I'd have to order a balanced cabe for them?

read 10 pages and none talked about this xD
 

staticV3

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@amirm is the stock cable balanced or I'd have to order a balanced cabe for them?

read 10 pages and none talked about this xD
Here's the stock HD490 Pro cable, which is the only cable included in the box:
SennheiserFullWidth (1).png
 

Count Arthur

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@amirm is the stock cable balanced or I'd have to order a balanced cabe for them?

read 10 pages and none talked about this xD
The cable has 4 wires and the mini-xlr on the headphone end has 4 poles, but the two jacks are only 3 pole, so not balanced.

You could cut off the jack plug and use a 4 pole jack or XLR connector to make a balanced cable, but you'd need to look into which wire goes to which pin in the mini XLR etc..
 

staticV3

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Oh no, I know that because I have the headphones

I wanted to know if the stock cable (wires) is balanced so I can just buy a balanced adapter
You cannot plug a 3.5mm or 1/4" headphone cable into a differential (balanced) Headphone Amp using a simple adapter.

That can damage or potentially destroy the Headphone Amp.

In case the stock cable uses 4-conductor wiring, what you can do is snip off the stock 3.5mm plug and solder a balanced 2.5mm/Pentaconn/4pin XLR connector onto the cable instead, thereby turning it into a balanced headphone cable.

Whether the stock HD490 Pro cable uses 4-conductor wiring or cheaper 3-conductor wiring, I don't know.
 

Toli

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The cable has 4 wires and the mini-xlr on the headphone end has 4 poles, but the two jacks are only 3 pole, so not balanced.

You could cut off the jack plug and use a 4 pole jack or XLR connector to make a balanced cable, but you'd need to look into which wire goes to which pin in the mini XLR etc..
thanks, I have purchased a custom balanced XLR cable and was told they will ship the cable on Monday but I still haven't received tracking or email that it's shipped, I'm running out of patience so I thought maybe I could just get a adapter.

I don't want to name the small private company because maybe they have some IRL issues going on
 
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Count Arthur

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I would just add, that there often isn't any benefit in using a balanced headphone cable. Many headphone amps aren't truly balanced internally. Some are, and will give more power via a balanced connection, but if your amp already provides more than enough to get your headphones sufficiently loud, there's no real advantage.
 

Toli

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I would just add, that there often isn't any benefit in using a balanced headphone cable. Many headphone amps aren't truly balanced internally. Some are, and will give more power via a balanced connection, but if your amp already provides more than enough to get your headphones sufficiently loud, there's no real advantage.
I have Aune s9c Pro, was told that it's whole design is balanced and the sound quality will be little better
 

deebo1982

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Lots of good information here for a noob like me to tinker with (EQ). but I have a Hip Dac 3, the Bass boost does a great job lifting the sub bass, but I cant EQ.....being a Mac user, is there a simple (ish) program to apply an EQ ?
 

Vamp898

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After giving up on Headphones completely and then testing again the MDR-MV1 i ended up with these and i am very happy with them.

They deliver exactly the sound i expect from an reference Monitor.

I have several test recordings/mixing/master i played with these to check if everything sounds as it should and this is the first headphone ever, where this happened. Where i could listen to all test samples and music and everything just sounded as it should.

I am a bit surprised that it took Headphone makers that long to make an Headphone that can be used as a reference without tons of EQ but it seems we finally got there. And for an price below 1000$ is even more surprising. And with an comfort, that you can wear them all day long.

By the way for the people looking for an balanced cable, i was told by Sennheiser that dealers can order the cable at the end of this month and should be generally available starting next month.

MSRP is 39€. Its the same 1.8m Cable that was shipped with the Headphone, just with an 4.4mm plug
 
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solderdude

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With producer or mixer pads ?
 

Vamp898

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With producer or mixer pads ?
I have not done any serious mixing yet with them, they are my personal, private unit, so i have only tested them while making music (using the producer pads) and listening back to them.

But i am looking forward to test the mixer pads. I had them on the demo unit i tested so i did use them for a short time, but nothing intensive that would enable me to give any valuable feedback
 
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