Sennheiser HD 429 budget headphones review

Sennheiser HD 429 best cheap headphones

Sennheiser's HD 429 budget over-ear headphones offer fantastic value at £45, looking, feeling and sounding the part. Find out why these cheap headphones win our Best Buy award in our Sennheiser HD 429 review. Also see: 6 best budget headphones 2014

Compared to the AKG K77 cheap over-ear headphones, the sub-£50 Sennheiser HD 429s look the part. Finished in posh-looking black plastic with faux-leather earcups and headband cushion, these over-ear headphones deliver the kind of aesthetic that style-conscious audiophiles will be looking for. They also deliver something closer to the kind of price we’d expect: £45 makes them the most expensive headphones here. Also see: 26 best headphones 2014

Design isn’t the only place the money’s been spent. The HD 429s feel a little more convincingly built throughout, and the gold-plated 3.5mm and 1/4in adaptor jacks are good to see. You also get more cable: 3m of 3.5mm audio wire means you can stray a long way from your sound system without having your headphones yanked off your head. This is something a double-edged sword: nearly 10 feet of cable is a lot to cram into a jacket pocket as you get off the train.

The cable is thin compared to AKG’s: those with an unsympathetic approach to wire bundling will have to beware of kinking the cable. All the budget headphones we've seen of late have captive audio cables, so if the wire snags or breaks within the rubber casing, you’re stuck with them. If you’re happy to spend another £15 you can buy the Sennheiser HD 429s, which comes with a single-button inline remote: these don’t. Also see: How to make music on your laptop or PC

The HD 429 headphones are big. The ear cups are slightly larger than those on the AKG K77s so they fit a little easier, and although we preferred the flexible head strap on the AKGs, the HD 429s are nonetheless comfortable for very extended listening periods. The HD 429s have larger earcups, but we slightly preferred them in our comfort tests.

They sound good, too. We felt the soundstage was a little more compact than with the AKG K77s, but where the AKGs put lots of emphasis on bass, the Sennheiser HD 429s were more subtle across the range of music we tested them with. They don’t lack bass, but it never overpowered. There’s still plenty of bass where it’s needed, but the HD 429s produced a broadly balanced, fulsome sound whatever we listened to.

Sennheiser HD 429: Specs

  • Closed-back circumaural over-ear headphones
  • 18Hz to 22kHz frequency response
  • 32ohms nominal impedance
  • 110dB sensitivity
  • 3.5mm mini-jack
  • 1/4in adaptor
  • 3m cable
  • 218g
  • Closed-back circumaural over-ear headphones
  • 18Hz to 22kHz frequency response
  • 32ohms nominal impedance
  • 110dB sensitivity
  • 3.5mm mini-jack
  • 1/4in adaptor
  • 3m cable
  • 218g

OUR VERDICT

You admittedly pay quite a bit more for a fairly small improvement in sound quality, and from a purely aural standpoint, the extra cash isn’t terribly well spent. However, the Sennheiser HD 429 budget over-ear headphones are smaller than the AKG K77s, thanks to the lack of a large frame over the head strap, feel a little more solid on the head, as well as combining high-end looks with a budget price.

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