Sennheiser HD 461 (G/i) Headphones Review
Welcome to the final installment in my running three part series of Sennheiser budget headphone reviews. I started with the good HD 471, and then moved on to the bad HD 200 Pro…in case you need to catch up.
Just as I suspected, the HD 461 is nigh-identical to the HD 200 Pro…only it offers a lower price and has a detachable cable. And thus, its existence totally negates the need for the HD200 Pro to be a thing.
Since this is the third version of these that I’ve reviewed, I’m not going to cover the redundant info in as much detail.
Released as the middle model of the newly refreshed Sennheiser HD 400 series two years ago, the HD 461 has an original MSRP of $79 but usually goes for around $50 now online and at retail.
Its sound signature is focused on deep bass response. It has subtle styling, with a mostly black color scheme that’s highlighted with chrome accents. It comes with one detachable cable with a three button remote, designed for your platform of choice…Android for the G model and iOS/Mac for the i model.
The box promises that the HD 461’s have a strong bass response, and it’s true.
Like the HD 471, the bass is well extended. But like the HD 200 Pro, it’s quite prominent. There’s an emphasis that extends all the way up into the upper bass range. The bass has a punchy, thumpy quality to it…and it’s also a little bit muddy and confused.
This slight confusion carries into the mids and highs. The result is a pair of headphones that’s a bit less detailed than the more expensive 471…and that sounds exactly the same as the more expensive HD 200 Pros.
These don’t sound bad…but they definitely don’t sound as good as the 471’s. But that’s okay because they’re less expensive.
If you’re looking for a bass-focused, relatively inexpensive headphone, these are a totally fine choice. They’re not bassy enough to satisfy hardcore bassheads, but they should be just fine for people used to the current “Consumer headphone” sound.
Just like the other two models in this series, comfort is good and isolation is average.
I commend the ear pads for having the smallest possible holes that still feel big enough to be comfy. The headband pad is really squishy and soft, and satisfying to wear for hours. Clamping force is a little bit strong…but not to the point of discomfort, for me. It just helped them to feel more secure on my head.
The ear cup backs have a seashell texture that you might find really off-putting, but I enjoy it. There’s a fake chrome ring around the ear cup that I think adds a nice pop.
Unlike the very similar-sounding and more expensive HD 200 Pro, the HD 461 has a removable cable. You only get one in the box, but it’ll work with the same cables that work on the HD 451 and 471, so finding other cables from Sennheiser isn’t too hard.
The build is good for the price. The plastic material feels just thick enough to avoid a sense of cheapness. The rotation mechanisms on the ear cups feel nice…even though the headphones don’t fold down or fold flat.
I still don’t like the adjustment sliders. They’re a little bit tighter on my 461 than on my 471, but they still feel like they’re sliding through mud. If these felt better…these would be perhaps the best-built 50 dollar headphones I’ve ever touched. But the sliders miss the mark.
In addition to the slightly muddier sound, the other area where these lose out to the 471’s is the extras. You get one cable here that’s wired to work on your phone platform of choice, with a totally blah microphone.
And that’s it.
No 6.3mm adapter, no carrying bag, no bonus cables.
That’s fine for this price point. The cable is a little thin and springy, but it’s functional.
These are better than the more expensive HD 200 Pros.
Even at the old full MSRP, these are worth 10 extra dollars over the HD 200 Pros just for the removable cable system.
The non-removable cable on the HD 200 Pro still makes no sense to me. Yes, the cable material is thicker and better, and yes, the matte styling might appeal to some people more. But the HD 200 Pro is a strange half-step back from the 461…and the 461 is cheaper.
If you’re looking for a slightly-bassy budget headphone with phone functions, a removable cable, and solid comfort and build for the price, the Sennehiser HD 461 is a great choice. The HD 471 is a great step-up model with a livelier sound and some bonus extras. They’re both solid lower-cost headphones that do exactly what they should for the price.
Curiosity satisfied, on to the next!