Sennheiser HD 471 Affordable Sealed Over Ear Headphones

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 cheaply—the 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.

Sennheiser USA
1 Enterprise Dr.
Old Lyme, CT 06371

metal571's picture

Sennheiser is killing it lately - so many new models that we need reviews like this to prove that they are still competitive in the market. Thanks. I wonder how this compares to the extremely similar looking HD 200 Pro and HD 461, both of which are even cheaper.

IgorC's picture

Interesting and economic stuff from Sennheiser.
I wonder whether there will very-baby version of their electrostatic headphones

Something around of ~ 1500-2000$ for "poor" people.

Argyris's picture

Sennheiser's on fire lately. These are the kind of products I like to see: inexpensive, well built and good value. Sure they have flaws (in the HD 471's case, it's probably a bit too shelved down for my taste), but for the price Sennheiser is offering these models, it's entirely forgivable. In fact, leaving out the treble shelf on the HD 471, just the smoothness of that response line and the tight channel matching would be an exemplary result for any headphone, regardless of the price.

Just as an aside, I like the direction IF has been going lately. More frequent content, and more coverage of lower cost headphones. The uber flagships might be fun to look at, but they're out of most people's price range. I would imagine most are looking in the sub-$200 range. There's a lot of choices there, including entries by well known makers, but there's surprisingly little information and few in-depth professional reviews for most of these models. I know that this is because companies are eager to send out samples of their latest and greatest, rather than sending lesser models which by design aren't as impressive--it's probably difficult to get hold of samples of lower end models. Still, it's nice to see coverage in this space, and hopefully other makers will follow suit in sending along big boxes of their not-flagship models for review.

Argyris's picture

Looking at the full-sized version of the measurements, the channel matching isn't quite as good as I initially thought. Still probably better than most $70 and below headphones.

brause's picture

Sure, it will have its shortcomings, but it will also work well with a phone or dap.

drm870's picture concur with the others that it's exciting to have a major headphone company making good products with real consistency from the top to the bottom of their product line. (Though I can't say I'm surprised it ended up Sennheiser.)

Magick Man's picture

I don't think these are quite as good as the OG CALs, sonically, but they are a lot more solid and comfortable, so I'd recommend people try both, if they can.

brause's picture

Since this headphone has control buttons, it should be easily driven by a phone. I ordered it from at 41.05 CAD (32.74 US Dollar). The item has small cosmetic imperfections. But the leaves me cash in pocket for more Hawaii shirt (silk).

GNagus's picture

This feature was not mentioned in the review. Can I hear myself in the headphones?

donunus's picture

The only bad thing about these inexpensive senns is that they distort at pretty low volumes. Based on my last few purchases anyway... like the hd461i, HD598SE, and the smaller on ear models. The hd600 and 650 doesn't really have that problem.

brause's picture

I eventually paid $20.55 CDN for the Senns HD box with adapter and pouch missing...bargained down on the phone.

This left me with cash in hand for new top-of-the-lineHawaii shirts...Tyll, you must be blushing when watching the following...where Dr. Schweinsgruber takes on a real Sennheiser clone:

GiovanniZ's picture

I've written a couple of articles about headsets, and I have included a Sennheiser models in one of them. They make amazing headphones for gaming and listening to music.

Good job with the article, very informative.

Smartseoworld's picture

I have similar one like this, but I think this is better and I will definitely want to check it out

ksx4system's picture

Thanks for this amazingly insightful review. You've helped me to choose the best headphones within its price range the most :-)

I can happily confirm that it doesn't clamp over head too hard (actually clamping force is VERY light even out of the box - I've only stretched them as shown on video once, then it's just perfect even for multiple hours of listening).

ad meritum: Sennheiser sold one more pair of HD471i to a happy customer and Inner Fidelity got new VERY happy and regular reader :)

alex costa's picture

The only bad thing about these inexpensive senns is that they distort at pretty low volumes. Based on my last few purchases anyway... like the hd461i, HD598SE, and the smaller on ear models. The hd600 and 650 doesn't really have that problem.Teer results today

youreye's picture

Hi Tyll, all! Just wondering, got the 471i now. They sound really good I think. I've used some aftermarket ear pad from Brainwavz on my Monoprice headphones and they felt very good. The question is what kind of pads ca I use with the 471s? Will de 569 pads fit? Thanks!

HeadPhoneFAN's picture

Hi Tyll,
Great review as always. I appreciate that.
We are waiting for your HD 461 review.

chezib's picture

it got ruined and i'm using the long long cable which is not very comfortable....

Daryn Plasticmask's picture

An open letter to anyone who might know enough about HEADPHONES to help me:
I’m profoundly deaf, which is to say that I can hear above 126 decibels. Barely.
What I’m needing, what I’m looking for, is a set of headphones that will handle at least 130 decibels.
I have a little 40 watt amp that I use with my PC’s soundcard, and a headphone booster. But the closest I can get it to manage, is around 126 decibels, and the headphones blow out EVERY TIME. Some sooner than later, but without fail, they will eventually fail.
So I asked the manufacturer of the amp if I needed a bigger amp (more watts) or what… in order to achieve that 130 decibel goal. He responded that even with FOUR watts, there’s no reason why I can’t get 130 decibels out of “the right set of headphones”.
When pressed regarding what he meant, I’ve gotten no response. So I do not know what to look for.
I have learned that the size of the driver isn’t the issue, the kHz isn’t the issue, and the only thing I’ve noticed about the ohms that they list on the box is that the higher the ohms the less I can hear; the quieter the headphones are, when the ohms are higher.
So, can YOU help me? If you know what you’re talking about when when it comes to headphones… what do I need to look for to get 130 decibels out of a set of headphones??
Thanks very much