Sennheiser HD418 headphones

These budget, bass-driven headphones are a good fit for your laptop or MP3 player

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Sennheiser HD418
  • Sennheiser HD418
  • Sennheiser HD418
  • Sennheiser HD418

Pros

  • Interesting motif, comfortable ear-pads, sturdy build quality

Cons

  • Overly warm sound, muffled treble

Bottom Line

Sennheiser's HD418 headphones are sturdy and (arguably) stylish. Reasonably cheap for full-size closed headphones, they'd make a good accompaniment to a commuter's laptop or MP3 player as long as sound quality isn't a huge concern.

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Sennheiser's HD418 headphones are cheap and relatively cheerful, offering average sound quality in a sturdy and stylish enclosure. You're not going to be thrilled at treble clarity or the excessively warm sound, but given the price tag you probably won't be too annoyed.

Like the Sennheiser HD 428 and Sennheiser HD 438 we've recently looked at, the Sennheiser HD 418 is a full-size pair of headphones with a closed ear-cup. There's a black-and-white flame-like motif on the ear-cups; it's not particularly exciting but it lends a modern feel to an otherwise conventional set of headphones.

The Sennheiser HD 418 has fabric-covered padding on the ear-cups and headband, making them comfortable to wear for moderate lengths of time. The headphones have slightly too much clamping force when new, so you may have to wear them in to gauge true comfort levels. A 1.4m headphone cable is long enough if you are using the headphones with an MP3 player in your pocket, but it may not be long enough for desktop PC use.

The build quality may not be up to the level of the Sennheiser HD 800 headphones, but the HD 418 should be sturdy enough to stand some abuse before breaking. If you're a commuter, this might be an important advantage over cheaper brands. No carry case is included, so your headphones may get damaged if you toss them in your backpack.

Sennheiser's claims that the HD 418 is "optimised" for iPods and other MP3 players shouldn't count too much in the headphones' favour. The rated frequency range of 20-20000Hz theoretically covers the frequencies used by most digital music, but in our testing we found the headphones had an overly warm sound. A strong preference towards mid-range and mid-bass frequencies means that the sound tends to be booming and overpowering at higher volumes. Treble is also muffled, cutting out some detail from vocals. If you're listening to downloaded MP3 music files you probably won't notice any issues, as these files are already compressed to low quality levels.

Sennheiser's HD 418 headphones are cheap compared to other models from the company. They might be a feasible option for commuters thanks to their sturdy construction and stylish design, even if the sound quality is a little lacklustre.

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