Current testing methodology is v1.2
February 14, 2017
6.5 x 3.25 x 8.25 in
When it comes to headphones, your budget should depend on the kind of sound that you want. Ultimately, if you want premium sound, you should be willing to shell out at least $200.
If you have a limited budget, you can still get decent sound but you may have to compromise other factors, like durability. That is if you don’t know where to look.
Released in 2018, the Sennheiser HD 206 are budget headphones that sound good, feel comfortable, and can last longer depending on how well you take care of them.
If you’re looking for headphones that don’t break the bank, then this can be a good option for you. This review can help you make an informed decision on whether to buy them or not.
Sennheiser HD 206
Budget-friendly headphones with a lightweight build and a neutral sound.
The Sennheiser HD 206 are closed-back, over-the-ear, dynamic driver headphones with good noise isolation and decent sound reproduction.
With this unit, you aren’t going to get audiophile-grade sound but at its price, you shouldn’t expect it to.
It’s generally good at what it does – and that’s being a reliable and good-sounding set of headphones without you having to spend a fortune.
With their minimalist look, sturdy build, and good sound, these headphones are a definite recommendation to any music lover or producer that’s on a budget.
- Driver: 30mm Dynamic Driver
- Frequency response: 21Hz – 18000kHz
- Impedance: 24Ω
- Sensitivity: 111.9db/mw
What’s in the Box?
- Sennheiser HD 206 Stereo headphones
- 3m symmetric cable
- 3.5 mm straight plug
- 6.3mm adaptor plug
Stuff I like
- Substantial depth in every sound region
- Sound separation
Stuff I like less
- Cable is too long
Where to get it
Comparable products to consider
Budget headphone with neutral sound signature and a decent build quality.
The Sennheiser HD 206 headphones, for the longest time in my memory, are a set of cans that’s just pleasant.
They have good tuning across the board, plus they sound balanced and aren’t fatiguing to listen to even for long hours.
The thing that made me grab them so often was how well they did sound separation. That and how they can become virtually invisible on your head with how light and comfy they feel.
The bass is adequate, the midrange is neutral and has good articulation, and the treble region is smooth and non-fatiguing.
Did anything about the frequency range scream at me? Not really. The best thing about this set is how the balance in sound lets me listen to it for longer sessions.
While the Sennheiser HD 206 headphones are mainly made from plastic, they don’t look and feel cheap at all.
The pads on the headband and the ear cups are made of leather but they don’t get hot even after long hours of wear.
They’re light to carry and yet feel sturdy. They also have a very lengthy cable, which is about 3 meters long. For people that are constantly on the go, this could be a hassle but it’s nothing a small cable tie can’t fix.
If the leather on both pads starts to come off (which won’t for a very long time), replacement pads are widely available on Amazon and various places on the internet.
Fit and Comfort
These headphones feel very light when worn, plus they don’t feel like they’re squeezing your head.
To be honest, I’ve yet to experience any other headphones that can do this to the extent that the HD 206 has so they’re yet to be dethroned. This even beats the ergonomics of my Sony 1000XM3, which are very comfortable already.
There’s just something about the weight distribution and the size of the ear cups that really fit my ears well.
This experience will vary per person and if you have large ears, this set might become an on-ear to you.
The Sennheiser HD 206s are neither warm nor bright sounding. They sound fairly neutral, leaning toward no particular sound signature.
I guess this is what you’d call a good balance.
All of the sound regions have been tuned well and do not, in any way, compete with each other. There’s a good level of cohesiveness as no sound region is particularly accentuated.
The stage has some space on both height and depth but remains an in-your-head experience.
Certain acoustic experiences can be hard to describe, but to the best of my ability, I’ve identified one that describes one of this set’s strengths.
The transparency on these headphones is great and if you’re unsure what that means, it just means that it doesn’t alter the sound of what you’re listening to.
It’s a reference sound and often people attribute that to just being “boring”, which is hardly the case for these headphones.
The bass is presented rather well, with adequate growl and heft.
It doesn’t have the deepest rumble or the strongest mid-bass punch but it has great texture and the transients sound snappy and responsive.
With that being said, the Sennheiser HD 206 is no bass cannon but in my opinion, this kind of bass is objectively better than 90% of the bass most consumer sets produce, which is a typical over-boosted bloated bass sound.
This type of sound is what mostly dominates the consumer headphones market.
If you’ve listened to your fair share of headphones, you know that bloated bass is really unpleasant to listen to and may cause dizziness after a period of listening.
The midrange is clear and has great neutral playback.
Vocals and instruments have nice timbre and are heard with no distortion or weird compression.
These two quirks are very important indicators of nice-sounding headphones, and a lot of consumer headphones either have grainy vocal quality or sound squeezed and unnatural.
The bottom line is that balance and natural-sounding tonality, although often overlooked, are two very important markers.
The Sennheiser HD 206’s midrange is pleasant. It’s not forward nor recessed but it doesn’t sound dull or flat. It’s still an engaging type of midrange but with a smooth quality to it.
The treble has sufficient sparkle and handles the highs to a good degree.
It does a good job of rendering the details and even though it isn’t the most resolving treble, I still think that balance is king and the treble allows for that while still being a good performer.
All in all, it’s a non-fatiguing but well-extended treble that holds its own weight in serving the frequency range. The air on this frequency is sufficient and handles reverb pretty well.
I’ve included some tracks that best highlight the tuning of the HD 206s for your reference.
- Payphone by Maroon 5 (Pop) – The Sennheiser HD 206 headphones do a good job of handling the sound separation on this track. The layering is a real ear candy and rewards you with that sweet and pleasant harmonious blending. The vocals are clear, and the instruments and the transients are crisp. The bass has adequate texture and punch, not enough to make your head bop but it doesn’t need to, the tuning is doing that already.
- Indigo by NIKI (R&B/Soul) – All of Nicole’s songs have great layering and are led by her beautiful vocals and that’s why we’re using one of her songs. There are a lot of percussion hits and synth in Indigo and that’s exactly why I love it as a test track. Everything sounds cohesive and silky smooth. At this point, I’m slated for a 7-hour listening session.
- Banana Shake by Humming Urban Stereo (K-Pop) – The bass doesn’t go as deep as I’d like on this track but the midbass and rumble are sufficient and serve as a pillar assisting the main attraction, which are the addicting vocals and the synth hook. The song is repetitive and it’s sort of a 2-minute vacation in musical bliss. How can anyone resist dancing to this? I know I can’t.
- Birthday by Katy Perry (Pop) – Katy Perry did a great job with this song. The vocal duplicate singing higher octave sounds great on the Sennheiser HD 206. Even though the bass doesn’t reach as deep, the vocals and the high notes are more than enough to overturn this small gripe. It’s a disco inside my head every time I listen to this song. Great layering, and accurate playback. Enjoyment guaranteed.
Considering how varied genres are, the Sennheiser HD 206 headphones are quite flexible and I have no problems listening with them for most of my playlists.
It isn’t a set for bass heads as the bass doesn’t go to the levels of Tartarus but it’s capable and it still performs. The midrange is neutral and has nice tonality. The highs are well-done and the details are good.
By any means, considering all things in the headphone world, it’s hard to achieve the things I just mentioned.
While the Sennheiser HD 206 isn’t going to win any awards for its sound, it just might get crowned by the masses.
For any serious music lover on a budget, this is a reliable set that’s perfect for casual listening, studio use, and monitoring.
With its only caveat being the freakishly long cable, I see no glaring flaws and no reason why anyone wouldn’t want to grab this. For under $50, these headphones are a bang for your buck.
Gavin is a college student who has a lot going on. From collecting IEMs and modding mechanical keyboards, to different hobbies like digital drawing, music mastering and cooking. It is safe to say he is a complete multi-faceted geek (and he's kinda cool too)
This post was last updated on 2023-03-28 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.