Sennheiser HD 231i: A Review

Nate got me an early birthday present today: a pair of new headphones! Specifically, a pair of Sennheiser HD 231i (which is apparently not available in the US??).

Anyway, we were at a Best Buy looking for a headphone/microphone combo for Nate’s brother, and I of course wandered over to the “music headphones” section of the store. That’s where I saw these Sennheisers.

Honestly, my first impression was that this tiny pair seemed rather out of place alongside the other Sennheiser models, which all looked capable of space travel. That impression remained as I picked up the demo pair from the little rack. They were super light. As in, “light as my $5 Walmart headphones” light.

But the sound was awesome.

I’ve never owned Sennheisers, but I’ve only ever heard good things about them. And the demo pair did not disappoint with the music selection that it had. But how would they fare with my music?

  • Sleepyhead (Passion Pit) – Even though I have quite a few songs that are higher on my Top 50 list than Sleepyhead, this is still my standby “test” song for any new headphones. And the HD 231i passes the test of making the amazing chorus sound just as amazing as it should. The bass is heavy but not too heavy, and it doesn’t overwhelm everything else.
  • O Magnum Mysterium (Lauridsen) – The voices in the choir sound very bright and “unique,” as in it’s like you can hear the individual people but it still all blends together. It’s almost like you’re listening to them live.
  • Act My Age (One Direction) – I like a pair of headphones that lets me hear a part of a song that I can’t hear with other headphones. I was unaware of this until I tried this song with the Sennheisers, but there’s this really cool bass slur behind the first “I won’t act my age” in the chorus that really makes the song like 50% better to me. So that’s pretty snazzy.
  • Hide and Seek (Dan Wright cover) – I’M GONNA CRAP MY PANTS the bass sounds so good. That’s probably because you’re able to hear all of Wright’s iterations of the song together—the bass parts, the treble parts, and everything in between—so nothing is too overwhelming.

Conclusion: no, I’m not getting paid by Sennheiser. I really, honestly like these headphones. I’m no audiophile or anything and I’m pretty sure I’ve blasted boulder-sized holes through my eardrums over the years, but I appreciate how balanced the sound is from these. I like headphones with a lot of bass, but pretty much every other pair of headphones I’ve tried that has that nice bass sacrifices the sound of everything else to achieve it. These don’t. That’s awesome.

Get ‘em.

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