Budget conscious audiophiles have long debated the benefits of buying the Sennheiser HD 202 IIover the Sony MDR-XB450 or the Panasonic RP-DJS400 and vice versa. Although similar in price levels, these headphones differ greatly from each other in terms of design and sound.
It’s a triple threat match folks, without any further delay, here it goes:
These lightweight headphones have a closed-back design and are an over-ear pair. The ear-cups are made of faux leather and some parts of the headband are also padded. The ear-cups are partially swiveling and adjustable for ease in wear. They're made of durable plastic and come with a 3m long cable.
Compared to the Sony MDR XB 450, the Sennheiser 202 II is not a particularly good looking headphone. However, the design is comfortable and functional. One minus point is that the headphones can't be folded up and carried, which makes it better for at-home use. Understanding that the 3m long cable may be a hassle, Sennheiser provides a cord take up that helps in adjusting its length.
These on-ear headphones are a well designed pair with a metallic finish available in 5 different colours. The earcups are well padded with ultra thick pressure relieving soft earpads. The headband is also cushioned and can be adjusted for a more secure fit.
A few plus points in terms of design are that the tangle free serrated cables and the earcups can be flattened and so, they're very portable.
When it comes to the DJS400, they have been designed as a fashion statement and are available in a choice of five colours. The glossy plastic finish on the earcups looks a little cheap but with the price it is at, we can't complain.
Both earcups can be swiveled around by 90 degrees so that they fold flat and can also be used for DJ-style, one-sided listening. This is made easier because the earcups are pivoted so that they can be swung round to face outwards.
The cable measures 1.2m, The headband is reasonably sturdy although it does look a little inexpensive and the extendable ends feel a little weak. The headband is fairly sturdy although it doesn't look look and the extendable ends look a little flimsy.
Getting to how these sound...
These headphones have a relatively neutral and balanced tone. The bass is crisp and low and there is a good balance between bass and treble. The soundstage is pleasantly spacious and airy, while also giving focusing on vocals and instrumental clarity. Because of the over-ear design, the sound isolation is also pretty good.
The only complaint is a little softness in the otherwise deep bass.
XB stands for Xtra Bass. That’s pretty much the crux of the XB450’s sound. These headphones are designed for bassheads. The big 30mm driver unit help in packing a punch and delivering a strong bassy sound. However, there is a tendency for sound details to get lost in the bassy crowd. The mid sound hollow and highs are also recessed as compared to the Sennheiser HD 202 II. The noise attenuation is also lower than the latter.
These headphones are loud. They offer a good, solid sound that is tremendously bass happy and will satisfy everyone except the most fussy of audiophiles, particularly at this price point. Panasonic has obviously paid a fair bit of attention to getting the bass performance right, as it sounds great.
In fact, it's so strong that you can hear low bass loops on tracks that you'd never even noticed before. Having said that, if you turn the volume up too high then the enhanced bass tends to overwhelm the mids and spoil the balance somewhat.
If you prefer on-ears that are fashionable, have a portable build with bass heavy sound, then go for the Sony MDR- XB450.
The Sennheiser HD 202 II are circumaural for better isolation and suited to tuned ears that appreciate balanced sound in an elegant black headphone.
And if you want your music to sound like they're coming from a bunch of speakers at your favourite dance club, then the Panasonic RP-DJS400 should be right up your alley.
Which earphones do you prefer? Do let us know in the comments below!
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