Sennheiser HD 485 review

A cheaper hi-fi set of headphones

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Appearance-wise, at least, they're not very similar to the 650s

Our Verdict

Great all-round headphones for the occasional (or frankly even heavy) user, refined in sound and comfortable in use

For

  • Comfortable

    Good sound quality for the price

Against

  • A hint of sibilance

Sennheiser's range of headphones covers every base imaginable, but it seems to have been a while since we looked at any of its cheaper hi-fi models. Do these HD 485 phones offer a bargain approximation of the performance of the rather wonderful HD 650s?

Appearance-wise, at least, they're not very similar to the 650s, but they're certainly smart and modern, with an ingenious nod to the famous Sennheisers of yore in the spoked ear-cup. At first sight, the cups look too small to fit over most ears, but in reality they fit snugly.

Read more: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

This both keeps them on your head when you turn round and ensures the sound is well coupled into the listener's shell-likes. Comfort is pretty good - some may find the clamping force on the head a little too much, but sweat doesn't seem a major problem.

Most importantly, what we like about these headphones is the sound. Clearly they've benefited from some 'trickle-down' technology. In a side-by-side comparison with the HD 650s, they're easily distinguishable by their relative lack of transparency and slightly sibilant character, but that's hardly surprising.

After all, we're taking as a reference a product that offers fine value at five times the price. In terms of what one expects for well under a ton, the 485s are an astoundingly fine example of the headphones art.

Their levels of transparency and resolution are on a par with what one expects from speakers costing a king's ransom, and the extended bass and treble are fabulous too. The sibilance will only bother the most picky.