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7 Reasons Why Sennheiser Headphones Are Bad (Updated 2023)

Why Sennheiser Headphones Are Bad

Sennheiser headphones are among the most expensive in the world.

Some even sell as high as $16,000 each.

But let me tell you right now.

This brand isn’t really worth your money. And I’ll explain why.

Continue reading to find out:

  • 7 factors that are helping Sennheiser maintain its popularity.
  • 7 must-know reasons why Sennheiser headphones are actually bad.
  • Other headphone brands and models that are better than Sennheiser.
  • And much more…

Why Sennheiser headphones are bad – 7 reasons

#1: Overhyped

Sennheiser first made a name for itself with the release of its Orpheus headphones in 1991.

It was marketed as the best headphones ever made. It also came with a big amp to enhance its sound quality.  And it cost an astounding $16,000 each.

Over 3 decades later, these headphones have become a collector’s item. And 2nd hand units now sell for over $30,000 each.

Now, did it live up to the hype?

Well, to be fair to Sennheiser…

The Orpheus turned out to be excellent. The sound it produced was as clean and as pure as it gets. 

Now, as to whether it’s the greatest pair of headphones ever… 

It’s hard to say. 

Audio quality is subjective, after all.

But regardless, the success of Orpheus made Sennheiser a household name. And many have since called it the best headphones brand in the world.

As a result, pretty much all of its later releases have received huge publicity.

And the truth is…

While some of the later Sennheiser headphones are awesome…

Not all of them deserve the hype. Some just aren’t even near the quality of Orpheus.

And that’s why you should think twice before buying from this brand.

#2: Overpriced

So I just mentioned that Sennheiser released $16,000 headphones in 1991.

Well, the company’s other models aren’t that pricey.

However, they’re still quite expensive.

For instance, the Sennheiser HD 800 S cost a whopping $1,800 each.

To put that in perspective…

That’s about the same price as a high-end gaming laptop.

And the thing is, while the HD 800 S produces superb sound quality…

You can find other top-of-the-line headphones like that for much less. Here are some examples:

Those headphones range from around $750 to $1200. And their overall audio caliber is very similar to the HD 800 S.

So even if Sennheiser’s headphones are mostly high-quality…

When you start comparing them with other brands…

You’ll find out they’re actually overpriced. And you’ll be able to save significantly by going for non-Sennheiser brands.

#3: The Sennheiser Smart Control app is glitchy

The flagship Sennheiser headphones don’t use an app. But the $100 to $300 variants do.

And these mid-range headphones use the Sennheiser Smart Control app in particular.

Now, with this application, users would be able to do the following:

  • Soundcheck.
  • Playback control.
  • Product news update.
  • Equalizer for audio fine-tuning.
  • Noise-cancelation level adjustment.

As you can see, the Smart Control is supposedly packed with features. However, the problem is it glitches quite frequently.

In fact, among the biggest issues with the app is its pairing inconsistency.

Many have said that it would always take them many tries to connect the app to their headphones.

Moreover, the app would, at times, just randomly activate headphone factory reset.

These are just a few examples. But the Smart Control app has always suffered from bugs. 

And it seems the company hasn’t done much to improve it.

Now, that’s quite disappointing. 

Because when you’re paying for something premium…

It’s only right to expect high-quality performance. And many users aren’t getting that from Sennheiser’s official app.

#4: Lack of design variation

Looks aren’t the most important thing in headphones. But they sure do matter as well.

Because let’s be honest…

Headphones aren’t just for listening. They can also be fashion statements.

In fact, it’s one of the reasons why Beats headphones are so popular. 

Those headphones come in various colors and designs. And they look so good that many users feel a certain sense of pride when wearing them in public.

That’s even if Beats headphones are bad, sound-wise.

In contrast, Sennheiser headphones will never be known for their looks.

Instead, this manufacturer’s listening devices mainly come in 3 colors only:

  • Gray.
  • Black.
  • White.

And they’re all rather plain-looking. 

In addition, Sennheiser has also been accused of recycling old designs.

Now, that shouldn’t be an issue if all you care about is sound quality. So, Sennheiser headphones are great with that.

But if you also want something that looks stylish…

Then you’ll have to go with other brands like Beats.

#5: Noise-canceling isn’t as good as other headphones

There are 2 types of noise-canceling technologies that headphones typically use:

  • Active.
  • Passive.

Now, I won’t bore you with the scientific details of how they work. But let me try to explain each simply.

Passive noise cancellation is the simpler of the 2. Basically, it just requires a physical barrier to cover your ears from the noise.

So headphones that use this generally have big and bulky ear cups.

Active noise cancelation is more advanced. 

It requires analyzing the sound of your surroundings… 

And creating an opposite sound to negate it.

Now, Sennheiser headphones use active noise cancelation technology.

However, you’ll find several brands that perform better with this tech. Examples are:

  • Sony.
  • Bose.
  • Apple AirPods Max.

And as proof of that…

Watch this video below. It shows how poorly Sennheiser did in noise cancellation compared with others:

#6: Not for bass lovers

Now, this one’s actually more subjective.

The goal of Sennheiser headphones is to produce a high-fidelity sound.

High-fidelity refers to audio that’s as close to studio recording quality as possible.

That means there’s little to no distortion. And there’s no sound enhancement whatsoever.

Now, some music enthusiasts enjoy high-fidelity sounds. However, the average listener might not appreciate it.

That’s because there are also many who prefer an amplified bass. 

So if you’re someone who enjoys bass-heavy music, Sennheiser isn’t for you.

Instead, you can go for the following headphone models instead:

#7: Not intended for the average listeners

The Sennheiser brand caters more to the audiophiles out there.

If you’re not familiar with that term…

It refers to people who are enthusiastic about the sound quality of songs.

And they aren’t just music lovers. They also want the songs to sound like they did when the artists first recorded them in the studio.

Moreover, they’re also mainly after the purest quality of music. And Sennheiser definitely delivers in this aspect. 

However, if you just want to enjoy music…

And you’re not really particular about the tiniest song details…

Then you don’t need to buy these expensive Sennheiser phones.

You’ll still get high-quality audio for much cheaper with other brands like Sony and Bose.

If Sennheiser is bad, why are they so popular?

Sennheiser is popular because of the reputation it has built in the past. Also, this headphone brand has become a status symbol due to its expensive cost. And the fact that many famous artists also use this brand helps keep it relevant.

But I just went over 7 reasons why Sennheiser headphones are bad.

Yet, in spite of all those negative qualities…

Why is this brand still so popular?

Well, there are actually several factors for that as well. And I’ll discuss each one of them.

#1: Past success

I already talked about the success of Orpheus back in the early 90s. This was what made Sennheiser popular in the audio devices industry.

But that model isn’t the only Sennheiser device that received rave reviews.

The HD 650, released in 2003, also had similar success.

In fact, that variant is now considered a classic among audiophiles. And people still talk fondly about the 650 to this day.

Now, the more recent Sennheiser headphones are still great. It’s just that they aren’t on the levels of Orpheus or the HD 650.

But regardless, Sennheiser has built a strong reputation on the success of those 2. And that’s partly why the brand remains relevant even in present times.

#2: Status symbol

Products that are sold at a very high cost tend to become status symbols.

These refer to things that help individuals flaunt their wealth.

And part of the reason Sennheiser remains popular is that it’s exactly that. It’s a status symbol.

I mean, who can really afford $2000 headphones?

Only those who have plenty of money, of course.

And wearing a Sennheiser is one way of telling people…

“Hey, look! I can actually afford these expensive headphones.”

#3: Great overall sound quality

Sennheiser Great Overall Sound Quality

Let me get one thing straight:

Sennheiser headphones aren’t that bad. I know I just went over some of the most negative things about them.

But if we’re talking strictly about sound quality…

Sennheiser headphones are among the best. 

It’s probably not the greatest headphones brand, as many claim. But on pure audio quality, Sennheiser is definitely right up there.

And for some, that’s all that matters. That’s why they keep buying headphones from this brand.

#4: Comfortable to wear

Aside from excellent sound quality…

Another great thing about Sennheiser headphones is comfort…

You see, they’re extremely pleasant to wear.

For instance, the HD 800 S has been described as something you won’t even feel. It’s actually great for those with sensitive ears.

When you put it on and start playing music…

It would seem as though you’re just in a room, listening to outside speakers. It won’t feel like you’re wearing a headphone blasting through your ears.

And that’s a testament to the engineering that comes with Sennheiser. 

So, they may not be the prettiest headphones. But they’re some of the most comfortable you can use.

#5: Excellent warranty and customer service

Most brands offer a 1-year warranty for their devices.

But if you own a Sennheiser…

You’ll get to enjoy 2 years of that.

What’s even better is how fast Sennheier processes warranty claims.

It takes less than a week for them to send replacements for qualified cases.

So when you consider the longer than usual warranty and great customer support…

You’ll see why Sennheiser has been able to keep its great reputation all these years.

#6: Durable

Another thing that’s kept Sennheiser popular is durability.

Sennheiser gadgets generally last around 5 to 10 years. 

And high-end models like the Orpheus and the HD 650 can last even longer than that. This is with proper care, of course.

Now, if you’re curious why Sennheiser headphones are so durable…

It’s because the firm doesn’t skimp on parts. The company’s goal is mainly to produce the best-sounding gadgets.

And it doesn’t matter if the materials used may drive up the price.

Sennheiser knows there are people who are after sound quality and durability. And they’ll still buy regardless of the price.

#7: Wide range of selections

While Sennheiser is mainly a high-end listening device brand…

The company has recently expanded its product selections.

Today, you can also find Sennheiser headphones that cost less than $100. Here are a few of them:

These releases helped Sennheiser stay relevant. It’s no longer just a brand for pricey gadgets.

And being adaptable is yet another reason why it remains popular.