Sennheiser HD 2.30 review

No funky stand-out looks here, just a solid Sennheiser sound... Tested at £80

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

These Sennheisers are solid headphones for people who want good sound quality


  • +

    Chunky sound

  • +

    Minimalist look


  • -

    Boxy mids

  • -

    Slightly limited bass depth

  • -

    Not super-comfortable for long sessions

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

Not every pair of headphones has to be a status symbol.

The Sennheiser HD 2.30s, for example, are about as plain as they come – the kind of headphone Sennheiser might have released before Beats turned 90 per cent of street pairs into a multi-colour fashion show.

At £80, they’re a solid buy if you want to opt out of the style trend.


The Sennheiser HD 2.30s are slimline on-ear headphones. Their pads are around the same size as the average adult ear and the headband a slim band of soft-touch plastic.

Looking at the Sennheiser back-catalogue, their closest relatives are perhaps the PX200 or HD218. The Sennheiser HD 2.30s are even simpler-looking, the visible parts of the cups just smooth grey ovals.

With so many headphones trying hard to stand out, the stripped-back look is assured and refreshing. This pair makes its mark by seeming not to try at all.

MORE: How to avoid buying fake headphones


All the portable headphone basics are here too, though. The HD 2.30s are light, feel well made enough to justify the £80 price and fold up for easy transportation.

Like the Sennheiser Momentum On-ears, the cable is removable and uses a twist-to-lock mechanic to keep the cable in place. It uses a 2.5mm jack at the cup end.

Our version has a three-button remote designed for iOS devices (they're also known as the Sennheiser HD 2.30i), but Sennheiser also makes a version for Android devices, called the HD 2.30G. The cable is 1.4m long and ends in a straight 3.5mm plug.


In several respects, the HD 2.30s have a classic Sennheiser sound. It’s slightly dark thanks to a moderate roll-off of treble, and the mids are a little boxy-sounding.

These are sound signature choices rather than flat-out issues, though. They give this relatively affordable pair of headphones a chunky, harshness-free sound that aims for something other than the easy wins of sparky treble or ear-flattening bass.

The mids are quite forward, giving central channel vocals strong presence, without relying on treble to fill in detail, as cheaper headphones favouring a dual emphasis on treble and bass often do.

A slight bump to mid-bass does mean added substance to lower-definition fodder. Like adding cornflour to a sauce, it doesn’t add much flavour to the recipe, but the net effect can be positive.

If you like the sound of a mid-focused headphone without this thickening agent, the Grado SR60e and SR80e have a comparable tone, but with much greater clarity and mid-range definition.

MORE: Grado SR80e review

The Grados also sound far more open and wider, two aspects which are just passable in the Sennheiser HD 2.30s.

The Grado SR80e are also much less practical, though, as they are open-backed. They leak sound and provide almost zero isolation, whereas the Sennheiser HD 2.30s don’t.

These aren’t ultra-high-end headphones, but they aren’t meant to be, and their sound is generally successful.

The only holes in their make-up are at the very bottom and top: bass depth is just fair and we’ve already mentioned the conservative treble approach.

MORE: Best headphone deals: in-ear, over-ear, wireless and more


The Sennheiser HD 2.30s are solid headphones for people who want good sound quality but don’t want to pay through the nose, and aren't interested in paying more for a funky look.

These are headphones that trade searing treble and rocking bass for a sound that’s more sanitised throughout the spectrum.

See all our Sennheiser reviews

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test