Sennheiser HD 490 PRO Plus Review — Studio headphones you can count on

Sennheiser is a German audio equipment manufacturer which is well-known for premium audio gear including headphones, microphones and soundbars. Over the years, Sennheiser has become synonymous with professional audio quality, making their equipment the preferred choice in most professional environments.  Sennheiser has launched the HD 490 Pro and Pro Plus India recently.

We have had the chance to test these headphones for quite some time now and these are one of the most interesting studio headphones in the price range. The Sennheiser HD-490 PRO Plus open-back headphones is targeted at musicians, producers, and content creators and aims to offer professional monitoring headphones which are reliable yet comfortable to wear. Are they worth considering? Lets dive into our review.

  • Design :  Circumaural(Over Ear), Open Back
  • Impedance: 130 ohms
  • Drivers : 38mm neodymium
  • Max Sound Pressure Level: 128 dB
  • Connector: 3.5mm / 6.3mm
  • Weight: 260g (w/o cable)
  • Cable Length: 1.8m & 3m
Box Contents

  • HD 490 PRO
  • 1.8 m cable
  • 3 m cable
  • 3.5mm – 6.3mm jack adaptor
  • Travel Case
  • Mixing ear pads
  • Producing ear pads
  • Extra headband pad
Design and Build Quality

The design of the HD 490 PRO looks robust and professional, and the large open-back design might be daunting at first. At the heart of each earcup is a neodymium magnet and a low-frequency cylinder, which work in harmony to deliver an accurate sound signature.

Once you put these on, you realize that at 260g these headphones are light and fit quite well around the head. The materials are nice to the touch and don’t press against the body even though the HD 490 is a large device.

The patented cable coil near the jack which prevents noise or distortion due to cable scraping against your body or equipment.

The headphones ship with production ear pads installed and another set of ear pads for mixing included in the box.  They can be removed and replaced without any tools. The pads can be washed in a washing machine once they need some cleaning.  I am sure most of us have one or more pair of headphones we stopped using because the ear pads were ruined. Kudos to Sennheiser for this initiative, and I wish they extend this to other products in their portfolio.

Have you ever been in a situation when you have run a cable across your desk in order to connect to your computer/ equipment? The good news is that there are connectors on both sides and the cable is detachable. Really wish that more audio companies and VR headsets copy this feature. The HD 490 PRO uses a 4-pin mini XLR connector on each ear cup.  The product is engineered in Germany and hand-assembled in Romania.

Audio Performance

The open-back design of the HD 490 Pro offers an exceptionally wide and dimensional soundstage, along with precise sound reproduction. It gives you complete control over every detail of the audio.

At FoneArena we do deal with a lot of video processing and these headphones came to us for review during Mobile World Congress which is a busy time of the year.  We usually do our edits on a Mac and connect our headphones to the 3.5mm jack directly without an amplifer. Our work involves dealing with Final Cut Pro, Davinci Resolve and Premier Pro.

Comfort is an often under-appreciated area when it comes to headphones. I personally dislike wearing headphones for long periods because it tends to get uncomfortable and messy with sweat.

The HD 490 Pro absolutely shines in this department, and I was able to wear it for hours in humid weather without having to turn on the air conditioner. The open-back also allows for more air circulation.

My colleague Srivatsan who also used these headphones for a considerable time and had mostly nice things to say about it.

The open-back design provides a wide and natural soundstage, which helps with accurate positioning of instruments and vocals in a mix. The bass response was tight and accurate, important for monitoring low-end frequencies. The sound signature has a slight emphasis on the mids and highs, since it boost mid-high frequencies from 4-7kHz with both the fabric and mixing pads. In some cases, the treble can become a bit bright, especially with the included mixing pads.

I tried using the HD 490 Pro for some gaming in Forza and Flight Simulator and absolutely loved it. This is what makes the HD 490 Pro fun to use. Although it is aimed at professionals, consumers who like to dabble with production, music and gaming will not be disappointed.


The Sennheiser HD 490 Pro marries excellent audio with extreme comfort with the additional possibility to change earpads and even wash them! These are one of the best sounding and most comfortable headphones we have tested in this price range and its vicinity.

The ability to connect the audio cable on either side depending on your desk setup is a nice touch.  My only gripe is that these are not foldable. The headphones in the carry case takes up considerable amount of space.

The Sennheiser HD 490 Pro Plus is available for Rs. 32,990 on (originally Rs. 41,300). The HD 490 Pro non-plus model costs Rs. 27,590 on (MRP Rs. 34,500). The main difference between the two is that you can get a carry case, an extra fabric headband pad and an extra 3 m audio cable with the Plus version.  If you are planning to keep the headphones for a long time, I would recommend spending extra and getting the Plus version as it might cost more to get these in the market separately.


  • Excellent sound with high accuracy
  • Open-back with wide soundstage
  • Great fit and comfortable even after long sessions
  • Excellent build quality with German engineering and Sennheiser brand promise
  • Washable, replaceable ear pads


  • Cannot be used during recording
  • Cannot be used outdoors
  • Requires amplifier for best performance

Author: Varun Krish

Varun Krish is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast and has been blogging about mobile phones since 2005. His current phones include the Apple iPhone 13 Pro and Google Pixel 6. You can follow him on Twitter @varunkrish and on Google+ You can also mail Varun Krish