Getting to Know Sennheiser’s Futuristic 490 Pro Plus Headphones

Mostly anyone who makes music would agree: a good set of headphones can be a secret weapon.

In the case of the 490 Pro Plus Headphones from Sennheiser, they have a healthy price tag of $450 USD and a tidal wave of potential. Whether it's for mixing full length albums or experimenting with sounds in the formative stages of a new track, the price becomes easily justified when considering what the 490 Pro Plus Headphones are capable of.

This sounds like a lot of praise, but bear in mind they’re currently garnering plaudits from other crowds outside the music industry where quality audio is valued too. On Reddit, for instance, whole threads are dedicated to the way Sennheiser's product is a game-changer for the gaming community.


POV: Playback is transparent. Every track is in the pocket. Now you have full-spectrum audio accuracy. Say hello to the HD 490 PRO – our new reference studio headphones. #Sennheiser #HD490PRO

♬ original sound - Sennheiser

"If you compare today’s music productions with that of 10, 20 years ago, you will notice how the massively increased computing power and complex parameter automation have changed the way in which music is made," Sennheiser's Category Market Manager, Jimmy Landry, said in a recent press release. "In every genre, engineers and music creators are continuously pushing boundaries, creating extremely complex mixes that can be prone to so-called 'audio blind spots.'"

"Mixes can be crowded and muddy, with too many instruments sitting at the same position and their frequencies competing. For the engineer or musician, it becomes difficult to hear each individual instrument or voice distinctly. This goes to show the importance of a good pair of studio headphones."

When we wanted to learn how the 490 Pro Plus would suit the creation process of dance music in a home studio, decided to put the product to the test. We spent more than 1,000 hours using these and other headphones over the last month. 

In the process, we succeeded in identifying three distinctions that starkly separated the 490 Pro Plus from its peers.

Fit for the long run

The biggest superpower we found in Sennheiser’s 490 Pro Plus was its ability to stay light and velvety on the ears even after hours and hours of turning knobs and pressing buttons. Headphones typically become increasingly uncomfortable the longer you wear them, but the 490s grip and breathe in balanced homeostasis, enabling the wearer to press on in the studio when the creative juices get flowing.


Muffs that make a difference

One of the first things that proved a ton of thought went into the 490 Pro Plus was the two types of muffs that come with the unit. At first it seemed like one was superfluous, but upon closer inspection there was so much more to think about.

One was velour and the other fabric. The velour offers a softer, matted sound, which is ideal for holistic judgements and live instruments—a massive advantage in conservative home studios that do a lot of producing or mastering. The fabric set of muffs, on the other hand, produce a crispier, flatter sound that’s advantageous for mixing. For producing any sort of electronic dance music, these were indispensable, especially for the producer on-the-go. Luckily, it all packed up together nicely in the same case.

Spacial ready

Perhaps further proof that for audio professionals at Sennheiser are edging an industry zenith, the 490 Pro Plus is calibrated for 3D sound models and audio production for augmented reality. Every set comes with a free license for the DearVR MIX-SE Plugin from Dear Reality.

It essentially transmutes a DAW in a virtual mixing format by moving around the acoustics of the sounds to match the calibrations of multi-million dollar mixing studios. While easy to overlook, or say "I'd never use that though…" the spacial readiness of the product and software like this emphasize Sennheiser’s superiority, especially when compared to other high-end headphones on the market today.


For more information on Sennheiser's 490 Pro Plus and any of the company's other products, head over to their website.

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