NAB 2024: Sennheiser HD 490 PRO takes home Best Headphones

Congratulations to our pick for Best Headphones of NAB 2024 — the Sennheiser HD 490 PRO. Designed to take on the complexity of modern music production and sound design, these open-back reference studio headphones promise a wide and realistic sound stage and precise sound reproduction.

Getting to know the Sennheiser HD 490 PRO

The most distinctive feature of these new reference headphones is what Sennheiser calls “an extremely wide, dimensional sound stage.” This gives each sound in the mix more space, helping to prevent muddy and crowded mixes. The open-mesh ear cup covers and Open-frame Architecture are designed to minimize resonance and distortion while ultralight voice coils promise accurate sound reproduction. Further ensuring an authentic listening experience, the HD 490 Pro promise “uncolored and honest” frequency response across the full frequency range.

Sennheiser HD 490 PRO
Image courtesy: Sennheiser

Another detail — the transducers inside each headphone sit at an angle. This is to reproduce the experience of sitting in front of a pair of monitor loudspeakers, a setup often preferred for its more accurate representation of the listening experience.

“All these features combine to enable music professionals to identify and resolve any panning placement issues and troublesome low-end frequencies — ensuring clear mixes and superbly refined masters,” explains Gunnar Dirks, Sennheiser Product Manager. “The HD 490 PRO studio headphones put you in full control of every detail.”

Sound good, feel good

Sound quality is the most important attribute of a pair of headphones. However, comfort is important, too. Sennheiser took this into consideration for the HD 490 PRO. These headphones feature a lightweight, ergonomic design that promises to eliminate pressure points. Sennheiser even took glasses-wearers into consideration with a soft comfort zone on the ear pads. The feature is meant to prevent discomfort while maintaining a good seal. Sennheiser also promises that the special axes geometry of the HD 490 PRO will provide a perfect fit, regardless of head shape.

To further customize the experience, Sennheiser offers two different styles of ear pads for the HD 490. The velour producing ear pads offer a slightly warmer sound. The fabric mixing ear pads maintain a flat, neutral sound.

Bonus feature

When you buy a pair of Sennheiser HD 490 PRO headphones, it comes with a free license to the dearVR MIX-SE plugin. This plugin is meant to simulate an ideal mixing environment, with the producer always in the sweet spot.

Pricing and availability

Priced at $400, the Sennheiser HD 490 PRO includes the headphones and both sets of ear pads as well as a 1.8m headphone cable and the free dearVR MIX-SE license. For $480, you can get the HD 490 PRO Plus package, which adds a 3m cable, a transport case and an extra fabric headband pad. All accessories are also available separately.

For more information, head to

Nicole LaJeunesse
Nicole LaJeunesse
Nicole LaJeunesse is a professional writer and a curious person who loves to unpack stories on anything from music, to movies, to gaming and beyond.

Related Content