“A well-made budget headphone for recording”: the t.bone HD 515 review

We try these new headphones from Thomann’s low cost brand. Can they provide a meaty sound?

  • £25
  • €29
  • $26
the t.bone HD 515
(Image: © Future)

MusicRadar Verdict

Although not suited to mixing, if you’re simply after a well-made budget headphone for recording this could be ideal.


  • +

    Great value.

  • +

    Good construction.

  • +

    Detachable standard minijack lead.

  • +

    Good passive noise cancellation.

  • +

    Tailored sound for recording.


  • -

    Not suitable for mixing and mastering.

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the t.bone HD 515: What is it?

Thomann’s t.bone brand is aimed squarely at the budget end of the market. But the vast majority of its products we’ve tested have been pretty decent, and recently we were particularly impressed by the performance of its RM 700 ribbon mic. 

Up for review now we have the new HD 515 headphones. At £25 a pair, you probably wouldn’t have big expectations of these headphones, but it’s fair to say other brands such as Superlux have certainly shown that it is possible for budget headphones to challenge more expensive designs, so we are optimistic these can do the same.

As you might expect for a budget offering, the design is simple and the accessories limited to one 3m lead. That said, the use of a regular minijack connection on the underside of the left earcup means you can use any minijack-type lead if you want to. There’s no locking system for the plug, but the socket produced a reassuring click when we plugged them up.

the t.bone HD 515

(Image credit: Future)

Construction uses a combination of plastic and metal, including metal earcup enclosures, and this no doubt imparts a quality feel. That said, the earcup adjusters which slide into the headband are not particularly smooth. Both the headband and earpads use regular foam, which is quite soft but feels good in use. We found the overall fit tight but comfy. The HD 515 has quite a classic look that’s somewhat reminiscent of the popular Sony MDR-7506, and although they may not offer the same finesse or foldability of the Sony headphones, the finish and new the t.bone logo look stylish. 

the t.bone HD 515

(Image credit: Future)

the t.bone HD 515: Performance and verdict

Thomann describes the HD 515 as a monitoring headphone and we found the closed back over-ear design delivered reasonable passive noise cancellation. In a recording environment this means there’s not going to be bleed into any close mics, and from a performer perspective much of the room sound is successfully kept at bay. This is all good news as our interface headphone output was easily able to get them pretty loud.

The monitor remit continues with the sound. This is chunky in the lows and low-mids, although thankfully doesn’t sound too flabby. Meanwhile the high frequencies are quite subdued. This means the overall impression is that the mid-range is prominent. We think this is preferable for a recording headphone, where a more hyped hi-fi sound can be a bit of a hindrance. That said, it means the HD 515 is probably not best suited to other studio tasks such as mixing and mastering.

Finally, although the HD 515 is listed at £24.90, it’s only available from Thomann, so with the accompanying £10 delivery charge, the real cost to the user is just under £35 per pair.

Overall, we think the HD 515 is a decent product. As mentioned, we don’t think they’re suitable for mixing, but if that’s not important to you and you’re simply after an affordable studio headphone for recording, they’re solidly made, look good and offer excellent value.  

MusicRadar verdict: Although not suited to mixing, if you’re simply after a well-made budget headphone for recording this could be ideal.

the t.bone HD 515: The web says

"These headphones surprised me with good bass pressure and low bass, which was downright impressive for the price range. They can also be used for a wide range of applications. Their handling made them a good choice for budding DJs."

the t.bone HD 515: Hands-on demos

the t.bone

the t.bone HD 515: Specifications

  • KEY FEATURES: TRANSDUCER: Dynamic Transducer diameteR: 45mm FREQ RANGE: 10Hz to 26kHz Impedance: 32 Ohm Mean sound pressure level: 97dB Max. power handling: 1500mW Accessories: 3m cable (minijack to minijack), adapter 3.5mm to 6.3mm Weight: 290g (incl. cable).
  • CONTACT: Thomann