Could Have Been Better
Sennheiser is no stranger to the world of headphones. They have manufactured some of the best gaming and audio headphones on the market. For example, the HD800 and the more recently released PXC-550-ii, which boasts ANC as well.
Now in all fairness to the HD450BT, these aforementioned headsets cost a large chunk of money. However, these headphones come in under the $150 mark.
So, what does a mid-range, wireless Sennheiser headset have to offer?
Let’s find out in our in-depth Sennheiser HD 450BT Review…
Design-wise there is nothing special to be found. Sennheiser keeps things simple with a modern matte-black coating and a mostly plastic design.
Not the most comfortable…
The oval earcups look large, but once we put them on, we felt that the earpads were not large enough and applied pressure to the outer parts of our ears. This gives a feeling similar to that of on-ear headphones instead of over-ear headphones.
The headband was also a little tighter than we’d prefer, which left us with some discomfort after three hours of wearing the headphones. There isn’t much swivel to the earcups, which makes them fit stiffly around your head. And the leatherette earpads, although decently padded, will surely cause more discomfort if you wear glasses.
There is a flurry of controls on each of the earcups, and we were a little confused at first because the power button is right smack in between the USB-C port and microphone.
The case provided is decent, but the headset only folds one way. The earcups fold inward towards the headband, which means they cannot be folded flat like some other headsets. This is not a big issue unless you like to slip the headphones into a narrow space in your bag.
We were happy with the fact that you can swap out the earpads, especially if you wear glasses.
How Does the Sennheiser HD 450BT Sound?
Sound has always been Sennheiser’s strongest feature. Offering fairly untouched frequency profiles on most of their headphones.
With the HD 450BT, they don’t stray too far from their recipe. Sennheiser has made some minor adjustments to make the HD 450BT sound a bit livelier, especially within its price range.
Sennheiser alters the low frequencies by giving a slight boost to the 20Hz – 10kHz frequencies, making the bass slightly warmer and more accentuated. This does make for a pleasurable listening experience, especially if you like bass-driven music like EDM or Pop.
For the most part, the headphones are clear, with very little audio masking taking place. We noticed that the high-end frequencies were a little softer, with cymbals sounding less vibrant than normally. But nothing that the average listener would ever pick up on.
The soundstage is good as well, with enough space all around for the instruments to each breathe. This also helps when there is a lot of instrumentation by keeping things sounding clear and audible without cascading into a cacophony of sounds.
How Does the Microphone Sound?
It serves its purpose well enough, but if given a choice, you are probably better off using your phone’s microphone.
The headphone is equipped with dual beamforming microphones, but they seem to amplify bass frequencies, which rarely happens with headset microphones. This means is that most people will sound perfectly fine, but you do run the risk of distorting the microphone if you speak too loud or shout.
Battery Life and Connectivity
Battery life is excellent and comes close to some of the top headphones out there. We got just over 27 hours of playback with the ANC on before we had to refill the tank. Charging is done via USB-C, but there is no fast-charging option, so you need about two hours to charge them fully.
The HD 450BT uses Bluetooth 5.1 and comes with a large variety of audio codecs to choose from. Apart from the standard SBC, there’s also aptX and aptX HD for Android users and AAC for IOS users. Some Android devices support AAC too, but it is very hit and miss, which is why our preferred choice of streaming is aptX on Android devices.
That said, even aptX HD isn’t good enough for certain music streaming sites like TIDAL and Deezer that support FLAC streaming. In that case, Sennheiser kept the 3.5mm audio jack so you can still listen to your favorite high-res music wired.
There is also the multipoint function. It allows you to connect to multiple devices at the same time, allowing you to quickly switch over the another if needed. A great example is having the headphones connected to a computer and answering a call on the phone whilst still connected to the computer.
Is Noise-canceling Any Good?
The noise-canceling is about as good as it gets at this price range. Some of the low-end frequencies are well blocked. But testing the pair outside, we could still hear most of the wind hit the headphones as it blew past us.
Passive isolation is decent, though, but don’t expect the headset to block out any office chit chat. It is also important to note that the best ANC results are achieved when the headset properly covers your ears with no gaps whatsoever.
Who Is It For?
The headset does well enough to block out low rumbles that commuters will find it especially useful. If you are looking for a decent pair of mid-budget headphones with ANC, these make a great case for your attention.
That said, you can also pick-up Sony WH-100XM3’s on sale around the same price. They offer far superior ANC, but might not have the neutral sound profile present on the Sennheiser HD 450BT.
The headphones are, for the most part, a jack of all trades, which makes them the perfect gift. With a neutral sound profile, decent build quality, and mid-range price, these make an excellent birthday or Christmas gift.
Sennheiser HD 450BT Review Pros and Cons
- Excellent sound.
- Supports most audio codecs.
- USB-C charging.
- Carrying case included.
- Uncomfortable fit.
- No fast-charging capabilities.
Looking for Something Else?
Finding a quality pair of headphones has never been easier. So, check out our comprehensive reviews of the Most Comfortable Headphones, the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Lightweight Headphones, the Best Travel Headphones, and the Best Headphones Under $200 you can buy in 2021.
Also, take a look at our reviews of the Best Bluetooth Headphones Under $200, the Best Waterproof Headphones, the Best Running Headphones, the Best Headphones with Microphone, and the Best Neckband Headphones currently on the market.
Sennheiser HD 450BT Review Round-Up
With so many things done well but none perfected, the Sennheiser HD450BT finds itself in a tough spot. The price is right, but nothing about it stands out. For some, that might not be a bad thing. If you are looking for a reliable pair of headphones with great sound, ANC capabilities, and a plethora of audio codecs plus wired connections, this is exactly what you want.
For some, the HD450BT might just be too bland or run of the mill to validate its mid-range price. If you are looking for something a bit more daring, Grado’s SR80e headphones might be just what you are looking for. Those feature an open-back design, superb audio reproduction, and a vintage look.
Until next time, happy listening.