Sennheiser HD 450 BT Review
Headphones with active noise suppression or so-called ANC systems are now widespread. However, even if the manufacturers did not primarily develop them, focusing on recording or the sound studio, we know that many musicians use these headphones to listen to music or when traveling. Accordingly, in the following test, we would like to introduce you to the Sennheiser HD 450 BT, a comparatively inexpensive headphone in this category.
- Detailed sound
- Good fit
- Good noise canceling
- Very good battery life
- Small control buttons
What does the Sennheiser HD 450 BT offer?
The HD 450 BT is comparatively cheap and is currently 132 euros when it comes to ANC headphones. Almost a bargain concerning Bowers & Wilkins. But can the headphones also convince in terms of sound? More on that in a moment, first; let’s take a look at the exterior of the Sennheiser.
The Sennheiser HD 450 BT is made of matt plastic and is available in black and white. It is very lightweight, as it weighs a pleasant 238 grams. In addition, the headphones can be folded inwards on both sides to be folded up compactly for transport. A soft black case is included with the headphones and a USB-C to USB-A cable, a 2.5 mm to 3.5 mm jack cable, instructions, and warranty information. Sennheiser packs everything together in a printed cardboard box.
The HD 450 BT is mainly made of plastic and looks rather discreet. Except for two anthracite-colored elements and the Sennheiser logo, our test headphones are entirely black. The outside of the headphones can be pulled out by approx. 3.5 cm on both sides, which should be sufficient for any head size. I find the contact pressure to be moderate.
It is amazing how well the closed headphones attenuate outside noise as soon as you have them on your ears. For me, the auricles tightly enclose the ears, and the headphones sit very securely overall. Even faster shaking of the head doesn’t change that very well. The ear cups are made of synthetic leather and nestle gently. If you look at the auricles, they turn out to be quite small overall. Before buying, you should check whether they are really “around the ears.”
Overall, the quality of the headphones is good. Perhaps I wouldn’t attribute the headphones to “heavy-road capable,” but that’s perfectly adequate for use in the studio, at home, or when traveling.
The Sennheiser HD 450 BT is operated using several small buttons, all of which are located on the underside of the right auricle. In terms of ease of use, it might have made sense to put 1-2 of them on the left side because there are many buttons that you have to recognize with your fingers and set appropriately. In addition, the keys are quite small overall.
The first button is used to switch the headphones on and off. Next, a small LED flashes red or blue to indicate whether the headphones are active and a Bluetooth connection. The connection socket for cable operation and the USB-C port follow if you wander along the edge with your finger. This is followed by the volume control and function keys to control the playback mode (Play, Pause, Next, Previous), the voice assistant (Siri, Google Assistant, Baidu), telephone control, and ANC mode.
Alternatively, Sennheiser’s Smart Control App, available for iOS 13.0 (or newer) or Android 8.0 (or newer), allows you to control a few other functions and display information. For example, the control of an equalizer, the activation of Transparent Hearing (ambient noise can be let through to the ear if desired), the battery level display, updates, etc. The installation of the app and the menu navigation is kept very simple. However, in my opinion, the range of functions could be larger. Sound presets, for example, are missing, and the transparent hearing is not continuously adjustable.
It is nice that the HD 450 BT supports the current Bluetooth standard 5.0 and can therefore connect to two end devices simultaneously, thanks to multi-pairing. Coupling with different Android / iOS smartphones was not a problem during the test, and a connection could always be established with a laptop and tablet without any problems. Sennheiser specifies the maximum operating time as 30 hours (with Bluetooth transmission with active ANC mode). The charging time for the headphones is 2 hours.
How does the Sennheiser HD 450 BT sound?
First of all, some technical data on the DH 450 BT that I found on the Sennheiser website:
- Converter principle: dynamic, closed
- Frequency range: 18 Bz to 22,000 Hz
- max.sound pressure level: 108 dB
- Total harmonic distortion: <0.3% (at 1 kHz, 100 dB)
- Bluetooth version: 5.0
- Audio Codec: SBC, AAC, AptX, AptX Low Latency
The HD 450 BT delivers a surprising amount of pressure, especially in the lower frequency range. Styles that are specially designed for the low-frequency range, whether electronic productions or hip hop and R&B, are, of course, very beneficial. The sound is always accurate, even if you use the headphones at higher volumes.
It also plays very clearly in the middle frequency range, so that singing voices or speech can always be heard well. This is a good plus point if you want to use the headphones at home for movies or the like.
If you hike further up in the frequency range, the mood is clouded, but only very slightly. The highs are dull and not true to detail, especially compared to the last ANC headphones, such as a Bowers & Wilkins PX7 or a Lagoon ANC. On the other hand, there is a good 200 euros between the HD 450 and the Bowers & Wilkins. So it was to be expected that there would be tonal differences.
However, using the HD 450 BT with a cable, the height range is represented and brings a certain brilliance. Differences between wireless and wired use are not uncommon and also occur with higher-priced models. This isn’t very pleasant for the user because you don’t buy wireless Bluetooth headphones only to enjoy the sound with a cable.
How good is the ANC mode on the Sennheiser HD 450 BT?
If you activate the ANC mode, ambient noise is clearly in the background. First of all, the HD 450 BT benefits from its closed construction because this already reduces some of the “disturbing noises.” Above all, low-frequency, constant noises are largely eliminated, while higher-frequency noises always reach the ear.
With the ANC mode active, the Sennheiser headphones go a step further in terms of volume. At least it feels like it, and you stay closer to the overall sound. The stage of the sound image appears more compact and not as wide. It is nice that the ANC mode can also be used without actively listening to music, such as taking a little nap on the plane, in the car, or on the train.
As already mentioned, the HD 450 BT is priced in the lower range of noise-canceling headphones, and it is also the cheapest ANC headphones from Sennheiser. The ANC headphones we tested in the last few months were a whole lot higher in price, but they all offer a few more functions, better apps, and, for the most part, better sound.
PreSonus offers its Eris HD10BT headphones below the 100 – Euro limit, and we will be devoting a test to this soon. Those who can do without noise-canceling should take a look at the HD 350 BT. This is identical to the HD 450 BT. It only lacks the ANC mode.
Cheaper ANC headphones are, of course, available, but you often have to cut back on technology. Bluetooth 5.0 is not a matter of course, the processing quality is not on the same level as with the Sennheiser, or the battery life is significantly limited.
Therefore, I can still imagine the HD 450 BT as a cheap entry into the world of ANC headphones. However, it is suitable for occasional use, and overall it offers a good price-performance ratio.
With the HD 450 BT, Sennheiser offers good Bluetooth headphones with active noise cancellation. The quality is good, and the headphones are well equipped for use in the studio, at home, or when traveling. The scope of delivery with the transport bag, USB, and audio cable is not too large, but the essentials are available.
In terms of sound, the Sennheiser HD 450 BT offers good performance. As a closed, dynamic headphone, the bass range is well designed, as expected, but the treble is a little weaker. However, if you activate active noise suppression, the Sennheiser headphones primarily block out low-frequency ambient noise.