Sennheiser’s budget headphones sound surprisingly good to me, but there’s one problem

Jada JonesZDNET

ZDNET’s key takeaways

  • The Sennheiser Accentum headphones are perfect for folks searching for an expert sound for lower than $200. They’re on sale proper now for $150.
  • Sound high quality is top-notch and simply outperforms flagship headphones from different manufacturers on this class.
  • An excessively tight match makes them uncomfortable for long-term put on, which is unlucky given the spectacular battery life.

I’ve worn a couple of too many headphones this 12 months, ranging in worth from $60 to $450, from manufacturers like Sony, Bose, and all the things in between. However one factor has remained true: Sennheiser’s sound high quality is the one to beat for me. 

Sennheiser and I’ve some historical past. Earlier this 12 months, I examined the Sennheiser Momentum 4, the corporate’s flagship shopper headphones, and I fell in love with the sound. To me, they’re like that one ex you’ll be able to’t recover from. I search for the Momentum 4’s sound in each pair of headphones I strive, and it is but to be replicated. 

Additionally: Sennheiser Momentum 4: The best headphones for detail-oriented listeners

For my part, Sennheiser competes solely with itself within the sound division, so once I noticed the corporate launched the Sennheiser Accentum, an reasonably priced twin to its flagship headphones, I used to be very happy to get my fingers on them.

The Accentum are a stripped-down model of Sennheiser’s flagship headphones, providing “a lot of probably the most fascinating DNA” of the Momentum 4, in line with the corporate. So, a possible purchaser’s huge questions embrace: Are the Accentum a worthy budget-friendly choice, do you have to save your cash for the Momentum 4, or do you have to look elsewhere? This is my verdict after two weeks of testing.

Sennheiser Accentum headphones lying on a brick mantle


Sennheiser Accentum

The Sennheiser Accentum deliver Sennheiser’s long history of professional audio in a sub-$200 pair of headphones.

Let’s speak about sound first, since Sennheiser focuses closely on audio efficiency, and that is the metric I used to be most thinking about, too.

The Accentum’s 37mm dynamic drivers ship tight, full-bodied bass that stays clear and by no means will get muddy, even after a spherical of bass enhance. After I listened to Participant’s Child Come Again, I may hear the bassline and the kick of the drums deep in my ears. The enduring guitar solo on the finish of the tune was so clear and vibrant that I needed to hearken to it over and over.

Additionally: Don’t overpay for noise-canceling headphones when this $60 pair sounds this amazing

In songs like Michael Jackson’s Human Nature, I may hear clearly the layered vocal harmonies and each small element discovered within the higher vary of the high-pitch tones. Sennheiser’s dedication to its highly-detailed signature sound is obvious, even in a pair of $150 cans just like the Accentum.

Nonetheless, the Accentum’s ear cups are small and shallow, which impacts the out-of-the-box sound. If I gently push on the surface of the ear cups, my ears contact the audio system contained in the ear cups, which isn’t superb.

Because of this, listening to greater than two songs can really feel tiring and unsightly. After tweaking the EQ settings and reducing the treble, I lastly discovered the candy spot. It’s best to most likely try this, too.

Additionally: The best headphones for music

After testing each the Sennheiser Momentum 4 and the Accentum, it is clear that Sennheiser nonetheless has some methods to go together with its noise-canceling expertise. The Accentum boasts hybrid noise canceling, a sort of lively noise canceling that makes use of mics on the within and out of doors of the ear cups to hear for exterior noise and assist cancel it.

A photo of the Sennheiser Accentum headphones ear cups

Jada Jones/ZDNET

Nonetheless, conversational noises can skip previous the Accentum’s ANC, and solely the high-frequency pitches of droning noises, like a washer or operating fridge, are successfully canceled. Nonetheless, for the Accentum’s worth level, the ANC is not unhealthy. Plus, they’ve a really cosy match that finally helps with noise isolation.

Talking of comfortable match, the headphones teeter the road between cosy and tight. I wore the headphones for one hour earlier than my ears wanted a break, and when you’ve got a bigger head, chances are you’ll discover these uncomfortable across the 30-minute mark.

Additionally: How to choose the best over-ear headphones: ZDNET’s buying guide

You will have to take them off and let your ears recuperate earlier than the battery runs out, because the Accentum can dangle for 50 hours. You do not get a headphones jack with these, however the marathon battery makes up for it.

Like Sony’s affordable twin to its high-end headphones, Sennheiser ensures you are paying for what’s contained in the ear cups, as a substitute of what is outdoors. The Accentum’s construct is sturdy, and for those who shut one eye and squint, you may mistake it for the Momentum 4, as their builds are very related. Nonetheless, you could find extra fashionable and cozy headphones for much less cash. 

ZDNET’s shopping for recommendation

This is the deal: If you’d like spectacular sound high quality for beneath $200, the Sennheiser Accentum are the best way to go. Their sound is unquestionably extra detailed than the newest flagship headphones from Sony, Bose, and Apple. 

You will need the Momentum 4 for those who want a higher-quality, extra refined construct with up-to-date software program options and even higher sound. Nonetheless, even the Momentum 4’s ANC is nothing to brag about.

In case your precedence is noise-canceling, Sennheiser cannot give it to you. As an alternative, you possibly can go for the Sony XM5 over-ears, the Bose QuietComfort Ultra, and — for rather less cash — the Bose QuietComfort 45. If these are all too costly, think about the Monoprice BT-600ANC

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