The same day I posted the article about the Sennheiser HD-1 In-Ear Wireless headphones being my favorite wireless headset, a review package with the Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC over-the ear headphones arrived. And the HD-1 In-Ear Wireless, which cost $20 less, are still my favorite.
The HD 4.50 BTNC headphones are for those who want the high-quality sound of wireless headsets like the far more expensive Bose QC35s, the Sony MDR-1000x headphones, and Sennheiser’s own PXC 550 headphones, but don’t want to pay the full price. In terms of sound quality, the HD 4.50 BTNC headphones succeed, at least for the most part.
These Bluetooth headphones offer strong (but not overpowering) bass and good highs. The mid-levels seem to take over the sound range somewhat at times, and this is especially noticeable when listening to songs that don’t have a lot of bass. You’ll notice the exaggerated mid-ranges if you listen to adult contemporary music. However, those who listen to mostly dance or hip-hop will really enjoy the soundstage.
The HD 4.50 headphones do have active noise cancellation, and it works well. You aren’t going to get the same noise cancellation that you do on the Sony MDR-1000x headphones or the Bose QC35s, but you are paying far less. Unlike Bose, Sennheiser allows you to turn the noise cancellation off when you don’t want to use it, and that’s a good thing since the technology slightly affects the audio quality.
The HD 4.50 BTNC wireless headphones are operated by cheap-feeling buttons on the side — one to power the device on, another to forward, pause, or skip, and another for volume, which also turns the noise cancellation on or off. Sennheiser does offer a 3.5mm audio cable for wired listening, but there is no inline remote.
Sennheiser’s headphones have a matte finish with light padding, and the pads force against your ears a little too much. If you exercise with these headphones, prepare for drips of sweat from the headphones when you take them off. The headband feels comfortable at first, but can make itself noticeable after these headphones are worn for a long time.
In order to offer great sound and noise cancellation, Sennheiser had to cut expenses somewhere, and the design isn’t as classy as Sennheiser’s headphones are used to being. Instead of getting the luxury leather case that is included with other headphones, Sennheiser offers a zip-up pouch. In a way, I like the pouch better because it doesn’t weigh as much as a leather cases that adds a lot of bulk to your backpack if you carry one around.
Although this review mentions some faults, it should be noted that the HD 4.50 BTNC headphones are the best over-the-ear headphones in the under $200 price range. If you were looking at headphones from Bose, Sennheiser, Bowers & Wilkins, or others that cost from $300 to $400 but have a wallet that can’t cooperate, the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTCN wireless headphones should be at the top of your list.