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Bring the Noise: Almost live with Sennheiser HD 450BT

Its been a bit since I brought you fine folks a tale of audio adventures. I am a bit of an audio buff and this story about the HD 450BT is a personal and may not reflect your own story. Everyone’s ears are different and sound preferences will vary.
Let begin

Look and Feel

In every story there is a beginning and with headphones that story is the first impressions.

After I pulled them from what is a standard unboxing it seemed like all Sennheiser boxes are the same for the most part. Inside the box you have your headphones. Mine are black. Next is a little bag with a black fabric black carrying case for the headphones with a booklet for instructions and whatnot. Then comes the cables. You get a USB C charging cable (YAAAA USB C). No charging block but really, we all have 100 of those kicking around. A 2.5mm to 3.5mm cord for hardwired options.

They have a beautiful matte finish and that matte texture you normally find with that. Surprisingly not fingerprint magnets. I have a pair of Skull Candy’s with same finish and show off a lot of fingerprints. Like enough that you do not want to leave them at a crime scene. It is a full plastic design so it does lack that $600 feel (good thing they are way less than $600). The plastic does not feel cheap as some headphones do. Solid and sturdy feel. No squeeeeeeks or cracking noises when man handling them (stretching over one’s head). Right ear cup is where EVERYTHING is located. Volume, 2.5mm connector, skip/play, power, and phone assistant button. Left side is clean. Ear cups are plush and comfortable. Cup size worked for me. I have small ears but they seemed ok for medium ears as well. Larger ears can have issues with them covering over their entire ear. Top has a pretty slim soft silicone pad. 450bt are light so no need for too much padding. I was able to use these for several hours with no pressure from the weight. Extremely comfortable. The ear pads, while comfortable, do not allow heat to escape so my ears did get warm.

The Tech, App, and Battery

Inside you have ANC (Active noise cancelling). The ANC is decent. There are better ANC headphones in the market but at a much higher cost. In this price category it is sufficient and will work well in medium noise environment. There was no noticeable ANC pressure as some headphones make you feel like your deep-sea diving when you turn them on.

Bluetooth audio codecs on here are ample with SBC, AAC, AptX™, AptX™ Low Latency. These embedded codecs allow for great sound quality and connection. When watching YouTube or Netflix I did not notice any audio lag which somehow still lingers in some headphones.

The app is simple and easy to use. With the HD 450BT you can control your EQ in the neatest way. It may not give you the most detailed control of your specific sound curve but for the average consumer this is super easy. You have a circle in the middle of the EQ you move around the screen till you have the sound you are happiest with.

Battery is a performer. Sennheiser claims a 30-hour run with ANC on. I am a loud listener which uses more power. I got 28.5 hours give or take a minute. Most people will probably be at about set 50-75% volume so 30 hours or more should be attainable.

THE SOUND AND POTATOES.

Let’s be fair. We all love cool tech in our headphones, but at the end of the day how does it sound? You can buy $50 headphones that have similar take on the same tech, but they sound like hot garbage. But do the HD 450BT sound good?

Sound is a very personal thing and it is different for everyone. Some people want insane BASS, some people are super picky about how accurate the instrument sounds. Heck some people are very eclectic with there music. Its hard to narrow down the best headphone so they own a bunch of them (me).

There is almost never the perfect headphone for all music and whoever says there is, they are lying to you. I have Sennheiser, Bose, Sony, skull candy and a few others. Each one I use depending on my listening needs for that moment.

Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash

Let us get into it. All songs were tested with EQ at neutral (flat)
I have a playlist I use to test the various thing I feel are important in headphones and speakers. This list is to test the following: Lows, mids and highs, Channel separation, instrumental clarity, depth, and sound stage.

Here are 5 songs and how I perceived them.

Piano Concerto in A minor – Piano was clean and accurate. You could hear the string of the piano linger in the ether of the song. Highs never got too sharp. They rounded off a little short but that is better than screech. Mids were upfront and not hidden behind everything else.

Moving in stereo by The Cars – one of my favorites of testing separation. In the beginning 40 seconds of this song you hear singers voice slide from one side to other of your sound stage. Throughout the song you will hear their voice going from one side to the other with having instruments playing in one ear and a jingle playing in the left ear. Clear and easy to hear separation.

Will by Joyner Lucas and Will Smith – Bass is punchy. Not as low I would like for hip-hop. Upside is it is not distorting voice and other components of the song. It keeps the bass away from mids and highs, however it is missing some super bass.

I’ve got you under my skin by Diana Krall – Love this song for a few reasons. The realism of it. When sitting there with your eyes closed you feel like you’re there. The booming depth of her voice and detail of the environment she is in, hearing the fingers slide across the guitar strings, the linger of the snare. It is like you are sitting in front of the stage for a personal one on one concert. solid sound stag for a closed back headphone.

Pimpernuckel by Alec Troniq – lots of great sounds and beats in this song. Complex sound overlays that are clearly definable. Bass in this song is not super bass so it shows off as punchy. Once again. High mids bass are exceptionally clean and one is not taking over the others.

one of the playlist I use for my testing is available on Spotify here <==

Final sound verdict

Clean sound. Very instrumental heavy style headphones. It is where is shines. Solid clarity in EDM (NO DUBSTEP if that still a thing) if you are not needing super bass. Is good for medium to light bass music. If you are a bass head these are not your units.
If you have a wide pallet of music taste these are a good fit. Beautiful sound for the money.

Overall verdict

A well-balanced headphone, decent ANC. App is limited in features for this model (no ANC control). Cool user-friendly EQ. Easy controls all located on one ear cup makes me happy.

For $199.99 I would recommend as they perform like a champ and at a great price point.

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