I had a bit of a surprise today. A box turned up via our nice local lady courier for TNT that I had sort of forgotten about.
Inside was a shiny pair of Sennheiser HD 458BT headphones. Very stylish they are too, all matte black with red highlights that Sennheiser describe as “minimalist but fresh”.
Fair enough. But you don’t look at headphones, you wear ‘em. So what do they sound like?
Hang on and I’ll tell you, but before that, what does your AUD$150 get you?
Well there is support for the AAC, aptX and aptX Low Latency formats which if you are not aware are wireless codecs needed as the HD458BT communicates via Bluetooth as well as traditional the ‘corded’ way.
Of more direct importance to your ears (and the price) is the inclusion of full active noise cancellation.
Battery life is purported to be 30 hours – more than enough for a long-haul flight (remember them?). Charging is by USB-C and takes around 2 hours for the first full charge.
Of course, this being 2020, there is an app called Sennheiser Smart Control and this gives access to a usable equaliser system letting you tailor the sound along with a “podcast’ mode that is designed to boost speech intelligibility. There is also a bunch of customisation functions in the app as well as connectivity to other Sennheiser products such as headsets and soundbars.
Connecting the Bluetooth option to my smartphone was a no-brainer thankfully. I say this as the Huawei P30 I currently use, whilst Android based, is notoriously picky at what and what it will not talk to eg Adobe apps are a no-no as previously noted. And some DJI drones won’t chat perfectly either.
Sennheiser has been around for 75 years and you don’t get that sort of longevity in this day and age without getting stuff, well, right. Many of the company’s mics for example are known as the benchmark and the Sennheiser HD HD660S Professional headphones a lot of sound engineers call ‘the standard’..
I am not at sound engineer level these days despite operating analogue mixing desks for many years in the dim distant past. But I know what I like.
Testing the Sennheiser HD 458BT on some of my favourite music showed me these are well up to the expectation I want in a pair of headphones – whether they be corded or wireless. The active noise cancellation is a major bonus.
I tried various genres of music to test the Sennheiser HD 458BTs. Full on live Prog Rock (Yes with Yesshows and Pink Floyd’s Pulse), rock (Toto Hydra) and ballad (Fish with Rites of Passage), and the sound quality was to me, superb. Even the good old standby Gustav Holst’s Planet Suite came out brilliantly including the “quiet” bits of Venus and Saturn as well as the full on “Mars: God of War”
Of course, all our ears are different (as are our musical tastes) and I am the first to say headphones should definitely be a try before you buy no matter the type.
About the only things I could fault were the earcups could be a fraction larger (but maybe I have oversize ears), and sometimes, the bass can be a little overwhelming needing some ERQ adjustment.
I suggest most people will be would be happy with the Sennheiser HD 458BTs having said that.
For more information, see https://en-au.sennheiser.com/hd-458bt.