Sennheiser’s latest HD 4 series aims to bring music to everyday people at prices that won’t break the bank. The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC Wireless is a Bluetooth, over-ear headphones with active noise cancelling technology that Sennheiser calls NoiseGard. The headphones are housed in plastic, making it lightweight. There are no elaborate details on the earcups, just practical design, fit for the working executive. Ear comfort is top-notch, with adequate tension and cushion thickness to keep the headphones secure.
While lacking in the design department, the HD 4.50 makes up for it in the sound department. The HD 4.50 offers a good audio balance across the frequency range. Its bass presence is sufficient and the background instruments around the midrange play out distinctively to add warmth to the overall tonality. Vocals at the treble range are cosy, though they do not sound too sharp and exciting, which works well for me. This style of audio tuning works well with listeners who enjoy no-frills music, away from the modern big bass and brittle highs.
Sennheiser puts more attention to the noise-cancelling, which does a good job in eliminating the low humming noises of the environment. I like that it does not create an excessive vacuum that could make one feel uncomfortable. The thick ear cushions further improve the overall noise isolation.
To personalise the audio balance, the companion smartphone app, CapTune, allows EQ adjustment and displays the remaining battery life, which lasts almost 25 hours on a single charge. Even if the battery runs out, you can continue to enjoy music with the included audio cable. I like that the cable has a twist-and-lock mechanism to prevent accidental detachment. To enjoy noise-cancelling over wired cable, just tap the power button to activate instantly. Between the wired and wireless modes, the wireless audio is slightly clearer due to the built-in amplifier, whereas the wired audio is less ‘pushy’.
What the retail package lacks is an in-flight adapter, though it is relatively inexpensive to get one separately.
The HD 4.50 BTNC Wireless will give the Sennheiser PXC 550, which costs almost double, a run for its money. The PXC 550 has better audio quality and additional features but the budget-conscious may be willing to overlook. The HD 4.50 is great value for those who desire good noise-cancelling in capable-sounding headphones.