Sennheiser just updated their Bluetooth over-ear headphone range with the HD 450BT and HD 350BT model. The new entries are focused on portability and high quality audio in a relatively affordable package. The noise-cancelling HD 450BT costs $200 USD, while the HD 350BT (without noise-cancellation) costs $120.
What are the differences?
HD 450BT and HD 350BT have quite similar designs and features. The following specs are shared by both models: 30 hours battery life from a 2-hour charge, broad 18 Hz to 22,000 Hz frequency response and Bluetooth 5.0. The more expensive HD 450BT has the following additional features: Noise-cancellation, wired operation and soft case.
Phat bass in your face
Sennheiser have served up a punchy, bass-heavy audio experience with these headphones. The biggest impression you get from listening to the HD 450BT is the phat bass which is immediately obvious in every song. The highs are also given a push, while the mids sit back a little. Overall the sound of the headphones is perfectly suited to modern chart music and also works with guitar-driven music. The bass boost is a lot less prominent when you turn the active noise-cancellation off, so that’s one additional way of reigning in the bass a bit if you find it too much. The HD 350BT sounds very similar to the 450BT when you run the latter without active noise-cancellation.
EQ via Smart Control app
Both models can be synced with the free Smart Control app, which can manage multiple Sennheiser devices and customise the EQ. The EQ is controlled by a single point, which you can move around to control the overall curve. It seems like it’s meant to be a very simple way of adjusting the response that would suit people who don’t understand EQ very well. I found using this style of EQ frustrating however, as you can’t just boost or cut one section – any changes you make alter the overall EQ curve in multiple ways, whether you want the extra changes or not. I would much rather have a more traditional parametric EQ, where you can boost or cut isolated bands at your digression.
Four-button control scheme
These HD headphones have a four-button physical control scheme which takes a bit of getting used to but gets the job done. Sennheiser need to improve their publishing quality though, as the instructions in the manual on how to turn noise-cancellation on and off described a button sequence which did nothing at all. Only upon downloading the Smart Control app and reading the quite different instructions there did I find the actual solution to changing the ANC setting, which is achieved by a quick touch on the on-off button.
No frills accessories
Sennheiser have kitted out the HD 450BT with the following accessories: 150cm headphone cable, 100cm charging cable and a soft case. The HD 350BT has the same 100cm charging cable, but no other accessories. The cables are made with a good construction quality and the headphone cable locks with the headphones. Overall the accessories hit the mark, although in my book every headphone over $100 should come with a hardcase as standard.
Both of the new HD designs deliver a good level of comfort. They are snug over-ears, but the generous padding makes them an easy wear. The material isn’t very breathable, so they can heat up a little. But that’s not unusual for designs meant to cut out external noise. They aren’t top of the market in terms of comfort but what you get is fair for the price.
The HD 450BT and HD 350BT verdict
Sennheiser have delivered another solid entry to the Bluetooth market here here with the HD 450BT and HD 350BT. The HD 450BT is a mid-priced noise-cancelling design which delivers a detailed, bass-driven sound. The HD 350BT is the no frills version without the noise-cancellation, but still delivers great audio and solid comfort for the asking price. I also enjoyed the lighter bass response on the HD 350BT, which works better for the guitar-driven music I listen to. You could also check out the best bluetooth headphones guide if you’re not sure about these!
Sennheiser HD 450BT and HD 350BT Bluetooth headphones review
The HD 450BT is a mid-priced noise-cancelling design which delivers a detailed, bass-driven sound. The HD 350BT is the no frills version without the noise-cancellation, but still delivers great audio and solid comfort for the asking price.
Reader Rating5 Votes
Punchy, bass-driven sound
Well-priced for what you get
App EQ design is frustrating
Bass will be overwhelming for some when ANC is active