Sennheiser Accentum Plus review
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Sennheiser Accentum Plus review: planes, trains and automobiles

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Offering first-class audio without top-shelf pricing, the Sennheiser Accentum Plus headphones offer noise cancellation for people looking to escape the cacophony of everyday life rather than the roar of jet engines.

There was a time when high-quality headphones featuring Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) were primarily targeted at frequent flyers looking for respite from the trials of long-haul air travel.

That’s still a key demographic but today’s top-shelf ANC headphones – from the likes of Sennheiser, Sony, Bose and Apple – tend to cost north of $500. That can seem a little steep if you’re more of an urban commuter than an international jet setter.

Thankfully, there’s also a decent sub-$500 mid-range of ANC headphones which share a lot of the DNA of their high-end brethren. The Sennheiser Accentum Plus headphones offer a great example of what you can get from one of the most respected names in audio if your budget doesn’t stretch to the top of the line.

Sennheiser Accentum Plus review

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Sennheiser Accentum Plus Wireless Over-Ear Headphone, Black
  • On-the-go sound adventure
  • Unrivaled 50-hour battery playtime
  • Angled transducers create a wider soundstage for a more immersive listening experience
  • Adaptive Hybrid ANC adjusts dynamically to changing noise levels to ensure noise-free listening in noisy or busy environments
  • Hear your surroundings at a touch without removing your headphones

Sennheiser Accentum Plus first impressions

The Sennheiser Accentum Plus headphones certainly look the part, with a sturdy yet compact build that’s well-designed for listening on the go.

For starters, you get a decent carry case to protect your investment from the rough and tumble of life on the road. It’s not quite a hard shell, but it’s much better than that soft drawstring bag provided with some headphones.

The headphone cans aren’t quite as large as what you typically find on top-shelf ANC headphones. This helps reduce the weight for comfort, as well as the bulk for storage. The cans rotate sideways to fold flat, fitting into a case roughly 55 mm thick.

As you’d expect from a premium design, the inside of the case offers secure storage for the supplied 3.5 mm and USB-C cables to ensure they don’t get lost on your travels.

The lack of a dual-pronged air travel adaptor for the 3.5 mm audio cable is a bit disappointing, but indicative of the fact these headphones are not specifically targeted at long-haul air travel (Sennheiser does include the adaptor with its top-shelf Momentum range).

Despite the slightly smaller cans, the headphones are still very comfortable and should sit around most ears rather than on them. The ear padding and headband padding are comfortable for extended periods. It’s a closed-back design, so the headphones get a little warm after a while but not enough to complain about.

Supporting both wired and wireless connections, the Sennheiser Accentum Plus should keep you entertained whatever the situation.

Most of the time you’d likely rely on Bluetooth 5.2, with the ability to connect to two devices at once (multipoint), so you can easily jump between your smartphone and your notebook/desktop PC. Along with the generic Bluetooth SBC codec, Apple fans will appreciate support for the improved sound quality of AAC, while Android fans will make the most of aptX and aptX adaptive codecs.

Of course, wireless connectivity isn’t always the answer. Thankfully, you’ve also got an old-school 3.5 mm audio jack along with USB-C which supports both charging and playing audio from a computer or handheld device.

Opting for a wired USB-C connection adds the potential to support some high-end audio formats such as lossless and hi-res which won’t run over Bluetooth 5.2, if they’re also supported by your hardware and music service of choice.

Sennheiser Accentum Plus specifications

Drivers37mm dynamic
Microphones2 mics, beamforming for noise reduction
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.2
USB-C
3.5mm jack
CodecsSBC, AAC, aptX, aptX adaptive, mSBC, CVSD
ProfilesA2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP, GATT
Noise cancellationHybrid Adaptive ANC
Battery800 mAh, up to 50 hours
ChargingUSB-C
ColoursBlack or white
Dimensions16.5 x 19.5 x 4.8 mm (folded flat)
Weight227 gm
Price (RRP)$399.95
Warranty2 years
Official websiteSennheiser Australia

Features

One of the key improvements of the $399.95 Accentum Plus compared to the standard $299.95 Accentum range is the step up from “hybrid ANC” to “adaptive hybrid ANC” – with the ability to enable and disable the adaptive feature.

Hybrid ANC improves noise cancellation by taking advantage of microphones both inside and outside the ear cups when determining what to cancel out.

Stepping up to “Adaptive” means the headphones can also constantly optimise and adjust the level of noise cancellation depending on your environment. You can leave it on automatic or adjust it manually, which might be useful when trying to strike just the right balance in your workplace.

When listening via USB-C or Bluetooth, you can also take advantage of the touch controls on the back of the right can – another upgrade from the standard Accentum – although they can be a bit fiddly at times.

One tap on the your right ear is play/pause, while two taps enable and disable the noise-cancelling. While it’s handy to have separate controls for these two features, allowing a single tap to both pause the music and disable noise-cancelling when you want to speak to someone might be more useful.

You can also set the headphones to automatically pause the music when you lift one can off your ear. This is very handy but also perhaps a bit touchy. While hanging out the washing, the music would oddly pause when I raised my arms and resume when I lowered them. I shifted the headphones slightly on my head and it stopped happening, but I then couldn’t recreate the issue so it’s hard to know exactly what was happening.

As you’d expect, swiping up/down on your right ear controls the volume, while back/forward skips tracks. The power button can be used to call upon your smart assistant. There are also two built-in microphones for hands-free calls, which you can answer and end with a swipe of your finger.

When you’re on a call, you can adjust active transparency to determine how much of the outside world you can hear. You can also adjust the wind noise filter to ensure people on the other end don’t hear the wind blowing across the microphone when you’re outside.

When it comes to sound quality for music, angled transducers create a wider sound stage for a more immersive listening experience. You can also take advantage of sound personalisation using the Sennheiser app, with a range of presets, a five-band equaliser and the option to boost the bass or optimise voices in podcasts. Plus the app’s “Sound Check” feature helps you create personalised presets.

Rather than constantly manually switching presets, the Sennheiser app lets you create “sound zones” with your preferred noise cancellation and equaliser settings based on different locations. It takes advantage of GPS to automatically switch between presets as you move between home, the office and the gym. These can be synchronised between your different Sennheiser devices.

A generous 50-hour battery life should be enough to get you through the busiest week, with a 10-minute fast charge providing five hours of playtime. Helpful voice prompts let you stay on top of the battery level and connection status, although you can turn these off if they get annoying.

Quality

The Sennheiser Accentum Plus certainly doesn’t disappoint when it comes to sound quality – offering a rich full-bodied sound that really brings your music to life. It isn’t as clinically clean as the trademark neutral sound from Apple audio gear, while not as warm and bass-heavy as the typical Sony sound.

If you’re all about the bass they might not be your first choice, but there’s low-end punch there when you need it. Decent mid-range clarity ensures rock guitars aren’t murky, while a bright, crisp high end does justice to more nuanced music. Put it all together and you’ve got a solid all-rounder.

As for the angled transducers creating a wider sound stage, the improvement is quite subtle even when listening to something like Bowie’s “Space Oddity”.

The Adaptive Hybrid ANC delivers the goods in a noisy environment. It’s certainly good enough for everyday use, although it’s not quite best-in-class compared to what you get from some top-shelf ANC headphones with slightly larger cans, aimed at long-haul flights.

The microphone’s voice quality is also very good, although it’s a bit thin when you’re outside and turn wind cancellation to max.

Who is the Sennheiser Accentum Plus for?

If you’re looking for a great all-rounder with decent sound quality, but don’t need jumbo jet-grade ANC, the Sennheiser Accentum Plus is a worthy addition to your shortlist. Especially if you’d take advantage of the ability to adjust the ANC to suit the occasion, and the flexibility of wired and wireless connectivity.

Their compact size yet decent adaptive hybrid ANC makes them well-suited to commuting and the hybrid office, while multipoint Bluetooth and a decent microphone make them well-suited to jumping between your smartphone and laptop during the day. Keep in mind, the standard Accentum is $100 cheaper, if you don’t think you’d benefit from the improvements of the Accentum Plus.

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Sennheiser Accentum Plus
Great sound quality and decent noise cancellation for work and play, the Sennheiser Accentum Plus are great all-round headphones.
Features
9
Value for money
8.5
Performance
9
Ease of use
8.5
Design
9
Positives
Decent adaptive hybrid ANC
Great sound quality
Wired and wireless connectivity including USB-C
Negatives
Not best-in-class ANC for long-haul flights
Touch controls can be a bit touchy
8.8