Sennheiser is a brand that straddles the mainstream and audiophile market.  They are synonymous for producing a signature quality sound that is better than most mainstream brands for most people while at the same time catering for those who enjoy a high quality of sound.

Sure, the sound quality of the Sennheiser headphones we tend to test out are a long way from the true audiophile headphones produce but then the price difference is also a long way apart.  

Being a true audiophile is not an inexpensive hobby so Sennheiser has positioned themselves for those who want a quality of sound better than most mainstream headphones but cannot afford or just prefer not to fork out the money required for the high-end audiophile headphones.

The Sennheiser Accentum Wireless headphones are one of their more affordable wireless headphones priced at $299.95AUD which is actually less than many mainstream headphones such as the Bose QC45.  As part of this review we will be comparing the Sennheiser Accentum Wireless headphones to the Bose QC45 and the similarly priced Skullcandy Crusher Evo.

Design and comfort

The design of the ACCENTUM wireless headphones is extremely simple.  The left earcup is bereft of any buttons while the right earcup houses the power button and media control buttons.  The power button is multifunction with it also controlling ANC and transparency mode and Bluetooth pairing mode.  The USB-C charging port is also located on this right earcup.

The headphones have a sharp design and by that I mean the earcups and their arms are very squarish with acute angles and corners.  This is not a bad thing and gives them a distinctive look in my opinion.

The earcups and headband are padded with the usual memory foam type material.  The earcup foam is thicker and firmer than that on the Bose QC45 but the headband foam is less padded and firmer.  There is a reason for this.

The ACCENTUM wireless headphones apply a greater clamping force to the ears than the Bose headphones which means that the headband barely touches the bead anyway.  The Bose are the opposite with the headband provide more of the support on the head and is thus more padded on them. 

The clamping force is not uncomfortable but different to some other headphones.  Sennheiser has done a good job with the padding on the earcups such that it is still comfortable while being stable on the head.  The lightweight nature of the headphones also help with this – there is very little weight pulling them down.  

The earcups turn so that they are flat but there is very little folding going on meaning that transportation is going to be a bit more difficult than that on some other headphones such as the Bose QC45.  One other thing making transportation more difficult is the lack of an included carry case, hard or soft.  Sennheiser want to charge $299 for a set of headphones but won’t include a soft fabric carry case in the box?  Seems a very strange decision and one I am definitely not a fan of (if you buy these headphones and want a carry case – and you should – eBay is your friend for just a few bucks).

Sound Quality

The sound in the Sennheiser ACCENTUM wireless headphones is driven by Sennheiser’s 37mm dynamic transducers “tuned to provide exciting sound experiences with outstanding bass performance and striking clarity.” To my ears they sounded good but not at a true audiophile level with decent and accurate bass but the mids and highs not at an audiophile quality — keep in mind the ACCENTUM are only $299RRP.

The sound quality is also control to some extent by the Sennheiser app which allows you to adjust the EQ to your own preferences to the style of music being played.  There are not many included default presets but you can easily edit it to make it your own.  The app also allows for different “Sound Zones” that apply automatically using your device’s location to what you prefer for that location (eg. one for the gym and one for home).

The ACCENTUM Wireless also support the aptX HD, AAC and SBC codecs to provide you with great quality signal for processing.

First I compared the ACCENTUM Wireless to a pair of Skullcandy Crusher Evo which have practically the same RRP.  The Skullcandy headphones were louder, and the bass was so much heavier, louder and deeper – and that was with the bass slider on an extremely low level.  The Evo are a VERY heavy bass-centric headphone.

Overall, the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless produced a much more pleasing sound to my ears.  The bass was not as beep or heavy but it was crisper and a small tweak of the EQ had it heavy enough for my ears.  

The mids were so much more distinct and crisper on the ACCENTUM headphones.  Louder and crisper resulting in a great reproduction of the true song sound.  The upper level wasn’t as overpowering as it was on the Evo headphones but sounded like a truer representation of the song. 

Next, I compared the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless to the Bose QC45 and the result was not surprising, given the RRP for the Bose is a tick under $500.  The Bose QC45 do offer a much crisper and concentrated mid and upper level of the frequencies across all styles of music.  

The bass though was surprising.  The bass on the ACCENTUM Wireless was louder, deeper, crisper – it was all the things.  No matter what I did with the equaliser on the Bose headphones I could not get it to match that of the Sennheiser headphones.  If you prefer a deep, heavy bass, then the Sennheiser are more up your alley than the Bose headphones.

Active Noise Cancellation

The Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless headphones use Sennheiser’s hybrid active noise cancellation technology which uses both passive isolation and microphones targeting both high and low frequencies to deliver a broad noise cancelling performance.

A true audiophile will prefer zero ANC as they do not want any noise or sound cancelled as it can affect the quality of the music but sometimes you just need that outside noise cancellation and PNI just won’t cut it.  I do not normally have ANC on unless there is significant background noise such as annoying gym music or aeroplane engines.

With ANC turned off using the app (or a double tap of the button on the right earcup) the PNI of the Sennheiser was really good thanks to the increased clamping force of the earcups.  The earcup clamping didn’t seem to affect comfort even during long listening periods, although the ears did get a bit hot.

Switch on ANC and the outside noise is gone.  Just as it should be.

Call quality

You are not buying these headphones to use as an office meeting headset but it’s good to know that Sennheiser has included two built-in microphones and a dedicated wind-reduction mode to improve the quality of voice calls.  I found the calls to be crystal clear and when outside the wind was mostly removed from the call – but do not expect miracles.  It won’t remove hurricane-like wind noise but it will certainly reduce it.

Multi-point pairing capabilities of Bluetooth 5.2 also makes it a breeze to have them connected to one device for work and another for media playing etc.

Battery life

Battery life is possible the hardest thing to test on headphones these days considering just how long-playing they tend to be.  The Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless headphones are no different with “over 50 hours of battery life.”  

In my testing that was pretty much spot on – I got between 45 and 50 hours which, considering I was playing them at full volume the entire time, along with a lot of fiddling and setting up of the buttons and software that was pretty good.

As is common these days, the ACCENTUM Wireless support fast charging technology where you can get close to five hours of playback with a single 10 minutes of charging.  The good thing is that these headphones will also work without power simply by plugging the USB-C cable into the media source (and of course the other end to the headphones).

Should you buy them?

That is the $299AU question isn’t it? While the sound quality of the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless is a lot better than that of other headphones of a similar price it is probably not up to the quality of a Bose QC45. That of course depends on what you value in your music. If you want better bass then the ACCENTUM may be in your future but if you don’t care for the bass as much as a more balanced mid and upper sound then the Bose are for you.

The kicker is that the Bose, even at their discounted level (they are over 12 months old by now) are a good $80 more expensive than the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless headphones. If $299 is your absolute limit then I can easily recommend the Sennheiser headphones but if $400 is more your limit then the decision comes down to how you like your music to sound. To me the Sennheiser work better due to their bass and my affection for heavy hiphop but you may be different.

They are extremely comfortable, relying on the clamping force of the earcups rather than the headband to secure themselves on the head — something I preferred.

One thing for sure is that the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless offer a great sound for the RRP of $299.95AUD. Keep in mind you will have to buy yourself a case or pouch for them if you are transporting them from one location to another.

ACCENTUM Wireless headphones are available in black and in white with sandstone accents now for RRP of $299.95 AUD and $319.95 NZD from all good electronics stores.