Innovative Gadgets

Upgrades that aren’t price the additional price


Lower than 4 months after debuting its mid-range Accentum headphones, Sennheiser revealed one other model at CES that continues to be extra inexpensive than its flagship Momentum set. Dubbed the Accentum Plus, this more-expensive mannequin swaps the bodily buttons for contact controls whereas providing revised lively noise cancellation (ANC), wear-detection and different conveniences the primary model didn’t. All the additions come at a worth, although, because the Plus ($230) prices $50 greater than the common Accentum. For a set of headphones that largely seems the identical, are inside updates sufficient to justify a much bigger funding?

Design

It’s troublesome to inform the Accentum Plus and Accentum aside at first look. That lack of bodily controls on the older mannequin is what primarily distinguishes the 2. The Plus model nonetheless has one button which manages energy, pairing and voice assistants, however all the audio and name controls are touch-based and situated on the skin of the appropriate ear cup. They work effectively, from faucets for playback to swipes for quantity, however relying in your preferences, ditching the bodily controls for contact could also be a flip off. The opposite distinction is that the Plus has a 3.5mm aux jack together with a USB-C connection whereas the primary Accentum solely has the latter.

Sennheiser

Regardless of modifications to ANC and some new options, the Accentum Plus isn’t a major improve over the common Accentum that debuted final 12 months.

Execs

  • Higher-than-expected battery life
  • Trademark Sennheiser sound at louder volumes
  • Multipoint Bluetooth
  • Put on detection
Cons

  • Low-cost-looking design
  • Adaptive ANC isn’t an enormous distinction
  • Sound suffers at decrease volumes

$224 at Amazon

An almost equivalent design means Sennheiser didn’t tackle my key criticism of the primary Accentum. The headphones stay virtually completely made out of plastic, which provides them an affordable feel and appear. Plus, it doesn’t encourage loads of confidence within the construct high quality for a set of $230 headphones. The corporate launched its new design model on the Momentum 4 in 2022, which it continued with the general look on the Accentum line. However, the newest Momentums are a bit extra polished than these two newer fashions.

Software program and options

For probably the most half, the Sennheiser Sensible Management App gives the identical options for the Accentum Plus because it does for the Accentum. Nearly every little thing you’d want is on the principle display, with battery proportion on the high. Beneath that sit connection administration for multipoint Bluetooth and My Sound audio customization. There, you may alter a five-band EQ, choose a prebuilt sound preset or make your personal. The corporate additionally gives Sound Personalization that calibrates the audio primarily based in your responses to a couple samples within the app.

Sennheiser’s Sound Zones are right here as effectively, supplying you with the flexibility to configure particular audio settings primarily based in your location. You’ll be able to create as much as 20 of those for locations like house, work, gymnasium and extra. After all, you need to give the app permission to trace your location, which could possibly be a nonstarter for some customers.

The final merchandise on the principle interface of the app is ANC management. Right here, you may disable the automated “adaptive” adjustment to the Accentum Plus’ noise cancellation and go away “common” noise cancellation on. There’s a slider to mix of ANC and transparency as you see match. You’ll be able to cycle between ANC and transparency mode with a double faucet on the appropriate ear cup, however that motion doesn’t will let you activate any most well-liked blends. As an alternative, it solely activates full ANC or full transparency.

Sound high quality

Sennheiser Accentum Plus headphones from the side, laid flat on two books.Sennheiser Accentum Plus headphones from the side, laid flat on two books.

Photograph by Billy Steele/Engadget

Sennheiser’s flagship earbuds and headphones have persistently provided the most effective sound high quality amongst all the merchandise I’ve examined. The corporate has a knack for a well-tuned audio profile that is dynamic, however not overbearing, and that gives loads of wonderful element due to glorious readability throughout the EQ. That trademark crispness returns on the Accentum Plus, but it surely’s at its greatest at round 65-75 % quantity. Knock that stage all the way down to round 50 % and sound high quality begins to endure.

There’s a nice ethereal, atmospheric high quality to tracks on Fever Ray’s Radical Romantics on the Accentum Plus, enveloping you the way in which the sound on costlier headphones would. Nonetheless, once you lower the amount to about 50 %, bass begins to overpower a few of the particulars and the audio profile begins to muddy. The readability that makes Sennheiser’s headphones so good is gone at this level, which is a bummer for these of us who do not all the time need louder listening.

Whereas there’s ample bass that’s offset by crisp highs all through most genres, extra chaotic kinds like steel could be a combined bag. Boomy bass remains to be there on Texas In July’s With out Motive and Higher Lovers’ God Made Me An Animal, however finer particulars in guitars and drum textures begin to get misplaced. The general efficiency is a bit flat with all the devices coming throughout compressed in comparison with different units. Change over to one thing extra mellow like Charles Wesley Godwin’s Reside From Echo Mountain and it’s such as you placed on totally different headphones. It feels rather more such as you’re within the room the place this was recorded.

ANC efficiency

Sennheiser says the Accentum Plus has hybrid adaptive ANC the place the Accentum simply has hybrid ANC. Which means that the Plus mannequin adjusts to modifications in environmental noise whereas the common mannequin has only one stage of blocking skill. Throughout my assessments, I struggled to inform an enormous distinction between the 2, even when switching shortly from one set to the opposite. The general ANC efficiency is strong in most circumstances, but it surely’s removed from what you’d get on the most effective that Bose, Sony and even Sennheiser have to supply. And because the Plus model is costlier, I anticipated an apparent enchancment.

Name high quality

Sennheiser Accentum Plus headphones power button, USB-C port and 3.5-mm jack.Sennheiser Accentum Plus headphones power button, USB-C port and 3.5-mm jack.

Photograph by Billy Steele/Engadget

Like most over-ear headphones, the Accentum Plus is simply wonderful for calls. The audio high quality isn’t pristine, but it surely’s definitely satisfactory for many makes use of. That features work calls, though I’d counsel one thing with a greater mic in the event you’re really main the presentation. Total, the voice high quality comes throughout compressed and a bit tinny. It’s not the worst, but it surely’s additionally most likely not what you need when the way you sound actually issues. You’ll be able to select to have the headphones robotically change to transparency mode once you take a name. Nonetheless, the Accentum Plus doesn’t pipe in your voice, so the general audio isn’t as pure as more-expensive choices just like the AirPods Max.

Battery life

The Plus’ battery life stays unchanged from the common Accentum at 50 hours. That’s positively not a foul factor. In reality, I exceeded that determine throughout my assessments, notching 57 hours of use with ANC enabled. This included a mixture of listening and calls, and through the latter I switched to transparency mode as a substitute of noise cancellation. There have been additionally a couple of days in between classes the place the headphones sat unused. Whenever you do end up out of juice, you will get 5 hours of listening time after plugging in for less than 10 minutes.

The competitors

Provided that the upgrades on the Plus are marginal, it’s exhausting to advocate them over the cheaper Accentum. Each carry Sennheiser’s crisp, clear sound that performs effectively more often than not. The ANC enhancements aren’t sufficient to justify spending extra and the one factor chances are you’ll really profit from is computerized pausing that wear-detection brings. The corporate’s Momentum 4 would positively be an improve over both Accentum, however that prices round $300. Plus, Sennheiser’s flagship headphones nonetheless have its newer, more-boring design – albeit with a couple of refinements.

In case you’re out there for inexpensive noise-canceling headphones that don’t reduce too many corners, take into account the Sony’s WH-CH720N. Presently accessible for $105, this price range possibility gained’t win any design awards because it’s additionally all-plastic, but it surely’s extra snug and has nice audio for the value. Noise cancellation is simply okay, although Adaptive Sound Management permits you to automate audio settings primarily based on exercise or location and there’s help for Sony’s 360 Actuality Audio.

Wrap-up

Sennheiser’s try to enhance on its preliminary mid-range Accentum providing is a combined bag. For all of its updates, the Accentum Plus isn’t the large enchancment you’d anticipate with its greater worth. Certain, the sound is nice at occasions and the ANC will get the job performed, however the most effective factor about this Plus model is the better-than-expected battery life. Nonetheless, you will get that very same play time on the common Accentum for $50 much less. Some small design refinements and a more-obvious step up by way of audio high quality and ANC efficiency would’ve made a bigger influence. However, because it stands, the Accentum Plus is not a major improve over final 12 months’s mannequin.



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