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Sennheiser HD 450BT: Best Budget Noise-Cancelling Headphones

PC Magazine|July 2020

Sennheiser HD 450BT: Best Budget Noise-Cancelling Headphones
It’s no secret that noise-cancelling headphones cost a good deal more than their traditional counterparts. Priced at $199.95, Sennheiser’s HD 450BT headphones are far from inexpensive, but they cost considerably less than leading ANC (active noise cancellation) models such as the $400 Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. For half that price, Sennheiser’s pair offers above-average ANC performance and excellent Bluetooth audio. Add in adjustable EQ, a comfortable fit, and easy-to-operate controls, and you get the best noise-cancelling headphones you can buy for $200, as well as our Editors’ Choice.
TIM GIDEON

DESIGN

Available in black or white models, the circumaural (over-ear) HD 450BT headphones feature generously cushioned memory foam earpads and an overall comfortable fit. The semi-matte surface has a stylish, uncluttered look, with most of the controls subtly relegated to side panels. Internally, each enclosure houses a 32mm dynamic driver delivering a frequency range of 18Hz to 22kHz. The headphones are compatible with Bluetooth 5.0 and support AAC, AptX, and SBC codecs.

The right earcup’s side panel houses controls for power/ pairing, playback, track navigation, a volume rocker, and a dedicated voice assistant button. The power button doubles as the ANC button depending on how long you press (two seconds for power, a quick press for ANC on or off). An audio cable is included for the 3.5mm jack located on this same side panel, as is a USB-C-to-USB-A charging cable for the USB-C port also on this panel.

Sennheiser HD 450BT

PROS Strong noise cancellation for the price. Excellent audio performance. Can be used in passive mode with cable, or wired mode with ANC enabled. User- adjustable EQ.

CONS Noise cancellation is not class-leading.

BOTTOM LINE Sennheiser’s HD 450BT headphones deliver excellent Bluetooth audio and solid noise cancellation for a bargain price.

The audio cable can be used passively with the headphones completely powered down, or it can be used with the headphones on and ANC enabled. The difference in audio quality in these scenarios (versus Bluetooth audio) is negligible.

You also get a remarkably compact travel pouch. It flattens to a very thin profile when not in use and expands to house the folded headphones and cables.

Sennheiser estimates battery life to be roughly 30 hours, but your results will vary with your volume levels and ANC usage.

PERFORMANCE

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July 2020