The Sennheiser HD 4.50 are versatile over-ear headphones with a customizable and above-average sound. They 're well built, decently comfortable, and stable enough to run with although they won't be the ideal headphones for sports. They block a good amount of noise for commuting but don't have as many features or options that you can control through the app, like the PXC 550 Wireless.
- Highly customizable sound.
- Sturdy build quality.
- Low Leakage.
- Slightly tight on the head.
- Lacking in app features.
Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.
The HD 4.50 look somewhat like the PXC 550 with a slightly less premium build quality. They're still sturdy headphones that won't break easily, and they have a comfortable fit thanks to the well padded and relatively large ear cups. Unfortunately, they tend to feel a bit tight out of-the-box on most heads, and their included carrying case feels a bit cheap for their price range. On the upside, because they''re a bit tight and wireless they're stable enough for running and they fold so they won't take too much space in your bag.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 look like a more budget version of the PXC 550. They have differently shaped ear cups and have a significantly thinner headband, but they keep the same matte color scheme and polished Sennheiser design. Unlike the PXC 550 though the HD 4.50, ear cups feel a little Bland since there's no branding and its simple matte finish. They're not very fashion forward headphones, but their understated and minimal over-ear design will appeal to some.
The HD 4.50 are comfortable and well-padded headphones that feel a bit tight on the head. They're decently lightweight with relatively large ear cups that should fit comfortably around most ears. The padding on the ear cups especially is thick and soft, but the headband lacks a bit more cushion to feel as comfortable as the PXC 550. They also clamp the head quite a bit which may loosen over time, but out-of-the-box, they get a bit uncomfortable during long listening sessions.
The HD 4.50 have an above-average control scheme that gives you all the necessary functions but feels a little cramped and unresponsive. They provide call/music, track skipping, and volume controls. The volume also controls double as a noise canceling off switch when you press both buttons at the same time. However, you only get a visual feedback from the LED, and there's not vocal feedback when they're on your ears so you may not know when you've turned the noise canceling on or off. The track skipping toggle and play/call button is a little recessed and not as responsive as some of the other headphones we've reviewed with a similar control scheme.
These headphones have a stable wireless design that won't easily fall off your head. The firm swivel hinges, combined with the wide headband, and broad ear cups prevent the headphones from swaying too much even during physical activity. They won't be the best choice for exercising or intense sports but the stability they provide is decent enough to jog with. The wireless design also removes the chances that the headphones will be yanked off your head because the audio cable got hooked on something.
The HD 4.50 are decently portable headphones. They fold to take less space when you're carrying them around in their case. However, they're still a bit cumbersome to carry around on your person without a bag due to the relatively large ear cups.
The build quality of the HD 4.50 is as good as the PXC 550. They're lightweight yet still durable. The ear cups are dense and won't break from a few accidental drops. The headband is also decently flexible but won't be able to bend past 180° without getting damaged. The headband is also relatively thin although it is reinforced by a metal frame. Overall it's a sturdy design, but it won't be as durable as some of the more premium headphones we've reviewed that use a lot more metal in their build quality.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 are a decent-sounding pair of closed-back over-ear headphones. They have an excellent and consistent Bass, a good Mid Range and good Imaging. However, their distortion performance is only average, and like almost all other active noise canceling headphones, they have a sub-par Soundstage.
Excellent Bass Range performance. Low-bass is well-balanced and extended down to 12Hz which is excellent. It is, however, above our target by about 2dB, which adds to their thump which some people make like. Bass and high-bass are virtually flawless and within 1dB of our target.
Good Mid Range performance. Low-mid and Mid are well-balanced and within 1.5dB of our target. High-mid however, is over our target by more than 4dB, bringing excess intensity and projection to vocals/leads.
Average Treble Range performance. The Treble response is relatively consistent and well-balanced, but under our target by about 2dB. The dips around 4KHz and 7KHz have a small negative effect on the clarity and presence of vocals/leads.
Decent consistency performance. The Bass Range is quite consistent across our human subject, which is impressive since they're closed-back headphones. Their consistency could be due to their active noise cancelling system. However, above 1KHz, their consistency is about average since there could be more than 4dB of deviation around 2KHz.
Poor Soundstage performance. Due to their relatively small ear cups, The HD 4.50 don't interact with the pinna like loudspeakers do so their Soundstage may be perceived to be located inside the listener's head as opposed to in-front. Additionally, since these headphones have active noise canceling, they isolate the listener from their environment and therefore won't have a very open and spacious Soundstage.
Good Imaging performance. The Phase error is decent and mostly inaudible but could have a slight negative effect on the transparency of the Treble Range. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched.
Average Harmonic Distortion performance. The overall amount of harmonic distribution is elevated, especially in the Mid Range. There is also a peak in distortion around 9KHz which could make the sibilances on these headphones slightly harsh.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 create a decent seal around most ears. This prevents them from being too leaky even at higher volumes and also stops a good amount of noise from seeping into the earcups. That and the above-average noise cancellation makes them a decent option for commuting although you may still hear a bit of the outside world in really noisy environments.
Decent Isolation performance. The active noise canceling system of these headphones are effective from 20Hz up to 1KHz. They are able to achieve 9dB of reduction in the Bass Range, which is good. In the Mid Range the reduce the outside noise by more than 15dB, and in the Treble Range by more than 30dB. Both values being good.
Very good Leakage performance. The significant portion of the Leakage sits between 500Hz and 3KHz which is not too broad. Additionally, the overall level of leakage is low and better than most closed-back over-ear headphones we have measured.
- 100% SpNR
These headphones have a great wireless range and a good battery performance. They're easy to pair, support NFC and can be used completely passively. Unfortunately, they do not have many power saving features and despite supporting the aptX, the latency is a bit too high to comfortably watch a movie and not notice the slight synchronization issues caused by the latency.
The HD 4.50 have a good wireless range indoors and outdoors. They reached up to 40ft when the Bluetooth source was in an another room and obstructed by walls and up to 120ft in direct line-of-sight. This should be more than enough range for most casual uses, and they're also relatively easy to pair thanks to the NFC support.
The HD 4.50 benefit from Aptx which gives them a slightly better latency performance than typical Bluetooth headphones. However, your Bluetooth source needs to support AptX and the at 140ms and 161ms for the default (SBC) base latency is a bit too laggy for watching movies and gaming.
The HD 4.50 have a good battery life and charge relatively fast. They lasted up to 22 hours of continuous playback at average volumes which should easily last you full day's worth of use. Unfortunately, they don't have many power-saving features. There's no auto off timer, and you can charge and listen at the same time. On the upside, they can be used completely passively which makes them a decent option if you're close to a power source like being at the office.
These headphones also support the excellent Sennheiser Captune app but have limited functionality. Unlike the PXC 550 Wireless which gives you full control over the noise cancellation and additional functions like an auto off timer and smart pause when you remove the headphones. You still get access to the great parametric equalizer, but that's a bout it which is a bit disappointing when comparing it to the functionality and versatility of the PXC 550.
In the box
- Sennheiser HD 4.50 headphones
- Audio cable
- Carrying case
- USB charging cable