The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC are decently versatile over-ear headphones for most use cases. They have a customizable and above-average sound. They're well built, comfortable, and stable enough to run with although they won't be the ideal headphones for sports. They cancel enough ambient to be suitable for commuting but don't have as many features or options that you can control through the app, like the PXC 550 Wireless.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC are decently versatile headphones for most cases. They have a highly customizable sound like the PXC 550 but lack some of its better features. They're above-average comfortable, stable and durable and isolate relatively well in loud environments. That and their low leakage make them a good decent option for most use cases, especially for traveling and at the office.
Above-average for neutral listening. The default audio reproduction for these headphones is better-than-average and should sound good enough for most listeners. They may sound a bit harsh due to the slight bump in the high Mid and low Treble range that tends to push the instruments and vocals to the forefront of any track. However, you can customize the sound profile to match your taste and preferences thanks to the CapTune app so they're versatile enough to suit most listeners. Unfortunately, they have a relatively small soundstage due to their closed-back design.See our Neutral Sound recommendations
Above-average for commuting. They block a good amount of noise, they're decently comfortable, however, their control scheme is not as responsive as some of the other wireless headphones we've tested.See our Commute/Travel recommendations
Above-average for sports. The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC are not specifically designed for high-intensity activities, but they're stable enough to jog with. They have a comfortable fit and provide decent control over your audio. Although, they can get a little warm when using them for a while under strenuous conditions.See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
Decent for office use. They don't leak much at regular or high volumes and block enough noise for a lively office environment. However, they are a bit tight on the head which might not be comfortable for very long listening sessions.See our Office recommendations
Sub-par for gaming. The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC have a bit too much latency even with aptX enabled. They're not compatible with consoles via Bluetooth and cannot be customized to the extent of other gaming headphones. They also have a mediocre integrated microphone and their audio cable will only provide audio and not chat support when connected to your console's controller.See our Wireless Gaming recommendations
The Sennheiser 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. They're not very fashion-forward headphones, but their understated and minimal over-ear design will appeal to some.
The Sennheiser 4.50 are comfortable and well-padded headphones that feel a bit tight on the head. They're decently lightweight with ear cups that 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. The cups are also a bit smaller than on the PXCs. Unfortunately, they clamp the head quite a bit which may loosen over time, but out-of-the-box, they get slightly uncomfortable during long listening sessions.
The Sennheiser 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 are not very breathable. They have a tight fit and a decent seal around your ears which obstruct a good amount of airflow. They should be ok for casual listening and most use cases but will make your ears sweat during more demanding activities like running and exercising.
The Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC 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 Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC come with a soft case that won't protect the headphones against impacts or drops but do have enough room for all the accessories and will shield the headphones from scratches and scuffs when in your bag.
The build quality of the Sennheiser 4.50 is as good as the PXC 550 Wireless. 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 BTNC Wireless 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 (see our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones for working out) 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 frequency response consistency is above-average. The bass range is quite consistent across our human subjects, which is impressive since they're closed-back headphones. Their consistency could be due to using their active noise cancelling as a feedback mechanism, similar the QuietComfort 35 II and WH-1000XM2. However, above 1KHz, their consistency is about average since there could be more than 4dB of deviation around 2KHz.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC have an excellent bass. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 13Hz, which is great. Low-bass is flat and over our neutral target by 2dB. This brings a bit of excess thump to their bass which some people may like. Mid-bass responsible for the body of bass guitars and the punch of the kick drums is flat and within 1dB of our target. High-bass, responsible for warmth is flat and quite well-balanced.
The mid-range is good. Low-mid and mid-mid are well-balanced and within 1.5dB of our target. This is important for a clear reproduction of vocals and lead instruments. High-mid however, is over our target by more than 4dB, bringing excess intensity and projection to vocals/leads.
The Sennheiser 4.50 have a mediocre treble range performance. The treble response is relatively even, 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.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC have great imaging. Weighted group delay is at 0.26, which is very good. The GD graph also shows that the group delay response is almost entirely below the audibility threshold. This results in a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were exceptionally well-matched in frequency, amplitude, and phase response, ensuring accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo field.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC have a sub-par soundstage. The PRTF graph shows an inadequate amount of pinna activation with low accuracy, and there's not a notch present in the 10KHz area either. This suggests a soundstage that will be perceived as small and located inside the listener's head as opposed to in-front.
The isolation performance is decent. The active noise canceling system of these headphones are effective from 20Hz up to 1KHz. In the bass range, where the rumble of airplane and bus engines sits, they achieve about 9dB of isolation which is about average. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they reduce outside noise by almost 16dB which is good. In the treble range, occupied by sharp S and T sounds they isolate by 34dB, which is good.
The leakage performance is great. The significant portion of their leakage is between 500Hz and 3KHz which is not too broad. However, the overall level of the leakage is very low. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at about 31dB SPL and peaks at 44dB SPL, which is noticeably quieter than the noise floor of an average office.
The recording quality of the mic is sub-par. The LFE of 329Hz results in a recorded/transmitted speech that sound relatively thin. The HFE is at 3.4KHz, making speech noticeably muffled and lacking detail. The response between the LFE and HFE points is quite uneven suggesting an unnatural speech transmission.
The integrated microphone of the HD 4.50 BTNC is decent at noise handling. It achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 21dB in our SpNR test. This means it will be able to fully separate speech from ambient noise in moderately loud environments.
The Sennheiser 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't 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.
Unfortunately, the Sennheiser companion app for these headphones, known as CapTune, is no longer available. The replacement app, Sennheiser Smart Control, isn't compatible. If you still have CapTune on your phone it will continue to function, but it's no longer possible to download it.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC can pair simultaneously with 2 devices and support NFC. This makes them a rather versatile headphone when using Bluetooth.
The Sennheiser 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.
These headphones come with a 1/8TRS audio cable that does not have an inline mic like the PXC 550 wireless so they won't have a mic compatible with the Xbox One, PS4, and PCs.
Update: 04/12/2018: The Sennheiser HD 4.50 do not have audio over usb like the PXC 550 wireless. We have since adjusted the wired score to reflect this change.
These headphones do not have a base/dock. If you want a versatile headset with a base that you can also use wired, check out the SteelSeries Arctis 7 by SteelSeries.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC is a decent mixed usage headset with strong noise isolation and an above-average sound quality. These headphones have slightly fewer features than the similarly designed PXC 550 Wireless but still benefit from a good app that offers decent customization options. They have a long 22-hour battery life, they isolate well enough in loud, noisy environments and do not leak much which makes them a good choice for commuting and office use. Unfortunately, their build quality is not as good as some of the other wireless over-ears we've tested, and they're a little tight on the head so they won't be as comfortable as some of the headphones compared below. See our recommendations for the best wireless headphones, the best noise cancelling headphones under $200, and the best noise cancelling headphones.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 are a somewhat better wireless headset than the Sony WH-CH700N. The Sennheisers have much better noise isolation and would be more suitable for commuting and noisy environments. The HD 4.50 also leak a little less, so you won't distract your colleagues. On the other hand, the WH-CH700N are a bit more comfortable and have a slightly more balanced sound. They also have a longer battery life.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 are more versatile headphones than the Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT due to their ANC feature, which makes them suitable for commuting and at the office. Other than that, these two models are practically the same and perform quite similarly. The HD 4.40 is also a bit less tight on some heads, which can be more comfortable for people with bigger heads. They also have a bit less latency, which is noticeable when watching videos.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless are better headphones than the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC. Most notably, the XM3s' ANC is great and blocks more ambient noise than the HD 4.50 BTNC. Their overall audio reproduction is better, but with a slightly overemphasized bass, which can be EQ’ed inside their great app. The XM3 are also more comfortable and better-built than the Sennheiser HD 4.50. On the other hand, the HD 4.50 have a full parametric EQ, can connect to two devices simultaneously, and have slightly lower latency. Some may also prefer their control scheme with physical buttons over the touch-sensitive surface of the WH-1000XM3, which has trouble working appropriately in colder temperatures.
The Sony WH-H900N are better sounding headphones than the Sennheiser HD 4.50. They are also slightly more comfortable, and their touch-sensitive control scheme is precise and fairly easy to use. On the other hand, the HD 4.50’s ANC seems to be more effective at blocking out ambient noise and would be a slightly better option for commuting. They can also be connected to 2 devices at the same time, which can be useful at the office, but the Sonys have a better companion app with more customization options and control over the headphones.
The Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless are a better headset, with more features than the Sennheiser HD 4.50. The PXC 550 have a more comfortable fit, with touch-sensitive controls. They also have a better-balanced default sound quality, more control over their audio profile and noise cancelling, as well as a longer battery life with a twist to switch off feature that saves a lot of power. On the other hand, the HD 4.50 have a slightly better isolation performance, thanks to their tighter over-ear fit. If you have the budget, get the PXC 550; they're the upgrade to the HD 4.50 and do most things a little better.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are better noise cancelling headphones than the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC. The QC 35 II isolate much better in noisy conditions with a more efficient noise cancelling feature that's excellent for commute and travel. They're also a lot more comfortable to wear for long listening sessions and have a more balanced sound quality than the Sennheisers, although, unlike the HD 4.50, they do not come with an EQ in their app. This means that the HD 4.50 are a lot more customizable, which some listeners may prefer. They also have a more stable fit, making them slightly better-suited for physical activity if you like working out and running with over-ears instead of in-ears.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC are slightly better headphones thanks to their ANC feature, but they are slightly less comfortable and feel a bit cheaper than the JBL Live 650BTNC. They have a great app that offers a parametric EQ like the JBLs, and they block more ambient noise. However, they have a lackluster control scheme that is a bit hard to use.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 are better headphones than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT. They have a decent noise cancelling feature that the M50xBT lack. Also, even if their treble range is slightly recessed, they are compatible with a great app that lets you EQ the sound signature to your liking and can connect to 2 devices simultaneously, which is convenient. However, the ATH-M50xBT have almost twice the battery life, a better microphone for calls, better wireless range, and are slightly more comfortable. They do take a lot more time to charge overall.
The Beats Studio 3 Wireless are slightly better headphones than the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC. The Beats are noticeably more comfortable, slightly better-built, and have a more premium feel than the HD 4.50. They also have a better frequency response, but our unit had a significant phase mismatch and performed differently on various users. The ANC feature of the Beats Studio 3 is quite good, but the self-noise is pretty high and can be heard when no audio is being played through the headphones. On the other hand, the HD 4.50 can connect to two devices simultaneously and have a good app with a great parametric EQ that lets you customize their sound to your liking. They can also be used passively, which you can’t do with the Studio 3.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC are marginally better than the Sony WH-XB900N. They have a more neutral sound, but the XB900N are more comfortable and have a better control scheme. The Sennheisers can be connected to two devices simultaneously and have a better ANC feature as well. On the other hand, the Sonys feel slightly better made and will be better for bass fans.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC are a slightly better headset than the Bose SoundLink Around-Ear II since they have a bit more features and are noise cancelling. The Sennheiser isolate a bit better in noisy conditions, which makes them a better choice for commute and travel. They also have a customizable sound that you can EQ via their app, unlike the Bose. The SoundLink, on the other hand, have a more comfortable over-ear design that most will prefer over the HD 4.50. They also have a better-balanced default sound and easier to use controls.
The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 are a better wireless headset than the Sennheiser HD 4.50. The BackBeat Pro 2 have a sturdier and slightly more comfortable design than the Sennheiser HD 4.50. They also have easier to use physical controls, a longer wireless range and battery life, and a better sounding default sound that packs a lot of bass. The Sennheiser, on the other hand, have a better noise cancellation feature, and since they are more compact, they're a bit better-suited for travel and commute. The HD 4.50 also leak less, have a more stable fit that you can use at the gym, and also have a customizable sound. You can EQ them to sound the way you want, which you can't with the BackBeat Pro 2.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC are a bit better than the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless overall, but not by much. The HD 4.50 have more features and a slightly better-balanced sound than the HD1 out-of-the-box, although both headphones can be EQed with the Sennheiser CapTune app. The HD 4.50 have a tighter fit on the head that's a bit more suitable for sports, but the HD1 have a much better build quality that feels a lot more durable in the long run. The HD1 also isolate a bit better in noisy and quiet conditions.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC are better headphones than the Sony MDR-XB950N1 Wireless. The Sonys have a very dark sound profile and can’t be EQ’ed via their companion app. Their ANC feature is also quite disappointing, and the HD 4.50 BTNC will block out more ambient noise. On the upside, the MDR-XB950N1 have slightly longer battery life, but they take twice as much time to charge as the HD 4.50. The Sennheisers can also connect to two devices simultaneously, and have a good app with a great parametric EQ.
The Sony WH-1000XM2 Wireless are slightly better headphones than the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC. They are more comfortable and noticeably better-built. Their audio quality is slightly better but they can be EQ'ed as precisely as the HD 4.50. The Sennheisers can also connect to two devices simultaneously and have lower latency when watching video content.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 are better noise cancelling headphones overall when compared to the Plantronics Backbeat Pro. The Sennheisers have a more customizable sound thanks to their excellent companion app that gives you access to an EQ and wealth of options and settings. They also have a more compact design, a tighter fit on the head for the gym, and they block a lot more noise with their ANC feature. On the other hand, the Plantronics have a better battery life, wireless range, and easier-to-use controls. They're also a bit more comfortable than the Sennheisers since they're not as tight on the head. Their default sound also packs a lot more bass, which some may prefer.