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A photo of the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus sitting atop a carbon fiber surface.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
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Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus review

Sennheiser adds to its more-affordable line of ANC headphones.
By

Published onFebruary 23, 2024

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7.9
Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus
The bottom line
Sennheiser's ACCENTUM line is a newer, more cost-friendly collection of headphones, but the Plus still doesn't go toe-to-toe with other top-of-the-line options. Instead, it's exactly what you'd hope to get for a reduced price, even if it isn't some diamond in the rough.
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Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus

Sennheiser's ACCENTUM line is a newer, more cost-friendly collection of headphones, but the Plus still doesn't go toe-to-toe with other top-of-the-line options. Instead, it's exactly what you'd hope to get for a reduced price, even if it isn't some diamond in the rough.
Product release date

2024

Price

$229.95

Dimensions

Case: 216 x 178 x 57mm

Headphones: 165 x 195 x 480mm

Ear cup: 60 x 40mm

Weight

227 g

Model Number

700176

Waterproof
What we like
Touch controls
Battery life
Decent sound quality
Uncomplicated
Wired listening options
What we don't like
No IP rating
Price
Can't fold up
7.9
SoundGuys Rating
9.1
User Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Isolation / Attenuation
7.0
8.0
8.0
Active Noise Cancelling
8.0
10.0
10.0
Durability / Build Quality
6.9
10.0
10.0
Value
8.5
10.0
10.0
Design
8.0
9.0
9.0
Connectivity
9.5
10.0
10.0
Portability
7.5
10.0
10.0
Battery Life
9.9
10.0
10.0
Feature
7.5
6.5
7.0
Comfort
9.0
7.0
7.0
MDAQS rating
Learn more
Timbre
4.4
Distortion
3.5
Immersiveness
3.7
Overall
4.1

Last year, Sennheiser debuted a new line of consumer headphones with the ACCENTUM Wireless, intended to appeal to buyers unwilling to stretch for the more premium MOMENTUM line. Today, we’re taking the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus for a spin to see how they stack up. Are they worth the higher price over the original? Let’s find out.

Editor’s note: this is the first version of the article. Updates will follow as the market changes.

About this Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus review: We tested the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus over three days. The headphone's firmware version was 3.14.9, and the Sennheiser Smart Control app ran version 4.7.0. The company provided the unit for this review.

The Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus is for consumers looking for a middle-ground ANC headphone, especially if $300+ is just too rich for your blood.

What’s it like to use Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus?

The Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus is a straightforward set of active noise canceling (ANC) headphones. They don’t offer many bells and whistles but handle the basics well. The housing is a relatively nondescript matte black, accented by leather-like cushions and a silicone-covered padding at the bottom of the headband. The chassis is plastic, but that’s a good thing: it keeps the headphones light.

Many headphones, even when worn correctly, can sometimes be annoying or uncomfortable, whereas the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus is not. The plastic construction and lack of hinges mean there aren’t many opportunities for your hair to get caught, and the light weight means you won’t get pinched, either.

A photo of the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus' ear pads.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
Decently large and soft ear pads make for a comfortable fit.

Each ear cup is a bit narrow (40mm) for over-ears but wide enough to meet most without much risk of pressing too hard on the outer ear. An ear-detection sensor that can auto-pause playback sits almost flush with the rest of the chassis, so it doesn’t get in the way. The very soft padding is a nice touch for those like me who wear glasses, as the padding conforms well to the arms of glasses rather than putting pressure on them. The headphones’ yokes are also plastic, which may not inspire too much confidence if you’re a little rougher on your belongings.

The inside of the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus' carrying case
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
The carrying case is a nice touch, but it’s a soft shell.

However, fear not: the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus comes with a carrying case for the headphones and accessories. Though it’s a softshell case, it should protect against the other items in your bag. There are two loops for the included cables, which is nice, given that you’ll likely only use the USB cable. It would have been a big plus if the headphones could fold up instead of merely folding flat.

A photo of the band of the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
The band of the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus has a soft silicone-feeling band padding.

The Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus has no ingress protection rating, meaning it’s not waterproof nor attested to be moisture or dust-resistant. That’s a little vexing, given that the closest competitors to the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus are typically IPX4 at the very least. Just be aware that this doesn’t mean that the headphones will instantly die if they ever catch a wisp of moisture — it just means that they haven’t been tested and rated for this. Our loan unit didn’t die while the Vancouver rain was in full force, but I ensured any moisture contact was incidental.

How do you control the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus?

A man controls the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus with his finger.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
Touch controls are easier to use than hunting for buttons.

Controlling playback on the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus can be accomplished via basic gestures on the back of the right ear cup. Though buttons seem to have made a comeback in recent years, we like gestures because anything you can do to avoid exerting force on your headphones will prevent impacting a proper fit.

GestureAction
Swipe forward
Track forward
Swipe backward
Track backward
Swipe up
Volume up
Swipe down
Volume down
Tap once
Play/pause
Tap twice
ANC mode

Of course, the tech has some drawbacks, namely that when it’s freezing out (like -30 degrees), users have reported issues with touch inputs not working. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll run into this issue often unless you live in extreme climes. So far, I haven’t run into this issue here in Canada.

Should you use the Sennheiser Smart Control app for the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus?

Though we’re generally wary about smartphone apps around these parts, the Sennheiser Smart Control App for iOS and Android is worthwhile. For example, this app gives you a 5-band equalizer, the ability to adjust ANC performance, set up a personalized sound (My Sound), define geofenced areas with user-defined settings (called Sound Zones), and connection management. While you will need a Sennheiser account for the Sound Zones and the My Sound feature, it’s unclear why these need to send your data to another party.

The Sound Zones, in particular, should appeal to people who don’t like pulling their headphones off. By setting up rules for the ANC and other settings, you don’t have to worry about changing the same settings day in and day out. If you’re on the train, you will want maximum noise attenuation, so why should you dig into a phone app to change this? It’s a cool idea.

I also particularly like the ability to manage connections easily because sometimes Bluetooth multipoint can be a pain in our office. It’s never fun to connect headphones to my smartphone only for the battery test computer to blast heavy metal in my ears unexpectedly.

How do the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus connect?

The Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus connects to devices using Bluetooth 5.2 via the SBC, AAC, or aptX Adaptive codecs. You can connect the headphones to a source via the included TRS or USB cables. This is a respectable list of connections, and it’s a huge plus to connect over a wired connection when necessary. However, you won’t need an amp, as the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus handles that for you.

The ports of the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
The USB-C port and the 2.5mm TRS socket offer wired listening.

Like any other Bluetooth headphones, you can connect the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus to your source device via the standard pairing process.

  1. Enable Bluetooth on your source device.
  2. Turn on the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus.
  3. On our source device, scan for available Bluetooth devices.
  4. Tap the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus option in the list of available devices.

How long does the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus battery last?

Playing a looped standard music sample peaking at 75dB SPL, we squeezed 53 hours and 15 minutes of life out of the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus (ANC on). Of course, your usage might vary from ours, so this is a ballpark. Sennheiser only specifies up to 50 hours of battery life, so we were pleasantly surprised with our result. This places the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus in the upper echelon of ANC headphones with good battery life, as it handily outlasts many of the top-flight models.

The Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus has fast charging. It claims a charge of ten minutes will net you 5 hours of listening time.

How well does the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus cancel noise?

Sennheiser has never boasted industry-leading ANC, but the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus does a decent enough job to reliably attenuate about 80% of outside noise. Sure, it won’t make you forget the top end of this category, but getting “decent” ANC is notable enough. Isolation is also pretty good, but it depends on your fit.

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Still, if you need as much ANC as possible, you will want to look to higher-end options. The Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus will hush a train or airplane, but it won’t eliminate all noise around you. But that’s not a drawback for some — it can be a feature. If you’re the kind of person who wants to hear things around you, or you find yourself taking your headphones or earphones off so you can hear things on your commute, you can use the Adaptive ANC feature in the Sennheiser Smart Control app to adjust the level of ANC and passthrough.

How does the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus sound?

Though Sennheiser has long been at the forefront of what people consider high-end brands, the ACCENTUM line of headphones is meant as a middle ground to bridge the gap for those who aren’t looking to spend an arm and a leg on audio. So it’s no surprise that there’s a mild but notable drop in quality here, though these headphones are still decent.

Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Scores (MDAQS)

The chart below shows how the sound of the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus was assessed by the Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Score (MDAQS) algorithm from HEAD acoustics.

This chart shows the MDAQS results for the Sennheiser Accentum Plus in AptX DEFAULT mode. The Timbre score is 4.4, The Distortion score is 3.5, the Immersiveness score is 3.7, and the Overall Score is 4.1 )
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
The Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus posts decent results, but lower than expected.

Though the ACCENTUM line is billed as a budget option for ANC, it’s still a set of Sennheiser headphones, and the quality falls short where others in the company’s portfolio excel. This is splitting hairs, though, as anything above a 4 for MDAQS is quite good. Somewhat lower scores for distortion and immersiveness are pretty common with ANC headphones. Unsurprisingly, while the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus is decent, it doesn’t threaten top-of-the-line ANC headphones like the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless.

Timbre (MOS-T) represents how faithfully the earbuds reproduce the frequency spectrum and temporal resolution (timing information).

Distortion (MOS-D) represents non-linearities and added noise: higher scores mean cleaner reproduction.

Immersiveness (MOS-I) represents perceived source width and positioning: how well virtual sound sources are defined in three-dimensional space.

See here for an explanation of MDAQS, how it works, and how it was developed.

Reviewer’s notes

A man wears the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
Glasses-wearers should be all right with the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus.

I found the sound of the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus to be mostly enjoyable. Comparatively speaking, certain things stand out to me more than others. For example, a slight boost in the highs causes sibilant sounds (like s) to be a little slurred or simply more pronounced than they should be in A-Ha’s Take On Me (MTV Unplugged), for example.

Beyond that, though, I found nothing objectionable about the sound. Bass and mids are right where they should be, and metal, in particular, is helped out by overemphasis at 5kHz, boosting some of the less discernible sounds in super-busy mixes. In particular, Mars for the Rich by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and Buzz by Psychedelic Porn Crumpets had their cymbal sounds enhanced by this tuning foible, so it’s one of those things that may help depending on what you listen to. Neither good nor bad.

Objective Measurements

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The Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus measures well for frequency response; it just doesn’t translate into as good of sound quality as you might expect due to other factors, as we saw above. The headphones do an excellent job of matching our headphone preference curve. Bass is where it should be, and the mids are well within our expected tolerances. The highs display the most variation: a narrow range of over-emphasis in the 5-6kHz range might make sibilant sounds a little louder — and thus more grating — the louder you listen to your tunes. There’s a lot to like here, but overemphasis can stick out more than underemphasis, and that’s precisely what happens here.

Bass boost EQ Preset

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If you find the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus default tuning to be a little bass-light, the Bass boost EQ preset makes the sound bassier. A 5dB shelf below 100Hz boosts the lows.

Podcast EQ Preset

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The Podcast EQ preset applies a gentle boost between 2k and 6kHz to help speech intelligibility without changing too much of the default frequency response. We wouldn’t suggest this for music, but it is a good idea for podcasts.

No, the measured performance is the same in both modes.

No, the measured response is the same.

Can you use the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus for phone calls?

Of course, the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus has a microphone array like any other top-flight set of ANC headphones. One thing I appreciate about the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus is that its call controls are intuitive for a gesture-based headset and easy to get used to. A mic mute toggle that is difficult to press accidentally is also a nice addition.

GestureAction
Swipe Forward
Answer call
Swipe backward
End call
Tap twice
Hold call / cycle calls
Long press
Reject call
Press multifunction button
Mute/unmute mic

But what about the call quality? Below are standardized sample recordings so you can hear them for yourself.

Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

154 votes

Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus microphone demo (Office conditions):

Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus microphone demo (Street conditions):

Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus microphone demo (Windy conditions):

Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus microphone demo (Reverberant space):

The Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus has some issues when it comes to rejecting wind noise. So, if you plan on taking calls outside, just be aware that you should avoid getting hit by the breeze, not shooting it. The mic should be good enough for any office application in indoor environments.

Should you buy the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus?

A photo of the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus sitting atop a carbon fiber surface.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
The Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus is a very decent bang-for-buck option.

The Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus is a solid, uncomplicated set of headphones that does what’s asked of it. While I realize that asking more of an affordable set of headphones is folly, consumers are almost always looking for value-adds. This pair gives you exactly what you’d expect the price tag to net you, which won’t nab any headlines or a die-hard fanbase. Sometimes, you just want to get precisely what you pay for.

If you want a reliable set of ANC headphones to last you a few years, you could do much worse than the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus. You might find that it’s right for you if you’re an older listener or if you’ve accepted the reality that commuter headphones aren’t going to be the best option for critical listening at home unless you’re willing to spend a ton of dough.

Sennheiser ACCENTUM PlusSennheiser ACCENTUM Plus
SG recommended
Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus
Touch controls • Battery life • Decent sound quality
MSRP: $229.95

What should you get instead of the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus?

If you’re okay with compromising sound quality and spending less than half as much, consider the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 ($79.99 at Amazon). Though it’s a step down in many regards, a reduction in price by about half isn’t too bad when you consider that the Anker cans have a similar battery life to the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus. Still, the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus handily beats the Anker headset regarding controls, sound quality, and app options.

The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless sits on a headphone stand in background with a phone displaying the Sennheiser Smart Control app displayed.
The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless has more Bluetooth codec options.

Deeper-pocketed buyers may want to hunt for the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless ($289.23 at Amazon) on sale if the ACCENTUM Plus appeals, but improved sound quality is important. These headphones are remarkably similar, save for larger ear cups, better sound quality, and higher price.

I’m a little confused that for a set of headphones that are meant to be a better option than the original Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless ($179.95 at Amazon), there’s not much “Plus” about the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus outside of the fact that you can fold flat the headphones, get audio over USB, and the ANC has more user options. Though the sound quality is better, is that enough to justify calling these a higher-end entry into a product line? Maybe. We were hoping for a little bit more, but $230 isn’t exactly break-the-bank expensive.

Frequently asked questions

No.

The Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus has no ingress protection rating listed.

Yes, but we generally don’t recommend doing that with over-ear headphones.

Yes. See above for examples.

Yes.