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Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless
Headphones: 165 x 195 x 480mm
Ear cup: 61 x 40mm
There’s been a deluge of new active noise canceling (ANC) headphones released in late 2023, and you may have missed the lower-cost Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless. However, you may want to pay attention to these if you want new headphones. We were able to get our hands on them for a while — but are they any good? Let’s take a listen.
Editor’s note: this is the first version of the article. Updates will follow as the market changes.
The Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless is for those looking for a more affordable set of ANC headphones but also value sound quality above other concerns.
What’s it like to use Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless?
When you open the box of the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless, you’ll be greeted with your headphones, a USB cable, and some assorted documentation. There’s no carrying case, which is the first sign that some sacrifices have been made compared to Sennheier’s more premium offerings. Thankfully, the headphones don’t seem so fragile that they couldn’t be chucked into a bag safely.
The first thing you’ll notice when wearing the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless is that the headphones are very light and have adequate padding for long listening sessions. Though the padding isn’t as thick as on larger headsets, it’s very similar to the Bose QuietComfort Headphones in that it gets away with fewer comfort features because there’s not a lot of weight on your noggin.
I was able to wear these headphones for hours without any discomfort. Still, the combination of thinner padding and the leatherette coating meant that my glasses caused issues getting a good seal. It’s a minor gripe but something to be aware of; at least I didn’t have problems catching my hair in the band or notice any excess pressure on my outer ears.
If you live in wetter climes or are looking for workout headphones, these are not the cans for you. Sure, they probably won’t die from an errant raindrop, but as the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless has no ingress protection rating, it’s best not to tempt fate.
How do you control the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless?
Controlling the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless means using either your smartphone or the handful of physical buttons on the right side of the ear cup. Said buttons are a bit small, but they’re easy to find with just your finger — there are small nubs on the multifunction button, and the power button stands alone near the bottom of the headphones.
Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless controls:
|Button||Single press||Double press||Triple press||Long press|
Volume up / down
Power / Pair
Mic mute / voice assistant
ANC / passthrough
Power / pairing
Play / pause / answer call / end call
Track forward / hold call / switch call
Of course, the standard gripes about physical buttons all show up here. Namely, pressing them means potentially compromising your seal, as your finger is far bigger than these tiny things — you’ll be moving more than a small switch. This isn’t an issue if you primarily use your phone for controls.
Should you use the Sennheiser Smart Control app for the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless?
Though you can use the passthrough mode without the Sennheiser Smart Control app, installing the utility will allow you to make easy work of advanced settings. For example, pairing and forgetting devices stored in the headphones’ memory, adjusting sidetone, enabling and disabling features, and performing a factory reset.
Additionally, there’s a 5-band equalizer that allows you to make adjustments in fine increments. While to experienced users, that may seem standard, most EQ apps don’t even report how many dB each notch represents, so this is a plus. Of course, we’d rather see a parametric equalizer, and you may want to use the Sound Check feature or even a third-party app if you want a different sound than the EQ can provide.
Then there’s the issue of privacy. While Sennheiser’s app hasn’t come under fire for leaking data recently, that may not be enough for anyone looking to sanitize their digital life. So you don’t have to install the app, but it is a good idea for certain features.
How do the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless connect?
This is the first set of Sennheiser headphones I’ve seen in a while that doesn’t have a 3.5mm jack. Still, given that the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless is squarely aimed at the commuter who wants convenience more than using their headphones with a high-end DAP, it can be forgiven. However, that’s not to say that you can’t listen via a wired connection — the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless supports USB-C audio, which enables lossless listening.
The Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless can connect to your Bluetooth source device via SBC, mSBC (for voice), AAC, aptX, and aptX HD. Depending on your source, you may be limited to a lower-bitrate codec. You may need to select your preferred codec manually in developer options.
Pairing the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless is straightforward and should only take a few moments.
- Turn on the headphones by long pressing the power button until the light flashes.
- Release the button.
- Enable Bluetooth on your phone and search for the ACCENTUM in the list of your available devices.
- Tap the option, and your device should pair momentarily.
- (Optional) Open the Sennheiser Smart Control app to unlock other options.
How long does the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless battery last?
In our standard test, designed to emulate real-world use, the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless lasted 46 hours and 40 minutes. It’s not quite the 50 hours advertised by Sennheiser, but their testing likely differs from ours. As always, your mileage may vary depending on use habits, battery age, and so on.
Fast charging isn’t listed as a feature, but given the battery size of 800 mAh — a short charge should net you quite a bit of listening time at standard charging rates.
How well do the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless cancel noise?
Thanks to a good cup design, firm band, and relatively low mass, the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless creates a decent seal with your head. This is important not only for sound quality but also for isolation. Our lab tests found that the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless could physically block out 30-40dB of noise above 1kHz, which is about a 90% drop in loudness. Under 1kHz, the ANC can cancel about 15-20dB of noise, which lags behind competing headphones from Bose, Sony, and Apple. However, that still reduces the loudness of outside noise by up to 75% — still pretty good.
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You might find this to be a bit lacking in areas with extreme amounts of noise. Don’t mistake ANC headphones for hearing protection, as they don’t work that way.
How do the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless sound?
I was pleasantly surprised by how the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless sounded out of the box, but I did find myself tinkering in short order. Though I might be an excitable nerd who can’t help himself, there are a couple of things that you might notice upon first listening. Namely, the sub-bass is relatively intense, and there’s a narrow under-emphasis where our ears naturally boost. It doesn’t make music unlistenable, but it’s still worth noting that there’s no EQ preset or adjustment in the app that will alleviate it.
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This sound works great for classic rock and other power-band-style ensembles. For example, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Kepler-22b sounds excellent on the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless, as does any ABBA track. But you may want a little less bass and more in the upper midrange. This is quite apparent in some rap tracks, especially in movie content.
With the Sennheiser Smart Control app, you can toggle two additional EQ presets beyond the default.
Bass Boost EQ:
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True to its name, this preset boosts bass. By a lot. Not much else needs to be said here except: “Maybe don’t pick this one.”
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This preset is geared toward dampening the proximity effect, as many podcasters love eating the mic nowadays. This preset tamps down the range where voice fundamentals lie pretty effectively.
In testing the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless, we used the 5-band equalizer to get the sound closer to our preference curve. By nudging the 50Hz slider down 2.7dB and the 3000Hz slider up 3.3dB, we were able to get this result:
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Of course, you’ll want to tinker with this a bit if it’s not your preference, too, and the app gives you that freedom.
Can you use the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless for phone calls?
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True to form for a set of wireless headphones, the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless can be used for phone calls. The 2-microphone array of the headset uses beamforming to pick up your voice over the din of the outside world and cuts off pickup at 8kHz — it wouldn’t make it over a mobile network anyway.
Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless microphone demo (Ideal conditions):
Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless microphone demo (Office conditions):
Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless microphone demo (Street conditions):
Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless microphone demo (Windy conditions):
How does the microphone sound to you?
As you can probably hear, there’s an issue with noise rejection and mitigating wind noise, but intelligibility is okay.
Should you buy the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless?
If you were hoping for a sale on Sennheiser ANC headphones that has yet to materialize, the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless will be at the right price for you. Not only do they offer good sound quality, but they also come with rock-solid features for a set of sub-$200 headphones. The only real drawback is the ANC, which is merely “okay.”
These aren’t the headphones for you if you’re looking for advanced features like LE Audio or head tracking. While there’s nothing wrong with the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless, it falls short on ANC and mic quality compared to spendier options. But for the cost, we’re not complaining.
What should you get instead of the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless?
Finding alternatives to the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless is difficult because you will need to focus on the individual performance aspects to get improvements that are worth the price hike. For example, you’ll need to shell out for improved ANC or sound quality, as competing options from Anker, Monoprice, or Sony aren’t apparent upgrades over the Sennheiser ACCENTUM Wireless. For example, the Anker Space Q45 has better ANC but worse sound quality.
If you want better performance and are not worried about price, then you can spend more and get improved ANC or sound quality. For example, uncapping your budget could get you the Focal Bathys ($699 at Amazon) or Sony WH-1000XM5 ($387 at Amazon, though that’s an extreme option. If you’re more worried about sound quality, you could elect to grab the Shure AONIC 50 (2nd Gen) ($349 at Amazon), which comes with a parametric EQ built into the app. That said, even the least expensive of the models I just mentioned is $350, so we’re talking about a substantial price increase for things that may or may not matter to you.
Frequently asked questions
It depends on what console you’re using or if you’re using a PC. As there is no 3.5mm jack and most consoles don’t support USB audio just yet, your options are limited to those with Bluetooth.
Yes, see the above review for samples.
It is unlikely you will be able to get this working in short order. It’s possible but not easy.