The Sennheiser Accentum is the more affordable version of the brand’s class-leading Momentum 4 headphones. I’ve long argued that one of the great things about buying products from such a storied manufacturer as Sennheiser is that they make a habit of allowing for “trickle down” technology. This is when some of the more accessible models have major technological and performance characteristics shared by some their more robust models. With the Momentum 4’s excellent performance, I was very interested to see just how well the Accentum would stack up.

Sennheiser Accentum specs

  • 37mm diameter driver
  • Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation (with 2 beamforming mics)
  • Bluetooth 5.2 (SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, mSBC, CVSD codecs)
  • 800mAh battery—apprx. 50-hour play time/3-hour charge (10 mins. for 5 hours of playback)
  • iOS/Android App Support
  • Weight: 222g

Unboxing Sennheiser Accentum headphones

The Sennheiser Accentum headphones arrive in a simple cardboard box. Inside you find the headphones, a USB-C to USB-A charging cable, and some documentation. There are two things that struck me when compared to the more pricey Momentum 4 headphones—there’s no carrying case, for one, and one major feature that’s dropped is a mini-jack input. I may be full “old man yelling at cloud” about this, and I realize that product differentiation is an important thing, but, I for one, advocate that if you’re willing to be rocking the over-the-ear form factor, every circumaural headphone model should have a mini-jack input for those times when you’re on plane needing to hook into an entertainment system, wishing to bypass the internal DACs, etc. Still, with its 50-hour battery life (a range we’ve come to take for granted in modern models) I can forgive the exclusion.

The headphones themselves are light and the outer shell feels substantial, though a little more plasticky. Again, the corners have been shaved off slightly rather than fully cut, and they’re robust enough to handle being thrown in a bag without a fancy carrying case.

Setting up the Sennheiser Accentum

The Sennheiser Accentum headphones use the same app as the brand’s other wireless offerings, allowing you to dial in many features such as ANC, equalization, etc. My biggest annoyance with the Momentum 4 remains in this model as well—there’s no way of basically dialing in a “pure” mode that disables both ANC and Transparency modes. Luckily the ANC implementation in the Accentum is pretty good, with only a small amount of that “sucking” sensation you get from the anti-noise signal.

There are a series of buttons on the right ear cup (helpfully labelled as well by being printed on the inside!) that serve the obvious controls including power on/off, track select, and so on. The pairing/information voice provides details in a soothing British voice that leans towards the East Londonian, providing a bit of Cockney flair to the fun. The equalizer section on the app includes a simple five-band selection that you can save as a preset, as well as a bass boost functionality. A separate slider for podcasts promises to enhance speech clarity for those that wish to engage the feature.

Sennheiser Accentum audio quality

Right on first listen it’s clear that the Accentum are solid headphones that manage to provide capable sound reproduction without much in the way of fuss. There’s quite a bit of difference between the regular SBC codec and connecting via aptX, so for those with devices that support the more robust codec you’ll definitely get more out of this model. However you connect, it’s clear this model is focused more on more “thumpy” music, its sound signature heavily weighted towards bass and the midrange. For those that listen on the go, or to modern pop, EDM and the like, these are absolutely fine for your needs. For those that do a bit more critical listening, particularly for acoustic music, you’ll find the sound a bit wanting, if not fatiguing.

Tweaking the EQ a bit does manage to slightly boost some of the muted higher frequencies, but it’s clear that the intent for this model is to spend more of its attention on the mid-to-lower range of the audio spectrum. This means that some of the more subtle aspects of music playback—the shimmer of cymbals on Miles Davis’ iconic “All Blues”, for example, or the subtle thwack of the finger-picking pattern on Bert Janch’s “Angie” fall slightly flat.

Engaging bass boost does provide added kick, and to its credit there’s little in the way of bloat with the additional slam. I threw on “Creation Dream” by Bruce Cockburn as a test both of low acoustic bass, the wooden percussion, an active guitar and well mixed vocals, and while the thump of the bass drum was a bit much, it was still pretty enjoyable. I then threw on LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” to see how the sub bass behaved, and while fun for a while, turning off the bass boost still left plenty of bottom end to enjoy. Testing a torture track like The Weeknd’s “One of the Girls (Slowed)” made it sound like you were inside the speakers at a club rather than just vibing to the music, and after a few bars I had to disengage the extra bass as I felt I was being dragged under water. It’s a fun trick to have, but only true bassheads will keep it operational for bassy tracks.

Out and about with the Sennheiser Accentum headphones

Obviously the whole point of portable headphones is to take them with you, and out in the wild I found them pretty comfortable even after hours of listening. The ANC is decent if not exceptional, able to drown out most sounds but still allowing the clicking of keys as I type to come through, or the rumble of traffic, train or plane to provide a droning low-end that isn’t quite ameliorated like it is with other, more premium models. One thing I found frustrating was that with the thin plastic exterior, wind noise during regular listening was quite intrusive, affecting regular listening even at moderate to high volumes. There’s not much in the way of sound insulation between the exterior and the interior of the cup, meaning that the sound transference of external noises can be quite strong. Still, again, these are the kind of things that tend to be cut back with more accessible models, and it’s only because the rest of its capabilities are so impressive that one can take time to pick nits.

Final thoughts

The Sennheiser Accentum headphones have a lot to live up to when compared to the Momentum 4, and what’s truly satisfying is just how much of the premium performance has been crammed into this more moderate model. We lose the headphone jack and carrying case, as well as some of the high-end frequency response, noise reduction and the like, but we’re left with a light, powerful pair of headphones for when you’re on the go or merely relaxing at home. For those that don’t have a need to make the jump to the more premium pair you’ll get plenty out of this model. Thanks to its decent construction, its well laid out app, and its very listenable sound signature, the Accentum may well be the sweet spot from a price/performance view that makes these absolutely worthy of your auditioning for use as daily drivers.

Shop the Sennheiser Accentum wireless over ear headphones at Best Buy now.

Jason Gorber
Jason Gorber, M.A., is a film, technology, and media journalist and member of the Toronto Film Critics Association. He is the managing editor and chief film critic at That Shelf and a regular contributor to POV Magazine, SlashFilm, and CBC Radio. Jason has been a Tomatometer-approved critic for over 20 years, is an avid collector of music, movies, LEGO and many other aesthetic and technical treats.


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