Sennheiser’s Accentum Wireless Headphones Review

Posted on 11th October, 2023

Sennheiser’s Accentum Wireless Headphones Review

Simon Lucas reckons this pair of wireless noise-cancelling headphones represents great value for money…


ACCENTUM Wireless Headphones

£159 RRP

Everyone likes a flagship, of course, but for a brand like Sennheiser, it's essential to have products that compete in as wide a range of price points as is realistically possible, which leads us to the Accentum wireless over-ear noise-cancelling headphones. They cost roughly half as much as the company's range-topping Momentum 4 wireless over-ear noise-cancelling 'phones, so if the Accentum can perform better than half as well as their pricier, more glamorous and highly well-regarded siblings, then they represent good value, right?


Honestly, the Sennheiser Accentum look very similar 'up close' as they do 'far away' – like a conventional pair of over-ear headphones. Few are the companies foolhardy enough to mess with the fundamental design of over-ear headphones, and Sennheiser is most certainly not among them…

Available in either black or white, they're built from unremarkable but perfectly serviceable materials – plastic, mostly. The earpads and the inside of the headband enjoy a judicious amount of padding, and the headband adjustment mechanism moves smoothly. It's mostly concealed inside the headband and has adjustment sufficient to accommodate all but the most generously proportioned heads.

Getting a comfortable fit is aided by the overall weight (a touch over 220g) and also by the amount of articulation the earcups have inside their yokes – they rotate through 180 degrees, and there's a fair amount of 'fore/aft' movement, too. It's worth noting, however, that the material covering the padding of the earcups retains and returns body heat more readily than quite a few alternative designs I could mention. And there's no carry-case in the packaging, not even a soft travel pouch, so care will be needed to keep your new headphones looking spiffy. 

The headphones use Bluetooth 5.2 for wireless connectivity, and there's compatibility with SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX HD codecs. Once digital audio is aboard, it's delivered to your ears via a pair of 37mm dynamic drivers with a claimed frequency response of 10Hz to 22kHz. In this respect, there seems to have been little-to-no economising in order to bring the Accentum in at their eye-catching asking price.

There is no scrimping where battery life is concerned. Sennheiser is claiming 50 hours of playback from a single charge, and that's with adaptive noise cancellation switched on and volume set to 'moderate'. Charging happens via the USB-C socket on the right earcup; from flat to full takes around three hours, but just 10 minutes on the mains should be enough to buy you five hours or so of playback.

The noise cancellation system here is a binary 'adaptive' or 'transparency' choice; there is no 'off' option. It's possible to toggle between the two positions using one of the physical controls on the right earcup or Sennheiser's exemplary 'Smart Control' app that's free for iOS and Android. The single button that takes care of your ANC options also covers 'power on/off/Bluetooth pairing' and 'summon native voice assistant', while a classic three-button strip handles 'play/pause', 'skip forwards/backwards', 'volume up/down' and 'answer/end/reject call'. Each earcup has a single beam-forming mic that takes care of telephony, voice-assistant interaction and noise-cancellation.

The control app adds in a five-band equaliser with bass boost and podcast-enhancing settings also available. There's a 'wind noise reduction' toggle, the ability to pause music (or not) when 'transparency' is engaged, and a slider to adjust the amount of your own voice you hear through the headphones when making a call. You can also register with Sennheiser to use the 'sound check' function that allows you to create bespoke EQ presets for specific environments and the 'sound zones' feature that switches between them automatically. There are no touch controls here – savings have to be made somewhere – but given the amount of influence Sennheiser allows you to exert over the Accentum, I'm tempted to ask what else you might reasonably expect. 


'Immediate' is not a word I'd use to describe the way these headphones sound. When you break down their sonic performance into its constituent parts, there's an awful lot to like – and the way the Accentum unifies these parts into an overall presentation is pretty admirable, too. Yet if you're hoping to be grabbed by the metaphorical lapels by the sound of your nice new headphones, you may find the Accentum a little undemonstrative.

However, those of us who don't enjoy being harangued by our own electronics will enjoy the Accentum's attitude. Given a nice big, high-resolution file of Fanny's version of Hey Bulldog to deal with, for instance, many of the Accentum's strengths are given full expression. The soundstage, for example, is broad and nicely defined, with each element of the dense and busy mix easy to follow. There is more than enough elbow room for every instrument and voice to express itself.

These aren't the most dynamic-sounding headphones you will ever hear, but the Accentum breathe deeply enough to track the changes in attack and intensity faithfully. The design is pretty adept when it comes to the less obvious, but no less significant, harmonic variations apparent in instruments and voices, too. Detail levels are gratifyingly high in all circumstances, and as a result, there's a level of insight into every area of the frequency range that's by no means a given – especially in headphones as reasonably priced as these.

One grinding gear change later, and we're playing a similarly hefty file of Chick Corea's Return to Forever. It's a recording that demonstrates their tonal fidelity in every area. Stanley Clarke's elastic bass guitar playing enjoys deep, straight-edged attack and carries an absolute stack of fine detail along with it. There's not the straightforward punch that some alternative designs can muster, but the Accentum is nevertheless convincing thanks to their facility with control, their alertness to texture and their ability to express rhythms in the most natural and unforced manner. 

They deal with high frequencies in a similarly confident and positive fashion. Treble sounds attack with crisp determination, but there's enough substance to the sound to prevent them from becoming in any way splashy or hard. In ultimate terms, the top end is ever so slightly rolled off – those claims for 22kHz extension notwithstanding – but there's still a polite amount of aggression in the Accentum's high-range reproduction.

As far as the midband is concerned, the utterly sincere version of Lost in Music by The Fall is a memorable moment. Mark E Smith was no one's idea of a great vocalist, of course, but when it comes to demeanour, character and straight-ahead attitude, he was in a league of his own. The Accentum allow him full expression, and his earnest attempts to carry the tune and melody are quite endearing, thanks to the amount of insight that these headphones convey. The entirety of the frequency range is integrated well, and this consistent tonality doesn't distract the listener from enjoying the music as nature intended.

The active, adaptive noise cancellation that's on offer here is just as effective, in its own way, as the sound that the headphones make. Other more expensive models can do a more complete job of sealing out external sounds, but the Sennheisers are no slouch. Almost everything from the midrange upwards that might intrude on your listening is eradicated, while much of the low frequencies are also similarly despatched. Unless it's the upper bass drone of an aircraft – or, to a lesser extent, the drone of its passengers – that you wish to eliminate, it's unlikely that you'll be dissatisfied with the noise-cancellation available to you.


It's hard to pick holes in the way the Sennheiser Accentum perform and keep a straight face – especially when you keep the asking price uppermost in your mind. No, they're not the most luxurious items you'll ever put on your head, and no, they don't have quite the top-end sparkle or out-and-out energy of substantially pricier designs. But that's the point, of course, as context is everything, and by the standards of similarly priced alternatives from other credible manufacturers, these are very accomplished headphones indeed.

For more information visit Sennheiser

      Simon Lucas's avatar

      Simon Lucas

      Simon was editor of What Hi-Fi? magazine and website and has since written for Wired, Metro, the Guardian and Stuff, among many others. Should he find himself with a spare moment, Simon likes publishing and then quickly deleting tweets about the state of the nation (in general), the state of Aston Villa (in particular) and the state of his partner’s cat.

      Posted in:Headphones Headphones Over / On Ear Noise Cancelling Bluetooth / Wireless
      Tags: sennheiser 


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