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Home / Reviews / Audio / Headphones / Sennheiser Accentum review: the price of power

Sennheiser Accentum review: the price of power

putting the accentum on the musicum

Sennheiser Accentum review lead

Stuff Verdict

Big performance worthy of a big brand, but with a refreshingly unbig asking price


  • Big, detailed and (politely) entertaining sound
  • Good specification, great battery life
  • Plenty of control options


  • Could probably sound more attacking
  • Earpads get warm quickly
  • A carry-case or pouch would be nice


Sennheiser is a credible, high-profile brand – but one that isn’t just reserved for the happily well-off. It has products that compete at the ‘premium’ end of the headphone world, of course, but pays just as much attention and takes just as much care with the more affordable stuff. The Snnnheiser Accentum wireless ANC over-ears are just the latest example of the firm’s desire to compete at every price point.

They’re roughly half the price of the range-topping Momentum 4 – but, on paper at least, they seem to have most of what makes their more expensive siblings such a success. Are they too good to be true?

How we test headphones

Every pair of earphones and headphones reviewed on Stuff is used for a minimum of a week’s worth of daily listening. We use a playlist of test tracks made up of multiple genres to assess sound, and use our years of experience to compare to other models. Manufacturers have no visibility on reviews before they appear online, and we never accept payment to feature products.

Find out more about how we test and rate products.

Design and build: slippery people

There’s no point in reinventing the wheel, and there’s no need to go messing with the design of over-ear headphones. So no matter the angle you view them from, there’s no confusion about the sort of product the Sennheiser Accentum might be.

The aggressive price point dictates that there’s nothing luxurious about these headphones – but then again, they don’t feel like they’ve been built down to a price either. They’re almost entirely plastic, but nicely smooth, quite slippery plastic that looks and feels good (and that’s been expertly assembled, too).

The earpads and the inside of the headband have sufficient padding, and the concealed headband adjustment mechanism operates smoothly – it’s easy to get comfortable inside a pair, and the fact they weight just 222g doesn’t do any harm in this respect either.

There’s enough articulation in the earcup yokes to allow the cups to swivel through 180 degrees, so they’ll lie flat – but bear in mind there’s no case or pouch provided, so take care when slinging them in your backpack or whatever.  

Features: around (and around) the clock listening

The Accentum use Bluetooth 5.2 for wireless connectivity, and there’s compatibility with SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX HD codecs – so decently high-resolution content can be wirelessly streamed without difficulty.  Once it’s been streamed aboard, the content is delivered to your ears by a pair of 37mm full-range drivers with a claimed frequency response of 10Hz – 22kHz.

Battery life is a straightforwardly impressive 50 hours from a single charge – that’s with adaptive noise-cancellation switched on, and volume set to ‘moderate’. Recharging (when it is eventually required) happens via the USB-C input on the right earcup – three hours will take you from ‘flat’ to ‘full’, while a quick 10-minute pit-stop should be good for five hours or so of listening.

The noise-cancellation itself is a binary ‘on’ or ‘transparency’ deal – there’s no facility to switch it off. When it’s on, it’s operating in ‘adaptive’ mode – which means it should be monitoring your surroundings and adjusting itself accordingly.

Interface: please do not touch

You can’t really expect mid-price headphones to have the same functionality as their premium alternatives – but it’s only now, when you realise the Accentum have no touch controls, that a significant compromise becomes apparent. And even then, it’s mitigated no end by the interface options that are available here.

There are four physical control buttons around the edge of the right earcup. One sits alone, and takes care of power, pairing, waking your phone’s voice assistant, and toggling through ANC options. The other three are arranged in a strip, and are in charge of playback, volume, skipping tracks and answering calls. Telephony, voice-assistant interaction and noise-cancellation are all handled by a single beam-forming mic embedded in each earcup.

The Accentum are also compatible with Sennheiser’s excellent ‘Smart Control’ app that’s free for iOS and Android. It includes a five-band EQ adjuster, bass boost and podcast settings, a toggle to switch wind-noise reduction on or off, and a slider to adjust the amount of your own voice you hear during calls. And if you fancy registering with Sennhesier, you can use the app’s sound check and sound zones features to create specific EQs for specific circumstances (and switch between them automatically). But not without handing over your personal info first.

Performance: polite craziness

If you’re expecting to get your metaphorical socks blown off by sonic ‘energy’ and ‘attack’, there’s every chance the Sennheiser Accentum won’t be for you. But if, on the other hand, you’re after an accurate and full-scale account of your music (with just a hint of ‘entertainment’ thrown in for good measure), these headphones could be just the ticket.

Cue up a big, high-resolution file of Bar Italia’s My Little Tony all you’ll soon find out what I mean. The low frequencies the Accentum generate are deep and textured, chunky and detailed – but they are controlled really well, with nice straight edges at the attack of individual bass sounds – so the Sennheiser can express rhythms with proper confidence and keep the momentum of the recording intact. They’re not the most punchy headphones you ever heard, it’s true – but then again, they don’t let bass excitement swamp the midrange like some less accomplished designs do either.

The midrange itself is clean, open and – just like the frequency information above and below – loaded with detail both broad and fine. The soundstage the Sennheiser create is big and organised, and there’s more than enough room on the stage for a vocalist to properly express themselves (for better or for worse). In ultimate terms the midrange is just slightly forward of the stuff that’s happening above and below, but in practice that just means a singer’s character and technique is made easier to understand.

At the top end, there’s a degree of bite and attack to treble sounds – nothing too aggressive, you understand, but just enough to let you know of their presence. There’s good substance to go along with the high-frequency shine and, again, decent (and well-controlled) attack.

The whole of the frequency range is smoothly integrated, and there’s a nice unity to the Accentum tonality. Other headphones have a little more dynamism when it comes to tracking the changes in a recording’s intensity, but not many have the unity of presentation these Sennheiser can summon.

And the Sennehsier are equally adept when it comes to noise-cancellation. Unless you find yourself in an environment with a lot of nearby low-frequency activity, you’ll find the Accentum can deal with almost all external distractions. They don’t eradicate as completely as some headphones (generally the ones that cost a lot more than this and that say ‘Bose’ on them somewhere) but the reduction in ambient sound is significant. And there’s no discernible change in the way the Sennheiser present music no matter if you have ANC switched on or if you’re using the ‘transparency’ mode – which is not something you can say about quite a few competing designs.

Sennheiser Accentum verdict

The Sennheiser Accentum aren’t the only wallet-friendly wireless noise-cancelling over-ear headphones from a big, credible brand – but they’re among the least compromised. As long as you’re not expecting some kind of ‘party on!’ attitude, then these are a very safe bet indeed.

Stuff Says…

Score: 5/5

Big performance worthy of a big brand, but with a refreshingly unbig asking price


Big, detailed and (politely) entertaining sound

Good specification, great battery life

Plenty of control options


Could probably sound more attacking

Earpads get warm quickly

A carry-case or pouch would be nice

Profile image of Simon Lucas Simon Lucas Contributor


Luxury content of the audio/video variety. Adept at going on and on. European.

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