It’s easy to go online and be overwhelmed by several recommendations on which headphones to get. Sometimes you just need something that does the job and doesn’t need to have the best specs and features that drive up the price point. This is what Sennheiser keeps in mind for the more affordable HD 450BT and HD 458BT models. However, if you’re looking for headphones that are more suitable for true audiophiles, check these headphones out instead:
In summary, if you’re looking for headphones with excellent sound for a general user experience at a reasonable price, then the Sennheiser HD 450BT and HD 458BT are your best bet. The Sennheiser HD 450BT isn’t too shabby for its affordable price and its mid-range specs and outstanding sound quality, though you’re getting more aesthetic value for the Sennheiser HD 458BT, which can be a make-or-break factor for some users. This article will place the two models side by side and compare them in terms of design, sound, wireless streaming, UI, ANC, and battery life.
Design and Build
The Sennheiser HD 458BT is slightly more enhanced than the Sennheiser HD 450BT, although the design is still pretty similar. The Sennheiser HD 450BT and HD 458BT weigh 238 grams because Sennheiser values the comfort and convenience of extremely light items. It won’t bother the user too much to carry it around and switch from different appliances. Aside from being portable, they’re both also foldable, so they take up less storage space.
Both the Sennheiser HD 450BT and HD 458BT also have an oval over-the-ear ergonomic design. The full-size ear cups comfortably enclose the ears, which increases sound isolation provided by the active noise cancellation feature and ensures that anyone near you won’t hear what you’re listening to. The cups can also fold inwards, which maximizes the space it takes up.
Most of both models’ build is plastic, making the experience uncomfortable, especially in the band area, which is not heavily padded. Although it can be stretched to fit your head, it can take some time to break in and might feel too tight at first.
The overall design for both models is pretty classy and minimalist with the Sennheiser logo on both sides, although what distinguishes the HD 458BT are the red accents on the band and cups. This, however, doesn’t do much for headphones enthusiasts that value aesthetics as much as sound quality.
You can also check the Online Instruction Manual of HD 450BT on Sennheiser's website.
Pairing is also relatively simple: both models support Bluetooth 5.0, AAC, aptX, and aptX Low Latency. They’re also highly intuitive to which device is playing audio and can easily switch from one device to another. They also support Bluetooth multipoint, which means you can connect two devices to the headset simultaneously.
The streaming experience is above average: there is almost no lag when streaming from a phone or desktop. However, it performed less smoothly with the Bluetooth multipoint because it didn’t allow push notifications other than incoming calls.
The Sennheiser HD 450BT and HD 458BT are pretty similar in the user interface. The control buttons and rockers are placed on the right earcup. These controls include a power button, a volume button, a slider to move from one track to the next, pause and play, and a button for the AI assistant.
While Sennheiser might think it’s convenient to place all the buttons on one side, they’re too small and too clustered, which means you’ll have to fumble around before you can activate anything. There’s a learning curve to both Sennheiser headphones because new users might find the multi-tasking buttons overwhelming.
It’s also bothersome that there is no voice alert or distinguishable sound to let you know if it switches on or off or if your chosen mode is activated.
The Sennheiser HD 450BT and HD 458BT’s most vital points are the battery life. They’re marketed to last for up to thirty hours, even with heavy listening. It takes a bit longer to charge it (2 hours), although that’s a good payoff for the battery life. Even if it runs out of charge, you can use the cable provided in the box and connect to the 3.5 mm jack.
Sennheiser designed both models for general listening instead of focusing on just one aspect. The highest frequency is 22,000 Hz, and the lowest frequency is 18 Hz. Bass lovers might not be too impressed with the bass levels, although it’s pretty high up there in terms of accommodating anything you want to listen to. You can listen to every genre of music, podcasts, shows, and gaming streams.
Being marketed as something for general listening might turn away some users, though you’re still getting good vocals, thumpy beats, and superb clarity in instrument detail beyond percussive sounds.
Both models have a Smart Control app if you want to play around with different frequencies and customize your listening experience. However, if you’re not too keen on this, the frequency settings you get out of the box will work just fine for everything, although it won’t be outstanding.
Active Noise Cancelling
The Sennheiser HD 450BT has great active noise canceling, making it a score for people looking for mid-tier features with a low price point. It might not be the best active noise canceling that headphones can do, but they do the job-- the background is audibly reduced, and it’s excellent for general consumers and even remote workers.
The Sennheiser HD 458BT performs similarly. It performs best in environments that are not that noisy, although it might not perform well in really crowded places. It works just well enough to use it while working in cafes.
Overall, both headphones are weak in the active noise cancellation feature, although the over-ear cups are good enough to keep out most external sounds.
The microphone is not both Sennheiser models’ strongest suit. The mic frequency ranges from 80 Hz to 6,000 Hz. Both are not noise-canceling, which makes the headphones not optimal for calls.
The two models have similar specs and working features, making the design and price point the only real difference. There’s not much to distinguish one model from the other because they perform similarly in crucial aspects like sound quality and connectivity. In this case, it would probably be more cost-effective to purchase the Sennheiser HD 450BT as it costs less but performs similarly.
Here is a summary of the two models’ performance in these areas:
- Price - Winner: Sennheiser HD 450BT
- Design - Winner: Sennheiser HD 458BT
- Build - Same
- User interface - Same
- Wireless streaming - Same
- Battery life - Same
- Active noise cancellation - Same
- Microphone - Same