Sennheiser’s success with Bluetooth headphones hasn’t been as profound as its achievements in the pro audio and wired headphone departments. With the HD 4.40 BT, we finally see the synthesis of what we’ve hoped for in a wireless Sennheiser pair: an excellent sound signature (with some boosted bass added to the mix) and the ease-of-use factor that makes or breaks so many Bluetooth models. At $149.95, the HD 4.40 BT headphones are priced to compete with some very strong models, but more than hold their own. Bass lovers seeking a balanced sound signature in a simple, minimalist design won’t be disappointed, and the headphones earn our latest Editors’ Choice in this midrange price point.
hasn’t been as profound as its achievements in the pro audio and wired headphone departments. With the HD 4.40 BT, we finally see the synthesis of what we’ve hoped for in a wireless Sennheiser pair: an excellent sound signature (with some boosted bass added to the mix) and the ease-of-use factor that makes or breaks so many Bluetooth models. At $149.95, the HD 4.40 BT headphones are priced to compete with some very strong models, but more than hold their own. Bass lovers seeking a balanced sound signature in a simple, minimalist design won’t be disappointed, and the headphones earn our latest Editors’ Choice in this midrange price point.
The HD 4.40 BT’s circumaural (over-the-ear), closed back design is available in a matte black finish that’s understated and handsome. While the earpads are plush and exceptionally comfortable, the headband could use a little more padding–over longer listening periods, it can make its presence known in the form of noticeable pressure on the scalp, but it’s nothing a little adjusting can’t fix.
On the right earcup’s side panel, there are various buttons, including the power button, which also places the headphones in Bluetooth pairing mode (there’s also an NFC zone on the left earcup for compatible devices). Near the power button, there’s also a button/switch that operates playback and track navigation by either pressing or pushing the switch forward or backward–this button also manages phone calls and summons voice controls on your phone. Near this button, there’s a dedicated volume rocker, which works in conjunction with your mobile device’s master volume levels. All of these controls are intuitive and simply laid out. When it’s so easy to get things like this right, it’s a surprise so many companies get on-ear controls wrong by trying to assign too many tasks to a single button.
The right earcup also houses a connection for the included 3.5mm audio cable. It’s great that Sennheiser includes a cable, though we wish it had an inline remote control and mic. When the cable is connected, it kills Bluetooth pairing and the headphones immediately power down. The right ear is also where the micro USB charging cable connects.
Sennheiser has a free app you can use called CapTune. The app lets you adjust EQ, but the headphones sound pretty excellent without without it. Think of it as an optional free extra that in no way detracts from the experience, but also doesn’t add much.
The headphones include dual omnidirectional mics for better clarity on calls and when using voice controls. In our tests, the mics offered above-average intelligibility–using the Voice Memos app on an iPhone 6s, we were able to clearly understand every word we recorded. However, the mics can sound a little far away and there’s still a hint of Bluetooth audio degradation. But overall, the audio quality is in the higher tier of wireless headphone mics we’ve tested.
Sennheiser estimates battery life to be roughly 25 hours, but your results will vary with your volume levels. In addition to the charging and audio cables, the headphones ship with a black drawstring carrying pouch.
On tracks with intense sub-bass content, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the headphones deliver a powerful low frequency response that doesn’t distort at top volume levels and should appeal to bass lovers. The higher frequencies are not forsaken here–there’s a solid balance to the mix, but this is certainly a bass-forward sound signature.
Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” a track with far less deep bass in the mix, gives us a better sense of the overall sound signature. The drums on this track get some serious boosting in the sub-bass realm, making them full, round, and rich. Callahan’s baritone vocals get plenty of low-mid presence, but receive enough in the high-mids to keep them fairly crisp and defined. The guitar strums on this track, as well as the higher register percussive hits, also have a brightness to them. The sound here is balanced, but sculpted, with a lean toward the lows, but enough definition in the highs.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop’s attack has a sharp edge to it that is highlighted nicely by a somewhat sculpted high-mid and high frequency response. The drum loop also gets some serious added thump in the lows, while the sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat are delivered with depth and power. Simply put, bass lovers will be thrilled with the HD 4.40 BT’s sound signature–it brings some serious rumble without sacrificing definition in the highs.
Orchestral tracks, like the opening scene in John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary , sound vibrant, if somewhat sculpted through the HD 4.40 BT. Occasionally, we hear some added sub-bass depth, but mostly the lower register instrumentation sounds natural, while the higher register brass, strings, and vocals have a sculpted, clear, crisp sound. Purists might not fall in love with this sound signature, but the sculpting isn’t over the top–there’s some pushing of the bass depth, and some tweaking of the highs.
, sound vibrant, if somewhat sculpted through the HD 4.40 BT. Occasionally, we hear some added sub-bass depth, but mostly the lower register instrumentation sounds natural, while the higher register brass, strings, and vocals have a sculpted, clear, crisp sound. Purists might not fall in love with this sound signature, but the sculpting isn’t over the top–there’s some pushing of the bass depth, and some tweaking of the highs.
Sennheiser’s HD 4.40 BT sounds fantastic for a $150 pair of Bluetooth headphones–there’s full, round bass depth that goes all the way down to the subwoofer realm, matched with a clear high frequency response. Add to that a comfortable fit and easy operation, and there’s a lot to like. They more than hold their own against favorites like the Klipsch Reference On-Ear Bluetooth , the Skullcandy Hesh 3 , and the Sony MDR-XB650BT , earning our Editors’ Choice award in the process. If all of these are a bit pricier than what you’re hoping to spend, consider the more affordable JBL E45BT .
Sennheiser’s HD 4.40 BT sounds fantastic for a $150 pair of Bluetooth headphones–there’s full, round bass depth that goes all the way down to the subwoofer realm, matched with a clear high frequency response. Add to that a comfortable fit and easy operation, and there’s a lot to like. They more than hold their own against favorites like the
, earning our Editors’ Choice award in the process. If all of these are a bit pricier than what you’re hoping to spend, consider the more affordable
See Also : Amazon.com: Sennheiser HD 4.40 Around Ear Bluetooth …
I was officially eager to get the Sennheiser HD 4.40BT headphones. After trying out several headphones and accidentally coming across the HD 4.40s during a web search I thought, this is it. Finally, the pair I’ve been looking for. Some reviews say they sound great. They do. Some reviews say that their phone voice quality is good. It’s okay. And, for me, which is a critical issue, the reviews say that the HD 4.40 prevent sound leakage very well. That one is very true. So initially, I thought that I found the nearly perfect pair of headphones. But it turns out there are some disappointments especially when referring to my secondary list of “must haves”. Not critical, deal-breaker features, but ones that I find very convenient and in some cases essential, I started to find the shortcomings of the HD 4.40BT.
But first, let me comment on their sound quality. I’ve tried the Bose QC35, Sony MDR-1000Xs, Sony MDR-XB950BTs, Skullcandy Crusher Wireless, and the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2. These headphones perform stellar in the sound quality department. Clear crisp highs, full mids, and plenty of bass. But the most fun I have with these their sound stage. With the HD 4.40BT, you get a broad sound stage with great separation. If you’re looking for a great sounding pair of headphones at $150, you’ve found them. These are the least expensive of the lineup I’ve tried and yield a sound quality on par or better than all of the headphones I’ve tried at more than twice the price.
The phone call quality is okay on the Sennheiser HD 4.40BT. Sometimes I get callers telling me that I sound fantastic and sometimes that I have digital “reverby” artifacts. Unfortunately, I can’t get consistent results. I do know that when I switch to my phone during those complaint calls, I get good responses. So it’s definitely in the headset. It may be a futile effort to find a great sounding pair of headphones that has excellent call quality but I’m trying. For now, the search continues.
The noise isolation capability is not that great. I can clearly here ambient sound, voices, and the like while listening to music, even somewhat loudly. Fortunately, however, these do not leak much sound which is a huge bonus. Due to the less-than-ideal noise isolation, I may try out the Sennheiser HD 4.50BT instead. Since those feature noise cancelling.
The HD 4.40BTs fold for compact storage, which is very nice. I wish the ear cans also rotated flat as with other headphones I’ve tried. But I mostly like the rotated ear cans for comfortably wearing the headphones around your neck when you need to temporarily have them removed. Fortunately, the HD 4.40s are very comfortable around the neck without this option. I think it’s their wide headband that accounts for this. Overall the foldability is nice. These come with a soft pouch so you’re not going to get any protection from a case with the HD 4.40BTs, but at their price-point, the company had to skimp somewhere.
The controls are okay. And if you’re familiar with Sony MDR-XB950BT controls, you’ll find these pretty similar. There is one significant difference however, the Sony’s feature a multi-function button that is pretty tall, which makes it easy to accidentally skip or rewind your music instead of pausing. This is due to the leverage that their button height has. This potential issue is not an issue on the HD 4.40s because the multi-function button has a very low profile. Consequently, the buttons low profile makes it a bit more difficult to find and press for phone calls and pausing music, especially since the bezel around the ear cup that has nearly the same height as the low profile multi-function button. The volume rocker is placed low on the ear can which I find a little too low. I think an improvement to the design would be to move the power button to the front of the can and allow more spacing and better positioning of the volume rocker and play/pause multi-function button. Overall, they’re a solid set of buttons that work well to control calls and music.
The ear pads, as mentioned in other reviews, have small openings and while I don’t have very large ears, the ear pad openings do press on either the top or the bottom of my ear depending on how I position them. This is in contrast to the Bose QC35s which have a large opening that fit my ears comfortably without touching. Despite this issue, the ear pads on the Sennheisers are soft and the headsets light enough to make them comfortable. However, I find myself having to tweak the fit ever time I use them. The comfort tolerance is so tight that you have to really fuss with the fit to get them where you can wear them for hours without some discomfort. It’s possible to find the sweet spot, but you need narrow ears, a narrow head, and a bunch of finicky trials to make them fit nicely comfy. There is a noticeable amount of ear pressure after wearing these for over an hour so they’re not the most comfortable headphones you can find. I wish Sennheiser would have made the ear openings bigger because the suppleness of the ear pads is great. There is minimal padding in the headband which will apply pressure to the crown of your head after about an hour of wearing these. In summary, larger ear pad openings and a more heavily padded headband cushion would make these extremely comfortable. As designed, they’re not.
The LED light on these does not illuminate when the headphones are on. While I thought this would be a bonus, especially when using them in a dark room, believe it or not, I miss a flashing or glowing LED. Glowing LED lights help let you know if a device is on, which may help you avoid unnecessary battery drain. With the HD 4.40s you’ll have to either look at your device to confirm whether they’re on or not, or you’ll have to simply try to play audio through them to test if they’re on.
One last little disappointment is the 2.5 to 3.5 mm headphone cable. I have a few standard 3.5mm cables lying around and would like to keep those in different places for convenient use with my headphones. One in the computer bag, one at the office, one at home, etc. Unfortunately, you need a special cable with the HD 4.40BTs.
If you’re looking for a good pair of headphones that sound great, have decent comfort, prevent sound leakage for using them in work environments, and have adequate voice call quality the Sennheiser HD 4.40BT may give you everything you want. Overall, feature and sound-wise these headphones top the Bose QC35, Sony MDR-1000X, Sony 950BT, the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2, and the Skullcandy Crushers. While they’re not perfect, they do have some solid performance in the features they offer.