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Sennheiser HD 458BT review
Don't let the stiff plastic construction or dull colour palette deter you, the Sennheiser HD 458BT over-ear headphones sound great and have solid noise cancelling which, if you think about it, is all that really matters.
What we like about the HD 458BT
The Sennheiser HD 458BT headphones are a great example of what Sennheiser does really well. In a market where aesthetics are just as important as performance, the 458s won’t be winning any beauty pageants, but instead these cans lean towards a great sound at a reasonable price.
Our review units are the HD 458BT headphones (pictured) which are actually identical to the HD 458BT headphones, but introduce a new metallic red colour variant: something the Sennheiser website refers to as a ‘remix’. This isn’t the sort of design twist that warrants an entirely different product name, but that’s by the by. For all intents and purposes, this review is equally relevant for both models.
Of course, the sound that the headphones produce is far more important than colour options, and it’s here that the HD 458s really shine. The sound is loud and warm and immediately impressive. It lacks the sharpness you get from other comparable models, which I personally miss when listening to music that I like, but this is a sound that most people will love.
Sennheisers Noisegard active noise cancelling tech works well too, and is as good as similar ANC features in headphones made by Bose or Sony. Plump ear cup cushions and a tight fit help too, with the headphones offering solid noise isolation even before you power them up.
Priced at just under $300, the HD 458BT's land squarely in the middle of what you can expect to pay for over-ear headphones (if you exclude Apple’s ridiculously expensive Airpod Max cans from consideration). This is a great price for the quality of sound you get for your money.
What we’d change about the HD 458BT
It’s a credit to Sennheiser that all of the points in our ‘cons’ column are design related. Without further labouring the point, the headphones aren’t eye catching. Even the red trim does little to make this design memorable. Worse still, the plastic build feels a bit cheap and the headband offers the bare minimum of padding. Sennheiser doesn't include a hard shell case with the HD 458BTs, just a flimsy zip bag.
All of the headphone’s controls are on the underside of the right side cup, and it is a strip of confusingly similar plastic nubbins and sliders. It has taken me the entire review period to memorise what each button does and what it feels like to press without being able to see what I’m doing. A more user-friendly design would split these controls across both headphones.
This may sound like nitpicking, but the headphone market is jampacked with great options, so you may find yourself leaning towards a pair with all of the extras and matching audio.
Conclusion: Is the Sennheiser HD 458BT worth it?
The Sennheiser HD 458BT headphones are a great buy if sound quality and noise cancelling are your priorities, and let’s face it, they should be. The lacklustre design disguises the excellent sound quality, which is a shame, but it shouldn’t stop you from having a listen to these great-sounding headphones.