Review: Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless Earbuds

It's a sign of how competitive the market for truly wireless in-ear headphones has grown that even a firm with nothing to prove has a lot to prove every time it releases a new product.

Review: Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless Earbuds

Sennheiser is simply the latest brand to grasp that there are no laurel-resting options when it comes to truly wireless in-ear. Its new Accentum True Wireless enters a market segment where "pretty good" isn't good enough. And it doesn't matter who you are, your reputation, or how long you've been playing. The question is always, "What have you done for me lately?".

And on first glance, Sennheiser does not appear to have done itself any favors with the Accentum True Wireless. They are certainly helpfully tiny; the charging case in which the earbuds travel measures only 1.1 x 1.9 x 2.0 inches and weighs 40 grams, while each earbud weighs only 5.4 grams. However, the plastic used to make each component is rough and slick, and it is far from luxury. The fact that the build and finish are usually Sennheiser—which means they are above reproach—doesn't help the Accentum True Wireless appear or feel remotely premium.

Surprisingly, given the previous, these have won a Red Dot Design Award. Perhaps this is due to the earbuds' ergonomic design? While the "lozenge" part appears unappealingly bulky, the fit is secure, and long-term comfort is virtually guaranteed. The packing also includes four pairs of different-sized silicone ear tips.

Clear Control

A look at the spec list also helps Sennheiser reclaim some of its "premium" image. Battery life of up to 28 hours (eight from the earphones) with active noise cancellation turned off is impressive, and compatibility with Qi-certified wireless charging pads is also noteworthy. A flat-to-full charge takes 90 minutes, while a 10-minute pit stop should allow for more than an hour of playing.

Wireless connectivity is provided by Bluetooth 5.3, and in addition to the standard SBC and AAC codecs, LC3 and aptX are also supported. It would have been good to see compatibility with one of the more competent Qualcomm codecs, but at the very least, Bluetooth LE and Auracast are coming in an upcoming(ish) software update. Once the sound is on board, it's delivered by a pair of 7-mm Sennheiser TrueResponse dynamic drivers with a frequency response of 5 Hz to 21 kHz.

Control is one area where Sennheiser can always claim to be at the top of its game, and Accentum True Wireless is no exception. The Smart Control app (free for iOS and Android) is an admirably unflashy example of reliability, logic, and all-around good sense, putting it a notch or two ahead of any number of national competitors.

It features a five-band equalization with settings named "podcast" and "bass boost," which are self-explanatory. It helps you to control your connections (the Sennheiser can link with two devices simultaneously). It allows you to change how the touch controls work (each earbud has a capacitive surface on which all playing and telephony features may be managed).

The app also allows you to regulate active noise cancellation. The Accentum True Wireless has an adaptable ANC system that can be turned on or off via the app, as well as a third option called "anti-wind." If you like more of the outside world, the app includes a "transparency" setting (select between low, mid, and high) that amplifies rather than minimizes ambient sounds.

Beautiful Balance

The Sennheisers have an IP54 rating, which means they are suitable for use in any environment. In addition to telephony and ANC, the beam-forming mic arrangement in each earbud enables communication with your source player's native voice assistant. So, while they may not look or feel like the asking price, the Accentum True Wireless appears to have plenty where it counts.

In some ways, Sennheiser has a lot going for it in terms of performance. The Accentum True Wireless demonstrates significant control and authority when wirelessly connected to an iPhone 14 Pro running the Tidal music streaming app and playing a decent-sized FLAC file of Caribou's "Broke My Heart".

They provide a spacious, well-organized soundstage with plenty of space, allowing the recording's myriad distinct aspects to express themselves fully. This tight separation, however, does not sacrifice focus or unity—the tape is presented confidently, as a unified whole, rather than as a collection of disconnected happenings.

Tonality is well judged, in a Goldilocks way: not too chilly, nor too warm. The Sennheiser also performs admirably in terms of frequency range integration—from the deep, well-shaped low frequencies to the robust, graciously sparkling high end to the open and revealing midrange, the journey is seamless and refined. No portion of the frequency range is neglected, and none receives more attention than it deserves. "Balance" is the word, and the Accentum True Wireless has plenty of it.

Enervated Animation

The Sennheiser, on the other hand, lacks motion and energy—and it isn't overly dynamic. A large file of Sons of Kemet's "Your Queen is a Reptile" should move rather quickly. The entire tape is packed with light and shade, enormous dynamic shifts, and palpable vigor, but virtually little of this attitude or attack survives when the Accentum True Wireless gets hold of it.

Any sense of movement or direct vibrancy is drained away, leaving a rather colorless and bland replica in its place—which, I believe we can all agree, is not ideal when you're hoping to get your metaphorical socks blown off by some full-fledged modern UK jazz. All of this places the Sennheiser Accentum genuine Wireless squarely in the "also-ran" category among the several genuine wireless headphones now available.

As I previously stated, it makes no difference what your brand's reputation is or how many times you've struck it out of the park. Everyone starts from scratch with each new product—and when even decent isn't good enough, something as forgettable as the Accentum True Wireless is doomed.

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