ANC Headphone Comparison: Sennheiser HD 450BT vs Teufel Real Blue NC
Sennheiser’s HD 450BT was first introduced during CES 2020 while Teufel’s Real Blue NC appeared during the 2017 IFA. In other words: The latter has been around for more than two years. Its price has subsequently dropped over time from more than $250 at its introduction to somewhere in the vicinity of $200. This just happens to be the same price range occupied by the HD 450BT.
Both headphones share a very similar concept. Due to its more recent release date the Sennheiser headset supports a newer version of Bluetooth, comes with a more modern USB port, and it supports more audio codecs than Teufel’s. Find out in our review whether or not it is the better choice.
|Sennheiser HD 450BT||Teufel Real Blue NC|
|Audio Transmission Range||18 - 22,000 Hz||20 - 20,000 Hz|
|Audio Codecs||SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX LL||SBC, AAC|
|Bluetooth||yes, version 5.0||yes, version 4.0|
|Headphone jack||yes, 2.5 mm||yes, 3.5 mm|
|Battery capacity||600 mAh (3,7 V)||n.a.|
|Weight||238 g||260 g|
|Price (MSRP)||179 EUR||230 EUR|
Connectivity – More Up-To-Date on the HD 450BT
Sennheiser’s HD 450BT is made primarily out of plastic. The ear pieces are made of the same soft faux leather that can also be found on other Sennheiser headphones, such as the HD 4.50BTNC or the MB 360. The opening to enclose your ears is relatively small but makes for a great and close fit around our head. This alone provides a noticeable passive noise dampening already. The headphone jack takes 2.5-mm plugs, and a matching cable with 3.5-mm plug on the other end is included in the box. The battery is charged via USB-C, and thanks to support for Bluetooth 5.0 and the high-resolution aptX audio codec the Sennheiser headset features more up-to-date connectivity than Teufel’s contender.
Speaking of which, the Real Blue NC is charged via micro USB. Like its Sennheiser rival it is made out of plastic albeit with a metal look in some areas. It includes an audio cable as well, and can thus be used even when the battery is dead. It also comes with an airline adapter that can get quite useful on those cheap holiday flights. The earpieces are made of faux leather, and they sit comfortably and tight with an ear opening that is slightly bigger than the Sennheiser’s. Replacing the earpieces is supported on both products.
Both headphones come with a small carrying case. While Sennheiser opted for a simple flexible microfiber bag, Teufel includes a high-quality case with room for additional accessories.
Handling – Teufel without App-Support but with Sensor Buttons
The Teufel headset is controlled exclusively through buttons located on the headphones themselves as there is no app support for adjustments or installing software updates. What few buttons it has are easily palpable and offer a comfortably long key travel, rendering accidental presses virtually impossible. Unfortunately, the sensor area on the right earpiece is different and can be easily triggered accidently when picking up the earphones. More often than not you won’t notice this right away either.
All buttons on Sennheiser’s headphones are located exclusively on the right earpiece. Despite the fact that the buttons are easy to tell apart it can get somewhat confusing at first. Most often we found ourselves confusing the power button with the assistant button and vice versa. Unlike on Teufel’s headphones the ports are not covered. Sennheiser offers an app to control not only these particular headphones but also all other wireless Sennheiser headphones. In addition to firmware updates the app also allows for an individually customizable equalizer. Unfortunately, there is no acoustic feedback as to whether or not ANC is on or off and no visual indication either.
In our test both headphones worked great with both iOS and Android smartphones. You can also pair them with a Fire TV stick, smart TVs, or AV receivers. The latter will require full Bluetooth transmission support. Both headphones can be used to control and interact with voice assistants.
While Sennheiser's buttons are all located on one side (see right photo), Teufel's buttons are more evenly distributed.
Sound – Sennheiser with Powerful Bass
In regard to audio performance both headphones offered a great experience, the main difference being the Sennheiser HD 450BT’s stronger bass. Low frequencies were very powerful even on low volume, which turned out to be particularly beneficial when watching movies or playing games. When listening to music the amount of bass is a matter of personal taste. Should you for example prefer a more balanced soundscape you will enjoy the Teufel headset much more. In addition, we were able to clearly hear background noise during periods of quiet playback with enabled ANC.
Despite the minor high frequency distortions we noticed on high volume, which included high-pitched voices or drum roll, we very much liked the Sennheiser’s overall soundscape. If you enjoy listening to classical music you will quickly notice the predominance of low frequencies and the lack of precision in high frequencies, particularly for bowed string instruments.
Teufel’s Real Blue NC offers a much more balanced audio experience, which made it seem less playful overall. Mids and lower highs are very accurate while lows and very high frequencies are slightly wobbly. We noticed a minor background noise even with disabled ANC. Generally speaking, Teufel’s headphones are a better all-rounder while Sennheiser’s contender offers a wider and more powerful sound.
Active Noise Cancellation – Slight Advantage for Sennheiser
Both headphones are over-ear designs, which means that simply by putting them on you already get a certain degree of passive noise cancellation. Nevertheless, background conversations were very noticeable with both sets of headphones. Enabling active noise cancellation had a very minute effect on people’s voices and a much higher impact on low frequencies, such as those emitted by engines.
Overall, the Sennheiser HD 450BT offered a better ambient noise cancellation than its Teufel rival, both active and passive. That said it was still nowhere near the excellent performance of Sony’s WH-1000MX3. All things considered the differences between the two contenders are pretty minor. In return, Teufel’s headset had a more comfortable fit overall and exercised less pressure on the head.
Battery Life – Teufel in the Lead, but…
Officially, Sennheiser claims up to 30 hours of battery life and a charging time of no more than two hours while Teufel claims up to 60 hours in wired use with enabled ANC. When connected via Bluetooth, the actual battery life is reduced to 23 hours.
We performed a battery test on both headsets by playing music at full volume with enabled active noise cancellation. In this test, Teufel’s headset lasted for 12:02 hours while the HD 450BT ran out of juice after 9:05 hours. This is the price you pay for high quality audio transmission as well as a higher level of volume.
Verdict – ANC Headsets with Subtle Differences
Sennheiser’s HD 450BT Wireless is a brand-new product equipped with the latest technology. When using an appropriate playback device with support for high-definition audio codecs they will offer a much better audio experience. Nevertheless, this does not mean that Teufel’s headphones are any worse overall, as they offer a much more balanced soundscape not geared towards bass frequencies.
Sennheiser’s HD 450BT and Teufel’s Real Blue NC are head-to-head in most categories. At the end of the day, it boils down to personal preference.
Both headphones showed some room for improvement on maximum volume, particularly regarding high frequencies and, in the case of the Teufel Real Blue NC, also bass. Thanks to its powerful sound the 450BT is particularly well suited for action movies, where it offers a very enjoyable audio experience. Depending on your personal music taste the Teufel headphones might still end up being the better choice, though.
If you already own a Teufel Real Blue NC we don’t see any reason to switch. If you are in the market for a set of wireless ANC headphones we would recommend the Sennheiser HD 450BT, as its pros outweigh the cons. However, given that audio experience is highly subjective we would definitely recommend trying both sets out before you make a decision, particularly so because they offer very different soundscapes and audio experiences.