While Sennheiser might be best known for its much-loved over-ear headphones like the HD800 series, the company also has a record of some high-quality in-ear models. Now the company has debuted its first-ever neckbud-style in-ears in the HD 1, which offer a sleek and stylish take on the design.
“HD 1 headphones are inspired by people that push boundaries and refuse to compromise in fulfilling their ambition,” said Dr. Christian Ern, head of Portfolio Management Audiophile at Sennheiser. “With the new HD1 In-Ear Wireless, we are bringing this ethos to a compact Bluetooth neckband headphone.”
As part of Sennheiser’s Momentum line, the HD 1 are among the best-looking neckbuds we’ve seen, with the neck stitched with soft sheepskin nappa leather for both looks and comfort. Built with stainless steel and finished in mirrored chrome, the actual earbuds look just as impressive as the rest of the package. Impact-resistant polycarbonate should help to keep them in good shape.
Sennheiser says the stainless steel in-ear sound tunnels have been expertly machined for acoustic precision. This, combined with the high-quality dynamic drivers, should mean powerful bass and an expansive soundstage. The company says vocals are treated especially well. Four different ear adapters are provided, meaning finding a good fit — a necessity for the best possible sound — should be fairly easy.
The HD 1 uses Bluetooth 4.1, aptX, and AAC, with NFC pairing available for compatible mobile devices. Battery life is claimed to provide up to 10 hours of playtime, with a fast recharge time of just 1.5 hours. The integrated three-button remote and microphone make it easy to change volume, control playback, and take and make calls without ever having to reach for your phone. The headphones can connect to two devices at once, meaning you won’t have to keep pairing them in order to use them with both your phone and tablet.
In addition to the new in-ears, Sennheiser is also showing the HD 4.50BTNC and HD 4.40BT, both of which are wireless. The HD 4.50BTNC goes even further by including Sennheiser’s NoiseGard active noise cancellation to let you listen free from the distractions of the world around you. Both headphones use Bluetooth 4.0 and feature NFC for quick, easy pairing with compatible devices.
Both models claim a battery life of up to 25 hours, though in the case of the HD 4.50BTNC that figure is with noise canceling turned off. With ANC enabled, the headphones offer a still-impressive 19 hours. Once the battery runs down, both models offer a battery-free passive mode when used with the included cable. Both headphones come with protection, with the HD 4.50BTNC getting a case, and the HD 4.40BT getting a soft carrying pouch.
Finally, the company has unveiled a new pair of prototype in-ears loaded with microphones which, in tandem with the brand’s new Ambeo 3D audio technology, are designed to allow you to record videos on your smartphone with striking 3D sound.
The HD 1 In-Ear Wireless headphones are planned to become available some time this month, and will sell for $200. No pricing has been announced so far for the wireless over-ears, but the HD 4.40BT is expected to launch this month, while the HD 4.50BTNC will be available beginning in February.
Updated 1/11/2017: Added information about Sennheiser’s new prototype in-ears which record 3D audio.