Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT Affordable Over-Ear Sealed Bluetooth Headphones

I'll often unbox a headphone and take a good hard look and listen and then make a guess at the price before looking it up on-line. I'm usually 25% - 33% low...and disappointed at how much things cost. Not so with the Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT, I guessed $50 high at $199. It's $149...sweet.

I think I guessed high because this headphone is so damned good looking to my eyes—simple curves, subtle color accents, a quality feel. I'll quote Sennheiser from the HD 4.40 BT product page, "Elegantly minimalistic—using tough, high-quality materials: That is how the HD 4.40 BT was designed." Having seen the headphones, and been to Sennheiser's HQ campus and materials analysis lab, I believe it...every word. These guys make it look simple, this is a lovely headphone at a dandy price.

Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT ($149)
This is an over-ear, sealed, Bluetooth wireless headphone. Pretty much all visible material are synthetic but, as I mentioned above, appears to be of high quality with a simple and elegant look.

Earpads are synthetic over memory foam and have a very nice plush feel. Ear pad openings are adequately tall at 57mm, but a bit confining front-to-back at 31mm. Ear pads are replaceable. Depth and cushioning of the ear pads is good, but I found the caliper pressure a bit to strong. Fortunately, the headband seems quite durable, and by grasping it at either end above the adjustment mechanism and stretching it our firmly but carefully I was able to relax the caliper pressure nicely.

The headband arch is a hard plastic on the outside, and soft, rubbery (possibly silicon) inner band against the head. There is no cushioning behind the inner material, but there is an air gap behind the curved surface that provides a cushioning effect. At 225gr this amount of cushioning is perfectly adequate, and the rubbery surface tends to provide a goodly amount of stiction against the hair of your head, which provided me a secure and stable fit.

Headband adjustment arms emerge from the headband arch in finely detented sliders with just the right amount of friction for easy and secure adjustment. Headband ends provide ample forward and back swiveling motion, and include hinges to fold ear capsule up and inward to compact the size and store in the adequate fabric bag with drawstring closure. No clicking or creaking here; Sennheiser knows how to do this stuff right.

The included cable is an ample 58" long and has no remote. It is terminated with a 90 degree angle 3.5mm TRS plug, and a 2.5mm TRRS plug on the other end, which inserts deeply into the right ear capsule and has a twist-lock capture to mechanically secure the cable. All electronics are turned off when the cable is inserted—sadly, the HD 4.40 BT cannot be used as a smartphone headset when using the cable. Also included is a USB charging cable, which when inserted also shuts down the electronics preventing a Bluetooth connection. The wired connection can be used while charging.

Bluetooth Electronics and Controls
The HD 4.40 BT conforms to the Bluetooth 4.0 standard and includes aptX in addition to the SBC codec. Profiles include: Hands Free Profile (HFP); Headset Profile (HSP), Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP, and Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP).

With the exception of the NFC pairing sensor, all controls, indicators, and connectors are on the bezel of the right earpiece and include (from back to front): LED indicator; power button; multi-function sliding and push switch; volume control; wired cable jack; and USB charging input. There appears to be two microphones for voice comms; one on the outside of the right earpiece and one on the forward part of the bezel. It's not specified in the manual but these likely work in concert to for directional sensitivity towards your mouth.

My experience pairing Bluetooth and using the controls of the HD 4.40 BT was superb. My fingers quickly adapted to the button layout and sequencing of pushes. Bluetooth range was a bit above average. I could roam much of my house but lost connection going out to the garage; when returning indoors Bluetooth re-paired quickly and without intervention. Battery life is claimed at 25 hours max and a full recharge takes about 2 hours.

The only flaw I experience was that when turning the unit on the voice prompt started a bit too early; the "Power on" voice prompt was heard as "ower on." Meh.

Let's have a listen....

COMPANY INFO
Sennheiser USA
1 Enterprise Dr.
Old Lyme, CT 06371
(860) 434-9190
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
zobel's picture

You covered those cans concisely. I especially liked your warning about earpad size. I am one with ears that are, in your words "too big". It doesn't surprise me that Sennheiser have a very good product for bluetooth. It does surprise me that they made the earpads so small. Maybe someday there will be a terrific sounding on ear set of bluetooth cans...or is there already?

Argyris's picture

These things keep getting better all the time. The future of wireless headphones looks a lot less bleak than it did even just a few years ago, when hissy, low quality amps; gross differences in tuning and performance between wired and wireless mode, and overblown fart cannon bass were the norm. Looking at the HD 4.40 measurements, the only thing that would really give me pause is the lack of a well defined presence bump at 3.5 kHz in the raw traces. I feel like a headphone without this feature would sound too distant and laid back for my taste, even with good transient performance and mid- and upper treble response to back it up.

Sennheiser seems to like tuning its closed headphones this way, as this graph looks very similar to the ones for the Momentum (both versions), the Urbanite on ear, and the various flavors of the HD 400 series. Interestingly, for the HD 569 they did something different, leaving more of the presence bump and lower treble. Judging by the ringing evident in the 300 Hz square wave measurements for the latter headphone, it appears they literally just closed the HD 5x9 cups off to make a sealed version without doing much else, whereas the others were clearly engineered (e.g. the notch at 4 kHz) to approximate a specific, common target.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Yup. I've noticed that Sennheiser has dialed a characteristic tuning across a number of models. Good eye!
brause's picture

Great review, great company, great headphones. I passed the video on to my neighbour who was in the market for a pair and he ordered them.

While Tyll has been producing great reviews for a long time, there are so many jokers out on youtube producing "unboxing" videos, which tell you absolutely nothing. I thought I could to this even less well and had a go at it:

https://youtu.be/elvdTCZBgE4

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