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Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus – True Wireless

Pros

  • Good noise reduction
  • Good voice reproduction
  • Excellent battery life
  • Wireless charging casing

Cons

  • Very high price
  • Few functions in the application
  • No customisable controls

In 2021, faced with the difficulties encountered by its consumer division, Sennheiser was acquired by the Swiss manufacturer Sonova. Unknown in the audio field, this Swiss company specialises in hearing aids and cochlear implants. It is, therefore, primarily aimed at deaf and hard-of-hearing people. Nevertheless, for its first product bearing the Sennheiser name, the Swiss brand is now seeking to build on the German brand’s reputation to offer headphones that aim to bridge the gap between the two fields of wireless headphones and hearing aids. The Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus is an expensive wireless headphone that flatters Sonova’s range of Phonak devices.

TECHNICAL DATA

Model
Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus
Form factor
In-ear headphone
Microphone
Yes
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
Yes
Battery life
27 hours
Connector type
USB Type-C
Weight
12.6 grams
Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus 2

DESIGN

Sonova’s idea with the Conversation Clear Plus is simple: to allow people with hearing loss to find hearing aids that look like conventional wireless headphones. The idea is not to hide the earpieces but to make them look like true wireless headphones. Most importantly, by displaying the Sennheiser logo, Sonova hopes to break down the stigma some people might feel when buying a first-time hearing aid device.

The Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus does look like classic wireless headphones at first glance. They have short stems pointing towards the mouth, and you can clearly see the microphones’ locations. As the name suggests, the whole point of Conversation Clear Plus is to analyse ambient noise. So there’s no question of offering small, discreet microphones.

The headphones are also in the in-ear format and are therefore supplied with three pairs of silicone tips. The oval-shaped ear tips allow you to adapt the earphones to the shape of your ear canal. In addition to the ear tips, Sennheiser also provides replaceable ear cups in three sizes to ensure that the Conversation Clear Plus fit snugly in the ear. This approach is reminiscent of Bose’s recent QuietComfort Earbuds II.

The Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus are quite comfortable and can be worn without discomfort for several hours. Of course, this will depend primarily on the size of your ear, but at 5.7 grams, they’re pretty light. On the other hand, they are rather bulky and will have a more challenging time not tiring smaller ears.

Sennheiser-Conversation-Clear-Plus-wireless-earbuds-2

USAGE AND APPLICATION


The Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus has no pairing button on the housing. This allows you to connect to a smartphone or computer even if you don’t have the headset. To do this, press the buttons on both earphones for a few seconds until they flash blue. The headphones then appear in the Bluetooth settings of your phone or computer.

THE SENNHEISER CONVERSATION CLEAR APPLICATION


Sennheiser already offers an application for its headphones and earphones, Sennheiser Smart Control. The Conversation Clear plus require, however, to go through another mobile application: Sennheiser Conversation Clear. This is listed on the Play Store and App Store as being developed by Sonova, a sign that it is indeed a product designed primarily to help people with hearing loss.

In concrete terms, the Conversation Clear application is different from Smart Control. It doesn’t offer multiple noise reduction modes, touch controls, or the ability to change the equaliser on the headphones. After a few hearing tests to fine-tune the volume and clarity level, you will have access to three tabs: relax, communication and stream.

In concrete terms, the relax mode is the one that will offer active noise reduction with a gauge allowing 0 to 100% of external sounds to pass through.

The communication mode, on the other hand, will allow you to hear the sounds around you and increase the clarity so that the Conversation Clear Plus can better capture voices.

The stream mode allows you to listen to music on the headphones or watch a video. It activates automatically when you start playback and will enable you to adjust the balance between the external sounds and the music playing in the headphones. For example, if you move the slider to the right, on the “audio” side, you will hear the music loudly but with minimal external sound. On the other side, towards “external”, the volume of the music will be very low, and you will hear the external sounds loudly.

In addition to these three modes, the application will allow you to update the headphones’ firmware and display their battery level. You can also update the sound profile if the one you initially configured – for volume or clarity level – needs to be more efficient.


NOISE REDUCTION


The concept of Conversation Clear plus revolves around the three modes we discussed earlier. These modes allow you to manage active noise reduction via the relax mode, the transparent mode, thanks to the communication mode, or the balance between these two functions when listening to music via the streaming mode.

RELAX MODE


Relax mode can be likened to a classic active noise reduction mode… provided you are not listening to music. It is simply a matter of isolating yourself in a quiet bubble, but without offering any media playback, we’ll use the streaming mode.

In concrete terms, the relax mode will analyse the ambient sounds captured by the microphones and perform a phase inversion so that you don’t hear them through the headphones. In other words, this mode will allow you to adjust the external sounds from 0 to 100%.

The noise reduction offered here is of outstanding quality and allows you to isolate yourself from the lowest frequencies. Unfortunately, the headphones have more trouble reducing mid or high frequencies, especially the more punctual ones. For example, you’ll still hear mechanical sounds in the underground, but much less of the hum of the wheels on the tracks. Human voices are also reduced but still audible.

Overall, even with external sounds at 0%, the Conversation Clear Plus don’t do as well as the best active noise-cancelling headphones, such as the Apple AirPods Pro 2 or the Bose QC Earbuds II.

COMMUNICATION MODE


In contrast, the communication mode will allow you to focus solely on the frequencies of the voices around you. Practically, the headphones will only pick up voices, not all the sounds around you. The idea, for example, is to allow you to have a conversation in a noisy bar or cafe while making sure you hear the person you’re talking to and not all the noise.

The headphones will analyse the sounds around you to gauge your environment best and calibrate which sounds to reduce and which to keep. In practice, the effect will be relatively weak in a quiet room. In a noisy place, however, the filter will be more pronounced. On the other hand, the headphones will tend to emphasise only the mid-range frequencies and therefore offer a rather tiring sound to listen to, which will need more depth.

Overall, this feature is interesting, but it needs to distinguish itself from what Apple already offers with the hearing aid mode of the AirPods. More importantly, with Bluetooth LE Audio eventually coming to Android, most traditional wireless headphones should offer a similar feature.

STREAM MODE


Finally, the stream mode, used for listening to music, can also vary the ambient sounds. To do this, you’ll need to adjust the gauge between external noise and the sounds played on the smartphone, as discussed earlier.

Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus earbuds 21

AUDIO


Sennheiser has integrated large 12mm diameter transducers for the audio part of its headphones. According to the manufacturer, this allows for the reproduction of frequencies from 20 to 20,000 Hz. It should also be noted that the Conversation Clear Plus are only compatible with one Bluetooth audio codec: SBC.

To test the Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus, I connected the headphones to a Vivo X80 Pro and listened to tracks on Spotify in “very high” quality, i.e. ogg vorbis files encoded at 320 kb/s. In addition, I used a medium sound profile, with the sound clarity set to notch 4 out of 7. Notch 1 needed to be more muffled, while notch 2 limited frequencies other than the midrange. Notch 4 is the one proposed by Sennheiser.

Unfortunately, even if the manufacturer communicates on a frequency response of its earphones from 20 to 20,000 Hz, it is necessary to note that the measured frequency response indicates a much weaker signature in the highs. We are dealing with headphones that will struggle to reproduce frequencies above 10,000 Hz, i.e. the highest sounds.

In short, the headphones may be quite convincing in transparent mode, but they lag far behind when it comes to music.

MICROPHONE


The Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus have microphones that face the user’s mouth. This would suggest that the headphones are particularly good at picking up your voice and playing it back to the person on the other end. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Indoors, the headphones do a better job of picking up your voice, although it’s not particularly clear – provided you’re completely quiet. The slightest noise will tend to be picked up by the microphones. This is the case for occasional and more constant noises, such as an open water tap if you are doing the dishes.

conversation clear plus headsets front 2 final e1672945593693

BATTERY LIFE

The Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus has 70 mAh batteries, while the housing has a 500 mAh battery. According to Sennheiser, this battery life would allow the headphones to operate for 9 hours.

If Sennheiser announces up to 9 hours of battery life, I must admit that the battery life that I could measure with these parameters was much longer. The left earpiece went out after 12 hours and 46 minutes. From this point onwards, however, I could no longer use the right earpiece in streaming mode and had to switch to communication mode to use up the last seven battery points, which were lost in 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Recharging the headphones, in their case, on the other hand, is a different matter. Firstly, the earphones must be perfectly aligned with the connectors, which is not easy given the width of the slot. In addition, recharging is particularly time-consuming. Starting with completely empty earphones, it took me 2 hours and 27 minutes to go from 0 to 100% charge on the Sennheiser Conversation Plus. By comparison, most earphones on the market offer a full charge in 30 to 60 minutes.

The headphone housing can be charged via USB-C using a short USB-A to USB-C cable – no power adapter is included – or inductively via Qi wireless charging.

CONCLUSION

The Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus are a tricky product to evaluate, as they are both Bluetooth headphones and a hearing aid device.

The sound quality is far too strong in the midrange, which results in a dry and flat sound. The call quality could be better to convince, and the rudimentary Bluetooth connection makes them frustrating to use daily.

If you think of them as hearing aids, the Conversation Clear Plus fare better thanks to their excellent voice reproduction. Nevertheless, it isn’t easy to find substantial advantages compared to the function offered natively by Apple on its AirPods. Significantly since the arrival of Bluetooth, LE Audio should eventually democratise this use on all wireless headphones.

Sennheiser RS 5200 Review

★★★★★

Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus - True Wireless Bluetooth Hearing Solution for Speech Enhancement with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) - Black

BUY NOW
Amazon.co.uk
Wait For A Price Drop

Price History

Statistics

Current Price -
Highest Price £749.00 September 20, 2023
Lowest Price £515.83 March 5, 2024
Since September 8, 2023

Last price changes

£515.83 March 5, 2024
£559.73 March 4, 2024
£620.82 February 8, 2024
£599.27 January 31, 2024
£689.05 January 2, 2024
★★★★★

Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus - True Wireless Bluetooth Hearing Solution for Speech Enhancement with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) - Black

BUY NOW
Amazon.com
Wait For A Price Drop

Price History

Statistics

Current Price -
Highest Price $64,995,648.00 February 8, 2024
Lowest Price $649.95 December 6, 2023
Since August 13, 2023

Last price changes

$64,995,648.00 March 2, 2024
$64,995,648.00 March 1, 2024
$64,995,648.00 February 28, 2024
$64,995,648.00 February 27, 2024
$64,995,648.00 February 26, 2024
4.3/5 (3 Reviews)

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Richard Garrett

Richard Garrett

As an expert on the latest techy stuff, the primary focus is PCs and laptops. Much of his time is split between smartphones, tablets and audio, focusing on the latest devices.
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