The Conversation Clear Plus from Sennheiser is a special pair of in-ear headphones. You can make calls and listen to music with them, but that’s not what these hats excel at or aim for. What does it mean specifically? To help you better focus on conversations in difficult situations. This makes the set seem like it has a similar function to a hearing aid, but that’s not quite the case, if we understand Sennheiser correctly.
“This is not a hearing aid,” Sennheiser wrote on its website, with the audio manufacturer stressing that the wireless earbuds are not intended for people with hearing loss. The intended user has no difficulty following conversations at normal volume in quiet situations without assistive devices, and can hear “birds chirping” outside. In short, Sennheiser is targeting Conversation Clear Plus at people with normal hearing who want to effortlessly follow conversations in difficult situations. Think about places with a lot of environmental noise, such as a full bar or a crowded conference, where the noise around you can make conversation a tiring activity.
However, operating these ears is very similar to operating a hearing aid. This is not surprising, considering that Sennheiser’s consumer arm was acquired by Sonova a few years ago. For example, this Swiss group also sells hearing aids under brand names such as Phonak and Unitron, and is the owner of the Dutch hearing care chain Schoonenberg. While the Sennheiser brand name is prominently displayed on the packaging of these earbuds, you’ll find the name of the parent company on the side.
The idea is that Conversation Clear Plus amplifies the sound of the conversations you’re focused on. Sounds that seem almost directly in front of you are amplified more than sounds behind you. At the same time, the ears try to suppress sounds at other frequencies. The big difference with real hearing aids is that they provide greater amplification and are more tailored to the individual user. These can also be more expensive, although this set from Sennheiser isn’t exactly cheap with a recommended retail price of €849. We took the time to check whether these earbuds manage to facilitate conversations in difficult situations and whether they are worth their hefty price tag.
Appearance and wearing comfort
The Conversation Clear Plus may not be a regular set of in-ear headphones, but it consists of a charging case containing two earbuds. The box and hats are great. The charging case for the Apple Airpods Pro fits almost twice as long as the one in Sennheiser’s Conversation Booster. However, the weight of the ears is not too bad; They weigh 5.7 grams each, which is very average. The internal headphones and their charging box are completely black, except for the white Sennheiser logo and gray silicone on the ears. With an IPX4 rating, the earbuds are splash-resistant but not dust-resistant.
In addition to the standard medium silicone installed, a larger and smaller size are also included. The ears are equipped with so-called ear fins, of which three sets are also included. In my experience, thanks to the extra ear fins, the covers stay in place well. This is also the case with moderate-intensity sporting activities. What’s more, the in-ear headphones don’t put too much pressure on your ears, and they’re light enough to walk around without discomfort for hours.
|Specifications of Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus|
|Recommended retail price||849 euros|
|Supported audio codecs||Aak, sbk|
|Frequency range||20-20,000 Hz|
|Driver format||12mm (diameter)|
|Battery content for each earbud||70 mAh|
|Battery contents in the charging box||500 mAh|
|Weight per earphone||5.7 grams|
|Shipping box weight||55 grams|
|Dimensions for each earbud||27.1 x 18.2 x 20.6 mm|
|Shipping box dimensions||
68 x 66.9 x 32.6 mm
|program||Clear Conversation (iOS and Android)|
Touch and app control
You can squeeze the top half of the earplugs’ stems. Since only the top is compressible, you can’t push the earbuds in or out of your ears. By pressing and holding it for a moment, you can easily switch between the three usage modes. If you press a button, immediate auditory feedback follows. This is good. It is a pity that you cannot adjust the operation of the knobs to your own taste.
You can of course also operate the headphones in-ear via the companion Conversation Clear app. It shows the charging status of the earbuds and is clearly positioned, but it also has some annoying quirks. If you change a setting and then lock your phone, the buds will first revert to the previous setting, only to apply the new setting after about three seconds. Every time you minimize the app and then return it to the screen, the earbuds have to be plugged in again. The same applies if you lock your phone when using the app and then unlock it again later. Sometimes the connection was restored within two seconds, but I also regularly had to wait more than ten seconds. This gets boring very quickly.
Additionally, the app requires you to create a Sennheiser account before you can even use the software. The reason is that the app creates an individual audio profile for you. By linking this to an account, you can connect to it again via the cloud, if, for example, you change smartphones. This would be useful, but it would have been better if Sennheiser had left this option to the user.
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