Let’s put Sennheiser’s latest headphone to the test.
There is a sudden rise of interest on wireless active noise-cancelling headphones in the past few months. Bose’s QuietComfort 35 and Sony’s MDR-1000X were just some of the great sounding headphones we’ve tested. Being one of the pioneers in the audio department, Sennheiser of course has come out with their own pair to keep up with the competition: the Sennheiser PXC 550.
The PXC 550 resembles the design aspects of previous Sennheiser headphones, which admittedly don’t look as great as the one from Bose or Sony. Still, the conservative design may favor some of the brand’s longtime fans.
The ear cups are covered in a matte finish, along with a metal head band that’s comfortable to wear. A bulk of the physical controls are located on the right ear cup. This includes the button that serves as the pairing button and also lets you switch between various EQ modes. There is also a slider that gives you two levels of noise cancellation or you can simply turn it off.
The PXC 550 uses micro USB for charging which should give you 30 hours of juice – which matches the same results I have had using it in a real world scenario. You have the choice to use the headphones in wired or wireless mode depending on your preference.
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Touch controls are present on the right ear cup, primarily used for playback. Much like Sony’s MDR-1000X, you swipe up or down to adjust the volume, or tap to play your music – but I found this feature to be at times annoying since my gestures won’t always get recognized. Turning the ear cups flat would automatically turn them off, which I personally found as one nifty feature.
I tested the PXC 550 on an iPhone 7 Plus connected via Bluetooth and using tracks I’ve gotten from iTunes, Spotify and Tidal (which offers high-resolution audio). Hotel California’s varying beats resonated through the headphones with such clarity, and you can clearly hear every level of instrument used in the song. Bass is just right, which gives enough low frequency effects without being too overwhelming.
The active noise cancellation function was decent – though not probably as great as the one offered by the Bose QuietComfort 35. Sound tends to seep inside especially with very noisy environments like a busy street or even when using public transport.
Overall, the Sennheiser PXC 550 provided a great listening experience in the weeks we have had with it. The touch controls maybe a little flimsy, but sound output is still great. Noise cancellation on the other hand, could be better.