Sennheiser PXC550 – Review
Sennheiser PXC550 – Review

The over-ear headphones you've been looking for! The silence, comfort and audiophile quality listening make this a near perfect product.

Sennheiser has not become one of, if not the biggest name in headphones by ignoring market trends and the PXC-550 seems well placed to keep them in the game. Look a bit closer though and it becomes a little clearer that the PXC-550 is not just keeping up with its peers…

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The PXC 550 is a pair of Bluetooth headphones with active noise cancelling circuitry, as well as well as an integrated equalizer and sound processing. This makes for an amazing set of cans and this especially makes the  550 shine because they do everything really, really good.

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Bluetooth range is solid, and I never had an issue with choppy sound. Thankfully, you can also use them even when the battery is dead with the included detachable cable, but you’ll rarely run into the issue: Battery life will easily last you a couple of days day wirelessly, especially if you don’t have noise cancelling on (it’s rated for “up to 30 hours”).

Of course, a major selling point of the PXC-550 is the fitment of Bluetooth and here the news is very good. Unlike the rival Bose, the Sennheiser is bang up-to-date in this regard with Bluetooth 4.2 being fitted and the Sennheiser additionally supports Apt-X transmission.

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With luxurious leather and a black-and-silver look reminiscent of the early days of the QuietComfort lineup. The circumaural (over-the-ear) cups have a rounded, almost ear-shaped contour. The earpads and headband are notably plush and soft—these are some of the most comfortable headphones we’ve ever tested. Along the outer panels of the earcups are small perforated grilles for the ambient microphones.

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Along the outer panel of the right earcup, there are dedicated switches for Bluetooth pairing and the active noise cancellation circuitry, which has three modes. In addition to the switches, there’s a music effect button on the right ear’s outer panel, which has modes for Club, Movie, or Speech, or you can simply turn it off (voice prompts will guide you).

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A major plus of the PXC-550’s specification is the ‘NoiseGard’ active noise cancelling system. This is a fairly sophisticated arrangement that has three settings; off, on and adaptive. The first two are fairly self-explanatory but the third is more interesting. When selected, the PXC-550 continuously monitors the incoming noise levels and dynamically adjusts the amount of noise cancelling it applies. This is an appealing idea as it means that when little is actually happening around you, there isn’t the slightly congested effect you can get with the system running at full tilt.

In conclusion, the PXC 550 delivers audio that is a notch above the other offerings. Sennheiser’s easy to use controls, comfort to wear and impeccable audio quality have made the 550s become our everyday choice.

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