Without a doubt, everyone needs a sweet set of wireless headphones. Whether it’s for home use, inspiration while running, listening to your favourite tracks on your commute to work, or for drowning out those chatty work mates, headphones are absolutely crucial in today’s busy and noisy world. Among the top brand names when it comes to headphones (and audio) is Sennheiser, and I was recently given the opportunity to review the company’s brand new PXC 550 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones.
Sennheiser PXC 550 headphones: What’s in the box?
Inside the box, you’ll find a black fabric clam shell carry case, and a plastic baggie containing all the usual quick start guides, warranties, and assorted documentation. Inside the semi-circular, black carry case are the wireless headphones folded nicely, as well as a USB cable, adapters, and wired cable.
I have to say, I am happy these headphones came with a carrying case. Sure, these are totally marketed as wireless headphones for travellers, so they should have a case. However, I’ve purchased several similarly priced wireless headphones from big brand names, and they came with nada, zip, a big nothing in terms of protection and portability.
Setting up Sennheiser PXC 550 wireless headphones
Isn’t Bluetooth awesome? Well, the latest versions of Bluetooth, I mean. In the past, I have encountered some issues with certain devices connecting to my phone or tablet. But, with Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC technology, the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Headphones are an absolute breeze to pair up.
The headphones turn on when you unfold them (or basically put them on) which is very convenient. As soon as they turn on (at least in my case) they started looking for a device. It actually made me jump, because I took the ‘phones out of the carrying case, and immediately stuck them on my head to see how comfortable they felt. When the cushioned ear pieces dropped over my ears, suddenly a robotic woman’s voice said “pairing.” Looking at my phone’s settings, I could already see the PXC 550 waiting for me to accept it as a paired device. Honestly, that is all there was to it … take the headphones out of the case, put them on and accept the pairing on your device. Pretty much the fastest and easiest Bluetooth connection I’ve ever had.
PXC 550 wireless headphones: design & feel
The Sennheiser PXC 550 wireless headphones are lightweight, as you would expect from travel headphones, and are really quite comfortable.
The headphones fold up for storage in the included carrying case and seem quite solidly built. I actually own a smaller pair of Sennheiser wired travel headphones and I always really liked the foam pads surrounding the ear cups. They just seemed much more comfortable and spongy than any other headphones I have used. That comfort has been maintained in these new Sennheiser PXC 550 wireless headphones. The ear pads are nice and puffy, made of soft black material, and really easy to wear. On the side of the right headphone, you’ll find touch controls for answering calls, controlling volume and music playback.
Using the PXC 550 wireless headphones
The headphones turn on as soon as you unfold them from the carrying case and drop them on your head. I really like that feature. It also automatically shuts down when you fold the earphones flat again.
I tend to have an appreciation for a wide variety of musical genres, so I tested out the PXC 550 headphones on some digitally remastered Queen songs (my 16-year-old daughter saw the Bohemian Rhapsody movie and is now a huge Queen fan. She also has Beatles posters on her wall. So, yeah, I’ve done my job as a parent, I think), as well as my Spotify playlist with some folk, hip-hop, and classic rock. I threw in some Bach for good measure, as classical music always gives me a good indication of how well headphones or speakers can accurately reproduce audio.
How does Sennheiser PXC 550 sound?
I found the PXC 550 headphones sounded really good. The quality of audio reproduction is certainly superior to my current travel headphones from another brand name. The sound is crisp, clean and rich. It has a nice, solid bass sound that’s tight, and definitely got some energy.
I did find that there was a bit of fullness missing from the classical tracks I played, but overall I think people will not be disappointed with the PXC 550’s performance. You can also download the CapTune app on your device and use it to change sound settings on the headphones to suit different genres and moods, and for call enhancement.
Noise Cancelling on Sennheiser PXC 550
One of the best things a set of headphones can have, is noise cancelling. When you’re on a crowded bus or subway car, the sounds of the masses tend to creep into your music if you don’t have that feature. And, I’ve worked in some offices where people are so loud you may as well not even have headphones if they don’t give you noise cancelling.
The PXC 550 headphones offer NoiseGard adaptive noise cancellation, which monitors ambient noise levels to provide the exact level of suppression needed. I tested the function out on a walk through my city’s downtown, and in my office, which is open concept, so there is always some chatter going on in the background. I found the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Headphones delivered superb noise cancellation. Again, these are much better at noise cancellation than my current set of ‘phones from another big brand. Like, much, much better! You know how there is often an audible hiss with some noise cancellation technology? Not with the PXC 550. Although your music’s sound quality does get ever so slightly deadened (at least to my ears) when you go into noise cancellation mode, I found the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Headphones truly outperformed any other noise canceling headphones I’ve used or tested in the past.
Overall review of Sennheiser PXC 550
The Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Headphones are ideal for travellers, or anyone who wants ultra portable, sweet sounding and noise cancelling headphones. With a battery life of 30 hours (after a three-hour charge) and an uber-comfortable fit, you can listen to music or chat on the phone for as long as you want. And speaking of calls, these phones feature amazing speech clarity for business and personal calls that’s ensured by a beamforming array consisting of three microphones. There’s also noise reduction technology that tamps down ambient noise so callers can hear you better, and a side-tone feature that allows you to hear your voice in the headphones to prevent you from talking too loudly when you’re in a crowded place. So, what’s not to love?
Check out the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Headphones online at Best Buy.