Even though Bose has been the leading brand when it comes to noise cancellation headphones, Sennheiser has been working diligently trying to change that and the new PXC 550 can give Bose a run for its money. It has been designed for business travels as its looks and features are those of a sophisticated headphone. It is a wireless and more affordable follow-up to Sennheiser’s preceding products. The only downside to the headphones is that it is pricey.
The PXC 550 is extremely lightweight, weighing not more than 8 oz. The opening of the ear cups isn’t too wide because of the puffy ear pads attached. The ear cups are oval with a plush cushioning on the inner side and a silver lining on the outer side. The ear pads are made of synthetic leather, so they are comfortable. Their shape is rather awkward, but on the positive side, they sit quite well on the ears to cancel all the noise from outside. Even though a lot of technology has been crammed into the earphones, their shape and looks are not that bad.
The headphones can be folded up for storage so that they don’t take a lot of space. An airplane adapter and a mic piece are also included in the carrying case.
The design of the PXC 550 is vastly different from previous Sennheiser products. It is more business-like than a haphazard of designs thrown in together.
Sennheiser has promised its users up to 30 hours of usage without any hindrance. To charge the headphones, a USB charger and a charging port are present. When the battery drains, the earphones are still usable with the cable wires that can be attached to the product.
The Sennheiser PXC 550 comes with touch control on the right ear cup. The headphones turn on automatically when you wear them and shut off when they are folded up. There are some buttons that are present on the inside of the cup which might cause a problem when you have to use them while using the headphones.
Generally, there is a button on most headphones that controls all general features like receiving a call or playing music. In this wireless product, the touch control is to be used for the same function. By tapping the cup once, it plays or pauses music or receives or ends calls; by swiping your finger up and down, you can control the volume; and with a swipe left or right, you can change songs. Although this seems like a cool concept, accidental pausing/playing might happen as it is extremely touch sensitive.
The headset can automatically pause too. All you have to do is take it off. When it senses this, it pauses. Furthermore, you can turn it off by rotating the right ear cup. Isn’t that amazing! When the ear cup is in a normal position, it starts playing music, while in a flat position, it turns off.
Noise cancellation is extremely amazing with these headphones. They are basically hiss free. You can even adjust how much noise you want to allow in. The headset also has multiple microphones that can be used to receive calls. It lowers the noise enough so that you can hear the voice of the caller properly and they can listen to yours. Moreover, it has a feature which lets you hear your voice so that you know you aren’t talking too loudly. This feature is extremely helpful if you’re on public transport or in a public place in general.
Another handy feature that the PXC 550 has is that by tapping the ear cup twice, you can listen to what is going on outside. It is kind of the opposite of noise cancellation. This way, you won’t miss any important conversations.
The sound quality has been improved drastically since the last few products. The PXC 550 sounds as nice as the expensive Momentum 2.0. With the PXC 550’s open and roomy soundstage and reliable footing, songs with a lot of overlapping rhythms would sound as great as any other with each note being understood separately and working marvelously together. The solid bass in this product delivers a real kick. The mid-range, however, needs some work. It sometimes sounds hard and cold, though this effect is not too pronounced to most users.
The switch that is used to activate the earphones, just above the Bluetooth pairing button, can also be used to choose between club, speech, or movie sound modes. These are the DSP modes that change the sound a bit. Speech mode promotes the mids and reduces the bass and higher treble registers to make voices clearer. The movie mode tries to extend the soundstage for more dramatization at the cost of the stereo image, and the club mode fiddles with the bass and includes a room reverb impact.
Sennheiser has caught onto the “partner app” concept and has the CapTune app which can be used as a music player, equalizer, or battery indicator. Using the CapTune app, you can make your own particular custom sound profiles, which decide the EQ as well as the DSP impacts and the level of active noise cancellation. CapTune allows its users to tune into the music of their choice. However, to customize the sound, you would need to have the music files stored on your cell phone or any other device that you are using.
Even though it is slightly more expensive than a similar Bose product, the Sennheiser PXC 550 is an exceptionally comfortable, moderately lightweight over-ear wireless earphone that sounds great and features amazing noise cancellation. It has touch controls and conveys a phenomenal performance as a headset. Great battery life is also available to the users. With a sleek and smart design, wireless connection, and intuitive controls, the PXC 550 is prepared to give Bose a run for its money.