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Has Sennheiser addressed the technical problems with the PXC450?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi,

It seems all head-fiers (bar one I think) who have tried the PXC450 all had the same complaints. Those complaints were:

1. A severe loss of bass when the NC was engaged

2. A clicking noise in the right channel (I believe this occured with the battery inserted but the NC off).

What I would like to know is whether Sennheiser has addressed these issues in later production units. And if so, how can one tell if they are buying a "bad" one or a "good" one where it is not possible to try it before buying?
post #2 of 19
I have neither of those problems with the PCX450.
post #3 of 19
No clicking on mine. Just wondering if they stack up to phones like the HD600, curious...
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi,

Could I ask when both of you purchased them please? These issues were reported late in the first half of 2007 I think. But the phones have barely come up for discussion since then - so no really meaningful updates on them.

Have you compared them directly to the PXC350 when the NC was turned on in both of them?
post #5 of 19
I purchased mine in December 2007 at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands. I made a direct comparison with the Sennheiser NC pair of phones I had used up to then, the PCX 300. The PCX 450 beat them in all aspects. No clicking (I tried it with the NC switched on and off and with and without the batteries inserted, if I recall correctly) and no sudden degraded bass. SQ did suffer slightly from switching the NC on, but that was to be expected. I am very much satisfied by these cans, they deliver both in terms of SQ and in terms of NC. Hope this helps you.
post #6 of 19
The 350 looks much sexier though
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by REB View Post
I purchased mine in December 2007 at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands. I made a direct comparison with the Sennheiser NC pair of phones I had used up to then, the PCX 300. The PCX 450 beat them in all aspects. No clicking (I tried it with the NC switched on and off and with and without the batteries inserted, if I recall correctly) and no sudden degraded bass. SQ did suffer slightly from switching the NC on, but that was to be expected. I am very much satisfied by these cans, they deliver both in terms of SQ and in terms of NC. Hope this helps you.
Thanks a lot for that. It would be great if Sennheiser could step in to this thread and explain if they have made any changes to this model that would account for the vastly differing reports of the early adopters versus yourself and a couple of others who also may have purchased more recently. If they have, I think it would be better for them to admit the early models had something wrong with them, since potential purchases could then be on their toes to avoid them.

Anyway, if anyone has done a direct comparison between the PXC350 and PXC450, I would love to hear from you.

Given the remarks by the tremendously experienced Skylab and a couple of others, I don't think I am prepared to buy a pair of these unless Sennheiser confirms they have modified the product since it's debut last year.
post #8 of 19
Hi, I have the PXC450. I've grown to really like these & now I do most of my outdoor listening w/ these cans (except in gyms... that would be crazy). The drop-off in bass w/ NC is just the nature of the game. It's not a technical problem. I don't turn the NC on unless I'm in the subway; the sound will lose its body w/ the NC on... I've listened to PXC350 briefly, but it was enough to hear that the sound lacked the instrumental separation that you can have with PXC450. Also, less full in body, shallower sonic depth.

Pretty darn overpriced, though. There's no way I would have bought these w/ my own money (Xmas gift). If you're looking for in-home cans, I strongly urge you to look elsewhere. AKG-701 is superior in every way, and for almost 200 bucks cheaper now. But if you're going to use these for portable listening, I don't think there are too many better cans than PXC450s. They're fully circumaural, pretty close in sonic characteristics to HD650, and they fold up really neatly into that slim black case.
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by selfdivider View Post
The drop-off in bass w/ NC is just the nature of the game.
Hi,

I will have to disagree on that count because all the other noise cancelling phones in Sennheiser's range, including the PXC350, do not suffer any bass drop off whatsoever when the noise cancelling is turned on. If that is the best Sennhesier can do in their top model, then I don't feel the small extra amount of cancellation the PXC450 is capable of providing over the other models is worth it.

You did not make it clear whether you compared the PXC350 and PXC450 with the noise cancelling on with both. It seems like you prefer the PXC450 with the cancellation turned off in terms of sonics, but with the other models they appear to be optimised sound-wise to work with it on. I can't understand why Sennheiser would want the thing to sound bad with the cancellation on, since that is the most major selling point for that model. This is what I am interested in - not how they perform with it off.

But in any case, it looks like I am not going to get any consensus on this question. Half the people say it isn't a problem but half do.
post #10 of 19
Yeah, I do most of my listening w/ NC turned off. If you check out various reviews, you'll see that with NC on, the SQ is definitely not as good as NC off. Some NC phones don't even allow you passive listening, as I understand, just shuts off when the battery drains, right?

Maybe one day, Senn will figure out how to make NC sound as good as passive headphones. But with the current technology, active process of canceling noise interferes w/ the natural sound production, obviously. For all the NC cans I've heard, NC on sounds worse to me than NC off. When I compared the PXC350 w/ PXC450, I compared w/ NC off. If you care remotely about the quality of sound w/ headphone listening, you can't really expect the best results w/ NC on w/ the Senns. For me, I think it strikes a happy compromise. My PXC450s are portable as hell even though they're full circumaurals, allow me NC when I need it (which are the times when I'm not doing any serious listening anyway), and w/ NC off, they sound almost as good as the HD650s. Jack of all trades, master of none? Some may say so. And I would definitely not go for these cans as the in-home phones. But if you have a solid home system set up, & you need quality set of cans w/ NC feature, this is the best option, if price is not a priority.

BTW: I don't think PXC450s sound that horrible w/ NC on. It's not up to the caliber of sound you get w/ NC off, but I still find it quite acceptable. Better than Bose NC sound, for sure.
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
I decided to take a very long trek up North today (3/4 a day to get there, audition and get back home) to compare the PXC350 and PXC450.

I was very disappointed with the PXC450 compared to the 350. I have to concur with Skylab's early remarks about this phone - it almost completely loses it's bass when the noise cancelling is turned on. And the midrange and higher frequencies become rougher and more grainy - possibly as a result of the drastically altered, emasculated tonal balance.

I agree it's fine without the noise cancelling (excellent, actually - I much prefered it to the HD650 in this mode), but personally I would buy a phone with noise cancelling because that is the way I intend to use it all the time.

The thing is though - the noise cancelling in the PXC350 not only works perfectly well, but there is absolutely no bass loss at all and virtually no sound quality loss at other frequencies either. If these huge differences are the price one has to pay to get that extra "5%" of noise cancellation versus the PXC350, then Sennheiser can keep their "Noise Guard 2" or whatever they call it. The system in the lower model works perfectly - why ruin it?

I was also disappointed with the comfort of the PXC450. I had expected it to be more comfortable than my 350, but this wasn't the case. The very soft earpads were actually so soft that my ear was pressing against the acoustic reflector - which made things quite uncomfortable. No comfort issues with my PXC350 at all.

I guess this is another example of people coming to completely opposite conclusions about the same piece of hardware.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
I guess this is another example of people coming to completely opposite conclusions about the same piece of hardware.
Yup. Which is a reason why this hobby is so damn great. We all get to choose our own little heavens (which might be other people's hell!) Good to know about the PXC350's NC. Yeah, my PXC450's NC definitely lessens the SQ overall... when I had a chance to do so, I should have compared the 350 vs 450 with NC on, but I do most of my listening with NC off... I only turn it on when I'm in the subway. So it suits me pretty well, and as you say, the PXC450 running passive w/ NC off is a killer set.

Enjoy your PXC350s!
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
I think Sennheiser should consider marketing a new headphone based exactly on the PXC450 but without any of the noise cancelling circuits, etc. It would be a premium quality, full sized, closed phone.

I think it would walk out the door in very large numbers with very satisfied customers. And of course, at probably half the price of the PXC450! Swapping between the PXC450 - (without cancelling) and the HD650 - I much preferred the PXC450 - and not just slightly. It was hugely better to my ears and taste. All the smoothness and imaging was there, but none of the "veil" we hear so much about.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
Hi,

It seems all head-fiers (bar one I think) who have tried the PXC450 all had the same complaints. Those complaints were:

1. A severe loss of bass when the NC was engaged

2. A clicking noise in the right channel (I believe this occured with the battery inserted but the NC off).

What I would like to know is whether Sennheiser has addressed these issues in later production units. And if so, how can one tell if they are buying a "bad" one or a "good" one where it is not possible to try it before buying?
My PXC450 does not have these problems. They were purchased in late 2008.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
Hi,

It seems all head-fiers (bar one I think) who have tried the PXC450 all had the same complaints. Those complaints were:

1. A severe loss of bass when the NC was engaged

2. A clicking noise in the right channel (I believe this occured with the battery inserted but the NC off).
I have never heard of the first one - regarding the second - the PXC 450 did not suffer a loss of bass when ANR was switched *on* but did have a boosted bass when switched *off*.

You are not losing bass, you are gaining extra bass when switched off.
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