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MX980 : the BMW of Earbuds

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 



enjoy reading!

rock on!!!


the review:

sennheiser mx980 is the top of the line in the mx series.
all released this year including the mx880, a downgrade series for $79, an earbud considered to have a good bass.

i love earbuds.
it doesnt make my ears itch in hours of use. and i hear everything around me.
unlike in iems, it blocks all the noise, and sometimes makes my ears itch.
hearing it all doesnt make me feel like stupid.
i enjoy my music, and i can still hear everything around me.
or its just me.

this review is base only on the first impression or first use.
please be reminded that i didnt have the mental burn in yet...so consider this is a BETA.


the mx980 is built with metal, stainless steel.
the tip that holds the wire and the phones is an angled steel to make the wires stay off. 
the end plug can be straightened or angled depending on your choice of style.
everything seems new here, compared to the ordinary and plastic pk2.
the mx980 seems to be a winner in build department.
it is well thought product.
with materials that you can count on.

what i do hate in this earbud is the volume control.
it is useless in a sense wherein it is a sliding style volume control...
anytime you might accidentally brush it and its either you lose the overall volume or it changes to max that  might make the earbud scream at your ears...
well, its bad.

no microphonic on the wires, nice one!

overall: a well built earbud with an ugly and useless (SLIDING)volume control.


this is the most important part.
from a 10minute audition and first listen, i think it is totally a very different upgrade to the pk2.

the highs, the most popular signature of this earbud is closer/tending to be sibilant.
but not at all sibilant. almost. or i can say it reaches to the peak of its spark/brilliancy but not ear-fatiguing at all.
it is very good on the highs...if you love the highs like me.
most of my gears has sparkling highs.
among them the ue700. and it has it.

the mids, is so clear.
its like nothing is veiled. the mids is crystal clear. a clarity that i didnt find in my pk2.
it is making the music closer to you. it can be compared to my ue700...
it is so clear.
not warm at all.
bright signature, i call it.

the lows, well...
its there but not as low and not as defined as others may say.
it hits, but not as hard as an iem.
its only a natural bass that hits simply, down.
tried playing MJ's (Michael Jackson's) tracks....and i hear no deep bass.
it has bass but not deep.


it is not as far as everyone would think.
its not as mind blowing, or im just lets say expecting too much on this earbud?
hmmm... its nice. its fine. and nothing worth mentioning.
not bad at all. just good. and not the best.


where the mx980 trumps in all earbud brand you can give.
i think, compared to the pk2, the mx980 has the best definition, resolution and refinement.
the pk2 is not as refined as the mx980.
include there the clarity, well the mx980 wins, hands down.
no questions asked.

here, i hear a very very refined and detailed earbuds ever.
bar none.
even the ue700 was beaten in the resolution.  this has more refinement than the ue700.
the highs helped a lot in making the sound more detailed....its like the ue700 can make 3 layers of details at the same time but the mx980, the mx980 can do it 5x more! a very impressive one indeed!

the echo is present in my track, and its there, and its there naturally.
the guitar, is great here as well. 
tried playing some acoustic track, LOVE MOVES IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS, by NINA, there is a soul in the music. the surrounding is captured nicely. the audience's claps are defined very very well depending on their location.

if this is a camera, i can consider this the NIKON D3S...a hi end SLR.
it is fast, it is accurate and it capture very very well...at its best!

that is one of the many reasons why you will buy this earbud. 


true to its nature, when foam is used the sound changes dramatically.
from bright it becomes a bit veiled but not muddy and not bad at all, a bit warm in overall sound.


theres so much energy in this earbud.
it is like a powerful version of my ue700, with the muscles in it. it can perform very very well on any tracks, and can compete or much better than the resolution overall of my panasonic hje900.
you knew well that the panny is one heck of an iem when it comes to details.
well, this is much better, trust me.
and its not dreamy at all.

actually, this is my kind of signature.
if its either bright, it is warm that i want.
and that is depending on my taste and mood.

i cannot recommend this during sleep. it wont make you sleepy in any sense.
it will wake the blood in you, and make you curse the night you wore this!


but for some serious listening and detail peeping, well, its a better choice.
this will provide you good results... good definition to your music.

and looking back, i have totally forgotten that it is an earbud im using, not an iem...
and not at all a headphone!

what a joy to own this earbud.
this doesnt beat the pk2, in my opinion.
i respect pk2's own strength.


the pk2 sounds a bit more enjoyable overall. and considering the price, cheap!
here, all you hear is details, full definition in every angle.
it is a lot smoother than any of my iems.
pk2 is good enough but it cant compete to the definition of the mx980...it is miles away.

however, what i do like in pk2 is the sweet sound of the mids, of the warmth.
the deep bass that is ultimately artificially but enjoyable.

here, i call it a critical listening.
the mx980 is like the SON GOKU SUPER SAIYAN. while the pk2 is like the natural GOKU.
sometimes, i like the look of GOKU's hair when its black.
but want to go SUPER SAIYAN? well, its more when you want something more.

is it worth an upgrade?
well, honestly it depends to the user.

the pk2 can provide you already the so called "FUN" and "ENJOYMENT" but why settle for more?
well for those who want something more, like BA DETAIL, or the PANNY HJE900 DETAIL, well this is the final goal of that earbud.

this earbud is so boring in a way. it has no specific signature.
and my ears cant taste this yet due to the fact that this earbud hasnt gave me mental burn in yet.
but, very nice overall...

did you know that this time:
yeah, this time, its 1:14PM at 95% of remaining battery of my macbook pro, this earbud is the SINGLE BEST SOUNDING EARBUD/IEM I EVER HAD?

that is the power of this ultimate earbud.


finally to make this a so called beautiful review, it has to have a right ending...
how do you want me to end this?
its new yeah...
but i dont want to prove here that its worth it.

its just me, it just beats all of my gears overall, even the panny hje, my previous winner in details...here, the details is breathing naturally.

its like its created to by a genius, and created to be supreme to everything of my gears.

the sound is not particularly enjoyable, yep, but it is beautiful in his own ways.
the firs thing to notice is the highs, then the details, the clarity, and you forgot its bit weakness - the bass.

well, naturally, i never would imagine something so small would sound so good as a headphone...much better in pk2 in many ways.
but it all comes with a price.

those who enjoy their pk2, stay there...search no more.
you already got something in your ears that you will enjoy in the rest of your life.

for those who want to spend more, and reach the darkest of your nightmare, or for those who want their dreams to come true...well all will be realized upon hearing the ultimate mx980.

i call it ultimate coz i beats all of my gears sound sig.
it has no particular signature, just like what i said...
and it wont make you feel fatigue with its beautiful highs.

i can sell all my gears now that i have the mx980.
im sure, i wont miss any of it.

miles davis is waiting for me.
where are you miles???

Edited by pinoyman - 12/3/10 at 10:19pm
post #2 of 18
Thread Starter 


the mx980 is true to the music.
when its ugly, you hear ugliness of your tracks.
when its 128kbps, well the sound is 128kbps.

this is closer to reality.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 




just got from sleep using this buds, and i really like it...
it sometimes give me pain in my ears when i go sideways...

still, the first thing i notice when i woke up was the beautiful highs...
sparkling at the top notes.
the bass here is defined well, but not deeper and yet impactful.
it has a characteristic like how much weight, and how much "volume"...but limited on how low it can reach.
bass is lacking... lacking in punch, in slam and impact.
still in the RUN song, panny wins in the detailed part of this song...only in this song, i say.

this earbud is bit bigger than the inserts of my ears.
post #4 of 18

Wrong section to post this, as this is for portable audio - not IEM's or earbuds.

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

please mod, transfer this to the correct post.


post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

This is the detailed and final review section of the MX980 earbud from Sennheiser.

doing review is not easy...
you all know that.
you needed to define well and compare the item to some of your gears to measure its ability.
that's why i wish you bear with me some time and let's tackle the power, the strength of this earbud the mx980...

i would only be defining this earbud based on my iem experience.
the earbud pk2 vs. this earbud will have its own respected place in the comparison area.

this earbud originally came from bro 2rooi, purchased to him after a few months of longing, and dreaming of owning one...
the mx980 is considered to be the best by some who already owns sennheiser headphones and agreed that the sound is similar to the HD6XX series. 
the mx980 carries the sennheiser house - airy, warm and highly detailed.


what i really like this extraordinary earbud is the build.
an angled/straight 3.5mm jack plug, that can be switched back and forth depending on your need.
the angled steel at the end of the buds is made according to the contour of your ears, to make the wires stay off onto your face.
there is no audible microphonic in the wires at all.
a useless volume control (sliding) and a nice wire clip. 

the design is very unique.
it has angled ends, some parts are metal made, while the phone itself remains to be plastic.
if youre familiar with the Bang and Olufsen a8 earbud, this will look cheaper, that one is made of highly crafted full metal...with an adjustable earhooks.
both has the same price, more or less.

still, a well thought product overall..

my gears are the earbud pk2, the iem ue700 dual BA driver and the high definition, high resolution panasonic hje900. all has their own share of thought here in the iem section, and a single portable headphone, my beloved headphone the AIAIAI tracks.

i will be reviewing the mx980 based on my experience and my gears...
my sample tracks are all mp3 320kbps encoded and wav format.

let us welcome the new member of my gears - the MX980!

i would like to give this a special mention because this earbud has a better resolution than any of the earbuds ive tried. it can compete very well to the resolution of my high definition, hje900.  the difference between the two is not that big, maybe almost the same or much better due to the build and form difference. the panny is an iem with zirconian body, whilst the other, the mx980 has a plastic earbud form body.

it performs very well than my ue700 in details, it can trump my dual BA driver iem.
my ue700 sometimes suffer from air, and energy, it looks like it needs a bit of push to sound like the mx980...its like it needs an amp to push the drivers. to make it work more, and create the beautiful music.

here, the mx980 doesnt suffer like my ue700.
it plays the tracks with brilliancy in details, its like it is created to be like that, a naturally born DETAIL FREAK earbud.

the real strength of this earbud. the highs.
it soars high and its beautifully blending to the details and overall music.
it can provide you a sparkling one, shining, shimmering highs.
almost nearer to be sibilant, but it doesnt reach sibilance. just almost. 
to show you that it can give you a shining highs.

the highs helped a lot in creating that details, as far as i hear. 
those characteristic of highs that can be heard here is the reason why this earbud is considered to be on the NEUTRALLY bright signature.

the highs is crispy with a bite at the end.
every instruments sounds livelier, from acoustic music to orchestra to instrumental.

i would like to rephrase my first impression...correct it to the point of mental burn in.
here i hear a defined bass. it goes deeper as long as it is detailed, deep, but not monsterously impactful.
only a defined bass that would blend naturally to the whole spectrum.

you all have heard me praise the bass from my panny from being a very natural bass that reaches 6hz deep down...with a rumbling echo at the end and not audible anymore for my ears...only  a rumble and echo is left.

now, comparing the bass from my panasonic, still the panny wins due to its form... an IEM. wherein 98% of the sound is thrown into your ears. 
since this is an earbud, it would only be a shame to compare both, but if you changed the form of this bud into an IEM, you will be surprised to hear it got all the detailed bass it needs to make the sound beautiful.

i can say that the bass here is naturally punchy and deeper-detailed.
seems like enjoyable still. 
if youre looking for a monstrous big bass, look elsewhere, this earbud can only give you a quality one.

the bass here will make you feel like out of the head feeling.
its like its there is music around your head and throws the bass hard for you to feel its there.

not subwoofer canon like bass.

like i said, the sound is neutrally bright.
so it isnt warm in any way.
its smooth in overall frequency.
smooth with the sensation that you want to listen to it for a longer period of time.

when i call an IEM an HONEST IEM, it means that it can render the song/the sound beautifully with an HONESTY in terms of details.
and this is an HONEST earbud.
its sound true to its source.
true only to the music.

if you find the song to be lacking in something, maybe its because you encoded the song incorrectly, or it is just created like that.
the details justifies only what is there in the music.
nothing more.
nothing less.
not colored at all.
not overly bright and not warm at all.

neutral is the right word here.

being neutral comes a bit of a price...
sometimes they sounded a bit boring to some.
maybe some preferred this due to the honesty.

here i can say that it isn't fun at all, and yet it is  also not boring.
it stays just at the center.

and listening for a long period of time will benefit you, because it is not ear-fatiguing.

the overall quality here can be compared to the hi end iems also.
like the panasonic, a real bang for the buck hi end, this one is something that will give you MORE.

MORE than what others are limited, are having a hard time to give you the quality you needed.
like my ue700.

however, this earbud is useful in sleeping, in daily use, office work, commuting..
this earbud will help you be aware of what's happening around you.

there is something in earbuds that i love.
something that is hard to explain...

something unique.
call me going back to zero, going back to basic, but the earbud is one of the first gears that gave you freedom to personal music listening before the iem.
without the earbuds in life, there would be no iem.

and i find happiness in the earbuds alone than the iem.
i get itch in silicon tips of iem, mostly if longed use.

is it worth it?
well, it depends really to the user.
some people will spend something worth more than $300-500 for an iem.
because they are aiming for quality and hoping the iem can give them the sound they deserve/preferred.

well, if only you give them time...
like i said before,
a mental burn in is very important for you to love your gears...
that way, you will be used to the signature of the earbud.

i think, this earbud performs better than most of my iems, and better than most earbuds out there.

there is the honesty in music here, that is essentially important.

you dont hear the sound signature here, but the honesty in the recording.
there is no flavor here, as far as i hear and based on my gears...

only the honesty.
which is what really is important.

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 


post #8 of 18

In my experience these change a lot with burn in and you hsould give a 100 hours or more and then go bac kto the review. 

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

^yes thanks, i will update this more.



went to sleep using this buds, still at low volume it showed its impressive sound, a rich details...
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

^just found out that the highs on the mx980 is so very smooth, and lush.

its not fatiguing at all, it has the best highs i ever heard.

post #11 of 18

The inbuilt volume control really kills it for me.

post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

But bro, it is still a good sounding earbud...

so id take the flaw as something i could live with.

i love the sound and everything...


gonna learn to live with its flaws, for it to be perfect.

post #13 of 18

Perfection doesn't mean settling, since settling means it's inherently flawed.wink.gif



Originally Posted by pinoyman View Post

But bro, it is still a good sounding earbud...

so id take the flaw as something i could live with.

i love the sound and everything...


gonna learn to live with its flaws, for it to be perfect.

post #14 of 18
Originally Posted by anadin View Post

The inbuilt volume control really kills it for me.

Wise not to buy it. I have MX880, the inbuilt volume control catches on EVERYthing. I think I'll eventually cut it and solider it.

post #15 of 18

Im beyond astounded you compared this to the pk2 and found it to be only slightly better...the dozen or so family members and friends who were part of my pk vs mx series review all agreed its a seriously huge step up from the pk1...which is a good step up from the pk2 


im kinda lost and confused by some of the things you said about it.  But, to each his own I guess and Im just glad you enjoyed it. 

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