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New! Sennheiser CX 275: Pics 'n Words included

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Sennheiser USA was looking for some users to test-drive a few new models to be introduced in a thread over at the sponsor forum. They came in the mail this morning, and for the past few hours I've been taking a listen. Before my initial impressions, though, some pics:

 

 

400 400 400 400 400 400

 

The last two are in comparison to the Sennheiser CX 280 that I gave to my mom a few months back. 

 


TECH SPECS, FEATURES, AND ACCESSORIES

 

Tech Specs

  • 1.2m symmetric cable
  • 3.5mm L-jack
  • Frequency response of 17 to 23,000 Hz
  • Impedance of 16
  • Sound pressure level of 121 dB (1 kHz / 1 Vrms)

 

Features

  • Integrated mic with answer-call button
  • Chin slider
  • in-ear canal style headphone
  • 2-year warranty

 

Accessories

  • 1 drawstring pouch
  • 1 set of small, medium, and large tips

 


INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

 

I've only got a few initial impressions for you right now, but I'll be back throughout the week to add information until I compile a sensible review after burn-in.

 

Fit, Build Quality, Microphonics

The silicon tips that came fitted on the 275 created a good seal and have been working fine. No issues with fit, but they come with a set of smaller and larger tips just in case. The cable is thin and I'd be worried about snagging or pulling them too hard, otherwise I don't see anything that worries me about the build quality. These are designed to be worn cable-down so microphonics are present, but only at 25% or less volume or while running. 

 

Bass
Sennheiser offers a nice mid-bass kick/boost on most tracks. Although it teased me on deadmau5's "Ghosts 'N Stuff" with especially fun, impacting bass from 0:00 to 0:30. It hits less hard until that specific mid-bass comes back later in the track, which leaves a smidgeon more to be desired. The bass overall has a nice and solid punch to it and acceptable speed, only getting muddied on particularly fast and detailed passages. The package reports a frequency response from 17 to 23,000 hz, but to my ears it started to roll off around 30hz in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jz743DDKGWQ - I'll test it a few times more later.
 
Separation
First song I tried was Linkin Park's "Castle of Glass" for separation testing. Two band members sing as soon as the chorus hits and most less expensive headphones I've tried tend to have a hard time separating the two – usually one will come forward on the other and try to merge. The 275s handled it well, only overlapping on one string. Not bad!
 

OTHER USER IMPRESSIONS

 

Shadow419

Alphaphoenix


Edited by TK277 - 8/14/12 at 3:03pm
post #2 of 19

I have a pair on loan from them too and I feel that they are quite good! But that's without taking price in to account, for which the MSRP I cannot find. If these are somewhat cheap they would be a top pick from me as far as budget IEMs go.

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GigaFi View Post

I have a pair on loan from them too and I feel that they are quite good! But that's without taking price in to account, for which the MSRP I cannot find. If these are somewhat cheap they would be a top pick from me as far as budget IEMs go.

The CX 280 are $70 MSRP and can be found for $50-60 on Amazon. These 275's are 5 points off, so I'd guess they will MSRP around $60, although I'm unfamiliar with Sennheiser nomenclature and price structure. As I listened to both models back to back yesterday, I found that the 280s have a cleaner/clearer sound with shy, but tight bass hits while the 275s are thicker, a little fuzzier in comparison, and more bassy without letting bass bleed into the other frequencies. I think the 275s will appeal to consumers and budding audiophiles alike.

post #4 of 19

You are correct they will sit near the $60 USD price unless announced otherwise.
 

post #5 of 19

PS - nice pics! what camera/lens/settings?

post #6 of 19

I just received my loaner pair as well.  If the op doesn't mind, I'll post my impressions and pics as well in this thread to keep it tidy instead of all over the place.  Probably wont be till tomorrow since it's time to go to work.

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDeliveryMan View Post

PS - nice pics! what camera/lens/settings?

Thanks! I used a Canon T1i with the 60mm f/2.8 USM Macro lens. Settings were at ISO 100, shot on a tripod at f/11 for sharpness on all but the last where I held the buds in place, which was shot at a much faster yet grainier ISO 1600 at f/2.8 with a shutter speed of 1/100.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadow419 View Post

I just received my loaner pair as well.  If the op doesn't mind, I'll post my impressions and pics as well in this thread to keep it tidy instead of all over the place.  Probably wont be till tomorrow since it's time to go to work.

Absolutely! I'd love to hear your thoughts. I meant for this to be more of a general discussion thread than solely my opinions.

post #8 of 19

A quick list of thoughts after two days of use.  I'm still trying to acclimate my ears to these iem's so bear with me.

 

 

Build Quality/Ergonomics

 

Don't really have much to add to OP's impressions.  Although all plastic, the build seems solid and the comfort is excellent.  I can wear them and not even really feel them.  The cable is long enough to comfortably use with a phone or dap in your pocket without it hanging excessively.

 

Mic

 

The microphone included for making/receiving calls works well. Voice clarity is good as most didn't comment on any difference in my voice even after telling them I was on headphones. It doesn't pick up too much outside noise and the button used for answering calls has a good tactile feel to it. You don't have to worry about pressing it by accident and hanging up on your call.  It doesn't include volume control but at the expected price range, it's not a deal breaker.

 

Sound Quality

 

Overall, the sound sounds V shaped but not to the point where the mids are completely lost.  There's a mid/upper bass hump and good treble extension, with the mids (especially upper midrange) sometimes lagging a little behind.  The mid bass hump doesn't seem to bleed into the lower mids, but can dominate a bit on certain types of music.

 

Separation/Soundstage/Imaging

 

I went with Buena Vista Social Club - Candela.  The song stars with the lead guitar on the right with the second joining in left of center within a few notes.  They stay put!  I've heard other headphones where they'll wander closer to each other when the rest of the band kicks in.  You can point where each instrument/voice is clearly.  The soundstage isn't huge, but they're not playing between your eyes either. It's more of a small club setting instead of a hall.

 

Bass

 

Yes!  There's plenty.  These have plenty of punch and extension.  They start to lose some of the bass energy when trying to hit really low but not so much that you think they've giving up on you.  Sarah McLachlan - Into The Fire and Three 6 Mafia - Late Night Tip can give any headphone a nice workout when trying to keep up with the bass.  I was very happy with the bass response on these.

 

Midrange

 

Males vocals sound excellent, but some female vocals seem a little weak.  It's not like female vocals sound strange or honky, but some female vocals sound like they've lost a little bit of the energy I'm used to hearing.  Selena - El Toro Relajo and Mariah Carey - Love Takes Time didn't have the impact I'm used to hearing.

 

Treble

 

The treble seemed pretty well implemented on these.  They aren't too bright and nowhere near harsh, but I'd never call them dark.  Just enough to keep everything else in line imo.

 

....will post some more but I'm nearly late for work!

 

 

Overall

 

These seem like solid iem's.  They're not perfect, and they're flaws are apparent after a few days but I like them.  I wish the cable was a little thicker with a longer strain relief at the ear piece.  The bass could use some work as it can get muddy on certain tracks.  The mids can fall behind at times. You're not going to find perfection at $50-$60, but they're a nice upgrade for the price especially if you like the call answer functionality.


Edited by shadow419 - 8/2/12 at 7:02am
post #9 of 19

Just receive mine today.  I'll post my impressions in the next day or two, but right off the bat, they reminded me of the original CX300, which was my very first upgrade from the stock ipod earbuds.

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadow419 View Post

Treble

 

The treble seemed pretty well implemented on these.  They aren't too bright and nowhere near harsh, but I'd never call them dark.  Just enough to keep everything else in line imo.

 

I think the treble starts to sound harsh at louder volumes, say, 11 out of 16 volume squares / a little over half on the blue volume bar on the iPhone. After about a week, that's really the only criticism I have for these: I don't think they scale well. The treble gets harsh and the rest of the spectrum merely sounds "louder" instead of "better," if you know what I mean. Listening to these at higher volumes are less enjoyable for me and I don't know if that's enough to be a deal breaker, but if Senn is going to improve these in any way, I'd definitely like to hear better scaling. I think that is the only fault someone could have with the CX 275. 

 

That said, anyone used to Apple earbuds will probably not notice as much, if at all. I've been spoiled by the Yamaha EPH-100 (very briefly) and VSonic MK2, earphones in an entirely different price tier. For about $10-15 more, someone could grab the CX 280 for better scaling and clarity. This probably comes down to "you get what you pay for," and I'd say we still get quite a bit. For ~$40-50 more than standard earbuds I would recommend these to someone looking for better sound.


Edited by TK277 - 8/2/12 at 3:08am
post #11 of 19

I've done most of my listening through my computer's Realtek 889 onboard with cd's and my diy O2 amp.  I've been using unity gain and 11-12 o'clock position is the highest I feel comfortable using (plenty loud in my book).  Want to protect the ears and all that.  I'm nearing middle age and would like to keep my ears in good shape as long as possible.

 

 That being said, the only other iem's I have are all low-mid budget types.  Tt Isurus are harsh in the treble, HD 25-1 II's are brighter without seeming harsh as are the ATH CKM50.  When I really crank up the volume to about 1 o'clock I can see what you're saying about them getting harsh in the treble.  That high a volume is way too much for me though.


Edited by shadow419 - 8/2/12 at 6:45am
post #12 of 19

Up while we wait for more impressions

post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by TK277 View Post

Thanks! I used a Canon T1i with the 60mm f/2.8 USM Macro lens. Settings were at ISO 100, shot on a tripod at f/11 for sharpness on all but the last where I held the buds in place, which was shot at a much faster yet grainier ISO 1600 at f/2.8 with a shutter speed of 1/100.

Absolutely! I'd love to hear your thoughts. I meant for this to be more of a general discussion thread than solely my opinions.


Awesome pics!

post #14 of 19

Alright, here's my impressions.  In efforts to reduce redundancy, please reference the OP's fine pictures for images of the product.  As usual take it with a grain of salt and I'll be the first to admit that any audible memory used for comparison is not that very reliable.

 

First, I would like to thank Sennheiser USA for this opportunity.  It really makes the community fun and interesting.  I would like to begin disclosing my very first earphone upgrade from the iconic white Apple ear buds were the CX300.  That was about 4 years ago and I recall paying around $40 for them.  Like anything new, different, and technically better, I was impressed. I bring up the CX300 because when listening to the CX275, I recognized a lot of similarities.  Over time, what was found in yesteryear mid/upper tier products can be found on current and lower priced products.  If fact, on a few tracks I swore I was listening to the older IE6 and IE7.

 

Unlike other manufacturers like UE who uses mostly balanced armatures as their driver of choice, Sennheiser product lines are driven by dynamic drivers.  If you haven't had the opportunity to own/audition their past and current flagships (IE6, IE7, IE8/80) IEMs', you don't know what you're missing, and how much drastically a dynamic driver can sound amongst the top tier models.  Sennheiser's expertise with dynamic drivers is clearly evident.  I digress.

 

My initial physical impression was very positive.  The cord and build quality is up there justifies the $60 admission price.  The ear pieces, a bit futuristic looking, are very comfortable and very light weight.  Not to knick pick, but I applaud Sennheiser for always including the raised dot on the left earpiece, a feature that I feel is mandatory, yet is absent on a few mid to top tier universal IEMs'.  Also, like other Sennheiser IEM products, these are vented, which explains its wide sound stage, and the feeling of air in the music. In short, it enhances the sound, but there is some music leakage due to the design. However, at low to moderate volume levels,  I don't feel it's enough to disturb your library neighbor, or the big brute sitting next to you on the bus/subway.

 

My impression setup consists of the following with FLAC music files:

  1. Straight out of my Blackberry (BB) smart phone
  2. Straight out of Sansa Clip Zip (no EQ)
  3. PINT portable amp-->Sansa Clip Zip

 

When listening out of my BB, I must say it's refreshing to finally have a product that's truly universal beyond just the iPhone.  As such, the CX275 control basic functions like answer and hang up as well as activating the voice command when pressed longer than 3 seconds on my BB.  It also  functions as play/pause only - simple, and works well.  The control housing looks and feels very durable.  The size of the control button is ideal for pretty much any hand size.  The sound coming out of the CX275 from the BB is actually quite good.  As mentioned before, the sound stage is pretty wide and there's a good sense of air.  It definitely has bass, but it's more about quantity than quality which typical to most Sennheiser earphones at the price range.  It's fairly detailed all around, but lacks the crispiness and snap in the highs. They have descent extension, but does roll off a bit.  There's a surprisingly amount of detail coming out the earphones. The only area that suffers is the mids, as it is a little suppressed especially with female vocals as stated by Shadwo419.

 

On the Sansa Clip Zip, my impressions are the same as above.

 

When amped with my PINT, which is a bright, but very detailed portable amp, and the Sansa Clip Zip, things got better.  The bass was a little tighter, but still boomy.  For most female vocals, the amplification remedied their suppression when not amplified, but added some sibilance with a few tracks.  However, at lower listening volumes sibilance is a not an issue.

 

In summary, the CX275 houses the Sennheiser sound.  It's laid back, musical, and natural - traits I find consistent with dynamic drivers in general.  For a sub $100 product, it stands pretty high on my list.  Like most sub $100 products, the bass has quantity over quality, but the CX275 sound stage and air, and detail separation characteristics that can be found in higher priced models helps make it perform above it's price point and gives it a high quality and value seal.  The build quality and comfort seals the deal.


Edited by alphaphoenix - 8/14/12 at 11:07am
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 

Awesome write-up!

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