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Sennheiser PXC 550 Discussion and Reviews

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
Noticed that the only good thread for this headphone resided in the Sponsors Announcements and Deals Forum.

These deserve a thread here in the full-size headphone forum so I am starting this one.

For transparency sake. I contacted Sennheiser a couple months ago to see if I might be able to review this headphone. I received a loaner pair this week for this purpose. So I am not an owner of the headphone and these are not a free pair I received in exchange for a review.

Since it took a while to find out if I was going to get to review the PCX 550 I ended up buying the Sony MDR 100ABN, and Bose Quiet Control 30. Bad news for my wallet, good news for my review as I will have to high end models on hand to compare against. I am also working to see if I can possibly get my hands on the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 and Sony MDR 1000X to round out all the big contenders. But will work with what I have to get things started.

Here are a couple pictures I took as I unboxed the headphone. Unfortunately they show my lack of photography skills as much as they do the headphone. More pictures to follow.


post #2 of 52
Thread Starter 
due to formatting issues I am just pointing a link to my review.

http://www.head-fi.org/products/sennheiser-pxc-550-wireless-bluetooth-headphone/reviews/17291
Edited by dweaver - 11/12/16 at 12:53am
post #3 of 52
Thread Starter 
I had a chance today to some A/B comparison between the MDR100ABN and the PXC550 and they actually match up fairly well against each other sonically.

I picked 2 songs:

Zombie by Nellie McKay - This a fun jazzy tune that shows off symbols, double bass, and an uncanny 3D sound stage.

PXC550 - The drumkit is dazzling clear with doublebass sounding just right, never coming across as over cooked. Vocals are clear and detailed. There is a definite emphasis in the upper mids but never so much that it comes across as harsh or sibilant. The 3D aspect of the sound stage is there but due to the stronger upper midrange is a bit smaller.

MDR-100ABN - The drumkit is a bit quieter loosing some of the brilliance compared to the 550. doublebass has more heft to it but with out coming across as to strong. Vocals are a bit more husky. The emphasis on the lower midrange allows for the 3D imaging to stand out a bit more.

For this jazz piece these 2 headphones are pretty evenly matched. It really boils down to preference as the 100 has a darker midrange and less sparkle which results in a bit larger sound stage and a more relaxed sound. The 550 on the other hand really makes cymbals shine and is a bit more balanced and detailed.

Cold Hearted Man - ACDC a hard edges rock song with strong guitar riffs, typical AcDC vocals and decent speed and detail.

PXC-550 - The more emphasized upper midrange makes the guitars of this song have a real crunch and edge to them as does the drumkit and the vocals. This headphone is perfect for lovers of hard edgy rock.

MDR-100ABN - The lower midrange focus reduces the edge and crunchiness of the guitars and cymbals as well as the vocals. It makes the song easier to listen to and able to be listened at louder volumes more comfortably but also caused the song to loose the edge most hard rock listeners crave for.

This song showed me what I have been missing with all of the darker leaning headphones I own. The PXC-550 was exciting and filled with detail easily besting the MDR-100ABN.
Edited by dweaver - 10/30/16 at 9:52pm
post #4 of 52

Subscribed! Thanks for setting up this new thread @dweaver

post #5 of 52
Thread Starter 
I had a chance today to some A/B comparison between the MDR100ABN and the PXC550 and they actually match up fairly well against each other sonically.

I picked 2 songs:

Zombie by Nellie McKay - This a fun jazzy tune that shows off symbols, double bass, and an uncanny 3D sound stage.

PXC550 - The drumkit is dazzling clear with doublebass sounding just right, never coming across as over cooked. Vocals are clear and detailed. There is a definite emphasis in the upper mids but never so much that it comes across as harsh or sibilant. The 3D aspect of the sound stage is there but due to the stronger upper midrange is a bit smaller.

MDR-100ABN - The drumkit is a bit quieter loosing some of the brilliance compared to the 550. doublebass has more heft to it but with out coming across as to strong. Vocals are a bit more husky. The emphasis on the lower midrange allows for the 3D imaging to stand out a bit more.

For this jazz piece these 2 headphones are pretty evenly matched. It really boils down to preference as the 100 has a darker midrange and less sparkle which results in a bit larger sound stage and a more relaxed sound. The 550 on the other hand really makes cymbals shine and is a bit more balanced and detailed.

Cold Hearted Man - ACDC a hard edges rock song with strong guitar riffs, typical AcDC vocals and decent speed and detail.

PXC-550 - The more emphasized upper midrange makes the guitars of this song have a real crunch and edge to them as does the drumkit and the vocals. This headphone is perfect for lovers of hard edgy rock.

MDR-100ABN - The lower midrange focus reduces the edge and crunchiness of the guitars and cymbals as well as the vocals. It makes the song easier to listen to and able to be listened at louder volumes more comfortably but also caused the song to loose the edge most hard rock listeners crave for.

This song showed me what I have been missing with all of the darker leaning headphones I own. The PXC-550 was exciting and filled with detail easily besting the MDR-100ABN.
post #6 of 52

I tried the PXC550 after trying out the Bose QC35's and V-Moda Crossfade Wireless.

 

The Sennheiser's were nicely built and have some excellent features but I was just not impressed with the sound quality.  Firstly they just don't go loud enough. I was comfortably listening to everything at absolute full volume. This issue alone was a deal breaker for me.

 

I honestly can't say I really liked the sound quality either. They didn't sound bad but were somewhat 'bland'.

 

Given the choice between the Bose and PXC550's I would chose the Bose.

 

Having said that, I decided that I didn't need active noise cancelling - so I went with the V-Moda's in the end.  Interestingly enough - I use Android which uses APtX (which isn't supported by either Bose or V-Moda but is by Sennheiser. I still preferred the 'fun' sound of the V-Moda's. I guess I'm now officially a basshead.

post #7 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peddler View Post
 

 

Given the choice between the Bose and PXC550's I would chose the Bose.

 

 

Me too, I tried both and pretty much found the same as you - not loud enough and audio was OK but not as much sub-bass as the QC35's...

So it was also the QC35's for me

post #8 of 52
post #9 of 52
Yes I found the Sennheiser's to be a little 'shouty' which matches Tyll's findings. I kinda got the impression that they were just a little too clever for their own good.

I think the Bose (although still a little boring) sounded definitely better.
post #10 of 52
Thread Starter 
I am not hearing the shoutiness as much as Tyll did but I also used to love upper midrange forward signatures so may be swayed by that as I have moved away from it over the past couple of years. But the more likely culprit may be the flu I am fighting at the moment. So I will refrain from posting sound impressions until I am no longer sick and will post other non signature related information instead.
post #11 of 52
Yes it really sucks having a cold or flu when you want to have a listening session - bass disappears almost completely. Hope you get better soon so you can resume your ear bashing.

I was so tempted to get the Sennheiser PXC550 but I ended up scoring a pair of V-moda Crossfade Wireless used for 100 quid. Definitely no regrets here - I love the sound signature of the V-moda and they sure go louder than any of the noise cancelling models I have tried recently.
post #12 of 52
Thread Starter 
Had a chance to hear some other headphones today and while I won't make to many comment more about signature until next week I have to say I don't think these are as shouty as others are finding them. Out of the headphones I heard one of them was definitely to peaky in the treble and I could easily hear it. So I d think that it might boil down to preference as much as anything. But I will know for sure next week.

I have a question for those finding these not loud enough. Are you using an iDevice? I ask because I am finding with the 550 and actually all the BT products I have on hand that when I adjust the volume with iDevices that the volume control interfaces withe the device turning the volume up and down but when I use my LG G4 the volume is managed independently of the device. So I am able to crank the volume up in my phone then manage all volume control independent of the device in the headphone this allows me to get more than enough volume.
post #13 of 52
I used a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and found that they were quiet on both devices where other Bluetooth headphones in my collection could definitely go louder. I suspect it's the dammed French euro volume cap in action and Sennheiser's just playing it safe.

V-Moda Crossfade Wireless really rocks. Whilst it's definitely not the most accurate sound they are certainly fun to listen to - and go nice and loud.
post #14 of 52
Thread Starter 

My review is finished :)

 

http://www.head-fi.org/products/sennheiser-pxc-550-wireless-bluetooth-headphone/reviews/17291

 

I have to admit I really liking these...

 

I will continue to post select song comparisons to the other ANC products I have and will be starting a full comparative review soon.


Edited by dweaver - 11/12/16 at 12:56am
post #15 of 52

Hi guys, am new to headphones area, have some questions:

 

I am currently using HD 598 with amplifier. Is the PXC 550 better?

Is it worth the upgrade in your opinion?

 

Also, I realize the PXC 550 doesn't seem to require amps when it's 490 impedance.

I assume the inbuilt battery is serving as an amplifier of sorts?

 

Thanks in advanced.


Edited by ZexCeed - 11/13/16 at 1:19am
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