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Sennheiser PXC 550 Discussion and Reviews - Page 4

post #46 of 52

I am really considering these. 
Went a lot of Hi-Fi stores in town today and it essentially boiled down to three

Denon AH-M400, Senn Momentum 2 and the PXC 550.


Since the PXC 550 is so "featury" I have some questions. Does the headset still "work" if the battery is dead? Then using the cable. 

And, is there an audio quality difference between running them through the cable/BT ? 


All these had features I liked, but I leaned towards the PXC due to the features, design and yeah... having such a broad spectrum due to the EQ.


I'm no big fan of ANC actually. Tried the Bose a last year, and I soon after got a headache. In addition, to my surprise and relief, these actually sound GOOD with ANC off (woho!). 

Edited by Flaskekork - 12/7/16 at 8:45am
post #47 of 52
Originally Posted by Flaskekork View Post

Since the PXC 550 is so "featury" I have some questions. Does the headset still "work" if the battery is dead? Then using the cable. 

And, is there an audio quality difference between running them through the cable/BT ? 



Yes they work with their audio cable with the battery drained.  There are actually two ways to run them with a cable - audio and USB. First, even though I use Apple devices (w/o) aptX I have found that the bluetooth signal is so strong that they are able maintain full bitrates out of the fallback SBC protocol. I detect a small loss of bass definition versus the audio cable but am still evaluating. Its the second USB cable support that surprised me in that you can plug them into your laptop/notebook as a sound card and get even better sound than the audio cable into the headphone jack. Its DAC appears to be limited to 48K on my Macbook, but I am still playing around with this. They will not work in this mode with devices that cannot deliver 500mA as you don't appear to drain their battery in this mode.  These are definitely worth an extended trial due to their versatility and level of performance.

post #48 of 52

Excuse my language... but... holy ****! These are so versatile.


I'm sold ;P Definitely! 



Have you had any experience with the volume problem-concern? I tried two different ones today, one straight of the box through the cable (probably low on battery) and on with a charger in it, through Bluetooth. Funny thing was, the one playing through the cable was fairly low, even when cranking up the volume to max on my phone AND cranking it up on the headset. For some reason, swiping the side, increased the volume in the headset separately. Weird. But at this point I was about to give them up... Luckily I gave another pair a try, and they had battery, and i was blown away. Loved them to pieces.  yum yum. 


But anyway, the volume concerned me a bit. 

post #49 of 52
Thread Starter 

OK I owe Sennheiser an apology. I really needed to play with ALL of the features of this headphone more. I will have to update my review to include all of the features and more real world use of those features.


The latest feature I had not actually tested was using the USB cable as an audio cable. I was working away at the office and decided to see how it worked today. All I can say is this feature kicks serious @$$. Suddenly I have a lossless format that charges the headphone while I listen to music, it sounds even better than the already excellent Bluetooth and it is fully functional with all of the 550 features including auto pause when I take the headphone off. It also gives me a more robust and fool proof way to use the headphone as a headset in that unlike BT which is finicky with communication applications USB is bullet proof. Did I forget to mention I can still be BT'd to my phone while using this with USB to my computer? :wink: so I can answer my phone while listening to music on my computer through USB, while charging the headphone, and it will auto pause the music on the computer while I take the phone call.


As I continue to delve into the depths of what this headphone offers I can't help but think it bests ANY other ANC/BT headphone at this point in time including the heralded Sony MDR-1000X which is the current Head-fi darling. Even if the 1000X has better ANC, unless that is the only requirement a person needs I think the 550 equals or bests it in every other regard except for maximum volume level. If you then add in all the functions and features that the 550 has that are missing on the 1000X I think the 550 is simply a better option for most people.


I'm not suggesting people sell off their 1000X if they have already bought one but I do think that Sennheiser is getting the short end of the stick in the ANC/BT war right now.


Actually I can even understand why this is the case. Sennheiser has packed so much into the PXC550 you can't easily appreciate what is can do even when you use it regularly. It takes time and need to really see just how much it does. It's kind of like sports cars. You can have an American sports car like a Corvette and compare it to something like a Porsche or (insert exotic car name) and on paper they might stack up for most big features. But only the person who owns and uses the cars daily will learn to appreciate ALL of the features each car has to offer.

post #50 of 52

I got a pair of these and they are so impressive, really.  I can't believe mobile can sound this good:


- My sound quality estimate is about 80% of the way to HD600 or 700 level when streaming Tidal lossless and have a strong Bluetooth signal.

- A little smaller soundstage then the big open Senns (no surprise with this cup depth and being closed), but still good imaging and enough separation to make complex music passages surprisingly coherent.

- I don't find them bright or fatiguing at all, but rather more neutral with no Sennheiser veil.

- Comfort is awesome if you don't have huge ears.

- They are incredibly flexible in connectivity (show as usb dac output in various operating systems) and the sound is the same with ANC on or off.

- They even had good low latency (12 ms) audio streaming for studio monitoring when using ASIO4all to control buffer size, which was killer with ANC.


I find myself wearing them more than anything else now; even briefly considered selling my primary desktop rig of Grace m9xx and Grado PS500e tonight due to the immense convenience and comfort with these things.  The midrange is a little recessed compared to my Grado but that is typical for the Grado sound, which is fun rather than neutral though the PS500e are just a tad more transparent across the spectrum while the closed PXC 550 have better sub-bass and aaaaaaall the other features.  It is true the gesture controls take a while to get used to, but once you have them down, it is pretty impressive.


I wouldn't hesitate to buy these until a few more years have passed to see how high quality the sound can get with wireless... this will be a tough one to beat for now.

post #51 of 52

@dweaver - thx for your post. I've actually sold my 1000X (outstanding ANC but the SQ just wasn't for me). How is the ear cup size of the 550 in comparison to the 1000X? To me, I actually liked the fit of the ABN's deeper cups over the 1000X  but as for 550, I keep hearing that it's closer to on-ear than truly circumaural.

post #52 of 52
Thread Starter 
My average sized ears fit comfortably. They occasionally touch on the edges but I just shift them a bit and then they get comfortable. I find the 550 more comfortable than my 100ABN and struggle to want to use the 100ABN most of the time now.
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