Sennheiser PXC450 conundrum
Jul 26, 2008 at 6:03 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2


Headphoneus Supremus
Jan 15, 2008
It’s one of those days. My wife and child are with my in-laws for the weekend and I should be finishing a paper, so I am stuck behind the computer. Which is OK, given that I just received some nice new music (World’s End Girlfriend, Japanese post rock
). So in between the writing I was switching headphones, trying to determine which one I like best for World’s End Girlfriend (turns out to be the AKG K500). Then I realized (well, it’s probably just my unconscious coming up with devious ways not to finish the paper and do fun stuff
) that a while ago I had written in a post that I would test my Sennheiser PXC450 noice-cancelling cans as normal headphones. So, out they came and I put them on, despite the sweltering heat (they’ve got leather pads).

I did some listening with my normal reference music (Tord Gustavsen Trio, Tom Waits, Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Gould’s Goldberg Variations), starting with the phones in the passive mode. I noticed immediately that they sounded really good. Detailed, balanced, reasonably fast, no real soundstage, but hey, they’re closed Sennheisers, so what do you expect? The only thing I didn’t like was the bass. It was all over the place, uncontrolled, no texture, just whoomphy impact. I use the Zero Dac and the Graham Slee Solo, which usually do a very good job of producing tight but extended, textured bass, but not with the PXC450. Then I switched to the NC-mode. Immediately the bass decreased (as did the volume). It’s an often-made complaint that the bass disappears once you switch on the NC. But when I adjusted the volume, I noticed something funny, which went against my previous experiences with the PXC450. The bass does decrease, but it actually wins in quality
. It’s more controlled, textured and, dare I say, almost AKG-like.

Now I am left wondering whether the paper I am supposed to finish this weekend has eaten away my brains (or at least that part that deals with headphonic experiences)
. Or am I hearing this correctly? Is there anyone else who can corroborate this experience? Or perhaps show me my ears have been wrong? Well, better get back to the paper now…
Dec 30, 2008 at 8:58 PM Post #2 of 2


Dec 30, 2008
I got my PXC450 today and I love them!

However, I don't find any drop of volume or bass level when I turn on noise canceling. May be that was a production flaw of earlier batches of the PXC450s?

Anyway, the only thing I don't like about the PXC450 is that I have to take them to switch between noise canceling and bybass mode... the on/off switch that you see on photos of the PXC450 simply turn noise canceling on or off. When it is off, the PXC450 produces no sound unless you switch it to by-pass mode, which require you to take it off and flip a switch... I really don't understand the point of that on/off switch!

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