Okay so you've just bought a new MP3 player, chances are the headphones that came in the box aren't that great and while things are slowly getting better you can always do better. But are the CX 300-II from Sennheiser the answer? We plug-in to find out.

An upgrade to the CX 300s launched in 2006, the new headphones, the CX 300-II are lightweight at 4 grams; so lightweight that you'll probably forget that you've got them in. The design is simple - yes we know it's a single cable with two earbuds - but you'll be surprised how complicated these things can get.

The asymmetric cable is 1.2m long giving you plenty of room to tuck under a jacket. The right earphone loops around the back of your neck and the improved styling includes a flexible right-angle 3.5mm plug meaning you aren't likely to snap it off when it's attached to the player of your choice in your pocket. You also get a protective carry pouch that's basic, but keeps the wire getting snagged when it's in your bag.

The CX 300-II Precisions offer a new drive unit and capsule, claiming better bass, clarity and dynamics and in our listening we would have to agree with Sennheiser's claims. Everything from Dave Matthews Band to NOFX sounded great. The earphones produce a nice well-balanced tone and while they don't have the mellowness of some of the more expensive headphones on the market, at £45 you can't really complain. Well not too much any way.

The sound performance is helped by the tight fitting ear buds of which you get three different sizes in the box to fit your ear, and the result is that they block out outside noise. It's no noise-cancelling offering, but then you don't get that annoying hiss either.


For those keen to improve their headphone performance, but not wanting to go the full hog of actually buying a pair that are more expensive than the MP3 player, the Sennhesier CX300-II are well worth checking out.

The lightweight design, good sound and cheap price means these get a thumbs up from us.