The Sennheiser CX 550 II is a high-performance earphone with noise isolating capability. They’re designed for the listener who wants a little more quality than is provided from the standard sets you get with most MP3 players. At about £80 they push the quality up without entering the realms of the very, very, expensive sets which are available.
In the box you get a selection of ear canal attachments and a case. Also included is a clip to enable you to keep the cable from getting in the way too much. The CX 550s feel like they’re worth every penny of the £80.
The CX 550 are made from a hybrid metal/composite and are clearly well put together, not all in-ear headphones have the same reassuring construction. Though, by their very nature, in-ear headphones are a very personal thing when it comes to comfort we found them comfortable even for longer periods. The stalks where the wires meet the body of the speakers stick out a bit, but it does mean that the wires don’t touch your outer ear.
As with all more expensive headphones you get plenty of detail about their construction. The CX 550s have a frequency response of 17-22,500Hz, a sound pressure level of 114dB and total harmonic distortion of less than 0.2%. They weigh about 12g and have a 60cm cable; this can be extended to 140cm with a supplied adaptor.
The audio provided by the CX 550s is clearly a step-up from the cheaper options and so much so that they’re worth the extra cash. We listened to a range of audio and were never disappointed by the quality. Bass was good though not so much it made your ears hurt: it was a balanced and listenable performance by the CX 550s.
The in-ear isolating nature of the Sennheiser headphones does mean that all the ambient noise is filtered out, however that does bring some issue with it. We found that sat still audio was fine, but on the move we could hear every footstep. The shorter cable and clip helps to minimise this, but as the cable is short you need to keep your device close to your ears.
With the cable extension plugged in you can hear anything that rubs against that too. Perhaps, we walk with a very heavy gait, but it’s still worth considering.
This aside the CX 550s do provide great audio quality for the cash. If you’re in the market for some headphones that will be better than the pair most devices are supplied with the CX 550s fit the bill nicely.
Not too expensive and they really do add to the overall audio you’ll get from your device.
You can easily deafen yourself without the audio distorting too so if loud is what you’re after the Sennheiser Style CX 550 II are a great choice.