Everybody wants somes true wireless noise cancelling headphones these days. And being located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, we at Audio46 get plenty of customers looking to block out some noise from their daily commute.
Sony, Bose and Sennheiser each make quality active noise cancelling, true wireless headphones between the $300-$400 mark. Today we'll be taking an in depth look at the PXC 550-II from Sennheiser, priced at $349.95.
Sennheiser PXC 550-II Review
This headphone is the upgraded version of Sennheiser's PXC 550. The main difference? Bluetooth 5, AAC and AptX Low Latency. This means better quality audio for Apple devices, better synchronization with movies, and quicker Bluetooth pairing.
But how does the PXC 550-II stand up to its competitors? The Sony WH-1000XM3 is exactly the same price. And we can't forget the flagships coming in at only $50 more: Sennheiser's own Momentum 3 and the Bose 700. Let's break it down.
The PXC 550-II comes with Bluetooth 5, a 3.5mm cable for wired use, a carrying case, and support for AAC, AptX and AptX Low Latency Codecs.
Battery life is an impressive 30 hours and charges via micro USB. This is a longer battery life than both the Momentum 3 and the Bose 700, and equal to the Sony WH-1000XM3.
The PXC 550-II also uses the now-standard touch controls on the outside of the earpad. Swiping left and right skips the track forward and back, and volume is controlled by swiping up and down.
There's no beep or any indication that your command has been registered, but otherwise the responsiveness is about standard for headphones of this style.
The PXC 550-II seems more designed for portability when compared to the Momentum 3. It has a thicker build compared to other models, and the headphones fold up to fit inside the case.
The earpads themselves are kind of an oblong shape, and might not be a great fit for everybody. And they aren't as plush as the Bose or the Sonys, but seem very durable.
There is a hard switch on the outside of the earpiece to adjust the noise cancellation level. The first position can be either be "Adaptive" which adjusts the amount of noise-cancellation based on the noise in your environment, or "Anti-Wind" depending on how you set the Sennheiser Smart Control app. The second position is full-on "MAX".
The PXC 550-II noise-cancellation offers more on-the-fly adjustment than the both Momentum 3 and the Sony WH-1000XM3. But the Sony and Bose 700 both eliminated more low-end noise, like the rumblings of train cars. But on the plus side, the ear pressure from the PXC 550-II noise cancellation never felt overbearing like on the stronger models.
The PXC 550-II sounds like the midpoint between the Sony WH-1000XM3 and the Bose 700. It has a less bass heavy sound than the Sony and the Momentum 3, but more bass than Bose.
The sound is relatively V shaped, with a good amount of high-end detail. But if sound quality is top priority for you, you should spend the extra money for the Momentum 3. An extra $50 will bring you more bass and a some more high-end details too.
The WH-1000XM3s have a much punchier and more aggressive sound compared to the PXC 550-II. So if you prefer a more neutral sound signature, the PXC 550-II might be a better fit at the same price range.
Who Should Buy the PXC 550-II?
If you like the sound of the Momentum 3 but need more hands-on control and battery life, go with the PXC 550-II instead. They seem to be the better pair of traveling headphones, whereas the Momentum 3 are more of a luxury pair.
Also if the Sony WH-1000XM3 proves to be too intense, either with the noise-cancellation pressure or the punchy sound, the PXC 550-II provides a more relaxed approach to both.
And while the Bose 700 brings better noise cancellation and a more comfortable fit, the PXC 550-II has more bass and a better battery life for $50 less.
- Long battery life
- Easily switchable ANC modes
- Relaxed/neutral sound signature
- Not as comfortable as other models
- Not as much noise-cancellation
- Light on the bass
Overall, the PXC 550-II is a great noise cancelling choice for those who care more about functionality and practicality than luxurious sound quality. Nothing it does is too overwhelming or in-your-face, but it gets the job done.
Find the Sennheiser PXC 550-II for the best price on our website.
If you have questions about the PXC 550-II, Call (212) 354-6424, chat now, email us or visit our NYC store. Our team of headphone experts will be glad to answer questions and help find the perfect headphone for your needs and budget.