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Sennheiser PXC-360 BT Noise-Canceling Headphones review

Sennheiser PXC-360 BT Noise-Canceling Headphones - Almost Perfect

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Overall rating 8.5/10
Design:
8
Performance:
8.5
Features:
9.5
Value:
8
THE GOOD
Good audio performance
TalkThrough is useful on flights
Bluetooth connectivity
THE BAD
Uncomfortable for long usage
SRS WOW surround sound not effective


Audio Wizardry

Audio Wizardry

Founded in 1945, just a few weeks after the end of World War II, by Fritz Sennheiser and several engineers, Sennheiser has since become one of the world’s foremost makers of headphones. Some landmarks products include the awesome Orpheus System, consisting of the HE90 headphone and HEV90 tube amplifier, regarded by many to be one of the finest headphone systems ever made; and the more recent HD 800, which we managed to get some hands-on time.

Apart from high-end headphones, Sennheiser’s catalogue also includes more mainstream stuff such as regular in-ears, sports headphones and also active noise-canceling headphones. Recently, Sennheiser launched two new active noise-canceling headphones - the PXC 360 BT and MM 550 Travel - both of which come choke full of features and goodies.

And what we have here with us today is the more affordable PXC 360 BT. Apart from having active noise-canceling ability in the form of Sennheiser’s Noisegard 2.0 active noise cancelation technology, the PXC 360 BT also has a special function called “TalkThrough” which lets users instantly hear what’s going on around them without removing their headphones - this will come in very handy during mealtimes on flights when flight attendants come around. The PXC 360 BT also has SRS WOW HD surround sound feature, which widens the soundstage and deepens the bass. On top of all these, the PXC 360 BT is also Bluetooth-capable, which means you can connect to any Bluetooth-enabled device, like your smartphone, and enjoy music wirelessly.

Clearly, the PXC 360 BT is full of technological wizardry and even the design of the headphones reflects that. It looks futuristic and utilitarian, with many buttons which activate the various features of the headphones lining the side of the right ear cup. And when it’s turned on, the headphones even emit a soft blue glow from the side.

However, futuristic design and high-tech audio technologies aside, the Sennheiser PXC 360 BT doesn’t do too well when it comes to comfort because it clasps too tightly around your head. Furthermore, the ear cups are rather small and the ear pads feel harsh on the skin. Therefore, only after about an hour’s use, our ears felt warm and uncomfortable, and so overall, the Sennheiser PXC 360 BT isn’t very comfortable to wear. But how does it sound?

Before we find out, here’s a quick look at the headphones.

 

Test Setup

Since the Sennheiser PXC 360 BT is most likely going to be paired with portable media players if not the plane’s in-flight entertainment system, we will be testing the headphones with our CD and MP3 testing material, as well as movies. Furthermore, we are also using an iPhone 4 as our source, with the CD tracks ripped to Apple Lossless format to ensure no loss of musical fidelity and compatibility with the iPhone 4. As for the movies, they were ripped and converted to a format suitable for iPhone 4 using Handbrake. We also test the the noise-canceling abilities of the PXC 360 BT by simulating an airplane cabin environment using CPU fans, which also produce an equally annoying low-frequency droning noise.

Again, we must remind readers that different people have different musical and sonic tastes. Some are bassheads while others are treble freaks, so your preferences with headphones may vary. Nevertheless, we strive to be as objective as possible when describing the sound and rating the headphones.

The full list of testing material used:

CD Testing:

  • Pod Race Scene from Phantom Menace
  • ?Tyrannosaurus Rex Sound Effects from Jurassic Park
  • Theme from Jurassic Park
  • Apollo 13 Lift-off Sound Effects
  • Theme from Cutthroat Island
  • Fanfare for Louis, performed by the Dallas Wind Symphony

MP3 Testing:

  • Hotel California - Eagles
  • Sail on Soothsayer - Buckethead
  • Melt My Heart to Stone - Adele
  • Elements of Life - Tiesto

DVD Testing:

  • Lord of the Rings - (Starting sequence, Balin's Tomb & Bridge of Khazad-dum)
  • Swordfish (Starting sequence)