As is the case with noise-canceling headphones, the Sennheiser PXC 360 BT requires battery power for its noise-canceling circuitry to function. Sennheiser claims the battery is good for around 10 hours and the headphones lasted around 11 hours in our tests, so this is right on the mark. Fortunately, unlike other noise-canceling headphones like the Bose QuietComfort 15 for example, you can still use the PXC 360 BT to listen to music even after it has ran out of battery power. This is because it has a naturally low impedance, which is great considering a single battery pack alone is unlikely to last you on long-haul flights.
Moving on, we must say that the Noisegard 2.0 noise-canceling function works rather well. Enabling Noisegard 2.0, we were delighted to find that it canceled out most of the whirring noises made by the CPU fans in our test environment. However, we felt that the effectiveness of Sennheiser’s noise-canceling trails that of Bose’s slightly. We can’t prove this quantitatively, but to us at least, it did sound as if Bose’s noise-canceling function works better.
|Pod Race Scene from The Phantom Menace||8.5|
|Theme from Jurassic Park||8.5|
|Apollo 13 SFX||8.0|
|Theme from Cutthroat Island||8.5|
|Fanfare for Louis||8.5|
|Hotel California - The Eagles||8.5|
|Sail on Soothsayer - Buckethead||8.5|
|Melt My Heart to Stone - Adele||9.0|
|Elements of Life - Tiesto||8.5|
|Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (battle scene in Moria)||8.5|
|Swordfish (opening sequence)||8.5|
The Sennheiser’s PXC 360 BT’s audio performance is very strong. Judging from first impressions, it might not sound as authoritative nor as grand as the Bose QuietComfort 15, but it remains strong and rich and sounds more natural.
Beginning with the Pod Race scene from The Phanton Menace, we found that the PXC 360 BT reproduced dialog clearly and the pod racer’s engine had a nice authentic rumbling sound, and the stereo effects of them was nicely handled as we could clearly make out the pods zipping past us. We also tried the SRS WOW surround mode and found that while it did widen the soundstage, it also introduced an odd echoey effect to the sound, as if we were listening through a hollow tube.
The Sennheiser PXC 360 BT also handled the two orchestra tracks, Theme from Jurassic Park and Theme from Cutthroat Island, nicely. There’s a good sense of grandiosity and both tracks sounded sufficiently spacious. Again, we tried the SRS WOW surround mode and found that upon enabling it, the audio became more focused towards the rear and it also sounded a tad veiled. So far, the SRS WOW surround mode hasn’t achieved the wider soundstage we were looking for.
As we continued with our MP3 tracks, we found that the Sennheiser PXC 360 BT managed a pleasing rendition of the popular Eagles hit, Hotel California. That said, we wished that the PXC 360 BT was slightly less bass friendly, because the heavy drums tended to mute out the guitars. Moving on, Adele’s vocals on Melt my Heart to Stone sounded warm; while Buckethead’s guitars on Sail on Soothsayer was clear and nicely textured; and finally, Tiesto’s Elements of Life was a thumping good listen.
The Sennheiser PXC 360 BT excelled in our movie testing too. There’s a good cinematic feel to the sound, while explosions and fight scenes sounded nicely dramatic. Equally important, dialog was clear and never sounded muffled.