Sennheiser PXC 250
Company: Sennheiser USA
Ah, the sweet sounds of music! And with the popularity of the Apple iPod there is a huge market out there for people wanting to purchase better sounding headphones than the earbud white ones which, while decent sounding, leave a lot to be desired.
While Sennheiser boasts some impressive looking products, there is only one fair way to review headphones, which of course is to plug them into our 20GB iPod and jam to some tunes!
All music used for this review was either MP3’s ripped directly from the music CD at 192 kbps, or music purchased through the iTunes Music Store in ACC format. Different genres of music were sampled, everything from Bach to Steve Wonder, from Leanne Rimes to Limp Bizkit.
The PXC 250 is “a closed, dynamic, supra-aural mini stereo headphone with NoiseGard active noise compensation.” (Description taken from Sennheiser) All that sounds nifty, but what does it all mean? First, let’s look at the specifications of the PCX 250:
Nominal impedance: 300 Ohm
Jack plug: 3.5 mm stereo
Transducer principle (Headphones): dynamic, closed
Ear coupling: Dupraaural
Cable length:1,8 m
Weight w/o cable: 65 g
Frequency response (headphones): 10…..21000 Hz
Sound pressure level (SPL): 106 dB (SPL)
THD, total harmonic distortion: 0,1 %
So what does all that mean to you, a non-techie who just wants a good sounding pair of headphones for your iPod, Home Entertainment System, or your computer? The good news is these headphones sounds great! With all forms of music, they performed well under most conditions. Because the PCX 250’s are not earbuds, they are not well suited for joggers, bike riders, or casual listening while outside. Rather, the PCX 250’s are designed for more of a relaxed or stationary setting.
The NoiseGard technology the PCX 250’s boast is noise cancellation technology, similar to the more popular Bose. In a nutshell, what the NoiseGard technology does is filter out background ambient noise, meaning less distraction from other sounds in the room with you. A good example would be a loud fan’s humming noise, which would tend to bleed into your ears and lessen your music listening enjoyment. While we are no experts on Noise Cancellation technology by any means, we can honestly say that the NoiseGard in the PCX 250’s work better than we had thought they would. With the headphone on, one can hear a major reduction of ambient room noise simply by turning on and off the NoiseGard “Stick” on the headphone cord. Even without music playing. One potential drawback if you wear these at work is that all sound is muted significantly. If your phone rings, or a co-worker asks you a question, you may not hear them!
Sound quality is great. While deep base was a little muddy at times, the listening experience was rich and clear. Very satisfying. In direct comparisons to the earbuds that ship with the iPod, we found there really is no comparison. The PCX 250 is the clear winner in all but portability and weight.
On the downside, the above-mentioned NoiseGard lends a bit of a problem. The NoiseGard filter itself houses two AAA batteries, which will need replacing. It also makes a fairly large, heavy burden on the cable itself, which can be unwieldy at times. The headphone cable runs from the Mini-Plug to the NoiseGard filter itself, and another cable comes out of the component to the headphones. There is a belt-clip for the NoiseGard itself, as well as an Off/On button. Unfortunately, if you enjoy using the headphone extension cable that controls forward, back, and volume that ships with some iPods, it is rendered useless with the PCX 250. We could not get it to function at all when combined with the PCX 250’s.
The PCX 250’s also feature very soft earpads, and the ability to fold up for storage. They ship with their very own vinyl carrying case as well. Unless you have a flat Frankenstein head, you can adjust the PCX 250’s to fit over your head comfortably. These are designed to fit over the top of your head, not behind you neck as some other headphones are.
All in all, we have to give the Sennheiser PXC 250 high marks for fidelity, comfort, and design. While large and heavy (the cord, not the headphones themselves), these are headphones designed to listen to music while at rest or stationary, as we mentioned above.
A best buy valued headphones.
MacMice Rating: 4 out of 5