Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones

Man wearing Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Headphones


When it comes to choosing wireless headphones with active noise cancellation, you can expect Bose to show up somewhere at the top of lists. We've previously reviewed the QuietComfort 25 – the predecessor to the recently-released QuietComfort 35 – and found both the audio and noise-canceling performance to be quite satisfying. But it seems that Sennheiser is looking to challenge the champion with its latest headphones that combine the company's renowned sound signature with adaptive noise-canceling technology in a travel-friendly design.

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Meet the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Headphones

Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless headphones


The Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless headphones replace the older PXC 450 model, which first made it to consumers almost ten years prior. This successor has certainly been a long time coming for fans of the original, and Sennheiser hasn't held back. Although designed with travelers in mind, the PXC 550 Wireless headphones can be good for anyone interested in comfortable, personal bubbles of music supported by the latest in smart tech.

Headphones can often generate fatigue, even over short listening periods. The Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless have been created so that the over-ear cups and cushioned pads are sized and angled to complement natural ear shapes. Along with a padded headband and overall weight of 227 g (8 oz), the PXC 550 Wireless should fit most people comfortably for hours without excessive force or pressure.

One drawback of using Bluetooth wireless headphones – especially those with active noise canceling – is the battery life. Recharging can be a hassle on lengthy trips, so Sennheiser has designed the PXC 550 to be able to last for up to 30 hours on a single charge, with the adaptive noise cancellation engaged. It's a pretty incredible feat, considering how much power noise cancellation can drain. And if in the event that the battery does runs out, users can still connect an audio cable to continue listening to music.

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Why the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Headphones Might Be for You

The Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless headphones worn by a man in a vehicle


The Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless differentiates itself from other noise-canceling headphones with its "NoiseGard Hybrid" adaptive noise cancelling, which aims to automatically monitor and adjust to ambient noise levels. So as the surrounding environment grows increasingly louder, the cancellation strength is supposed to compensate with an equal level of suppression without requiring user-interaction. As the noise subsides, so should the suppression.

In addition to filtering out ambient sounds for private listening pleasure, the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless does the same for conversations when fielding phone calls. This can be convenient for answering the phone when hands might be full. A trio of microphones is designed to create a beamforming array that aims to deliver clear, intelligible speech to those on the other end. The PXC 550's communication controls – which also serve to adjust volume and play/pause/skip music tracks – are accessible through touch-sensitive trackpads on the earcups.

If all that wasn't enough, the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless headphones sport some handy, fancy features to complement the high-quality audio performance. A built-in limiter helps to avoid the pain and discomfort of sound level peaks, such as when crew announcements interrupt in-flight entertainment. The headphones are also designed to power on when unfolded, power off when folded down flat, and pause music and phone calls when the user takes them off.

The Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless offers four presets for adjusting sound and is fully compatible with the company's CapTune mobile app. Available for free on iOS and Android, CapTune allows users to have more precise, personalized audio through the use of equalizer controls and an A/B-testing feature. This way, it takes only a few taps in order to adjust the audio to complement the type/genre of music playing. The app doubles as a music player while also allowing adjustment of the PXC 550 headphone's settings.

The Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless headphones are available to order for a US$400 retail price. Each unit comes complete with an audio cable with inline control, micro USB cable, IFE adapters, and a carrying case.

Source: Sennheiser