One of the biggest assumptions surrounding noise-cancelling headphones is that they’re the kind of perk or feature that comes at the cost of portability. It’s not impossible to fit premium noise-cancelling tech in headphones designed for use outside a studio – but neither is it all that practical. However, it’s this exact scenario that audio mavens Sennheiser have in mind for their PXC550 Wireless.
Designed for the rigors of everyday travel, the 550’s metallic design proves as durable as it does compact. The foldable frame features an integrated touchpad for easy control, along with earpads that ensure maximum comfort. Every curve comes considered – and it even comes with a discrete carry-case for enhanced portability.
Simply put: they’re headphones that utterly deserve the categorisation of business-class.
What’s more, the 550’s proprietary NoiseGard noise cancellation technology is as impressive in practice as it is in theory. The tech seamlessly monitors and adapts to the level of ambient noise around you, adjusting the level of noise suppression accordingly.
The PXC550 can be set up in a number of configurations. If you’re looking to minimise the number of cables on you, you can connect to it over Bluetooth. If fidelity-of-sound proves more important, you can connect them to your phone via a standard 3.5mm cable.
Beyond this, the PXC550 can also be toggled between a number of “effect modes” ideal for listening to movies, music or speech. Further customisation of this function is available through Sennheiser’s CapTune app.
In the majority of environments I tested the 550 in, the results were impressive. Indoors, they established a ghostly and unreal silence. This silence carried over for the most part into outdoor environments. If anything, listening to music through the PXC550 almost feels overshadowed by the serenity and bliss NoiseGard enables.
The PXC550 Wireless packs over thirty hours of battery life on a full charge and Sennheiser’s SmartPause system will automatically cease music when removed, ensuring you can push that number even higher. The only real drawback I encountered here was that it felt like the 550 took a little too long to fully recharge. It’s by no means a deal breaker – but it definitely shaped the way I used the headphones. I often found myself having to choose between going out without the PXC550 or having to keep partially recharging them every second day.
Still, I find it hard to deny the marked improvements it brought to the soundtrack of my commute – regardless of how long it was. Listening to music through the PXC550 feels incredible and I found it hard to go back to regular headphones after regular use.
If there’s been any guiding principle for Sennheiser’s approach to the high-end audio market, it’s been that you don’t have to be an audiophile to want genuinely good sound. The PXC 550 Wireless embody this sentiment to a tee. While they’re a little on the pricey side, they deliver an experience that’s well worth the expense.