Sennheiser PXC 550 II is the second generation of successful and well-received headphones from the German manufacturer. How does it differ from its original and, most importantly, is it worth spending money on?
Sennheiser PXC 550 headphones are a very successful design that can be safely placed on the shelf with the word “premium”. This is also the headphones that reigned in the lists throughout 2018 and 2019, going head to head with proposals from Sony. The German manufacturer by presenting the model PXC 550 in a refreshed version with the note “II” wanted to make many people who reached for the first generation of headphones will spend their money on their theoretically improved brother. In my opinion, however, this simply will not happen. Why?
Construction and build quality
Right out of the box, the PXC 550 II show that they are not much different from its predecessor. In this case, however, we’re dealing with a nicer paint job – Sennheiser’s new headphones opt for black and matte, the best combination in my opinion. Again, we find a touchpad on the right earpiece, the Bluetooth switch is just as small and awkward, and the bottom of the earpiece hides options to manage noise cancellation, a charge level LED, a button to change listening mode, and. a micro USB Type C connector. That last mentioned thing is a slander to the user – especially in 2019 and 2020, when the newer interface even headphones three times cheaper already have. Sennheiser, shame on you. And a lot of it.
The adjustability of the PXC 550 II isn’t great, which meant that on my large head, the headphones “sat” just barely, at first causing discomfort from not being able to extend the earcups further down. Things have improved as the pads on the left and right sides have grown, but those who wear glasses and have a larger face may be a bit disappointed. However, the PXC 550 IIs lie very similar, if not identical to their predecessor.
However, when you pick up the Sennheiser PXC 550 II, you have the feeling of dealing with a “premium” product – fortunately.
Comfort of use
The PXC 550 II does not cause any problems during prolonged use. Working in the office or traveling with the headphones on your head does not cause any ear pain or overheating. Sennheiser has always taken care of the ergonomics of their products and this time is no different. Ear pads on the headphones are soft and comfortable, and they cover your ears well.
The comfort level I can confidently rate as very good.
Sennheiser PXC550 test
I have to admit that I was expecting something new and fresh, and from the first putting on the head it comes out that PXC 550 II sound identical to its predecessor. Sometimes even with stronger, stinging treble favoritism. The soundstage is good, the headphones’ tuning itself is also in the direction of “entertainment”, but higher volume levels painfully expose the biggest problem of the PXC 550 II model. It is simply the lack of proper dynamics. During listening I had an impression, that headphones favor too much higher frequencies at the same time cutting down midrange and “bottom”. It’s hard to say if the German manufacturer decided to do that basing on safety and well known solutions or he didn’t want to exaggerate and be accused of PXC 550 II being too entertaining.
In the case of new headphones from Sennheiser, I would advise not to make any recordings with prominent treble – it hurts ears. Of course, the sound can be adjusted so far using the equalizer built into the mobile app, but. is that what it’s all about?
The PXC 550 version two will work well for users expecting balanced, decent sound. The headphones play evenly, but they work best with electronic music and its other genres. It’s all thanks to the nice, well-controlled bass that doesn’t tend to overdo it or flood the midrange too much. Tracks like Boards and Skins by Henry Wu or Yaeji Feel It Out sound pleasant and warm. It gets worse with music such as Metallica – My World or Panic Attack from Dream Theater.
Other than that, there is nothing to complain about.
Active noise reduction
Again, back to square one. The PXC 550 II’s active noise cancellation system works pretty much the same way as the PXC 550. However, Sennheiser has improved the response to wind and intense background noise – I had the impression that in this topic the headphones perform slightly better than its predecessor. Active noise cancellation in PXC 550 II works satisfactorily. It is enough for the office and for traveling by train, bus or plane.
The battery is a field where Sennheiser’s wireless headphones always do well – and this time is no different. Achieving more than 15 hours of listening with active noise cancellation enabled is no mean feat with the PXC 550 II. With noise cancellation turned off and using a cable, this time is extended, of course. The battery in the Sennheiser PXC 550 II headphones deserves a solid five.