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Sennheiser Over Ear Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones PXC 550 II, Black

4.2 out of 5 stars 821 ratings

RRP: $549.00 Details

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Brand Sennheiser
Colour Black
Connector Type Wireless
Model Name 508337
Form factor Over Ear

About this item

  • Superior clear sound quality and active noise cancellation; the PXC 550 II Wireless delivers Sennheiser legendary sound quality; Active noise cancellation reduces the ambient noise from your surroundings and can be adjusted to your preference
  • Exceptional long-lasting battery performance up to 30 hours The PXC 550 II Wireless delivers up to 30 hours of battery life; You can travel from London to Hong Kong and back with just one charge
  • One touch access to your personal voice assistant with the touch of a single button you have access to your AI helper Siri Hey Google and Alexa Frequency range Speaker 17 – 23000 Hz -10db
  • Multi function touch pad control; a touch pad on the right ear cup provides volume play stop pause and track skipping control; Touching the ear cup allows you to take an incoming call; Controlling this headset is instinctive and easy
  • Hands free smart pause activated via the app or auto on or off functionality swivel the ear cups to turn off sensors detect when you wear the headphone and play or pause music
  • Includes: 3.5mm Audio Cable, Flight Adaptor and Carry Case
  • Amazon Alexa compatible
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Product description

Created for the frequent traveller, the PXC 550 II Wireless upgrades every journey with exceptional comfort, unrivalled sound quality and wireless freedom. The triple microphone array also delivers unrivalled speech clarity when making calls on the move, or interacting with virtual assistants such as Siri, Google and Alexa via the convenient voice assistant button. With exceptional ergonomic design and up to 30 hours of battery life, the PFC 550 ii wireless portable headphone is the perfect companion for travelling in style.


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4.2 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed in Australia on 25 October 2020
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Reviewed in Australia on 24 November 2020
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Johannes
5.0 out of 5 stars Ein hervorragender und klanglich neutraler Kopfhörer
Reviewed in Germany on 21 November 2019
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254 people found this helpful
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Daniel S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Solider Business-Kopfhörer für den Alltag - perfekt zum telefonieren!
Reviewed in Germany on 16 November 2019
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73 people found this helpful
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Nicosguera
4.0 out of 5 stars Recensione lunga e completa con confronto di un utente mediamente smanettone
Reviewed in Italy on 24 April 2020
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4.0 out of 5 stars Recensione lunga e completa con confronto di un utente mediamente smanettone
Reviewed in Italy on 24 April 2020
Allora che dire, ho seguito queste cuffie da quando uscì il primo modello e me ne innamorai follemente, vedendo le prime recensioni però non sembrava tutto rose e fiori.
Ho seguito anche questo secondo modello che sembra abbia risolto i problemi del primo e dopo una lunghissima serie di confronti e recensioni l'ho acquistato, la scelta era tra questa cuffia, la Sony wh-1000xm3 (ritenuta la migliore del segmento) e la Bose nc 700.
Partiamo dal presupposto che quello che stavo cercando erano delle cuffie dall'estrema pulizia del suono e sapevo che Sennheiser era una garanzia molto di più di Sony che nell hi-fi non è mai stata eccelsa (fino a qualche anno fa) ma le Sony ancora non mi convincevano perché, hanno dei bassi troppo pieni a mio avviso e a volte invadenti, sono troppo grosse, hanno pochi tasti fisici (solo 1) e possono connettersi solo ad un dispositivo per volta. Le Bose invece sono le più belle del lotto, quelle con la cancellazione del rumore migliore e maggiormente regolabile ma anche le più costose, con uno spettro sonoro abbastanza flat ma che è stato fortemente criticato per la mancanza di profondità.

Quindi eccomi tornato sulle Sennheiser ed ecco tutto quello che ho capito a riguardo e soprattuto perché sono arrivato quasi a pensare di renderle e prendere le Sony e perché non lo farò.

Le Pxc 550 ii sono delle cuffie esteticamente bellissime, estremamente eleganti e comode, leggere ed ergonomiche, dalla costruzione Premium (lo sottolineo perché ho letto in molte recensioni che sembrano cheap… FALSO) hanno tre tasti fisici (switch riduzione rumore a tre vie off auto on, tasto assistente vocale (tutti dicono Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, la verità è che io trovo solo Alexa nell'app, e lo switch per spegnere il bluetooth) e poi un enorme pad per i controlli touch dalla discreta funzionalità, sia chiaro funziona molto bene ma a volte partono comandi involontari, bisogna farci l’abitudine.

Veniamo ai punti di forza: La resa acustica. Unico e fondamentale pregio di queste cuffie, ogni suono è dove dovrebbe essere ed il livello di dettaglio è encomiabile, tutto il resto scende in secondo piano.
Veniamo ora ai tasti dolenti e alla mia esperienza: la cuffia è arrivata con il firmware 1.0, “e che ci frega” vi chiederete, a quanto pare questo aggiornamento non è compatibile con l'app per iOS 13.4. E di lì capite bene che sono partite le prime gastime, ma non ho mollato in giro sul web ho scoperto dell'esistenza di un aggiornamento firmware e che le cuffie erano normalmente funzionanti con dispositivi meno aggiornati, fatto questo quindi la cuffia è diventata perfettamente compatibile, e ho potuto sfruttare gli incredibili vantaggi dell'app.... pochi... molto pochi...
1) Non è presente un vero e proprio equalizzatore, mancanza assoluta per cuffie di questo calibro, presente però solo sulle Sony in maniera degna e completamente assente sulle bose
2) Non è possibile modificare l'intensità della riduzione attiva del suono. possibile invece sulle bose
3) Non è possibile o almeno non ho ancora capito come fare per scegliere Siri come assistente vocale anziché Alexa
4) Manca una modalità trasparenza con la musica attiva, quando la inserirete facendo un doppio tap sul padiglione destro la musica verrà stoppata ed il volume ambientale aumentato, a differenza di Sony e Bose. (Potrebbe essere inserita con un aggiornamento)

E allora vi starete chiedendo perché abbia scelto queste cuffie, così poco famose e con tutti questi problemi rispetto alle molto più blasonate Sony e Bose, forse perché è stato come un colpo di fulmine, un feeling che non si può spiegare se non si prova, erano le cuffie che facevano per me sebbene con qualche compromesso

Facendo il punto sono Cuffie dal suono cristallino, bassi non invadenti, riduzione attiva del rumore ottima ma non personalizzabile, comode leggere e belle, sebbene abbiano quei “ma” che non te la fanno consigliare ad occhi chiusi, in primis l'applicazione, non degna di cuffie di questo calibro.

P.s. Pagata 260 €

***AGGIORNAMENTO***
Fate attenzione al fatto che queste cuffie come molte di fascia alta hanno un’impedenza elevata, ergo via jack avranno un volume molto ridotto e prima di impazzire come ho fatto io per trovare la causa sappiate che è questa, la soluzione è comprare un amplificatore da interporre tra la fonte audio e le cuffie (io suono la chitarra ecco perché mi servono anche via cavo)
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i.n.
3.0 out of 5 stars Gut für Business und Menschen mit kleinen Ohren.
Reviewed in Germany on 26 November 2019
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Richard Palmer
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite the sound of silence.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 November 2019
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite the sound of silence.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 November 2019
Sennheiser are releasing these headphones into an already crowded market, and what makes it even more tricky is that not only are there lots of other Bluetooth/Noise Cancelling headphones out there, but quite a few of those are excellent quality Bluetooth/Noise Cancelling headphones. So these need to be special in order to get attention. But we'll come back to the competition in due course.

I tested these (using Bluetooth) with a Samsung S10+ phone (because phones are many people's music player of choice these days) and also a good quality stand-alone player, the Fiio M9. The M9 was also brought into play for wired playback.

I think it's worth saying that - in my view - the worst thing you can do when you get a new piece of equipment like this is to immediately begin comparing it with the competition. I own three other sets of similarly priced headphones, but before doing any kind of A/B comparisons I lived with the new ones first. That way I'm deciding whether this particular bit of kit is good in its own right. When somebody buys something like this and spends £300 for the privilege, all that really matters is, "Is it worth what I paid?" I've said this before to anyone that will listen, and I'll say it again now - if you like the kit that you've got, then don't go looking for something better. The minute that you do that, you're heading for frustration, disappointment, and a fast emptying bank account. Enjoy what you have, get your use out of it, and don't even think about "upgrading" until the thing breaks.

Says the man with another ten pairs of headphones. I should listen to my own advice, and I never do. But that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

Initial impressions (see photographs) were favourable. The one comparison I did make straight away was to check and see how the carrying case compared to others. The simple answer is that there's barely anything between them, apart from Sennheiser's own Momentum M2 which as you'll see is half as thick again. If you're packing a suitcase then you'll gain nothing over the Bose QC35 or the Sony WH1000 XM3, but equally you'll lose nothing either. I tend not to take the case when I go away, so this is less of an issue for me.

Taking the headphones out, the first thing that struck me was how light they feel and also how small the ear cups seemed. Putting them on I discovered that in fact they went over my ears just fine, but I did have to pull the cups away from the headband quite a bit in order to sit them far enough down my head. This is probably a good thing, because there was still plenty of room to go larger but it also means that if you have a tiny head then they won't be flopping around. So far so good. Next thing to note is that opening the headphones up and rotating the ear cups switches them on. It's an excellent idea, because you don't need to keep checking if you remembered to turn them off after you've done. If they're folded up or if the cups are flat - they're off. There's a problem, though. I went on holiday earlier in the year, and to save me having to pack my Sony headphones in my carry-on bag I turned up at the coach station with them round my neck. With these, that would leave the battery draining unless I wore them folded flat. Which you physically can't do, because I've tried. Maybe I've missed something obvious, but I don't think so. This is going to be a problem for me.

Oh... I've missed out an important step. The 'phones come partly charged, but you should plug them into a charger straight away and get them to 100% using the supplied lead and a charger of your own choice. Sadly Sennheiser are still wedded to the idea of the Micro USB socket, despite everyone else changing to USB-C. It's not a deal breaker, but USB-C is so much simpler to fit in dim light and it potentially charges faster as well.

Visually, they're nice. The previous generation, the PXC 550s, had an awful silver band running round the ear cups which I thought made them look cheap and nasty. These have done away with the band and for me they are all the better for it, but looks are subjective and who cares what anybody else thinks? Put them on, and they're very comfortable once adjusted. The pads are soft memory foam, and the headband is sufficiently padded so that us baldies aren't bothered by bare metal or hard plastic on our skulls. I have a pair of (wired) Grado 'phones which are so bad I had to buy a foam filled cover for them. No need with these. My wife thinks they are the most comfortable set she's tried, so it's not just me.

I paired them up easily to both my Samsung phone and my Fiio player. The voice prompt informed me that I had connected to "Phone 1" and then "Phone 2". Quite why an MP3 player is described as "Phone 2" I don't know, and although it makes no real difference to anything I would have expected Sennheiser to have gone with the word "device" instead. I connected to the Samsung in a room downstairs and then walked through a door and up a flight of stairs, through another door, and never lost connectivity even briefly. The Samsung is, I believe, equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, and it occurred to me that this might be the reason why the connection was so stable. So then I tried the same thing with the Fiio, which only has Bluetooth 4.2, and just to make things even more interesting I stuck the player in a drawer before I started walking away. Guess what? It worked just as well. And let's be fair here, who do you know who insists on keeping their music player in a drawer, in another room, on another floor of the house when they're listening to it? So if you've got a phone or an MP3 player in your pocket and you're having trouble with it keeping a connection, then I'd say the problem is likely to be with the audio device rather than the headphones.

How do they sound? Look, I'm not one of those people who thinks that by using phrases like "recessed mids" and by saying that this or that is "forward", you'll be any the wiser as to how good they are. All I know is that these don't sound too bassy and that everything is nice and clear. Nothing muffled, or distorted, which is exactly what I'm looking for in a pair of headphones. You need to realise that these are headphones meant for a very specific purpose, and should be judged as such. If you want to sit in a quiet living room, and your most important requirement is sound quality, then I can point you towards some wired headphones that will outperform these at half the price. That isn't why you should be buying these. These are meant for people who need to block out background noise so that they don't have to turn up the volume of their music to the point where they are risking deafness, in order to make out what they are listening to. You might be sat next to a huge fan in an office, or maybe you're a frequent flyer or a regular user of public transport. Perhaps you like to sit out in your garden on a summers day and your house is next to a railway line, or maybe you walk to work along the side of a busy dual carriageway. This is why you need a pair of noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones. You don't need them if you live in a detached house in the countryside, to listen to lo-fi podcasts about cookery or stand up comedy. What I'm saying is, if you're using these for their intended purpose, the sound quality is more than acceptable. Excellent in fact.

For those who care about these things, the standard codec for playback is set at whichever is the highest supported by your machine. Mine is AptX, but also available are AptX Low Latency - which is meant to avoid audio lag while watching videos or movies for example - and AAC, which is a proprietary Apple codec. I don't own any Apple equipment, so I can't speak for AAC, but I watched YouTube videos on my phone with no problem at all, despite not even having the 'low latency' version available to me. The most basic codec is SBC and although I haven't been able to test that either, past experience tells me that even that is indistinguishable from the rest when you're sitting on the back of a coach trying to listen to Joni Mitchell as the driver changes up through all his gears and all the other passengers are talking.

I've seen some criticism regarding the lack of volume, and to an extent I would agree, although this varies from source to source and also the whole point of noise cancelling technology is to allow you to listen to music at a reasonable volume. At no point did I ever feel as if they weren't loud enough, but it's true that on my Samsung I had to turn the volume up slightly higher than usual. On my Fiio however, anything above 100 (out of 120 max) was too much. So I don't think this is going to be a worry for me.

So, what about that noise cancelling? Well, it's not class leading and there's no point in pretending otherwise. You may be one of those people who likes to wear headphones on a flight with no music playing, in order to get a bit of well earned peace. If that's you, then I have to tell you to look elsewhere. It isn't that they are bad, far from it, but if this is your total priority then it would be unfair to suggest these are adequate enough. Sony still lead the field as far as I'm concerned, although you're never going to eliminate all noise and you need to know that. If you are looking for your first ever pair of noise cancelling headphones, don't expect total silence no matter which you buy. I tried the tumble dryer test, where I stood next to the machine as it was drying some noisy items, and the Sennheiser got rid of the lower frequencies while the Sony pair managed some of the more rattly bits as well. It still wasn't silent, mind you. BUT, and here's the good part, if you want these for listening only and you don't sit with them switched on and nothing playing, something magical happens when the music starts. At first you're thinking "Oh dear, I can still hear noises..." but the moment that the music kicks in it's as if an extra layer of noise cancelling is added and all you can hear is Bob Dylan (other music acts are available).

There are other things to consider, before I make some more specific comparisons with the competition. If you own a smartphone you can download an app to access various other functions, but you don't need the app to get going as they work straight out of the box. If you do use the app you can, for instance, alter the sound although I prefer leaving it at the normal setting. You can also make adjustments to the noise cancelling, but once again I leave it set it at "full on" and that suits me fine. I don't use "Voice assistants" and take phone calls using my headphones, and whilst I realise that this might be something that people want to know about I'm afraid I'm not the person to tell you how they work. You can also turn on/off an 'auto pause' setting, which lets you stop the music when you take the headphones off. This doesn't turn off the power.

Should you use the phone with the supplied wire rather than Bluetooth? That's really a matter for you to decide. Maybe you want to use them with a player that doesn't have Bluetooth, in which case you have no choice (although yet again I'd question if these are the right headphones and maybe you're paying for features you don't need) but if you're using the wire because you think they'll sound better, I'd say don't bother. If you can use Bluetooth, use it and enjoy the freedom because the sound is no different. What you do need the wire for, is to turn off the Bluetooth and put the 'phones into 'flight mode' when you're on an aircraft. So the lead is there for a reason.

The big question many will be asking is, how do these compare to everything else? The short answer to that is, they're better in some areas and worse in others. Just like everything else in the world. The first manufacturer who comes up with a pair of headphones that is better in every way to everything else, and which costs the same, will corner the market immediately. So far it hasn't happened.

If noise cancelling is the only thing that bothers you, you'd better stick with the Sony WH-1000XM3. Close second are Bose (QC35 or the new 700s) and lastly the Sennheiser. If you don't need to sit in silence with no music playing, these aren't exactly rubbish, though.

For sound quality, I put these in first place. The Sonys are excellent, but out of the box they are too bassy, and in order to activate the 'bright' setting (which makes them sound so much better) you have to deactivate all but the lowest quality audio codec. In truth, doing this this makes little difference to anything, but what is the point of offering features that have to be turned off in order to use the product properly? Bose are no slouch in the audio department (they used to be, quite frankly, rubbish. But they got their act together) but they can't quite compete with these.

Bluetooth connectivity has never been a problem for me. I know that some reviewers will say that such and such a product is always cutting out, and that all they have to do is put their phone in a pocket and it all goes haywire, but this hasn't been my experience. So I can't pick winners and losers in this case.

Comfort, weight, and size are all pretty comparable. I've never had to remove any of the different models because they've been uncomfortable, so you needn't worry on that score.

And lastly (hooray!) features. You might like the ability to vary the level of noise cancelling, and if you do then I believe that Bose now offers something like 11 different settings. It's a bit counter-intuitive, isn't it? Everyone is arguing over who offers the best noise cancelling, and customers are looking for the most impressive performance, but then they buy something which lets them make it progressively worse and calls it a 'feature'. If I was choosing the (potentially) most useful feature then I'd go with the automatic on-off function that goes with rotating the ear cups. It works well, with the caveat being that (as far as I can tell) there's no way of wearing them round your neck without them being permanently 'on'.

Over all, with a gun to my head having to choose a pair of headphones that is 'best', I put these in second place to Sony. Best for sound quality, but not as good at noise cancelling, and my personal circumstances dictate that noise cancelling is my main requirement most of the time. But it's a slim margin, and on those occasions where the surroundings are quieter I'd go with the Sennheiser every time. As I said up front, the big question is, 'Are these any good and are they worth the price?' The answer is a resounding YES, and if you buy them you shouldn't fret about whether you made the correct decision. Put some music on, sit back, and enjoy them.
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