Headphones aren't as simple as they used to be. When I
was younger you had pretty much two kinds to choose from: small ear buds that fit in your ear, and big cans that would fit around them. Not
much technology involved and the quality of the sound varied greatly
depending on design and cost.
Nowadays there are quite a few advancements in
headphones including noise cancellation and talk- through designs that allow
you to participate in conversations without having to remove the phones from
Sennheiser has long been recognized as one of the
better lifestyle headphone manufacturers out there. They've released products
across all price ranges and styles from ear buds to studio monitor
Most of the friends I know that are DJs use Sennheiser
exclusively due to their comfortable fit and good bass response.
For this review I received a pair of their new noise
canceling over-ear headphones dubbed the PXC 450s. These are a larger design
than most typical consumer headphones and more along the lines of what you'd
see in a recording studio or on a DJ at a club. Each earpiece fits
comfortably around the ear and offers plenty of padding, which works well, especially with extended wear.
I typically don't use headphones except on travel. I
know that iPods are the "in" thing right now, but I generally don't wear
mine around except when I jog in the morning or on business trips. Since
the PXC 450s are far too big for jogging, I only use them on plane rides
during my business trips, or when I'm hanging out in the hotel room. I've
managed a flight from Seattle all the way to Atlanta with these headphones
on and never once did I feel uncomfortable.
Before receiving these
headphones I used a pair of Bose lifestyle over-ear headphones that were
also very comfortable. But their padding wasn't quite as good, leaving the
area around my ears sore after about an hour and a half or so. I could
usually manage a full movie, but after that my head needed a break.
The Sennheisers are far more comfortable and more form fitting. The slanted
design molds to the head far better, which helps a lot for extended wearing.
The cups also swivel from the main headstrap, making them conform even more
without feeling like your twisting the frame. The only downside I found to
the design was my ears got warmer than I generally prefer. Not too
distracting, but I noticed it nonetheless.
Included with the headphones are a carrying case, two
connection adapters, and removable headphone cable. You also get a spare battery for
the noise reduction function and built-in amplifier. The case is a tight
weave design that offers some flex but is not a full hard case. The
headphones swivel and fold in to allow for a perfect fit in the case. The
case also has small loops to store the included items. There is an adapter
for airplane headphone jacks; you know the annoying ones that require two
prongs to actually get stereo sound out of them, and there is also a phono
adapter for professional jacks like you'd find on most higher end stereo
One of the nicest features is the ability to remove the
cable from the headphones, allowing you to wear them without a cable
dangling; this is nice when you just want to take advantage of the noise
canceling features of the headphones and not necessarily listen to something
with them. You simply slide the adapter out of the bottom of the left
earphone and store it in the case.
Go to Part II.