Hunt them for promotions. Sennheiser PXC 550 II - review of Bluetooth headphones with ANC

The first generation of these headphones charmed me completely, standing side by side with the best, but costing less than them. Can the same be said about the Sennheiser PXC 550 II?

Exactly a month ago, I took these headphones out of the box and started using them almost every day, in combination with the iPhone and MacBook Pro 16.

I used them at home and away from home. At work and at play. I listened to music and podcasts in them, played mobile games, watched a few episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist on Netflix. I spent enough time with them to get to know them and see all the good and bad sides.

Let's start with what succeeded.

The Sennheiser PXC 550 II doesn't look like a UFO after all.

The first generation of these headphones was very comfortable, but you have to have a very ... specific taste to call it "pretty". PXC 550 II will appeal to a sense of style not only eccentrics, but also people who value subdued style. It is interesting because the shape of the headphones has not changed; only the accent colors changed. Black interspersed with dark gray looks much better than black interspersed with aggressive silver.

Sennheiser PXC 550 II reviews

As a result, the headphones are not conspicuous, and it's nice to look at them too.

Due to the fact that the shape of the headphones has not changed, their comfort has not changed. PXC 550 II are as fantastic as the first generation. They do not compress the skull, they do not burn the turbinate, you can sit in them for long hours (with regular breaks, of course) without any discomfort.

The whole weighs only 227 g and is very solid, and we can twist and rotate the ear pads to comfortably put them on the neck when we want to take a break from listening or hide in the attached case.

Sennheiser PXC 550 II reviews

The headphones are operated with a combination of buttons and a touch panel on the right can. At hand we have a physical button to pair the headphones and wake up the voice assistant (Siri / Google Assistant / Alexa). There is also an ANC mode selector switch and a Bluetooth on / off switch hidden behind the handle.

Sennheiser PXC 550 II reviews

We operate the volume, play and change songs by touch panel. A nice addition are the LEDs located on the can, which indicate the level of charge of the headphones.

A nice addition is the intelligent pause function - when you take the headphones off your head, playback stops. When we put the headphones on, the playback resumes. Amazingly, this feature works better than in Momentum 3 Wireless , where it worked quite whimsically. Here I had nothing to complain about.

From the construction side, I have one remark for Sennheisers - sorry, which year is it and why are the headphones from 2019 charged via microUSB? The odd thing is that the more expensive by just PLN 200 Momentum 3 Wireless are charged via USB-C, as all portable devices should be charged.

Sennheiser PXC 550 II reviews

Although we will use the charging port quite rarely, the need to have a separate cable for headphones only is a nuisance.

They can work about 30 hours without charging according to the manufacturer's instructions. In my experience, with the ANC constantly on, the headphones were enough for about 22-25 hours of listening, which is still a very good result.

And speaking of ANC ...

Sennheiser PXC 550 II - how do they cope with noise suppression?

Well. Very good even. There are two adaptive modes to choose from, one geared towards general ambient noise, the other designed strictly for wind or other uniformly hum. During testing, I found the first overall profile to work best in most applications.

Sennheiser PXC 550 II reviews

Headphones cut us off from the surroundings. On the other hand, I missed the "hear-through" function, i.e. pumping ambient sound inside the headphones. It is very useful at stations or airports when we want to hear messages without having to remove the headphones.

ANC in Sennheisers PXC 550 II also has a significant impact on the reproduced sound. Turning on noise reduction noticeably "dries" the sound, depriving it of some depth, depriving the center of expressiveness that the headphones have when the ANC is turned off.

So for listening to music at home, I recommend turning ANC off. While traveling, this influence is not huge enough to disturb you. After a few days you get used to it and don't notice the problem.

Sennheiser PXC 550 II reviews

Sennheiser PXC 550 II - how does it play?

If I had to use one word to describe the sound of these headphones, it would be the word "correct."

They don't stand out with anything special, but it's also hard to fault them. The bass is just right, the mountains are maybe a bit sharp, but you can get used to it, and the midrange is very clear when you don't use ANC.

The profile of the headphones changes a lot when we talk about the settings inside the application. With a frequency range of 17-23000 Hz, we have sufficient reserves to highlight both top and bottom.

Sennheiser PXC 550 II reviews

It is a pity that Sennheiser inside the application does not put into the hands of users a full-fledged graphic equalizer. We only have here a simplified substitute that allows us to choose the characteristics of several sound parameters. I really missed the global EQ setting, even 5/7-band, to really adapt these headphones to your needs. The loss is so great that the PXC 550 II are very susceptible to graphic correction and with a little bit of obstinacy you can squeeze out a much nicer sound than the "straight out of the box".

Sennheiser PXC 550 II reviews

Fortunately, the headphones have no problems with connectivity. The use of Bluetooth 5.0 resulted in a very stable connection, and the SBC, aptX and aptX Low Latency codecs ensure no delay, both in connection with the iPhone and the MacBook.

Unfortunately, I have bad news for owners of computers with Windows - just like most Bluetooth headphones, the PXC 550 II with Microsoft's system works ... on average. Not to say that at all. I managed to pair them with my laptop, but I couldn't use the touch panel to control playback. For an unknown reason, Windows 10 also refused to recognize headphone microphones as a sound recording tool. Well, windows .

Sennheiser PXC 550 II reviews

A pity, because the triple microphone arrangement combined with good ANC create a great duo for conversations and video conferences. Everything is heard so clearly, as if we were standing face to face in a soundproof room.

A lot of advantages and one big disadvantage.

After a month of intensive use, I can definitely say that I really like these headphones.

They are extremely comfortable, very light, trouble-free, they play well enough and excellently cut out the sounds of the surroundings. They are also much more compact than the previously tested Momentum Wireless 3, so it is easier to stuff them into the backpack, and also look a little less (s) nicely on the head.

Sennheiser PXC 550 II reviews

They have several disadvantages (which product doesn't have them?), But one of them is critical, at least at the time of writing: price.

Sennheiser PXC 550 II headphones cost PLN 1,499, which puts them in a row with the Sony WH-1000XM3 and Bose NC700 . Two products that - I am sorry to say - break Sennheisers PXC 550 II in every respect.

If PXC 550 II cost at least PLN 300 less, I would send you to the stores. For PLN 1,500, however, it's hard for me to say with a clear conscience that it's worth buying them when we can get something better for the same price.

For now, I say: it's not worth it. But if the price goes down or you get them in some promotion and you wonder if then buy them, then I will say: it's definitely worth it.

Hunt them for promotions. Sennheiser PXC 550 II - review of Bluetooth headphones with ANC


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