Monday, August 6, 2018

Sennheiser PNX 550 Wireless Adaptive Noise Cancelling Headphone Review

If it’s time to look for a pair of headphones, but you don’t have much experience with headphones, it would be easy to turn to a well known company, like Sennheiser. Sennheiser not only makes a great headphone, but they have been doing so for several decades. No matter what style of headphone you are looking for, Sennheiser has one for you. Up for review today is their Senheiser PNX 550.

Features and specs:

Wearing Style:                                    Headband
Impedance:                                         Active 490 ohm/ Passive 46 ohm
Frequency Response (Headphones):   17 - 23,000 Hz
Bluetooth Version:                              Bluetooth 4.2
Supported Profiles:                             HSP v.1.2, HFP v.1.6. A2DP v.1.3, DIP v.1.3
Sound Pressure Level:                                    110dB
THD, total harmonic distortion:         <0 .5="" 100db="" kh="" p="">
Contact Pressure:                                3N
Ear Coupling:                                      Circumaural
Transducer Principle:                          Dynamic Closed
Charging Time:                                   3 hours (full charge)
Pick-up Pattern:                                  3-mic Beamforming Array
Operating Time:                                  Up to 30 hours
Weight w/o Cable:                              227g

The Sennheiser PNX 550 came in a great looking color printed box with photos of the headphones and it’s specs. Opening up the box revealed a well protected headphone sitting in a zippered soft case sitting in custom molded foam. Materials used in the construction was mostly plastic with some metal. The quality of materials was very good, as was the fit and finish. Sennheiser is known for making a quality product, and that reputation continues. Also included is the audio cable, charging cable, airplane adapter, 1/4” adapter, and owner’s manual.
I love the design of the Sennheiser PNX 550. They have more of an oval ear cup shape, to give a great comfortable fit over your ears. They collapse to fit well in the soft zipper case for travel. And traveling is where they are designed to excel! They are equipped with both Bluetooth and NFC, for easy connection to your smartphone. The aptX help provide great sound quality of your music. And with the 4 built-in microphones, it is designed to perform well for Adaptive Noise Canceling, and answering calls.  Now let’s see how they perform!

First up is the Bluetooth and hands free testing. The built-in antenna did extremely well! In open air, I was able to go just over 100 feet before I lost signal. Inside, with multiple walls, I did not lose signal until I had gone just over 50 feet. Inside of 50 feet, multiple walls between me an my HTC smartphone didn’t pose a problem.

The built-in mics for hands free calling performed just as well. Phone calls were a cinch. With the Sennheiser PNX 5500 synced, all I had to do was press the answer call button. Calls came through loud and clear. And even better than that, they provided a deep soundstage. My call experience was excellent. The same was also true for the person on the other end of the call. For them, the 4 built-in mics picked up my voice perfectly, as if I was speaking to them with my phone held up to my ear. And even better, the mics didn’t pick up any background noise, such as my TV.

Now it’s time for the Adaptive Noise Canceling. Here the mics did their job equally as well. The Sennheiser PNX 550 was designed for the commuter/traveler. Whether it’s by bus, train, or airplane, that low rumble engine noise can be fatiguing. The PNX 550 performed very well here. Any low bass or rumble was almost entirely gone, by around 90%. Just know that based on the design, it won’t block out background noise completely. So if you’re on a plane and there’s a crying baby in the row behind you…The engine rumble will be gone, but the crying baby will not be.

Last but not least is the music performance. AC/DC: Back in Black- cymbals were crisp and clean. Kick drum was tight with good pitch definition and played with authority. Guitar sounded nice and raw as I’m used to hearing. Vocals were very natural sounding. Soundstage was bigger than expected. Kansas: Carry On Wayward Son – vocals were extremely natural with excellent definition for texture and timbre. Kick drum had great impact with tight bass that also had good low end extension and authority. Drums had good dynamics, the cymbals were crisp and clean. Piano sounded very natural with good harmonics. Soundstage was wide and deep and imaging was very good as well. Fleetwood Mac: Hold Me – Piano was very natural sounding. Vocals were very smooth with nice texture. Percussion was crisp, clean and very dynamic. The cow bell came out loud and clear. Imaging was spot on.

I was very pleased with the Sennheiser PNX 550. They feature a great design, are well built, and the buttons worked well. One was to turn Bluetooth on and off, one was for the Adaptive Noise Canceling, and one was for the sound modes.  The swipes were also simple to use. Thanks to an adequately sensitive side panel, it was easy to pause, play, fast forward or rewind to the songs, as well as adjust the volume. All aspects performed well, and they also sounded great too. It was nice to see Sennheiser is not just sitting on their laurels. They take pride in continuing their positive reputation. With an MSRP of $349, they are worth every penny. Based on their design, features, quality and performance the Sennheiser PNX 5500 has earned our Highly Recommended Award. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at