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It seems to be the ultimate cardinal sin among gadget fans - failing to upgrade the headphones that came with your iPod/MP3 Player. But what if you've never had any problems with your bundled headphones? They're comfortable, look great and you don't really fancy shelling out £50 for a new pair that you don't really need.
There are a multitude of budget headphones available today, which, in many ways, makes your decision even harder - once you've convinced yourself you need the damned things, which ones do you go for? If brands sway you, chances are you'll be taking a look at these; Sennheiser's entry level cans. One of the market leaders, producing a pair of headphones for under £50? The name is certainly one of the best in the business, but what about the headphones themselves? Do they live up to expectation?
I'd say so, yes. Upon opening them, the first thing that you'll notice is that, unlike many other headphones in their price range, they're remarkably good looking, and one of the few products that get close to Apple's standards on aesthetics. Available in either black or white, depending on the colour of the player you want to use them with, they are small, but stylish, without copying the waves of Apple clones. Inside the box, you get the headphones themselves, a choice of three in-ear buds, an extension cable, a clip and a little storage bag, all similarly styled. There's all the choice and practicality you could ever want, in a small, neat and pretty package.
One of the biggest bugbears with headphones, particuarly in-ear ones, is that if they don't fit perfectly, they tend to be extremely uncomfortable, especially if you want to use them for more than 5 minutes at a time. With the Sennheisers, you get the choice of which earbud you want, and while changing them is fiddly, it means you can usually get close to an ideal fit. This means comfort is excellent, so much so, that with prolonged usage, you forget you have them in. Big thumbs up here.
The noise cancelling aspect of the headphones is quite unusual for sich a cheap set, and to be honest, I was sceptical as to how well it would work. While I'm sure they're not up there with the very best, £300+ pairs, they actually do a surprisingly good job. Put them in without any music playing, and the surrounding noise is significantly muffled, and you're unlikely to hear it at all once you actually start playing something. An added bonus, this part, for me, because I'd already prepared myself that they'd be rubbish at it, so to find out that they do a decent job was very nice.
So, on to the big one; sound quality. On the whole, it's very good. The sound is relatively rich and full, particuarly when compared to other in-ear models, and is free from noticeable distortion, as far as I can tell. They are louder than the stock iPod headphones, interestingly, but also use the sound better, showing up more detail. I listen to songs now and there are new parts that I just couldn't make out before. The sound is quite bass heavy, and, if you're super critical, is perhaps a little lacking at the top end because of it, but generally, the sound is very good indeed, especially considering the price. It certainly beats the standard iPod headphones.
The only problem I have with the headphones is probably one of my own making. I just sort of expected a bit...more. It's not that they're bad in any way - in fact, they improve on the standard iPod headphones in pretty much every area - but I was somehow hoping that they'd do so more emphatically. The improvement is definitely there, but it's not as clear as I was expecting. This probably means that the standard headphones aren't as bad as people make out.
Having said that, the Sennheisers are definitely better, and across the board. They look fantastic, come with a lot of extra kit, will be comfortable for almost everyone, and the sound is rich and colourful. They are unquestionably a great pair of headphones, and live up to their prestigious name. Unfortunately, I'm left feeling ever so slightly disappointed, because I was led to expect the difference between the standard headphones and these would be much greater. Please don't make the same mistake. They're fantastic, especially for under £50, but won't change your life in the way some critics make out.
These in-ear, noise-isolating headphones feel be a little strange when you first start using them - but don't let that put you off.
Sony and Sennheiser have been offering this headphone technology for a few years now. It has stood the test of time, and is probably here to stay for a few more years whether you like it or not!
The concept behind the CX 400s is simple; block out all the ambient noise with snug fitting rubber in-ear phones and let the sounds from your MP3 player spurt directly into your ear, unhindered by spillage from the outside world. And it works. So well in fact, that you cannot hear nearby cars, or people trying to talk to you in the street.
Bass tones are delivered full and punchy, while trebles are pristine and glossy. Headphone technology has progressed an awful lot on the last decade, and products such as the CX 400 are testament to the extensive research and development carried out by those at the forefront of audio reproduction, and Sennheiser can proudly claim to be in that elite group!
As far as in ear head phones go these are the best available at this price. the bass is strong and punchy with superb detail from the highs to the lows. these are a near perfect match for your mp3 player or if you like to listen to music on your pc and a standard cd player, they handle any genre of music witch is handy if like me you have a vairied preferance of music. very comfortable as well.