Enjoying My Cheesy ‘80s Tunes in High Fidelity
Mar 20, 2009
Review by Chris Ellis
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Great sound, comfortable, collapsable
Cons:Earphone covers prone to coming off
The Bottom Line: Quality sound, comfortable and easy to store in a carrying case. Really, what more is there to ask for in headphones for your MP3 player?
Commuting to work by train has some advantages: reading the newspaper (before they all go out of business), catching up on e-mail and other work functions, thinking about Epinions to write, etc. Listening to other people's often loud and frequently annoying conversations, though, is not a perk (and interestingly, the louder, more annoying conversations seem to occur when the train is delayed, but that's a rant for a post about our transit system).
Recommend this product?
iPods deserve the title of greatest invention of all time just for being able to make those train rides more enjoyable. That, however, is tempered by the evil design of those Apple earbuds. To really enjoy my music, and dimming (not completely blocking) the sounds of most of those around me, the Sennheiser PX 100 headphones have been remarkable.
The Sound: Springsteen, Billy Joel, The Beach Boys All in Perfect Harmony
In a word: wow. Keep in mind this caveat: I am not an audiophile, and don't profess to be. With that said, the bass on the PX 100 is quite impressive, easily the best of any headset I've ever owned. Perhaps I grew accustomed to flat, ‘tinny' sound, but the rich sound driven by the bass on the PX 100 makes me feel like I'm listening to a great home stereo system with the bass on the equalizer turned up. Middle range and high notes also sound rich and full on the PX 100. No crackling, no flat sounds that sound more like a ringtone than a rich musical experience (oh so important when listening to the sounds of the ‘80s, right?).
The Roar of the Outside World is Just a Murmur
The PX 100 is an ‘open' headset: it covers the ear but doesn't seal it from the outside world the way a higher-end-often professional-pair does. That's exactly what I wanted for my daily commute and most other times I use my iPod. While completely banishing the cell phone conversations about Aunt Edna's gallstones or the shouted chatter across three rows of seats about who's doing what with who in the supply closet might be nice, I do want to be able to hear announcements from the conductor that tell me just how delayed the train will be and what the excuse is this time. I've considered some complete noise cancelling headphones for tasks like lawn mowing, but even in that noisy environment, the sound pumped out by the PX 100 (with the iPod volume on high, naturally), is enough to dampen the roar of the engine.
The PX 100 is best suited for the types of situations I've described. If you're doing work that requires hearing nothing but the sound you're working on (say in a recording studio, or something similar), these aren't the kinds of headphones you need.
They're Not Earbuds, And That's a VERY GOOD Thing
First point: I love the folding/collapsible design of the PX 100. For portability, you can fold the headphones into a protective case, thus reducing the risk of damage while making them easier to carry in a briefcase or pocket. Considering all that many of us already carry, between phones, MP3 players, etc., anything that makes the clutter easier to manage is a good thing. Sure, technically earbuds are the ultimate in portability, and if you like them, great. Me? I hate the little things. I'm still looking for a design that both (a) stays in my ear when, you know, moving around and (b) doesn't make me want to rip them out of my ears when they're actually staying put. I'm picky-sue me.
Aesthetically, the PX 100 is not incredibly "discrete." Not as bulky as something that completely seals over the ears, but not as low profile as the in-ear buds, either. The PX 100 reminds me of some of the most common headsets during the height of the Walkman boom. They're primarily black with an adjustable silver metal band to accommodate your particular comfort level.
The actual earphones are a touch bigger than a silver dollar, and with their basic foam cover, sit very comfortably on the ears. My one caution is those covers do seem prone to come off, and using the headphones without them is quite a bit less comfortable. (I solved the problem by ordering some inexpensive replacements on Amazon.com; a six pack means I still have some spares to go).
The Final Countdown...er, Verdict
More than five years of near-daily use, and I've not felt any need to look for a different pair of headphones. The Sennheiser PX 100 has more than delivered everything I would want from a mid-range pair of headphones. I wouldn't hesitate to purchase another pair if/when the need comes up.
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