Pros:Very good sound. Excelent build quality and wearability.
Cons:Expensive. Sennheiser PXC 350s cost less but sound equaly good.
The Bottom Line: If money is no option, these are for you. For the rest of us Sennheiser 350 is a better alternative.
Noise cancelling headphones are all the rage these days and the Sennheiser PXC 450 set plays in the upper league. Not only do Sennheiser claim that they cancel sound, they also claim that music qualify will be very high.
Recommend this product?
As far as sound quality goes, the head-speakers are quite good. I have compared them to Grado SR80s, which is a respected headphone and in passive mode the Sennheisers are nearly as good. Not quite, but nearly. In active mode (with the noise canceling turned on) the sound quality loses out, but is still respectable. It is naturally impossible to make a sound canceling system that has no impact on music, but Sennheiser has made a better attempt than anything I have heard previously. In short; The Sennheisers are very, very good headphones.
The mechanical qualities of headphones that are worn for a long time are crucial and Sennheiser 450 are right up there with the best. They look solid and they feel solidly built. The cushions are as comfortable as anything I have ever tried. Wearing them for hours on end is in no way an inconvenience. It is easy to adjust the headphones and they can be folded in a very clever way that makes them transportable (to call them mobile would be an overstatement since they are rather big). They are delivered in a nice, sturdy protective case that can be used to protect them during travel. Very nice!
The headphones are quite good at shielding out sound without the aid of electronics due to their construction. With the noise cancelling system turned on, all static sound of bearable level is really cancelled out. The effect is amazing the first time you try it. Please note that dynamic sound like the sound of voices and people walking around is not completely cancelled. With all the ambient sound gone, these distracting noises are almost more noticeable than without noise cancellation...
A feature of the headphone is that it is possible to let the frequencies that carries voices through the noise cancellation. In practice this works as a voice amplifier since they do not need to compete with surrounding sounds. I do not really see the reason for this feature since people expects you to remove the headphones during conversation.
I have also tested Sennheiser PXC 350, which is a somewhat less expensive model with a slightly simplified (but still good) build and with a simpler noise cancellation system that lacks the voice amplification feature. PXC 350 has a simpler amplifier built in and the volume setting is controlled by a analog controller on the cord, rather than by buttons on the headset. I could not really hear any difference between the 450:s and 350:s. The simpler model has the same comfortable fit and I do not really care about the voice feature or the placement of the volume control. For me the extra cost of the 450s has to be motivated by the slightly better build quality (which is a tough sell).
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