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Sennheiser PXC 450 Review

The Sennheiser PXC 450s are an all-around, decent set of active noise-cancelers.

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Introduction

Meet the Sennheiser PXC 450s (MSRP $449.95), a set of mid-range active noise-cancelling over-ears that are super-comfortable—on top of blocking out a decent amount of ambient noise. While they may not appeal to the most discerning audiophiles, they will absolutely give inter-continental travelers good sound and noise attenuation for long sojourns, not to mention a high level of comfort.

Comfort Design & Features

These on-ear cans are ultra-comfortable, but some may find their battery usage to be a hassle.

Wearing the PXC 450s almost feels as if you’re wearing nothing at all. In all seriousness though, because these cans are super-light for their size—and they cup your cranium ever so softly—you’ll quickly forget they’re there. It’s incredible how comfortable these are. They especially are forgiving to those of us with larger noggins, as the band accommodates re-sizing much better than most.

Wearing the PXC 450s almost feels as if you’re wearing nothing at all. Tweet It

As far as connectivity features go, the Sennheiser PXC 450s have a standard, milquetoast 1/8th inch plug, with a 1/4th inch adapter and an airplane adapter. Though it won’t let you interface with every piece of electronics ever made, you’ll certainly be able to duck renting those foul airline headphones for the in-flight movie, or plug into a home entertainment center no sweat.

One drawback to most noise-cancelling headphones is their battery requirement. The 450s need a AAA battery to operate their noise cancelling. It can get to be a hassle carrying around those little metal cylinders everywhere—and don't even get me started on having to continuously buy more of them. Additionally, because they require a bit more juice than most cans, it might not be a bad idea to pick up a cheapo amp if you want to squeeze every last performance drop out of them.

Audio Quality

Quirky frequency response and some minor tracking issues are balanced out by excellent isolation.

Typically, noise-cancelling headphones will display disparate frequency response depending on whether their noise-cancelling feature is enabled or not. The PXC 450s were unique, in that their noise-cancellation simply amplified the extremity of their frequency-based quirks. The basic frequency response boosts the lower basses, but seems to flatten out until the mid notes (where the highest notes on a piano live), where it peaks, then almost mutes your music, though it's not much of an issue at that range.

Overall, the Sennheiser PXC 450s isolate a bunch of sound for being over-ears. Tweet It

With the active noise cancelling turned on, the bass frequencies are boosted (albeit more uniformly), but the swings in frequency response become more dramatic, peaking higher and falling lower at about the same places. You can expect, then, that any dampening or boosting of pitch ranges you hear in your music will be slightly increased while noise-cancelling is active.

Overall, the Sennheiser PXC 450s isolate a bunch of sound for being over-ears. They block a surprising amount of sound even without engaging the excellent noise-cancellation. These seem to be an ideal choice for long airplane flights, or bus rides with long, loud noise in the low end.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the PXC 450s are a decent set of cans.

The Sennheiser PXC 450s (MSRP $449.95) are an all-around, decent set of active noise-cancelers that don’t sacrifice much performance in order to block out unwanted noise—and that's rarer than you'd think. In addition to their extremely comfortable wear, they performed fairly well in many of our tests. That isn’t to say that they’re perfect, as they do have some issues with frequency response and distortion, but then again, most active-noise canceling headphones do. Overall, though, not a bad product for the price.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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