Sennheiser PXC 550: A solid pair of wireless headphones

by Justin Bennett / 25 October, 2018

What makes a really good pair of headphones?

Are you someone who buys into a brand or do you seek out good audio quality? For me, I’ve always found a blend of the above makes the most sense.

I’m a bit of an enthusiast when it comes to headphones; I’ve tried all sorts of different types, whether it's Bluetooth, open back, noise cancellation or AirPods. Which brings me to Sennheiser's PXC 550.

Priced around the $550 mark, they're at the higher end of Sennheiser's consumer range, but with key New Zealand retailers selling them, there should be some competitive prices to be found on this model until the end of the year.

Unboxing experience

In the box, comes the headphones with the standard variety of different connectors, should you wish to opt for a more traditional style, and a carry-case for convenient travel. Included is an airplane jack, which would come in useful for those on long-haul flights who aren't fans of the uncomfortable provided alternatives.

The headphones look and feel premium despite being lightweight. The leather headband is soft to the touch with nice cushioning and seal around the ears. 

When it comes to a stress test, these feel quite solid. The only minor disappointment is the plastic hinges, although this might come down to personal preference.

To charge, simply use the micro-USB slot. I found this took around three hours for a complete charge, which is more than reasonable, especially with 30 hours of use (with active noise control turned off, or 20 hours with it turned on).

NFC (Near Field Communication) one-touch pairing setup is simple if your phone supports it. Just hold it up and touch the left earpiece. Otherwise connecting via your phone is also quick and painless.

There is an additional app which is supported on both Apple and Android, giving you complete control of the EQ and sound of the headphones.

Ease of use

To turn on, simply twist the earpieces inward to the listening position, you can also turn the headphones off by doing the reverse. This is extremely ingenious, however, it's worth noting that this doesn’t turn off noise cancellation automatically, so make sure you do this to avoid running your battery life down.

There are touch panels on the side of the headphones which can control everything from volume to moving back and forward within your playlists, as well as pause, and also buttons which give you the ability to turn on the adaptive noise cancellation and different EQ modes.

One handy feature I found was the music automatically pausing when I took one earpiece off and then restarting once I placed it down.

The headphones are very comfortable and could easily be worn on long journeys with minimal discomfort, however, you may notice some sweating in a heated environment. Also, I found when walking in a firm breeze, there was some wind leaking in, even with the maximum noise cancellation selected.

Overall, the sound clarity across a multitude of different music genres was nice and rich, clear and with good mids. I quickly found my personal favourite was the 'Club EQ' setting which suited most styles the best, otherwise, I found the music to be a little weak at the lower end. The soundstage was an impressive and enjoyable experience.

One area I wasn’t able to test was the built-in microphone, for those wanting to take phone calls on the go, but I’ve seen positive feedback online.


The PXC 550 headphones are elegant, comfortable and travel-friendly with intuitive side-panel controls, good battery life and strong noise cancellation abilities.

The sound is good, easily customisable and has a solid first-class feel for a mid-range pair of wireless headphones.

Once again, Sennheiser has made a good pair of headphones which give a great listening experience.

Verdict: 4.5 / 5




Wearing style



Passive: 46 O


Active: 490 O

Frequency response (Headphones)

17 Hz - 23000 Hz

MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage


Vincent O’Malley: Why we need to open up about past Māori and Pākehā conflict
106234 2019-05-26 00:00:00Z History

Vincent O’Malley: Why we need to open up about pas…

by Sally Blundell

Calls are growing for us to take a more honest look at our past, particularly the wars over land and power that shaped the country.

Read more
Scott Morrison: How a 'doomed' PM stormed the country with one killer line
106291 2019-05-26 00:00:00Z World

Scott Morrison: How a 'doomed' PM stormed the coun…

by Bernard Lagan

As Australia’s tourism tsar 13 years ago, Scott Morrison oversaw the rollicking “So where the bloody hell are you?’’ ad campaign.

Read more
What you need to know about knee replacements
105774 2019-05-26 00:00:00Z Health

What you need to know about knee replacements

by Ruth Nichol

Replacement knee joints are giving thousands of Kiwis decades of service, but don’t rush to get one.

Read more
How a hit romcom took indigenous Aussie star Miranda Tapsell back to her roots
106072 2019-05-25 00:00:00Z Movies

How a hit romcom took indigenous Aussie star Miran…

by Russell Baillie

Miranda Tapsell tells Russell Baillie how she came up with Top End Wedding and why its Northern Territory setting means so much.

Read more
The link between cardiovascular health and dementia
105915 2019-05-25 00:00:00Z Health

The link between cardiovascular health and dementi…

by Nicky Pellegrino

New research into the brain has found that cardiovascular ill health is linked to cognitive decline and dementia.

Read more
Following the call of New Zealand's abandoned freezing works
106317 2019-05-25 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

Following the call of New Zealand's abandoned free…

by John Summers

John Summers wonders if his abiding interest in New Zealand’s abandoned freezing works is actually a long farewell to his grandfather.

Read more
Tech Week: Time to celebrate Aotearoa’s own overlooked moonshot
106359 2019-05-25 00:00:00Z Tech

Tech Week: Time to celebrate Aotearoa’s own overlo…

by Peter Griffin

“We bow down to this idea of Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos going to Mars, when here in our own country, we had the equivalent."

Read more
Kiwi composer John Rimmer: An instrumental figure
106331 2019-05-24 11:09:35Z Music

Kiwi composer John Rimmer: An instrumental figure

by Elizabeth Kerr

Contemporaries and students are paying tribute to composer John Rimmer and his musical legacy.

Read more