It's typical isn't it? No new headphones at MoDaCo for ages and then two come along at once! Hot on the heels of our RHA MA-350 review we're putting a set of Sennheiser CX275s' through their paces. The CX275s' are sub £50 earphones which claim to fit any smart phone in the market featuring a 3.5mm headphone jack including Android, Windows Mobile, RIM (Blackberry) and iOS devices.
As I said before... I don't claim to be an 'audiophile' at all... my credentials as far as a reviewer go are that i've owned and used a lot of earphones and always try different ones whenever I can (including the frequently bundled in box junk)! My earphones of choice are currently a pair of Ultimate Ears Triple-Fi 10s which replaced a broken set of Ultimate Ears Super-Fi 5 Pros. The Triple-Fis are truly excellent - I love them to bits - but at over £200 for a pair you'd kind of hope so!
I've actually owned a number of different Sennheiser earphones and indeed headsets in the past so i've a bit of experience with (and fondness for) the brand... so let's see how their latest and greatest measure up!
In the box
In the box you get the earphones, 3 sizes of tips to get a good fit in your ears, an adaptor cable required for compatability with some models of phones and a faux-leather carry drawstring carry case. There aren't any instructions in the box which does leave the user confused as to whether they need to use the extra 3.5mm adaptor or not. The box says to visit http://www.senncom.com to find out if it's needed but unfortunately I tried this and couldn't find the relevant page at first. I DID eventually track it down to http://senncom.com/CX275s,'>http://senncom.com/CX275s, so it's well worth heading there to check compatability before purchase.
Design / construction
If the MA-350s were all about their aluminium construction, then the Sennheisers are the polar opposite. They're unashamedly plastic, shiny grey plastic sculpted to fit comfortably in your ears with a small white Sennheiser logo. I couldn't find L-R indications on the earphones themselves, so I put them in how I thought they felt most comfortable (with the microphone on the right hand side?).
The cables exit the earphones in a pretty short plastic tube which means they are very subtle, 'low profile' if you like. A sliding rubber toggle lets you take up any cable slack and the cable for both sides are the same length. One side has a microphone / button of course for calls and as such the earphones aren't really ideal for wearing behind your neck. The microphone does hang at a good position for calls.
The cable on the earphones is rubber coated and terminates in a straight 3.5mm connector.
As with all in ear monitors, comfort (as well as sound quality!) is very dependent on getting the right size tips. The medium tips work great for me and 3 different sizes are provided with a decent spread of fitment, so you should find one that works for you. The earphones themselves are pretty small so feel good in the ears and are shaped such that they won't press awkwardly on your ear. The cable lengths are ample, meaning that you shouldn't get tangled up in them and wearing the CX275s' is overall a pleasant experience.
The single action button is sensibly placed and easy to use, with a resounding 'click' action.
The CX275s' hit a price point where they're perfect for someone looking to upgrade from their in-box earphones whilst the wide ranging device compatibility makes them perfect for this too. But do they sound better than bundled headsets? Of course they do. ;)
To my ears, the CX275s' excel at punchy, controlled bass and full, warm midrange. I found that the mids were richer than on the RHA items but this came at the expense of the top end, which I didn't find quite as crisp as i'd have liked. Overall though, across a breadth of different types of nusic, the CX275s' coped very well.
The earphones cranked up to a more than acceptable volume across a number of phones, of course really coming into their own when plugged into a 'proper amp'. :)
Sound / use (calls)
Calls sounded great on the CX275s' and thanks to the sensible placing of the microphone, callers were able to hear me loud and clear in a number of different environments. The operation of the button varies depending on which device you are using (see http://senncom.com/CX275s for more details), but on my main Huawei Ascend P1 current test phone I could take, mute and end calls with no problems at all.
Pricing and availability
The Sennheiser CX275s earphones are available priced at £49.99 from Amazon.
The CX275s earphones maintain the Sennheiser tradition of good, reliable headsets. The sounds is very good all round, bass junkies who are discerning enough to appreciate something significantly better than their in box headsets will appreciate the excellent reproduction of the low end, punch midrange and decent enough treble. Although, yes, they're plastic, they feel built to last and come with a 2 year warranty. Top that off with the wide ranging device compatibility and you're very likely to be satisfied with your purchase.
The only fly in the ointment is the fact the RHA MA-450is are £10 cheaper with a 3 year warranty, albeit with a smaller range of supported devices... decisions, decisions...
Have your say
Do you have have a set of CX 275s'? Do you agree / disagree with my findings? Post below!