The Good Very comfortable; compact, foldable design; excellent high-frequency detail; taut, powerful bass; highly effective noise-canceling circuitry; storage case included; two-year warranty.
The Bad Battery pack is cumbersome.
The Bottom Line Highly effective noise-canceling circuitry mated with detailed sound and a comfortable fit--what's not to like?
Sennheiser PXC 250
6-10 Sennheiser PXC 250 (double production)
Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more.
Sennheiser's $150 PXC250 noise-canceling headphones are among the best of the breed. Although this model uses an over-the-ear design, its ear cups are the most compact we've seen. Still, the soft, leatherlike cushions seal out ambient noise while the padded headband provides long-term comfort. First-rate sound quality rounds out the equation with extended bass and detailed midrange.
The 250s' ability to provide a hushed quiet over a broad spectrum of frequencies--bass to midrange--was equaled by only that of the twice-as-expensive Bose QuietComfort 2. Its noise-quashing powers are evident on planes, trains, and noisy city streets. We did note that turning on the noise-canceling function added a small amount of hiss, but it was inaudible in the busier environments where the feature would likely be activated.
The noise-canceling circuitry and a pair of AAA batteries are housed in a separate tube, which, at 5.5 inches, is a bit cumbersome to deal with (the only real downside here), but at least it sports a sturdy belt clip. To save space while traveling, the headphone folds up into a tiny bundle. A two-pronged adapter for in-flight movies and a two-year warranty are included.
Admittedly, the sound wasn't as rich as it was with the Bose, but we preferred the 250s' more present midrange and treble frequencies, although this is very much an issue of personal taste. Hooked up to an 15GB iPod, the 250s produced higher-resolution sound on jazz, rock, and classical music. A session with the new Led Zeppelin DVD also left us impressed--and not just by Jimmy Page's killer fretwork; the 250s treated the high-quality audio signal with respect.
One caveat: The PXC250, like many other noise-canceling headphones, produces a slight sense of pressure on the eardrums. Listeners sensitive to this effect may find it mildly uncomfortable.
Sennheiser’s ultimate ‘ear bud’
The Sennheiser IE800 S throws a party for your ears.
Sennheiser’s newest audiophile headphones will coddle your ears
The HD 660 S will look and sound familiar to Sennheiser enthusiasts, and that’s a good thing.
Sennheiser goes all out with closed-back version of high-end HD 800s
The Sennheiser HD 820 looks set to redefine luxury closed-back headphones at CES 2018 with its unique Gorilla Glass transducer cover and appropriately high price.
An audiophile-worthy Bluetooth portable headphone amp
The CEntrance BlueDAC has the Audiophiliac reconsidering his stance on Bluetooth.
Massdrop’s new $150 Sennheiser headphone is a slam dunk
The Audiophiliac has ears-on time with the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD58X Jubilee.
$99 gizmo kicks up your headphones' sound
Would you drop $99 on a Schiit Magni 3 if it could make your headphones sound better?
This budget earbud sounds (almost) too good to be true
The Final Audio Design E3000 in-ears sound like they cost more than double their very reasonable price.
Apple's Lightning to headphone adapter sucks, the FiiO i1 is much better
If you have a nice set of wired headphones, FiiO’s nifty Lightning headphone adapter is worth checking out.
Listening and loving the Meze 99 Neo headphones
Meze just dropped the 99 Neo headphone, so the Audiophiliac checked it out!
Wired headphones and iPhone 8 are a no go
Here’s why an iPhone 8 may not be right for you
Beats headphones are getting more frequent discounts
In the hypercompetitive headphone market, we're seeing Beats by Dre models often selling for less than their list prices. A lot less.
Get a special edition Sennheiser HD 650 headphone for $200
It's not even Black Friday yet but Massdrop is selling pairs of the Sennheiser HD 6xx for $200, and they sound really good.