Sennheiser OCX 880 review: Sennheiser OCX 880

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The Good Clear, balanced sound.

The Bad Ear loops won't suit everyone; plasticky in-cable remote has volume-control issues.

The Bottom Line If you don't mind their design, you'll find that the Sennheiser OCX 880 earphones really perform where it counts, offering excellent sound quality for under £100

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8.3 Overall

We're always glad to shine our reviews spotlight on a new set of Sennheiser earphones. The OCX 880s are an inner-ear set that attach themselves to your lugholes via a flexible ear loop. They can be yours for around £80.

Sound stays crunchy
Listening to the Manic Street Preachers' Kevin Carter, we were impressed by the 880s' high-end fidelity with crash cymbals and hi-hats. They stayed crystal-clear even when overdriven electric guitars were making the mix much crunchier.

Reel Big Fish's A little doubt goes a long way features a prominent walking bass line. The 880s did a great job of reproducing the bass with a satisfying thump, but without ballooning out of control and overpowering the mid-tones. We often find that inner-ear models try to compensate for their diminutive size by ramping the bass up to headache-inducing proportions, so we're glad to see that's not the case with the 880s.

Rushed aluminium
Sennheiser may know its stuff when it comes to creating excellent sound, but, in the past, the company's been rather experimental when it comes to design and form factor. The HD 595s, for example, sounded ace but looked a tad nasty. Does the same apply to the 880s?

These earphones sport a coating with a brushed-aluminium effect that also extends to a volume control halfway down the cable. There's no actual metal -- it's all textured, painted plastic. Sadly, the result is that the 880s look slightly plasticky, especially the mid-cable remote, which feels light and cheap.

The plastic nature of the mid-cable remote has a practical downside too. The only function the remote serves is to house a volume dial. Being of a plasticky bent, the dial is pretty loose, and has a nasty habit of rotating while the earphones are stowed in your pockets. Consequently, we sometimes started up our music only to find the volume set to full blast. That's a pretty unpleasant way to start your commute.

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