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Hands-on with Sennheiser PXC 450: Killer cans

Sennheiser's new PXC 450 noise-cancelling headphones are here with us and our first impression is they're terrific. Our initial hands-on demonstrated how effective the 'talk-through' feature is

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It's headphone Monday here at Crave and on our plates this morning is a belting new offering from Sennheiser -- the PXC 450s.

If there were only two things we could choose to represent Germany in a space capsule, it'd be bratwurst and Sennheiser. The PXC 450s are the latest noise-cancelling 'phones from the German audio specialists and boy are they special -- even better than our Friday-lunchtime bratty from Borough Market, and that's saying something.

Noise cancelling is all about reducing unwanted background noise, and the 450s block a mastadonic amount of nettlesome ambiance. We've not given these a thorough testing, but our office air conditioner went from 'incredibly irritating' to 'is it still on?' Very impressive indeed. Sarah Brightman's Naturaleze Muerta was as classically beautiful in its subtlety through the 450s as it is on our home hi-fi setup, thanks to the terrific noise cancelling.

Sound quality so far has proven excellent, with an emphasis on clarity in the high-end ranges. A talk-through button lets you hear the voices of the people you'd otherwise like to block out should they have the audacity to ask you a question during your listening. Plus, unlike many noise-cancelling cans out there, if the battery's life drains away your music is not disturbed -- the 'phones simply carry on functioning as an ordinary pair, just without the noise-cancelling features. Trust us, this is a very, very handy feature.

The PXC 450s are out now and cost a not-inconsiderable £299. You headphone nuts are going to love these, trust us. -Nate Lanxon

Update: A full review of the Sennheiser PXC 450s is now live.