Sennheiser CX 550 Style II full review

The CX 550 Style II earphones from Sennheiser are generally regarded as an replacement for the well received and favourably reviewed CX 95 in-ear headphones. Both share a noise-isolating design aided by a selection of supplied ear adaptors in two types and five different sizes. As well as keeping out much of the daily din of travel, this helps ensure the music remains focused and clear even at reduced listening sound levels.

Sennheiser claims the "unique angle design", with a small arm tilted forward helps the cable stay in place and routed cleanly to the ear. We found it to be a tight yet extremely comfortable fit. It does slightly amplify your breathing, footsteps and even the earphones cable if not secured, though. This is most noticeable when listening to music that has quiet or slow passages, so classical music fans might want to try out the earphones first.

The earphones come with some impressive sounding specs, including a frequency response of 17Hz - 22.5GHz, sound pressure level of 114db and total harmonic distortion of less than 0.2 per cent. With specially developed high-end miniaturised drive units and neodymium magnets, the Sennheiser earphones are a quality choice for music fans. Sound is well balanced with plenty of detail even on relatively low fidelity podcasts and talking books. A good range of music was reproduced with impressive results, which were difficult to fault even though, for many, in-ear headphones are a compromise compared to traditional headphones.

The CX 550 Style II earphones are stylish – a silver and black metal/composite hybrid construction – but discrete enough not to draw attention, unlike the iconic white iPod buds. Typically at this price, build is pretty solid and the earphones have survived a prolonged period of use with flying colours. The package includes a pouch for all those small and easily mislaid ear adaptors, a useful extension cable, which most users will find necessary as the cable is short, and cable clip.

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