The smallest headphone in the test still offers a convincing sonic performance
IntroductionSennheiser is probably the most recognisable brand here. The final of our three German headphone makers, Sennheiser is active in both the domestic and professional domain with a huge range of in-ear and over ear designs, microphones and headsets. The headphone range is vast and somewhat complex but the PX360 is part of the mobile range and are part of the “Classic” line contained within that family.
The mobile heritage is easy to see. As well as being the smallest design in the test, the PX360 also folds down into a very compact form thanks to a hinged headband and earpads that fold usefully flat. Sennheiser also supplies a robust carrying case that unlike the one supplied with the SkullKandy and to a lesser extent the Beats by Dr. Dre is large enough to allow you to slot the PX360 into in a manner of seconds rather than having a quick fight with it.
There is no inline remote on the cord for iPhone or iPad control which is a little disappointing although given that the PX360 is considerably cheaper than either design so fitted, this is not the end of the world. What is more irritating is that the cord itself is thin and feels slightly vulnerable and is rather short. This might seem like an odd comment to make after criticising the three metre cords supplied to other designs but the one fitted to the PX360 is sufficiently short that working at a computer can be a little frustrating. This is the only design where the chord comes out of the right hand side which is a little curious too.
The fit and finish is good and the PX360 feels extremely sturdy. The materials used feel of a high quality and important areas like the folding hinges are built to a high standard. The shape of the PX360 when unfolded is slightly different to the other headphones here and there is a pronounced gap between the headband and the side of your head. In practice, the PX360 feels comfortable to wear. The light weight and high levels of sprung grip make it very suitable for more active use but the movement of the earpads and their relatively good padding means that they are not prone to squashing your ears.
Noise leakage in and out is commendably low. The PX360 is a closed back design but the relatively small size of the earpad means that it doesn’t offer quite the same level of isolation as the Beyerdynamic but it is impressive nonetheless. You can listen to the PX360 at high levels in a public place without unduly annoying the people around you.
Sound QualityThe PX360 definitely fits the profile of a company “house sound.” Like other Sennheiser products, the PX360 is broadly neutral but has a pleasing sense of timing and drive that is particularly appealing with more up-tempo material. The bass in particular is tight, well defined and sufficiently deep to sound realistic. Like the Audio Technica, it has the ability to get your head nodding along to music. This sense of timing is positive but unlike the Audio Technica, there is a sense with more relaxed material that the Sennheiser can force proceedings- it feels like it wants to keep pushing. Depending on what you listen to this might not be a problem though.
Tonality with voices and instruments is good although it lacks the richness of the Audio Technica or the extraordinary detail retrieval of the Beyerdynamic. The smaller size of the earpad means that the driver is relatively close to your ear. This means that the sense of spacing and soundstage is less extensive than some of the larger designs but not restrictively so. One area where they are very adept is with speech broadcast material where they are very easy to listen to for long periods.
The sonic behaviour is consistent across a wide range of material. The PX360 keeps most of the positive traits when used with compressed material and it seems forgiving of poor recordings. The high resolution material brings further improvements to the performance but overall the performance is extremely consistent across almost everything you might ask them to play. This was also applicable to use with Ableton and Kontakt where the PX360 is able to reveal insight into most mixes. Once again, the very short chord means that moving between laptop and keyboard can be a frustrating experience.
The only other oddity of the PX360 is that it isn’t very sensitive. For a given volume level on either a portable device or an external headphone amplifier, the PX360 needs a noticeably higher level from either. The headphone amplifier of the iPhone 4 is powerful enough to achieve the sort of volume level you might want but an iPod classic would struggle to do the same. The sensitivity of the Beyerdynamic is roughly the same but because it offers such high levels of isolation it generally does not need as much volume to get the sort of level you might want.
- Well thought out design for portable use
- Good build
- Lively and entertaining sound
- Not very sensitive
- Cord is very short
- No inline remote
Sennheiser PX360 Headphones Review
The PX360 is a capable, well built and well thought out design. At the list price (to say nothing of the prices available from retailers) it is a strong performer that balances good performance on the move with good capability at home. There are some oddities to the Sennheiser that affect the overall performance and practicality. The short cord is not a big problem used on the move but is annoying at home. Conversely, the low sensitivity limits the absolute choice of portable devices that you can use with the PX360 and still have “free choice” of volume level. In the right circumstances, it is a fine performer though.
Ease of Use7
Design and usability7
Value For Money7
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