Sennheiser PXC 550 - for frequent fliers

The travel-friendly features of Sennheiser's PXC 550 are a boon to music lovers on the go

As expected of a Sennheiser product, the sound quality of the PXC 550 is top-notch.
As expected of a Sennheiser product, the sound quality of the PXC 550 is top-notch. PHOTO: SENNHEISER

Sennheiser's PXC 550 is everything a travelling music lover can ask for in a pair of wireless noise-cancelling headphones.

They cover all the necessary bases in a pair of travel headphones: comfort, battery life and great audio quality.

So even though I usually favour earphones when travelling light, the PXC 550 became my go-to for a few weeks because of how convenient they are.

They are also sleeker and lighter than their closest competitors, like the Bose QuietComfort 35 or Sony's MDR-1000X, coming in at feather-light 227g.

Yet they are well-constructed and are sufficiently robust to stand up to the rigours of travel, even when I toss them straight into my bag.

And, as expected of a Sennheiser product, the sound quality of the PXC 550 is top-notch.

There is ample body and punch in songs across all genres. It is a bit bass-heavy, which works great with rock and pop tunes, but which may turn off those who prefer a more balanced soundscape.


  • PRICE: $649

    WEIGHT: 227g


    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 5/5



    OVERALL: 4/5

The noise-cancellation on the PXC 550 has come a long way too. They do give the QuietComfort 35 a run for its money even though they don't sound as isolated sometimes.

But they still cut off a good portion of ambient noise and are more than sufficient for a variety of travel situations, from rumbling buses to noisy aeroplanes.

Furthermore, the noticeable hum that some headphones have when the noise-cancellation feature is turned on is very subtle on the PXC 550.

One of my favourite features is how they turn on or off not with a button, but by swivelling the right earcup .

This means I turn them off just by folding them, and they are turned on, connected and playing music by the time I unfold them. It's remarkably quick and intuitive, especially when travelling.

Another travel-friendly feature is the touch-sensitive right earcup. A single tap pauses the song, while a swipe forward changes tracks.

I gave up on it after a while, though, as I found the touchpad a tad too sensitive to the first time I tapped it. Far too often, I've ended up pausing my current song when I actually wanted to switch tracks, as the earcup picks up on the first tap too quickly and doesn't register the rest of the swipe fast enough.

The battery life is stellar, which helps on those long flights or just on weeks where you forget to charge them. They provide up to over 20 hours of wireless use with noise-cancellation turned on, which is very respectable.

  • Verdict: The PXC 550 is perfect for travellers who want something light, unobtrusive and small without compromising on sound quality.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2016, with the headline 'Sennheiser PXC 550 - for frequent fliers'. Print Edition | Subscribe