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Tech Review: Sennheiser CX281 Headphones

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I’m a big music lover. I listen to music in my office with a surround sound system, in my car on my Bose speakers and I listen to my iPod Shuffle when I go to the gym.

When I found out that Sennheiser, one of the premier headphone makers — established in 1945 in Germany and now a global brand in 60 countries — recently introduced 22 lines of new stereo headphones, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to sample one. The spokesperson sent me the new “woman’s” headphones by Sennheiser, the CX281. He said they were designed for people who had smaller ears. I assumed they came in the new funky colors like Apple’s iPod Shuffle.

When the Sennheiser CX281s finally came, I had done my homework and researched the brand and their headsets. I found that Sennheiser is a top of the line headset brand.

I opened the package and noticed that the color wasn’t that appealing to me, especially attached to my sky blue iPod Shuffle. The CX281s are a dull maroon color, and frankly, I saw them as a man’s product not a woman’s product. However, they were well constructed; by looking at them, you can tell that they are a good pair of headphones. The nice thing is, they come in an attractive pouch so that you can keep them and your Shuffle together. It also comes with a dual adapter for sharing purposes.

The sound on the CX281s offers a good mix of both treble and bass. The headphones have an adjustable volume control and fit comfortably in my ears. I switched the buds to the smaller ones and was offered a snugger fit and better listening pleasure.

I played a variety of music from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons to the Black Eyed Peas and found that the sound was clear, crisp and made listening more enjoyable than with the headset that originally came with the iPod Shuffle. The one thing that I wished the CX281 came with was a small cable winder and clip for the earphones.

The product is currently sold on Amazon.com for $39.90 (retails elsewhere for $69.95).

With 22 lines introduced, ranging from $19.99 to $259.95, I wonder if there really is a significant difference in the sound quality based on how much you pay. I wonder if the CX281s are really that different than the higher end MX-980.  Maybe someday I'll have the answer.

 

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About Hilary Topper

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Usually, you can check the packaging for the specs and that could give you some insight into those comparative qualities you were talking about. You should check three factors: Frequency Response, Sensitivity & Impedance.

    Frequency – as long as it covers the entire human ear’s scope of 20Hz – 20Khz.(For digital samplings’ sake)

    Sensitivity – 100+ decibels is important for a portable media player so that you don’t have to crank the volume just to get a peep of sound.

    Impedance – The lower the ohms, the less power it will take to get them humming and that saves the battery life in your favorite device. Along with the higher decibel rating, you can blow your ears out for far longer.

    The actual driver to speaker size ratio can be important but then you would have to understand a few more factors,like, Wire Gauge(thickness) and source quality(Mp3 & Compressed Lossless(FLAC,WMA 9.2) vs. Wav). Plus, you have to take into consideration how well can your media player power bigger speakers without the inclusion of a preamp.

    Of course, this also leads to environment issues and so on and so on…

  • Fred

    My ears love the CX 281’s. The sound reproduction works for me. But, they keep exploding. In less than a year I have had 3 sets fail. I did not keep the invoice for the first set so I ate them and paid for set 2. Set 2 failed so I returned them to the importer. They replaced them. The replacement just gave out. Wonder if they will replace the replacements? I am not a happy camper.

  • http://www.hilarytopper.com Hilary Topper

    Sorry to hear that Fred. I would totally reach out to them and tell them or blog about your experience… Good luck to you…