Price (RRP): $549
The Sennheiser PXC 550 II is the next version of the PXC 550. The changes are subtle – voice assistance (all three), adaptive noise cancelling, BT 5.0, more hi-res music codecs, slightly longer battery life and an updated app.
Thankfully the PXC 550 II did not touch the original’s marvellous compact design, the in-built USB DAC (for charging and music), warm and sweet sound signature (perfect) and usability (fold flat).
I must admit to using the originals several times a week since 2016. They have held up very well – a credit to the build quality. The PXC 550 II is an evolution of what is arguably the best ‘travellers’ ANC BT, over-the-ear, headphones on the market.
I use the term ‘travellers’ wisely. The PXC 550 II is 227g – lighter than most. They have 20/30 hours ANC BT/cable, 3.5/2.5mm jack for analogue sound, micro-USB for simultaneous charge and sound, BT 5.0 (and all it offers like pairing to eight devices and two active devices), auto-pause/resume and twist on/off make these ideal.
I reserve the term ‘audiophiles’ for its big brother – the Momentum 3 that is 305g and has larger 42mm drivers, sheepskin headband and bass that you can die for.
Its horses for courses. PXC 550 II – small and compact with excellent sound. Momentum 3 – big and deep with uber-excellent sound.
Sennheiser PXC 550 II
A note on price (fair street prices subject to fluctuations)
GadgetGuy does not comment on price – it is worth what people will pay for it. But we do comment on the value for money paradigm – bang for the buck.
If you don’t want to spend $549.95, then there are some excellent BT/ANC cans like the JBL 650 ($199), Poly BackBeat Go 810 (from $180), Ausdom ANC7S ($139) and many more. What you lose is some bass (frequency response), lower levels of total noise attenuation and perhaps some lasting quality.
If you don’t need to ask the price then the competitors are Sennheiser’s Momentum 3 ($599), Sennheiser’s original PXC 550 ($299), Sony WH-1000XM3 ($353), Bose 700 ($489), AKG N700 ($300), Jabra Elite 85h ($379) and to lesser extent Bose QC 35 II ($366).
As you read this review, we will point out subtle differences. Our judging paradigms are now: Fail, Pass and Exceed.
In the box – Exceed
- PXC 550 II
- 1.2m 2.5-3.5mm cable with remote
- USB-A to micro-USB cable
- Airline 2 pin adapter
- Half-moon case
Why? The 2-pin airline adaptor is an extra for most others. The half-moon case is smaller than most others. Due to the small power needs Sennheiser stuck to micro-USB instead of adding more weight with USB-C PD circuitry.
First impressions – Exceed
Matte black and flat-pack – sounds like IKEA but trust me it lasts a lot longer. It refers to the compact folded size, including the half-moon case that is perfect for many backpack front pockets.
It is the same as my PXC 550 – same case, size, look, touch, and accessories. But you know what I love – you can get Sennheiser replacement parts like pleather earpads for $25.95 for many years. So, no matter how much you use them – you can keep them in great shape.