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Reviews Written by
Jon White "rockbloke" (Bristol, UK)

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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars NoiseGard ruins the sound - don't buy if you're depending on the noise cancellation, 17 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For the first time in 30 years of buying Sennheiser headphones, I find myself having to return a pair of Sennheisers for a refund. I'm a big Sennheiser fan; I currently have the HD 595 for the Hi Fi, the HD 380 Pro for work, the MM 450-X when mobile, and the PX 100-IIi as a spare. I've owned many others over the years.

I um'd and ah'd for several weeks before deciding to take the plunge and buy the MM 550-X, having mainly been influenced by the excellence of the MM 450-X - I wanted a larger version of the 450 with the same functionality.

First impressions
When they arrived, I paired them with the BTD 300i APT-X adapter plugged into the iPad and fired them up. Setting up Bluetooth devices is simple, as long as you look at the instructions first. I thought the sound was a little hollow immediately, but I just thought they'd need to be run in a bit. I thought the build quality was excellent, and they are very comfortable. I imagine they could be worn all day without discomfort.

NoiseGard: noise cancellation
I carried on experimenting with with the settings on different music types, and with different settings on and off, and the results were always the same: with NoiseGard turned on, the sound quality is more like AM radio; it was as if the life had been sucked out of the music. The only near-acceptable configuration for noise cancellation is when using a wired connection. This completely misses the point for travel headphones: many users will want to use them without wires, and having a wired connection prevents the use of the headphones for calls. In each case, NoiseGard seems to hollow out the sound, a bit like boosting mid-range frequencies while leaving bass and treble slightly down. It does, however, do a fairly good job of cutting out the background noise. Outside, I was unable to listen to the headphones without seriously compromising the sound quality.

Speaking of mid-range frequencies, the SRS setting works like a loudness button on an 80s-era stereo - it boosts bass and treble way up, and cuts the mid range significantly. That might be great for a poor sound source, or for cheaper headphones, but I was unable to find a single track where the sound was improved.

NoiseGard works reasonably well, but at huge cost to the sound. SRS it absolutely useless in my view, unless you love loads of distortion in your music. Combining the two will make you ill, I'm quite sure. The price of the MM 550-X in no way relates to the sound quality - you're meant to be paying a premium price for all the additional functionality, so if the additional stuff doesn't work, what you have is an expensive pair of headphones that sounds like a mid range (or budget) pair, depending on the configuration.

If you want a pair of headphones with good noise cancellation, stay away from these, and take a look at the MM 450-X; they're excellent all-rounders.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 6, 2015 1:50 PM GMT

iTALKonline ProGel BLACK Back Cover Tough TPU Case / Skin for Apple iPad 3 "The New iPad" 2012 3rd Generation HD 2S (Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G) 16GB 32GB 64GB - Retina Display works with GENUINE Apple iPad 2 Smart Cover
iTALKonline ProGel BLACK Back Cover Tough TPU Case / Skin for Apple iPad 3 "The New iPad" 2012 3rd Generation HD 2S (Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G) 16GB 32GB 64GB - Retina Display works with GENUINE Apple iPad 2 Smart Cover
Offered by iTALKonline-UK
Price: £9.95

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for the money - but a little room for improvement, 20 Mar. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I needed some sort of case for the iPad that would not stop me using the Smart Cover. A minute spent searching on Amazon turned up this item. I was surprised at the low price (some of these things can be pretty pricey), but decided to go for it. I chose the black one as I thought it wouldn't show the dirt so much as the translucent one.

I ordered it on a Sunday, and it arrived the following Tuesday, so I was very pleased at the service. The case went on easily enough (maybe a little too easily - see below), the holes were in the right places, and most importantly the Smart Cover works and fits perfectly with the case on. The Smart Cover can be removed and replaced without having to take the case off.

Now for the little improvement needed. I think the case is just a little too thin, or a little too flexible. When holding the iPad by the edge, the case tends to peel away slightly from the device. In addition, there is a small cutaway next to the "home" button which thins the material further, making it prone to peel away at that point. There's a review for the translucent version which also points this out, so I think this is just the way that they are made, rather than a fault with my particular case. I would have preferred a thicker or stiffer case that was a bit more difficult to put on, but also more likely to grip the device firmly. Of course, that's a matter of opinion - people wanting to be easily able to remove the case would want more flexibility.

Conclusion: great service, and a really nice item for the price (£5.95 at the time of the review). Four stars, due to the slight peeling issues.

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