on 6 February 2013
Best place to start with these headphones is the price point, its a little high but you do get exactly what you pay for.
The sound quality is excellent and the issue with volume actually is not a problem, at least not for anything I have used the headphones on, through bluetooth I simply max the volume on my phone / bluetooth dongle and then use the volume control on the headset, and the headphones actually hurt my ears on full volume I am forced to lower it down slightly. (I have sensitive ears but these are no means quiet.)
Wired the headphones run in two modes, wired passive (Battery on charge / turned off.) In this mode the audio is passive and though great quality the volume is limited by the power of your device attached and thus i found for phones and similar the volume though fine could not get loud enough and none of the extra features such as noise guard functioned. (However it does tell you this in the manual and was expected.)
Wired + power, turning the headphones on so they are active rather than passive allows the volume to reach ear hurting levels once again, and the sound is beautiful, you can now use the noiseguard feature and the SRS feature and the sound quality even with eveything enabled is amazing. (Sound quality is best without noise guard and srs, but in a noisey environment they are very useful and work brilliantly.)
Talking on the headset works wonderfully well and the headset itself is very light and covers your ears fully. The sound is the best I have heard over bluetooth reguardless of using APT-X or not, though when using the better codec the sound quality is just as good wired or wireless and these are an amazing peice of kit, so long as they are used properly.
The fact you can charge the battery and still use the headphones, using wired or wireless and with all the accessories you get, these are easily 5* headphones and the best I have owned, especially when combined with my sound blaster HD titanium on my pc, and high end mixing turntables when wired.
Would definutly recommend.
on 17 February 2013
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.
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.
on 16 October 2014
I bought these on Amazon.Fr on a lightening deal for £140. I already owned the MM450-X which I bought for the same price. Whilst the MM450 X were good they did start to hurt my ears after a short while so I decided that this MM550 X was a good deal as they are over ears instead of on ears.I would not be happy at full price with either pair but for £140 the MM550 X are OK.They are very comfortable but as previously mentioned the SRS is rubbish. These are not worth the usual extra £100 or more compared to the MM450X. The sound is good but as also mentioned in other reviews they are not very loud at all. They are ideal travel headphones but for the money better can be found for the home. I also have a pair of Philips Fidelio M1/BT, they look better and sound better and are usually half the price of these MM550 X.
Having used a Sennheiser MM450 headset for over 18 months I leapt at the chance to try its bigger, updated brother the MM 550-X. These over-ear "full cans" look very similar to the 450s - same style buttons, in fact the same controls full stop, and the same battery, and don't weigh too much more either. In the box with the headphones is a nice carry bag containing some instructions (booklet and CD), USB charging lead, mains charger with a selection of adaptors, audio adaptors and a stereo cable. Again, similar to the MM450, and the similarities don't stop there.
Physically the 550s look good and feel like they have the same good build quality of the MM450, and having use the MM450 for as long as I have I found that the way it pairs, and the way the controls work, were identical (barring new features of course). The electronics have been updated, and these headphones also support a kind of surround sound (SRS Surround Simulation) as well as noise cancellation and hands free calling.
Before we get started using the headphones I'm going to cover the controls. They look a bit daunting to start with as there are seven buttons on the right earpiece that provide everything you need to work your headset. Sennheiser have clearly done some careful research here as it is easy to work out which button is which by touch.
The five buttons on the side control power, volume and next/previous functions. The central power button doubles, no, trebles up as play/pause when listening to music, and answer/hang up when calling while the two buttons on the bottom manage bluetooth, noise cancellation and other auxilliary functions via long and short pushes.
So once you've charged the battery, hold down the power button and the while plastic around it will flash blue. Keep pressing until it flashes blue and red - now you can pair the headphones with your phone, tablet, laptop or whatever. The headphones can remember four devices, so when you pair with a fifth, the one you lose is the one you haven't used for the longest time. Once paired you can independently adjust the volume of audio on the headphones as well as on the device it is paired with.
Phone calls can be answered just by pressing that middle button - the headphones have their own 'ringtone' - and and the phones I use will pause media if playing, and then resume when you hang up. I've paired these headphones with my Mac and a couple of Android phones with no issues - Sennheiser have a good track record on compatibility and I don't expect any problems with my tablet either.
In day-to-day use I've found these headphones comfortable to wear and, being over-ear, much better than the MM450 at noise cancellation. Battery life is good with Sennheiser quoting 10 hours of audio playback or 20 hours of calls, reducing by about 20% if you use noise cancellation. I've yet to be certain that I'm getting this much out of them, but its certainly in the ball park. Overall I've found these headphones to be well made and easy to use. They give good sound quality and have good battery life. And when the battery is flat you can still use the headphones (for music, anyway) via the supplied stereo cable.
Now the MM450 series headphones are cheaper than these with most of the same functions - but if you're looking for headphones because you do a lot of flying then pay the extra and get the 550s - they are more comfortable to wear over an extended period of time and when you go to sleep they won't dislodge. And of course the better seal means better noise cancellation too.
on 22 September 2012
I was only used to wired headsets, but haven't owned any for several years. I've been quite used to the in-ear type. But recently everyone's enjoying sounds using the headsets and I thought I'd search for a decent pair. I researched extensively, and remember testing the Bose QC15s a friend had about a year ago. I do remember they were really good with the noise cancellation. But I decided to invest and have the bluetooth option and selected the Sennheiser MM550-X.
The Sennheiser packaging was great, Amazon sent the product earlier than expected and was also packaged really well like always!
I think the battery in the headset is fully charged since you need to pull out the plastic to allow contacts to connect the battery. The quick start guide explains all you need to know, simple to pair with my Samsung Galaxy SIII. The sound was superior to any previous headset.
Only thing I'd like to change is the carry case, the QC15s come with a great hard case, and I was considering to buy that for protecting these reference quality headsets!
I love the build quality, the sound is great, the SRS is top notch and really enhances the sound. I'd like a little more oomph in the sound so I've ordered a mini Fiio 11 amplifier, and will have to use them wired, but then again that may overcome the slight advantage the Bose QC15s have with active noise cancellation.
Definitely recommended, if you're a bass head these won't appeal. I used to like heavy base but I wasn't that impressed with the Beats. These have great high, mids and balance bass, and I've matured to appreciate the quality as opposed to the loudness. The plan with the amp is to drive from the amp and reduce distortion from the source.
Anyway, it's worth the money and there are some great reviews on you tube to help decide what to go for.
on 1 April 2015
Sennheiser have dropped the ball with these headphones.If you what to connect to the headphone using Bluetooth the built-in amp just doesn't have enough power to power drivers! so operate at half their potential. If you what these headphones to come alive you'll need to connect them with the supplied cable to a computer or an amp that can drive them properly. And don't bother with Noisegard! its like listening to your music from the headphones sitting next to you on the table.If you want a great pair of bluetooth headphones get the MM 450's i've traveled with them for years and are brilliant. Bigger is not always better!
on 25 March 2013
Spent the last year flying back and forth, and these headsets are a godsend! Great noise cancelling, and I didn't even have to turn it on yet. Just put it over your ears and everything is muffled out. I don't really want total silence (hence why I didn't switch on noise cancelling) but the the surroundings are muffled enough that I could not hear the toddler 2 seats away screaming for his toy. Switch on music and sound, and all noise disappears.
Love the airplane attachment. Now that airbus A380 has great screens, no more needs to break out the iPad. Plus, I don't have to wear the scratchy airplane headphones. I can also continue watching a movie whilst everybody else have to hand their headphones in.
Very comfortable too. Wore it over 20 hours (long flight to Oz) and not a problem. I can even lie down on the sofa without it pushing the headphones forward, as other headphones had. No sweaty marks either, which is good. Great battery life - was a great surprise I didn't need to charge it for the second leg of the flight.
Easy to pair with all the gadgets I own, all the features work, including taking and making calls.
Overall, great investment!
on 1 January 2016
Bought at £110, nice and light and produces clear sound with my Ipod Touch. Bluetooth works up to 10m away from device then starts to get a bit crackly.
Sound appears better than my Studio Beats at half the price!
on 3 July 2014
So you pay close to £300 for a set of wireless headphones.
- The sound quality is good.
- The wireless feature is great.
- They're very comfortable.
- There's a lack of control buttons to make sense of the features. For example, to turn the set on you have to hold play for 4 seconds, to activate Bluetooth you have to hold down play for 5 seconds.
- The don't feel robust.
-The surround sound feels like a wasted feature.
I'm not sure if I have been sent a faulty pair either as every time I drop the headphones down to my shoulders they turn off and are impossible to turn on until I remove and re-inserted the battery.
Overall I'd be happy with them if the battery issue could be fixed, but they're still very overpriced for what they are and what they provide.
on 16 July 2012
I can't really add much that hasn't already been said, so for a more detailed review look at the others. This isnt ment to be a professional review, it's just my experience and opinions based on it.
First what i have connnected to using bluetooth;
Samsung Galaxy S2
HP Pre 3
Sony PS Vita 3G
Acer Revo 3700 Nettop PC with a cheap dongle
I assume i would have no issue with my PS3 either i just havn't tried yet.
Some said about volume being too quiet, for me it is plenty loud enough, though i do find it does make a difference what your connected to in the first place, as some on that list were definately louder, Vita being one of the quieter ones or was when i was play MGS2 in the HD collection i have no music on my Vita to test. It was better however than my Vita constantly shouting out "Freeze" as i held up guards for their dog tags.
Had the headphones about 2-3 weeks now and not been able too use them too much due been busy at work, working 50+ a week over 6 days. I definately havn't been able to use a full charge yet, though i have been to town with them on one weekend and they were great.
Before i got these i was using my Vita earphones, and although they were often loud enough, i could always hear way too much of what was going on around me, and when your on the bus that can be annoying to put it mildly. Kids crying, parents yelling at them, all the things that turn a bus journey into a nightmare, all came through clear as day.
That first journey on the bus to town was when i knew even if paid £350 these were staying with me. Music playing at a comfortable level(probably no hearing damage caused :)) and i couldn't hear a thing, no kids crying, parents yelling, traffic or anything else. I put it down to both the noise canceling and the full cup that completely covers my ears and even though they cover completely i find they cause no discomfort and no sound leakage, it's a pleasent experience and one i plan on getting used too :)
I probably wore them about 4hrs or so that day, though for about 2hrs at a time, as i went cinema inbetween i probably had them off about 2hrs as well. Never found them uncomfortable though i'm still getting used to all the features and getting it to do talk through when i want it hardly ever happens, i usually end up pausing and lifting them off. I am hoping that in time i will be able to stop doing that.
That day i was using the Pre 3 with the headphones, pretty much emptied the Pre 3's battery but connection was solid except for one instance when someone walked past me at the bus station, i assume he had something on him that caused interferance as it was only a split second as he passed me, town had been fairly busy and had no problems til then.
I did in the past have a faily cheap pair of bluetooth headphones, some motorola on ear neckband ones, which were decent enough, but did cut out and stutter at times when i turned my head too far round, like crossing a road so it was annoying, a samsung clip one was the same when worn round me neck, turning my body too much caused it to stutter. Had no issues like that with these connection has been far more stable than my past experiences.
I listen to a variety of music from pop to rock, with some rap and hiphop inbetween, and for most of these i listen to both english artists and japanese artists. Most sounded great, some needed the noise cancelin turned off or the audio profile changed on my phone to give it the sound im used to. That is to say these feel quite balanced, unlike my friends Dre Beats headphones, so i think i get a better overall experience and one im happy with.
I don't make that much, and i'm not an audio freak i have no idea what some people are talking about in their reviews about sound quality and the highs and lows of it. I purely wanted to see what the most expensive bluetooth headphones i could find would be like, what they could do, and if all came to all and i wasn't statisfied i'd return them and go for some cheaper ones, til i either found some i liked or just settled for some that did the job. Well compared to settling for some that do the job im probably £300 worse off, but i wouldn't trade back to a cheap pair just to get the money after experiencing these. A bloke from work said they don't look much, and i was actually kind of happy to hear that as unlike Beats few people will know what these are, which makes me feel safer wearing them outside :)
As a quick list of why i would recommend;
*Solid connection compared to past experiences
*No sound leakage
*Blocks outside noise well
*Balanced sound(dont know how else to put it) not flat as such but not too heavily aimed at one type of music
*Battery is overall fairly good 10-20hrs depending on the features you use, likely wont need more than that between charges, after all bluetooth is largely for mobile devices, which will probably be dead long before the headphones are