Reviewed on Feb 26, 2016

Sennheiser PXC 450 HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 0.9
5.9
Mixed Usage
6.4
Critical Listening
5.8
Commute/Travel
5.7
Sports/Fitness
5.7
Office
6.5
Home Theater
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : Yes
Mic : No
Transducer : Dynamic

The Sennheiser PXC450 are average headphones with good audio reproduction and decent build quality, but questionable design choices. Unfortunately, the noise isolation is severely lacking and is not recommended for use in noisy environments.

Test Results
Design 6.4
Sound 6.4
Isolation 5.4
Active Features 5.3
Pros
  • Decent leakage performance.
  • Great audio reproduction.
Cons
  • Uncomfortable, Inner-earcup design.
  • Slightly overpowered mids.
  • Poor noise isolation.

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6.4

Design

The PXC450 have some questionable design choices that lessen comfort and ease of use. The counter-intuitive button layout and the odd design of the inner earcups is confusing and unpleasant over long listening sessions. The earcups and headband are fortunately, well-padded and the metal frame adds a little more robustness to the design.

Style

The PXC450 are unremarkable in their style. They do not look as premium as the Sony MDR-XB950N1. The large gray ear cups are accentuated by the silver highlights of the buttons and Sennheiser branding. The headband, as well as the cushion of the ear cups, is coated with a soft black padding. The sliver of the metal at the hinges and the frame add a little more style but not enough to make the PXC450 stand out.

6.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.71 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0.96 lbs

The large earcups are decently padded and mold well to the head. They are very large though, and may be a little too massive, depending on the user's head size. The PXC 450 would be a lot more comfortable if it wasn't for another odd design choice: The inside of the ear cups protrude outwards and touch the listener's ears, if not placed on the head perfectly. This causes a lot of discomfort after long listening sessions.

6.6 Controls
Ease of use : Mediocre
Feedback : Above-average
Call/Music Control : No
Volume Control : Yes
Noise Canceling Control : Yes
Talk-Through : Yes
Additional Buttons : No

Button layout is average at best. The buttons are functional but just poorly designed and feel cramped on the very large ear cup. They offer volume and "talk-through" controls but no play/stop button. There's also a strangely hidden switch on the left ear cup that just adds to the oddness of the button layout.

6.0 Stability

The Sennheiser PXC450 are decently stable headphones that stay in place during casual listening sessions. They are not designed for sports, though and will quickly fall off your head during high-intensity exercises. They're not good for the gym and don't have a detachable cable that will disconnect if it gets hooked on to something, and will pull the headphones off your head.

5.9 Portability
L : 7.48 "
W : 8.27 "
H : 1.97 "
Volume : 121.68 Cu. Inches
Stand required : N/A

The PXC450 are on the larger side for over-ear headphones. The big earcups lay flat to be somewhat portable. Unfortunately, they will take a decent amount of space in a backpack. They won't comfortably fit in a handbag and are far too big to fit in any pockets, even larger jacket pockets.

7.0 Case
Type : Soft case
L : 8.27 "
W : 9.06 "
H : 1.97 "
Volume : 147.4 Cu. Inches

Comes with a soft case that will protect the headphones from scratches and minor falls. However, the case adds a bit of bulk to the already large headphones. It also won't shield them from water damage.

6.5 Build Quality

Build quality for the PXC450 is somewhat decent but has a couple flaws. The headband and ear cups are well-padded and the metal frame adds a little more sturdiness to the build. Where they lose points is with the build of the ear cups. The plastic looks and feels cheap, the inner earcups stick out and touch your ears if the headphones are not placed perfectly and the battery compartment is placed awkwardly.

6.4 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 5.9 C

Cable
Detachable : No
Length : 5.2 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS

Front
Angled
Side
Rear
Top
6.4

Sound

The Sennheiser PXC450 are a mediocre sounding pair of closed-back over-ear headphones. They have a decent bass, but a poor mid-range and a mediocre treble reproduction. Additionally, their mid-range sounds forward and boxy, and their treble is noticeably veiled. They also have a mediocre soundstage, but a good distortion performance.

6.1 Bass
Std. Err.
:
5.29 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
55.76 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-8.03 dB
Bass
:
0.85 dB
High-Bass
:
2.76 dB

5.8 Mid
Std. Err.
:
5.64 dB
Low-Mid
:
5.37 dB
Mid
:
5.81 dB
High-Mid
:
-1.61 dB

6.5 Treble
Std. Err.
:
4.66 dB
Low-Treble
:
-2.52 dB
Treble
:
-2.68 dB
High-Treble
:
2.77 dB

6.1 Soundstage
PRTF Error
:
5.89 dB
Openness
:
6.0
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
4.1
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.01 dB

5.5 Imaging
Phase Error
:
184.78 °
Driver Mismatch (Amplitude)
:
1.01 dB
Driver Mismatch (Frequency)
:
2.43 dB
Driver Mismatch (Phase)
:
50.66 °

9.5 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
0.062
Weighted THD @ 100
:
0.141

5.4

Isolation

The PXC450 fail at actively cancelling ambient noise. The noise cancellation is indiscernible from the basic isolation provided passively by the earcups. You can hear the hiss of the active noise cancellation working but it's very inefficient and is not reonmended for use in noisy environments. Leakage performance is good but not great and will let sound escape at high volumes.

5.2 Noise Isolation
Overall Attenuation
:
-11.15 dB
Bass
:
-1.31 dB
Mid
:
-9.3 dB
Treble
:
-25.08 dB
Self-Noise
:
16.52 dB

Poor noise cancellation overall. Passive isolation is decent, about average. There seems to be a little bit of build-up happening in the 300Hz range though. Passive isolation starts at around 500Hz and reaches -30dB at 5KHz. The active noise cancellation doesn't do a lot, offering less than 10dB of reduction starting at 100Hz up to 600Hz.

5.9 Leakage
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
45.7 dB

Decent leakage performance. The peak of the leakage is in the high-mid to low-treble range.

5.3

Active Features

The Panasonic PXC 450 are not the most versatile headphones, unlike the updated PXC 550 Wireless. They only have noise canceling as an active feature. Hence no wireless or app score. Fortunately, they have a decent battery life that lasts about 20 hours. It's considerably lower than over over-ear headphones that use AAA cells, but it should be sufficient for most casual listeners and for a full day's worth of use.

0 Wireless
Type
:
N/A
Obstructed Range
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
NFC
:
No

10 Latency
Base Latency
:
0 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

7.7 Battery
Battery Type
:
AAA
Battery Life
:
20.9 hrs
Charge Time
:
N/A
Auto-off
:
No
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
No

The PXC 450 provide up to 21 hrs of continuous play time. They are decent headphones to take on a long flight, but you will have to keep a spare AAA if you don't have access to a store while on your trip. Unfortunately, they also do not have any battery saving features like an auto-off timer and can't continue playing audio passively once the batteries are dead.

0 App Support

No compatible app.

In the box

  • Sennheiser PXC 450 Noisegard 2.0 Headphones
  • 1/8" to 1/4" Adapter
  • AAA battery (x2)
  • Airline Adapter
  • Manual
  • Carrying case

5.9 Mixed Usage

The PXC 450 make poor everyday headphones. Their sound is decent for a bit of critical listening, but they are not comfortable and too bulky for everyday use.

6.4 Critical Listening

Mediocre for critical listening. They have an adequate frequency response but a poor soundstage because of their closed back design.

5.8 Commute/Travel

Poor for commuting. Their noise isolation performance is decent enough for moderate levels of ambient noise.

5.7 Sports/Fitness

Not designed for sports use. Although they're moderately comfortable They're bulky, cumbersome and too unstable for sports headphones.

5.7 Office

Poor for office use. Noise isolation is not enough for the chatter of a busy office. They're also quite leaky.

6.5 Home Theater

Average for Home Theater use. They have no latency since they're wired and have a sufficiently decent sound for movie watching. However, they have a relatively short audio cable so unless you have an extension cord they won't be ideal for comfortably watching movies from your couch.

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