The Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless are decent, well-rounded headphones. These premium-looking over-ears are very similar to their predecessor, the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless, and the most noticeable difference is their greatly improved ANC performance. Their sound profile is very well-balanced, and they should be versatile enough for most genres of music. Like the previous version, they have a comfortable and very stable fit, meaning they're even a good choice if you prefer using over-ear headphones at the gym.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II are decent for neutral sound. While their bass and mid ranges are excellently well-balanced, unfortunately, their treble isn't and may sound harsh or piercing. Due to their closed-back design, they also have a closed-off passive soundstage, and sound seems to come from inside your head. Overall, they're versatile and well-suited for most genres of music, but audiophiles may want to look elsewhere.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II are very good for commuting or travel. Thanks to their well-padded design, they're comfortable and can be worn for extended periods without fatigue or soreness. They also have a very good battery life, great for long flights. Their ANC performance is also great, and they do an effective job of blocking out the engine noise on a plane or bus. Unfortunately, they aren't the most portable, though they do fold flat and come with a soft carrying case to give them some protection.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II are good over-ear headphones for sports use. They're comfortable and feel stable on the head, so they shouldn't move or fall off during jogs. They also breathe very well for over-ear headphones, so you shouldn't sweat more than usual, making them a very good choice if you prefer the fit of over-ears but want headphones that you can also take with you to the gym. Like most over-ear headphones, they lack an IP rating for dust or water resistance and can fall off during intense workouts.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II are good for office use. They're comfortable and have a very long battery life, meaning you should be able to use them for a full work day. Their ANC also does an excellent job of blocking out background chatter, helping you keep focused at work. Unfortunately, they do leak a bit of audio, though it likely won't be enough to bother those around you unless you work in an extremely quiet environment or blast your music.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II aren't recommended for wireless gaming. They can only connect wirelessly via Bluetooth, meaning they won't be compatible with PS4 or Xbox One without a wired connection. While you can pair them to a Bluetooth-enabled PC, their somewhat high latency makes them less ideal for gaming unless your PC supports the aptX(LL) codec, which provides lower latency. They also have high latency with iOS, but it's lower with Android, so they're more suitable for mobile gaming on those devices.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II are decent for wired gaming. They come with a TRRS cable that should give you full compatibility with PCs as well as Xbox and PlayStation consoles if you plug it into a controller. That said, the cable that came with our unit seems to be defective as it only provides audio with Xbox and PlayStation. However, we could connect to both consoles with full mic and audio support by swapping the cable for another cable of the same type. These headphones are also PCs using their micro-USB to USB-A cable and provide a low latency connection suitable for gaming.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II are decent headphones for phone calls. Their microphone performance is decent, and speech transmitted with these headphones sounds better than many other Bluetooth headphones. Unfortunately, their noise handling isn't very good, and the person on the other end of the line will likely have a hard time hearing you if you're in a moderately noisy environment.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II are over-ear wireless headphones with a fairly sleek and understated style. They look identical to the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless, though they now only come in an all-black design with no silver accents. They're made with high-quality materials that give them a premium, high-end look.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless are quite comfortable over-ears. They have the same great padding as the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless, with fairly small ear cups that should still be large enough to comfortably fit most people. Unfortunately, although the headband is heavily cushioned and comfortable, it doesn't extend very far, so these headphones may not fit all head sizes and shapes.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II have a great control scheme. All of the controls are on the right ear cup, and they're intuitive and easy to use. There are also voice prompts for some functions, like when you mute or unmute the microphone, but none for track skipping or switching between ANC modes, which is slightly disappointing.
Right ear cup
Voice assistant button:
ANC switch:Switches between ANC on, ANC off, and a 'User mode' that you can set in the app.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless have decent breathability. They may cause you to sweat more than usual but will keep your ears cooler than most other over-ear headphones, making them decent for light workouts.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II are passably portable. They take up some room in a bag, like most over-ear headphones, but you can fold them into a more compact shape to save space or swivel the ear cups flat, which makes it more comfortable to wear them around your neck.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II have a decent hard case. It zips shut and should protect the headphones from scratches, dust, and minor water exposure. It doesn't prevent them from being crushed, though.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II have a good build quality and feel quite solid. They're made of dense plastic, and the headband is reinforced by a thin metal frame. Overall, they should be able to withstand a few accidental drops and bumps without too much damage.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II are stable and shouldn't easily fall off your head during moderate exercise like a jog. They may slip off your ears with more exaggerated movement, however.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II's sound profile is bright and well-balanced and should be well-suited for most genres of music and content like podcasts and audiobooks. Unfortunately, our unit's left and right drivers have a mismatched frequency response in the treble range, which causes vocals to sound veiled or lacking in detail in the right driver. This may not affect every unit, however. Sibilants are also slightly harsh and piercing sibilants (S and T sounds) in both earbuds. The companion app has a few EQ presets you can use to adjust their sound, which is nice.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II's frequency response consistency is decent. They're fairly consistent in the bass range, but their treble delivery is sensitive to the fit and positioning of these headphones on the head. This means that different people may experience their treble reproduction differently.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II have excellent bass accuracy. Most of the response is neutral, so mixes have thump, rumble, and punch. There's some overemphasis in the high-bass range, which gives instruments extra boom.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II's mid-range response is very accurate. The low-mid and mid-mid are very flat, meaning lead instruments should sound detailed and present. In high-mid, our right driver dips, which hurts the clarity of lead vocals and instruments a bit. However, vocals should still stay present and sound detailed overall.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II's treble accuracy is decent. Vocals may lack a bit of detail, and sibilants like S and T sounds and cymbals may sound harsh and piercing.
Note: Our unit's L/R drivers are slightly mismatched in terms of frequency response, and the right driver's low-treble response is more underemphasized than the left driver's. This may be unique to our unit, however.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II's peaks and dips performance is decent. The most noticeable peaks/dips are in the treble range, which unfortunately is quite uneven. The dips in low-treble, mostly present in our unit's right driver, result in some detail being lost from vocals, whereas the peaks in mid-treble cause cymbals and sibilants (S and T sounds) to sound harsh and piercing. There are peaks in the low-bass that add thump and rumble to mixes and a peak in the high-bass that adds boom.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II's imaging performance is great. The group delay falls below the audibility threshold for almost the entire range, although it does cross it in low-bass, suggesting that the sub-bass may be a bit loose. It's audible but may not be noticeable to all listeners with regular content. Our unit's L/R drivers are also slightly mismatched in terms of frequency and phase response, which can cause inaccuracies in the stereo image, though this may be difficult to hear with regular content. It's worth noting that these results are only valid for our unit, and yours may perform differently.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II have a poor soundstage. There's not much pinna activation, and the closed-back design sounds less open than open-back headphones. The soundstage sounds fairly small, unnatural, and as if inside the listener's head as opposed to in front.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II's weighted harmonic distortion performance is good. All frequencies fall within acceptable limits, resulting in a clear and pure audio reproduction.
These are the settings used to test the Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless. Our results are only valid with these settings.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II have a great noise isolation performance. Their ANC feature works much better than their predecessor, the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless. They do a good job of blocking the low rumble of plane and bus engines as well as ambient conversations and a decent job of reducing higher-pitched noise like a humming computer fan.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II have an alright leakage performance. Not too much audio escapes, and most is in the treble range, meaning it sounds thin. Even at high volumes, your music shouldn't bother people nearby in a moderately noisy environment like an office.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II have a mic with okay recording quality. Your voice sounds reasonably full and clear and shouldn't be too muffled.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II's mic has decent noise handling. With moderate background noise, your voice sounds louder than the ambient sound and is easily understood. Even in noisier environments like a busy subway station, it does a satisfactory job of separating your voice from noise. However, it may be hard to understand you clearly if there's a loud noise present, like the sound of a passing train.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless have an excellent battery performance. Their battery provides just over 21 hours of continuous use off a single charge, so you probably don't need to recharge them daily. They also recharge in less time than the advertised three hours. Ηowever, battery performance can vary with real-life use, so your experience may vary. There's also a 'Smart Pause' feature that pauses your music when you take off the headphones and puts them in standby mode after five minutes without a Βluetooth connection. This can help preserve battery life, but you can also switch it off in the app. If you run out of battery, you can also use the headphones passively with the provided audio cable. To turn off the headphones completely, you simply fold the ear cups flat.
The dedicated companion app for the Sennheiser PXC 550-II is okay. You can set the 'User mode' for the right earcup's ANC slider to either 'Adaptive ANC' (noise cancelling depending on your environment) or Anti-Wind (advertised as 'slight' noise isolation to reduce noise from wind or movement). Otherwise, there are only a few EQ presets and room effects, unlike the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless which have a full parametric EQ. On the upside, it's available on both iOS and Android.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II are Bluetooth headphones that support aptX-LL for low-latency connections. Their default latency with PCs is slightly high, but it's lower using the aptX-LL codec, so you shouldn't notice audio sync issues if your computer supports it. Their latency with Android devices is also low, but it's higher with iOS, so they aren't ideal for mobile gaming or watching videos on an iPhone. Some devices and apps seem to compensate for latency, though, meaning you may have a different experience. These headphones also support multi-device pairing, so you can watch a movie on your computer and answer your phone without having to re-pair them.
You can use the Sennheiser PXC 550-II wired with the included 1/16" to 1/8" TRRS cable if your device has a headphone port. They can receive audio and charge with their micro-USΒ to USΒ-A cable when connected to a PC with a USB-A port. Their negative latency result means you may hear the audio before the video when you're gaming or watching a movie, but the amount of latency is so small that this shouldn't be noticeable.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II are fully compatible with PCs if you use their 1/8" TRRS cable or micro-USΒ to USΒ-A cable to connect. They have very little latency via USΒ.
Update 01/27/2022: We originally reported that the headphones enter 'Talk-Through' mode when connected via analog to a PS4 console. We retested this recently with the same included 1/8" to 1/16" TRRS cable and didn't experience the same issue. However, this time the mic didn't work. Ηowever, using a different 1/8" to 1/16" TRRS cable, we were able to get full compatibility with PS4 and PS5 consoles without entering 'Talk-Through' mode. It seems that the cable that came with the headphones is defective, and we've updated our results. If you come across this issue, please let us know in the discussions.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II are fully compatible with PlayStation consoles via analog connection or wired USΒ connection.
Update 01/11/2022: We originally reported that if you plug the headphones into an Xbox console using the included 1/8" to 1/16" TRRS cable, you can only receive audio but not use the mic. Ηowever, we retested this and found that the cable that came with the headphones may be defective. Using another cable of the same type, we were able to receive audio and use the mic on Xbox One and Xbox Series X and have updated our results to reflect this.
These headphones are fully compatible with Xbox One and Xbox Series X via analog connection. You can also use their Micro-USB to USB-A cable to receive audio, but you can't use the mic when connected that way.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II come in one variant with an all-black design. If you come across another variant, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update the review.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II are very similar to the previous version. They both look and feel the same, with the main improvement being their ANC performance, which is much better. They have a much more stable fit than the similar Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless or Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018, which makes them a great option if you like using over-ears at the gym.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless and the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless have different strengths, and you may prefer either one. The Sony are more comfortable, better-built, and their ANC system does a significantly better job blocking out background noise. Their companion app also offers a graphic EQ and presets to help you adjust their sound to your liking. The Sennheiser have a better overall performing integrated mic and a more stable and breathable fit.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018 are better headphones than the Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless. The Bose are much more comfortable, have a much better-balanced sound profile, and isolate noise better. The Sennheiser, on the other hand, are better for using at the gym due to their more breathable and stable design.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless are very similar to the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless. The Sonys are slightly more comfortable, feel slightly better built, and have much better noise isolation. On the other hand, the Sennheiser have better controls, a more stable fit, and a more accurate and less bass-heavy sound profile.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless are better headphones than the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless. They have better controls, a much more accurate sound profile, and feel more stable. On the other hand, the Bowers & Wilkins feel much more premium, have much longer battery life, and very similar ANC performance.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless are better than the Beats Solo Pro Wireless for most purposes. The Sennheiser are much more comfortable, stable, and portable. They can be used wirelessly or wired with the included 1/8" TRRS cable, and their mic has a much better overall performance. They support multi-device pairing and work with an app that has sound customization options. On the other hand, the Beats have a more neutral default sound profile, which some listeners may prefer. They also have longer continuous battery life and a much better build quality.
The Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless and the Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless each have their pros and cons. Their sound profiles are fairly similar, but fans of bass will prefer the added thump the Momentum 3 provide. While they both have great noise isolation, the Momentum 3 reduce more noise in the bass range, while the PXC 550-II isolate better in the mid-range. Their battery performance is also better than the Momentum, but they don't feel as well-built.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless are very similar to the Bose 700 Headphones Wireless. The Bose are slightly more comfortable, feel a bit better built, and have better ANC. On the other hand, the Sennheiser feel more stable on the head, breathe better, and have a very similar sound profile.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless and the AKG N700NC M2 Wireless are similarly performing over-ears, and you may prefer one over the other. While both headphones are comfortable and well-built, the AKG have a more neutral default sound profile, and their companion app offers a parametric EQ to help you adjust their sound to your liking. They also have a better noise isolation performance. However, the Sennheiser have a better overall battery performance. Their mic also has better noise handling, and you can use their USB-A to micro-USB cable as wired USB connection with full mic and audio compatibility.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless and the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless have different strengths; depending on your usage, you may prefer one over the other. While both headphones are comfortable and well-built, the Sennheiser have a more stable fit and a more neutral default sound profile that some users may prefer. They also have a better overall battery performance. The Anker's ANC does a better job of blocking out ambient noise around you, they have a longer continuous battery life, and their companion app offers a graphic EQ to help customize their sound.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless are slightly better headphones than the Razer Opus Wireless 2021. While both headphones are comfortable, the Sennheiser have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, a significantly better noise isolation performance, and they support multi-device pairing. They also support atpX codec for better audio quality via Bluetooth. That said, the Razer are better built and their battery performance is better overall.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless are more versatile than the Bowers & Wilkins PX5 Wireless. The over-ear Sennheiser have a more comfortable and stable fit, a more neutral sound profile, a better integrated microphone, and full audio and microphone compatibility on a wired connection. They also support the aptX-LL codec for low latency audio and provide a lower-latency Βluetooth connection with PCs using that codec. Ηowever, the Bowers & Wilkins are better-built, have a much longer battery life, leak less audio, and have a superior control scheme.