Sennheiser PXC 480 vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review

After the release of the PXC 550, we received numerous questions about the differences between its wired predecessor, the PXC 480. Well, it’s time to find out which PXC headphone is better for you in our Sennheiser PXC 480 vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review.

Sennheiser PXC 480 vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review

Sennheiser PXC 480 vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review – Packaging

The boxes look nearly the same apart from the different model numbers and corresponding specs detailed on the exterior. Both headsets are shipped with a fabric-covered hard-grade carry case with a micro USB charging cord and a detachable cable with a single button to answer/end calls and pause/play music.

Sennheiser PXC 480 vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review – Build & Design

At first glance the Sennheiser PXC 480 and 550 look like mirror images of one another. They are both constructed with premium leather on both the headband and ear cups while the ear cushions are stuffed with soft memory foam. The ear cups and cushions are ergonomically shaped to engulf your ear in pillow-y sound-sealing goodness. The passive noise cancellation, as well as sound isolation, is pretty great on both models in their inactive state. By this, I mean the PXC 480 and 550 are both in the Noise Gard (active noise-cancelling) off position. The ear cups rotate left-to-right and up-and-down on both models.

Sennheiser PXC 480 vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review – Features

The PXC 480 offers the a few fun features. Like that of the PXC 550, the PXC 480 features a small switch for adjusting Noise Gard. They differ by settings. In the PXC 480, users can either turn their Noise Gard on, turn Noise Gard and Talk Through on, or turn them both off. FYI, Talk Through is just what it sounds like. It allows users to talk and hear who they are talking to through their music without having to actively turn their music down or take their headphones off. The PXC 550’s Noise Gard button has three different modes off, on (which attenuates volume at max level), adaptive (which attenuates noise according to how loud noise is around you, and off. To activate TalkThrough on the PXC 550, users tap the touch control ear cups twice. Yeah, the PXC 550 has touch controls built into the ear cups. Moreover, the PXC 550 also gives users the ability to tailor their music with a “Sound Effect” feature with modes for movie, club, and speech.

Sennheiser PXC 480 vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review – Sound

The PXC 480 and PXC 550 offer essentially the same listening experience. Both provide listeners with an incredible amount of vocal realism, as well as accuracy and detail across lows, mids, and highs. With both headphones, vocals are truly amazing – reproduced to sound as if the artist is in front of you. When it comes to instruments, especially strings, the detail was impressive. I could hear as strings were plucked in Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters.” For both headphones, the lows possess a great deal of depth and control. The mids are rich and relaxed, but the 480’s mids are ever-so-slightly compressed. Slightly. The highs (consisting of cymbal crashes and the like) in the 480 were also a bit bright at higher volumes. But  it’s not a super hefty amount to get  not seriously worked up over. In the PXC 550, this issue as well as the compressed bass has been resolved. The PXC 550 delivers beautiful, succinct, glittering highs and lush, open mids. Although, Bluetooth is known for diminishing the quality of sound in headphones, these babies are operating at the highest caliber, regardless of wireless capability.

In addition, the PXC 550 does a great job with its wireless functioning, maintaining a solid, connection when you move away from your paired device.

Overall, both of these headphones can serve you well. If you don’t necessarily need with wireless capability and you don’t think you’ll notice a slight compression in the mids or a bit of brightness at higher volumes, the PXC 480 is a match! If you wish to untether yourself and want slightly better sound, then get the PXC 550.

The Sennheiser PXC 550 is available at the lowest price of $399.99 at Audio 46 Sennheiser Shop (offer price matching) and Amazon.

The Sennheiser PXC 480 is available at the best price of $299.95 at Audio 46 Sennheiser Shop (offer price matching) and Amazon.

Sennheiser PXC 480 vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review – Specs

PXC 480

Impedance: 45 ohms

Frequency Response: 17 Hz – 23,000 Hz

Sound Pressure Level (SPL):  109 dB

Total Harmonic Distortion (THD):  <0.5%

Operating Time: 50 hours

Battery Charging Time: 3 hours

Weight: 225 g

PXC 550

Impedance: 46 ohms

Frequency Response: 17 Hz – 23,000 Hz

Sound Pressure Level (SPL):  110 dB

Total Harmonic Distortion (THD):  <0.5%

Operating Time: 30 Hours

Battery Charging Time: 3 Hours

Weight: 227 g

Bluetooth: 4.2