It’s time for the ultimate showdown between two of the most highly-rated active noise-cancelling releases in the past few months. Differing in build, similar in features, but what about the sound? More info is here in our Sony MDR-1000X vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review.
Sony MDR-1000X vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review
Sony MDR-1000X vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review – Build & Design
Both headphones offer easy portability on and off the head. They are shipped in portable carry cases in their flat, yet collapsed position. This allows slide into a backpack, rectangular purse, or even a briefcase. The MDR-1000X case is shaped-like a rounded rectangle and covered in a leather while the PXC 550 is a half-circle hard case covered in soft fabric. Both provide a sleeve for storage of a micro USB charging cord, detachable audio cable, or an airline adapter.
When it comes to build, both headphones are designed comfortably and durably. The MDR-1000X is primarily comprised of hard-grade material with ear cups that are covered in a thin layer of soft synthetic leather. The headphone ear cups are oval shaped (and so is the headband) taking after the natural shape of the head. Padding on the headband is only on the underbelly and directly under the top portion of the head. The ear cups swivel left to right and up and down easily. The attached ear cushions are soft and stuffed with memory foam. While this headphone offers a great deal of comfort, I personally wish the cushions were a little thicker, like the PXC 550. Sennheiser’s PXC 550 has a frame that is shaped like a cone and rounded-off at the top. That’s the headband. These ear cups also swivel smoothly from left to right and up and down. The frame of the PXC 550 is primarily covered in plush leather and is a bit lighter than the MDR-1000X.
Sony MDR-1000X vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review – Features
Most of the touch controls on the MDR-1000X are featured on the left ear cup while most of the controls on the PXC 550 are located on the right ear cup. However, the right ear cup on both headphones feature touch controls to play/pause your music, adjust the volume, and navigate your playlist. In addition, both headphones allow users to customize their noise-cancelling experience. Sony MDR-1000X let’s you customize your ANC experience. Pressing the “NC” button initiates an optimizer which measures (physiological) characteristics about your ear and how you wear your headphones and adjusts the noise-cancelling accordingly. The “Ambient Sound” button adjusts the noise-cancelling to a lower ANC level which allows ambient noise in and another setting optimized for voices. A really cool and unique feature to the Sony headphone is the ability to engage in conversation without removing your headphones simply by placing your hand over your right ear.
The PXC 550 has a few similar features. First is the capability to adjust the Noise Gard (ANC) to maximum level or an adaptive level based on your environment. The PXC 550 also has a TalkThrough component which allows users to hear and speak to others without having to take their headphones off. This is done by sliding a button rather than cupping on of your ears. Another benefit of the PXC 550, is the capacity to further enhance your audio. Using Effect Mode wearers can toggle between Club (Music), Movie, and Speech listening modes which enhance your audio based on the type of sound you’re listening to. The PXC 550 furthers its customization ability with CapTune – a companion app which allows users to fully customize their music with presets, equalizers, their own playlists, and more.
Sony MDR-1000X vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review – Noise-Cancelling
Probably the most important factor (or second to most) important factor is the power of noise-cancelling. Both headphones provide supreme levels of noise cancellation ability at the maximum setting, though the PXC 550, in my opinion, is slightly edged out by the MDR-1000X. That’s because Sony’s headset offers a more robust version of ANC and by that I mean the ANC comes on strong, but in the best way possible. It’s like being surrounded by a wall of nearly complete silence with these babies. There is a small audible hiss, but that’s only heard if you aren’t playing anything at all while listening to the MDR-1000X. In addition, if you’re sensitive to ANC this headphone might make you feel like you’re getting motion sickness or that flying in an airplane feeling. The ANC is just THAT good. As for the PXC 550, it’s also really great, but a notch down from the MDR-1000X. But it is almost as equally strong. Trust me! Regardless, both headphones let you adjust the ANC to remain aware of your surroundings.
Sony MDR-1000X vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review – Sound
When it comes to sound. I’d say these headphones are basically neck-and-neck, with the PXC 550 just a toe ahead of the MDR-1000X. For clarity’s sake, please note that both headphones deliver impressive audio, but the PXC 550 gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. I felt there was tiny bit more musicality. The MDR-1000X gives you very clear audio across the entire frequency response with forward highs and thumping bass. Vocals are very clear and realistic. Like I’ve said before the sound is supreme, but listening to the PXC 550 side-by-side, I felt Sennheiser offered a bit more warmth and a wider sound stage subsequently providing a rounded, smooth sound that allowed the highs to glitter just a bit more than the Sony. Sony’s got a bit more oomph in the bass though.
Sony MDR-1000X vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review – Overview
If your sole purpose is to snag a headphone that can get as close as possible to turning the volume down on the world, the Sony MDR-1000X will probably serve you better. If you want a headphone that is better to wear for long periods of time, the PXC 550 is lighter and offers more cushion so it feels like the cups are giving your ears a big bear hug. But if you’d like a more relaxed fit, then go with the MDR-1000X. If you still aren’t sure you can also let the specs listed down below do all the talking.
Sony MDR-1000X vs Sennheiser PXC 550 Review – Specs
Sony MDR-1000X (unit turned on)
Driver: 70 mm, Dynamic
Impedance: 46 ohms
Frequency Response Range: 4 Hz – 40,000 Hz
Sensitivity: 103 dB/mW
Battery: 3.7V Lithium-Ion
Run Time: 20 Hours
Charge Time: 4 Hours
Weight: 0.60 lbs
Warranty: 1 Year
Sennheiser PXC 550
Impedance: 46 ohms
Frequency Response Range: 17 Hz -23,000 Hz
Sensitivity: 110 dB/mW
Battery: 3.7 V Lithium-Ion
Run Time: 30 Hours
Charge Time: 3 Hours
Weight: 0.5 lbs
Warranty: 2 Years