Last weekend I was up in the Hunter Valley at the Media Connect Influence forum with other leading technology journalists, networking and checking out some of the latest technologies. And, through my ability to ride a virtual horse better than anyone else on Sunday night, I won a pair of Sennheiser PXC 450 noise-cancelling headphones.
While the headphones aren't exactly new, they're still impressive enough for me to want to share the experience with you guys. While I haven't had much of a chance to really test them out properly, I have had enough of a hands on to tell you that these headphones are like a rugby union prop - they're big, but they get around and they perform well. Really well.Despite the fact that these cans are massive, they're still comfortable to wear. My last pair of noise-cancellers were Bose's QuietComfort 2s, and the transition from on-the-ear to over-the-ear has been an interesting experience.
The PXC 450s run off a single AAA battery, rather than rechargeables, though I haven't used them enough to see how long the battery lasts. On the upside, they still play when the battery is dead, although obviously without the noise cancelling tech.
On the right headphone, there's a button that stops the music and allows you to hear when somebody is speaking to you, which would be an awesome advantage for fliers. There are also volume controls on the headphones themselves, saving you from having to pull out your iPod to turn up your tunes.
Audio quality, on the limited use I've had, is fantastic. I always found the QC2s struggled with the lower end, but these seem to handle a full range really well. Obviously my opinion will develop the longer I listen to them, but so far the PXC 450s are one of the best sets of headphones I've ever had the joy of listening to. Of course, for $800 you'd expect great audio quality, so that last statement really shouldn't be too much of a surprise.