Sennheiser PXC 480 Review
The best active noise-cancelling wired headphones from Sennheiser.
Overall score: 4.1 out of 5 points.
Offered as a new contender in the premium active noise cancelling headphones category, the Sennheiser PXC 480 wired headphones are a good replacement for PXC 450.
With classic style and sound quality, the PXC 480 just might be Sennheiser’s best and most comfortable wired noise cancelling model yet. “Emphasis on wired.”
- In-line controls & talkback mic
- Very comfortable
- Signature Sennheiser sound quality
- Detachable cable
- 50-hour battery life
- 2-year warranty
- Carrying case is ok, but not great quality
- TalkThrough listening feature is poor
- Max volume not as high as other wired headphones
Noise Cancelling – 4/5 Great
The first thing you’ll notice when putting on these headphones is the excellent passive noise isolation.
A closed-back design combined with well-designed earcup padding makes these headphones great with or without engaging the ANC circuit.
Sennheiser’s NoiseGard Hybrid active noise cancelling technology performs very well when compared with other popular headphone brands like Bose and Audio Technica. Not as good as Bose but close enough.
Whether on the plane or commuting by train, bus or car, these headphones definitely provide a quality active and passive noise cancelling experience.
Durability – 4/5 Great
Just what you’d expect from Sennheiser’s PXC lineup, there are very little complaints about durability issues.
In fact, the construction quality on the PXC 480 feels more robust than other similar designs – even with primarily plastic components and hinges.
The built-in rechargeable battery means there are no battery covers to lose and the audio and USB jacks seem to be thoughtfully integrated.
The included carrying case may be the weakest component of this package, as it is rather lightweight and almost seems too flimsy for the quality product it encloses.
And as with most Sennheiser products, a solid 2-year warranty is provided.
Comfort – 4.5/5 Almost Perfect
Sennheiser nails it with the PXC 480 when it comes to comfort.
Featuring deep earcups and plush memory foam padding, these headphones are easy to wear all day long.
The headband padding is ample, without seeming too bulky, and the soft earcups just beg to stay on your ears.
The oval earcups are also great for those with larger ears. The only thing that you need to get used to in the beginning is a snug fit which becomes softer after some time.
Features – 4/5 Great
The PXC 480 is delivered with a number of great features and accessories.
A micro USB cable is included for charging and the detachable audio cable comes with ¼” and airline audio adapters.
A zippered carrying case matches the black and silver trim style of the headphones.
An in-line remote and talkback mic is also included on the audio cable. The talkback mic quality is quite good and adds to a great overall audio experience.
The headphones can be used in stand-alone noise cancelling mode with the audio cable unplugged, which provides a very clean cable-free experience.
One of the more remarkable features of these headphones is the 50 hours of battery life. It seems Sennheiser designed these to be worn and used for a long time.
A full charge of the built-in lithium battery is achieved in about 3 hours.
Perhaps the weakest feature is the TalkThrough technology used to allow you to carry on a conversation with nearby passengers or flight attendants.
This feature is a fine idea, but it actually boosts the noise along with the voices you want to hear, so the result is a little less than pleasing.
Sound – 4/5 Great
Overall music playback and audio quality on these headphones is great.
Bass response is powerful, but not unnatural or overly saturated. It comes across as confident and controlled.
Mids are reasonably represented and detailed but seem to compress the vocal ranges a little bit.
The high frequencies are going to be less bright than with the Bluetooth version of this series, but they remain plenty detailed and clear.
The balance of the frequency spectrum performance is quite pleasing and natural, but astute listeners of classical music may end up preferring a brighter set of headphones.
A rich and full soundstage provides good depth, but the spacing is not quite as wide as some detailed tracks can require for maximum articulation.
Just keep in mind these perform best with a strong source, a smartphone won’t be enough to get the most out of these. An amplifier is preferable.
Sennheiser’s quality audio performance reputation certainly remains intact with the PXC 480. While not audiophile quality, these headphone are certainly easy to listen to.
The Sennheiser PXC 480 is quickly becoming a go-to choice for those in search of a comfortable and quality listening experience with active noise cancelling.