It just doesn’t get better than starting an audio report while listening to Drift Away by Dobie Gray on the headset I am about to report on. This report actually started out as a challenge of my loyalty to my Fanny Wang 3000 Series Customs with Active Noise Cancellation that sees me typically through 15-20 flights a year. In this corner, sporting a solid black design and weigh-in in at 6.3 ounces, we have the Sennheiser MM 550-X Travelling Headset with Active Noise Cancellation, Bluetooth, SRS and TalkThrough… I guess I should have known as soon as the Sennheiser name was mentioned.
As much as I hate to admit it, I never thought Sennheiser had a chance as they never had the ‘eye candy’ we see in the Wangs; the MM 550-X headphones are a simple and straight black, just the thing that so many of the younger generation have tried to get away from. At the same time, I thought about the Senn’s being wireless and remembered the time that woman crossed over me on the plane while I was asleep, somehow catching the cable and breaking the headset completely. They were away for repair for almost 7 months before I talked Fanny Wang into a new set in consideration of customer service alone. Add on the fact that these Senn’s are cell phone compatible, have SRS, noise cancellation, and Talk Through so I can talk to the person next to me on the plane, or the flight attendant briefly without taking the headset off, and the odds just may favor Sennheiser.
EXTERIOR PACKAGING AND COMPONENTS
Exterior packaging of the Sennheiser Travel MM 550-X Premium Wireless Headset is of a cardboard shell with clear face displaying the headphones. Absolutely none of the headsets features have been left from exterior package marketing and we were pleased to learn that the MM 550-X comes with a 2 year warranty.
There is no shortage of included accessories and packaging includes an exterior shell, 3.5 mm audio cable, 6.4mm jack adapter, plane adapter, USB to microUSB cable with included power adapter, as well as enough power adapters to accommodate recharging the MM 550-X in just about any country. We were impressed that the audio cable was included to enable the user to decide their connection method.
The Sennheiser MM 550-S Travelling Wireless Headset is priced at $629 in Canada and almost half that in the USA, at $324.99, both price quotes coming from Amazon if you can believe it. The Senn’s were actually found in most countries above six bills until recently when prices dropped significantly in the US. Perhaps the others will follow suit as the $600 mark is just a bit tough to swallow. This is a premium headset and specifications point this out as they should:
- Wearing style Circumaural
- Transducer principle Closed acoustics
- Technology Bluetooth® 2.1 + EDR / Supported profiles= A2DP + AVRCP + HSP + HFP / Codec= SBC, apt-X®
- Listening time without / with NoiseGard™* 10 hours / 8 hours
- Talk time Up to 20 hours
- Charging time 3 h
- Weight 179 g
- Headphone Frequency response 15 – 22000 Hz
- Sound pressure level (SPL) 107 dB (at 1 mW, 1 kHz)
- THD, total harmonic distortion Less than 0.1% (typical at 1kHz)
- Microphone Frequency response 100 – 10000
- Hz Pick-up pattern Omni directional
PHYSICAL BUILD AND FIT
The first thing I noticed when removing the MM 550-X from the package was how light they were. At just 6.3 oz, the Senn’s were well below half the weight of the 16 oz Wangs. Like the Wangs, they are over ear which is the only way to go if you take long flights or wear these for any appreciable amount of time.
They are solid to the feel and very well constructed with the earphones being able to turn 90 degrees. The only thing that I could be improved upon is the pleather look of the ear cushions and I know this is common for most headphones. Nevertheless, I can attest to their comfort after being worn for several hours at a time, significantly more so than the Wangs.
SENNHEISER MM 550-X SETUP
When first removing our Senn’s from the package, we found it necessary to charge them and it took just over 2.5 hours. Charging them consists of plugging in the power adapter, USB to that adapter and microUSB to the headphones. On removing the microUSB from the headphones, we learned that the rechargeable battery was replaceable and simply slid into the headset with a click.
Once charged, simply pushing the power on the side of the headset and it went immediately into pairing mode where we paired it with our Samsung Galaxy Note II.