MM 550-X OPERATION
Complete operation of the MM 550-X is done on one side of the earpiece where, through a simple feel alone, the center button can be found as it is indented just a bit and turns the headphones on or off, answers and hangs up calls, as well as pauses the song playing. To the left and right of that are forward and back switches, with volume increase and decrease above or below.
Just below that are three buttons for BlueTooth, SRS and NoiseGard™ 2.0 which we will elaborate on below.
ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLATION
When push comes to shove, the live or die with me and travelling headphones comes down to active noise cancellation, although the TalkThrough of these Senn’s is a huge plus. I have stuck with the Wangs for so long because they shut down engine noise on flights completely. Unfortunately, this is one of those flight lulls where we are not on the move again until March, and we found it necessary to get just a bit creative.
On the Senn’s, the NoiseGard™ 2.0 function can be activated by pressing and holding the NoiseGard™ switch until it activates. In comparing the two sets, both do a great job at active noise cancellation but the Senn’s fall short just a bit with very low volumes, although I am always at max volume 99% of the time so this isn’t a problem. The Senn’s, just like the Wangs and just about every other set on the market, lose a certain depth…or bass…when active noise cancellation is present.
SRS Surround can be activated by simply pressing the SRS button at the bottom center of the earphone. Personally, I have never been a huge fan of SRS and find that, when on, it takes away that…depth in sound that I had spoken of earlier.
There are hidden external microphones on either earphone and, when TalkThrough is activated by a quick press of the NoiseGard™ 2.0 button, compartment sounds and voices take precedent to the music. This is a definite plus when on a plane and the person next to you asks you a question, or a flight attendant wishes to speak to you during her rounds. For anyone who takes flights on a regular basis, the value of this feature cannott be understated.
Sennheiser MM 550-X Premium Wireless Headsets have BT V. 2.1 + EDR and activation only requires a quick press of the Bluetooth button which places the headset into pairing mode. It took only a few seconds to pair the Senn’s to our Galaxy and subsequently our studio home theatre as well.
CELL PHONE COMPATIBILITY
Once paired to a cell, phone calls will be routed through to the headset and can be answered by a quick press of the center button. Volume can be increased or decreased and the call can be disconnected with a quick press once again.
Our Sennheiser MM 550-X headset has been through several recharges to date. It typically takes just under 3 hours to charge, each charge lasting about 9-10 hours of typical use, which is very close to listed specifications.
REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS
At first glance, we never thought Senn could change our headset loyalties and sell us on their MM 550-X Travelling headphones; we were wrong. Theses Senn’s deliver just about as close as a knockout as can be without our Wangs falling flat. This is definitely a case where something has to be said about not judging looks alone; these looks were definitely deceiving…and something that Senn should maybe consider with next-gen products.
Sound quality was as can only be expected from Sennheiser but the two things that absolutely stood out were the incredible lightweight of the MM 550-X, as well as the TalkThrough feature which was definitely a key selling point. Our initial appreciation of Bluetooth functionality, without any sound quality loss whatsoever, was overshadowed by both. The only negative we can really draw from this report still has to center on pricing, and specifically pricing in Canada.
Totally unexpected was my choice to start using this within our studio as well (Samsung Un60F8000/Sony STR-DA1800ES/Pace RNG200N/Orb Mod4X Customs). The Sennheiser MM 550-X Premium Wireless Headphones are definitely more than just a travel headset. Their sound is exceptional and fit and light weight amazing! In considering their TalkThrough Feature, we have elected to award the Sennheiser MM 550-X with our Innovation Award.