I'm a big fan of Sennheiser, and this is a headphone I really wanted to like. Unfortunately, it didn't quite turn out that way. One downside of noise cancelling headphones is that they run on an internal battery and you can find yourself stuck without music if you run out of juice. Fortunately, the Sennheiser PXC 450 runs on a single AAA that can be purchased at any airport and will last about 16 hours. Aditionally, it has a bypass mode that permits it to run passively as a normal headphone; with these headphones, you'll never be out of music. This is the largest of all the cans we tested, and delivered fairly good comfort and adjustability. It folds up and stores in a hard-sided carry case that is only marginally the largest of the group of cans reviewed here.
The PXC 450 has a "Talk-Through" feature that when pushed opens a mic so you can communicate with others without removing the cans. This feature also continues to use the noise cancelling and filters the outside voice so that speech intelligibility is actually improved when talking with others in a noisy environment.In addition to the talk-through feature these cans also have a volume control and a detachable cable (handy for when you're just reducing noise without playing any music), and replaceable earpads for a long use life. While these cans were perfectly adequate at filtering out noise, and their measured performance was fairly good as noise cancellers go, their audio performance was lack luster, slightly weak in bass and dynamics, and sounding a bit withdrawn and lifeless in the midrange.
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