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gear review: sennheiser CX-55 headphones

By ccrossen | November 17, 2008


This past summer, I began testing out a number of headphones for use while mt. biking, skiing, running, etc. activities where the typical ipod ear bud simply falls out at the first bump. The Sennheiser CX-55, a relatively affordable in-ear style headphone, became my go-to a couple of months ago, and it still remains the favorite.Overall, the general sound is bass-heavy, fairly deep and refined, with less-articulated treble and higher frequencies. Ambient noise isolation was excellent with a proper fit. I really enjoyed the basic sound day-after-day, ride-after-ride. These headphones were very easy to listen to, primarily because of the mellow mid-range and emphasis on bass.

The one area where I found the CX-55’s a little lacking was in the high frequencies: these headphones don’t provide the crisp, nuanced treble I necessarily expect from a pair of headphones that run $80. That said, the treble and associated clarity is ok, not great. You can dial-in your preferred setting on your music player or other device; it just takes a little time. Out of the box, these headphones are a little bass-heavy, which is great, but a little amp on the treble would have been nice.

Granted, it’s all about personal preference when it comes to headphones and sound, so take what you will away from this review.

The CX-55 speaker is housed in an articulated plastic housing. The housing has an elongated L-shape that extends from the soft rubber ear bud down to each cord. This L-shape is designed to rest in the creased cartilage just above your earlobe, helping the headphones stay put, despite what the trail or slope may bring. Sennheiser provides three different size rubber ear buds so that you can custom-fit the headphones, given your ear canal size. A proper, snug fit is critical for keeping the ear phones in place and for high-quality listening, and the three sizes provide plenty of options for maintaining a great fit.

My accessory included in the CX-55 package was the headphone clip-on device. This plastic, clothes pin-like clip easily attaches to a shirt collar or other convenient spot and keeps the two individual headphone wires (the two that lead from the main cable) fixed at whatever level you want so that the wire stays put and doesn’t pull the headphones out of your ears, say when leaning over to get more aerodynamic. This clip is simple and brilliant, and goes a long way to help with the primary bane of using headphones outside – simply pulling out when you turn your head.

The CX-55s come with a fabric carrying case, which, in all honesty I couldn’t figure out how to use. The case required an origami-like folding regimen that I never bothered to learn. I’d much rather have a small plastic case.

Overall, the CX-55 is an excellent, dependable, smooth-sounding, big bass, less-treble in-ear headphone that provides incredible sound. It’s easy to dial-in a comfortable, solid fit. The CX-55 is also rugged enough to take anywhere. 

Retail price: $79.95

From Sennheiser:

The CX 55 are noise-isolating ear-canal phones with powerful bass reproduction. The special shape of their housings ensures that the CX 55 are always positioned ideally in the ear. They include a convenient, durable carry pouch and a set of ear adapters.


Ideal for use with all MP3, CD, DVD players and portable gaming systems
Best bass experience and noise attenuation
High-performance dynamic speaker systems for powerful, bass-focused stereo sound
Excellent passive attenuation of ambient noise
Outstanding wearing comfort on the go
Perfect fit in the ear canal due to ergonomic design and ear adapters in different sizes (included in the delivery)
Extremely small and lightweight
Carrying pouch for convenient handling and storage
2-year warranty

Delivery Includes

1 CX 55
1 set of CX ear fit adapters (S/M/L)
1 carrying pouch


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