YES, I know, i’ve been away from my desk for a while but FUCK YOU i was in Paris, attending one of the countries biggest tech fests EVER!!
Although this weeks post isn’t about that, OH no, it’s actually on a products recently launched here in Australia!
That’s right, one of the worlds biggest audio engineers Sennheiser have just released their brand new flagship model for their amazing line of bluetooth headsets, this time, with apt-X technology. (We’ll talk bout that later)
First off, first impressions last! and I can guarantee the first impression you get is “FUCK OFF these are comfortable!” I was blown away! they fit so snug on your head, and stay there! I’ve had trouble with their previous retarded cousin model, the bt350, that decides to fall off and land on the floor whenever they bloody well please! But the MM550x has no problems obeying orders and refuse to come off! The leather covering containing the round circle shape speaker, (as opposed to the more oval Bose models) is a definite plus in getting the most comfort and usability possible while on the road. What is also a plus is the fact that these leather cups can be changed, if they get too worn! nice thinking Sennheiser! The head band is also leather, soft and comfortable. The stitching all around gives it the extra touch of class, making the unit look very pricy (GOO because it fucking IS!) although the side panels are now plastic, making it easily scratched, and don’t look all that nice, but it’s really nothing to stress over!
As far as features go, Sennheiser has incorporated its usual SoundGuard 2.0 active noise canceling from its previous model, and Bluetooth wireless audio, (duh) and we’ll touch on those in just a moment! Because there’s a new feature I don’t remember from any of the other models, called TalkThrough, which makes my life so much easier! If you push and hold the SoundGuard button it activates the noise canceling! BUT, if you press it and release straight away, it activates the exterior microphones allowing you to hear the outside noise for conversation and cabin announcements without actually having to remove your headset! And I found this to be a very interesting addition! In case you’re wondering the external mics can also be used to take phone conversations (if paired up to a mobile device) which is another fantastic addition. Phone conversation’s are extremely clear, and my friends can hear me quite clearly, considering the microphone is all the way up beside your ears.
NoiseGuard 2.0 does work generally well, although it works most effectively when dealing with the lower frequencies, like the rumble while on a train or a bus. Higher frequencies of cabin noises are still heard through the noise canceling, which I thought would have been drowned out a little bit. Overall the NoiseGuard could be improved in this regard, but ill probably rate it about a 7 out of ten, which isn’t all bad!
The MM550 also includes SRS WOW Surround Sound, which is shit. I’m sorry Sennheiser, but it doesnt work! I’ve tried it with movies, games, and even 3D binaural sound sets, and the Surround works better when it is OFF!! When you have a feature that works better in the off position, you know that there is something seriously wrong!! Although the SRS WOW feature does add an extra bass kick when listening to music, so ill let this slide!
Bluetooth capability has become a large part of day-to-day life in the past few years, and only recently has it been incorporated into audio headsets for the commercial market! However bluetooth audio quality is always an issue, (and issue Sennheiser has no trouble getting around)
Going back to the previous feature, apt-X, refers to the addition of an apt-X® codec, which in theory, delivers CD quality audio, when streaming over bluetooth! I must say the audio quality whilst streaming from my iPhone is quite remarkable for a bluetooth headset. The apt-X® codec does come with a hefty price tag, but then again, the model without the apt-X® codec is just as good, a little less pricy, but STILL fucking expensive.
Battery life on the unit is, as expected from Sennheiser, quite good, lasting for about 10 hours down, depending on how many active features you use with your music. The battery unit is also interchangeable, which is more good news if something tragic happened to the battery.
Overall, this headset is remarkably suitable for the busy traveler. It’s light, its comfortable, and its WIRELESS, incorporating both music and phone calls. The unit can also be used as a wired headset, which means if the battery dies, don’t need to stress! It also comes with a long list of universal adapters, including a flight adapter, so you can even use the headset in a plane!! pretty clever!
The MM550 x sells for around $500AU (more if you want the apt-X® codec included) but it is a premium headset. I give this product an 8 out of 10.