Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless Review
By cuterose

Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless Review

24/04/2022  |   408 Views

Sennheiser’s $179.95 CX Plus True Wireless earphones are made for accurate listening, with solid ANC (active noise cancellation) thrown in for good measure. They have a weatherproof design and fit well, and benefit from a companion app with customizable EQ. They also coss less than our top picks in this category, including the $249 Apple AirPods Pro and the $279.99 Sony WF-1000XM4. The CX Plus earphones aren't quite as strong in the noise cancellation department, but will appeal to audiophiles focused on accuracy.

A Good Fit and Broad Bluetooth Support

The CX Plus True Wireless earphones fall between Sennheiser's $129.95 CX True Wireless in-ears, which don't offer noise cancellation, and the $299.95 Momentum True Wireless 2 earbuds, which deliver stronger audio and ANC performance.

Available in black or white models with an eggshell finish, the CX Plus earpieces come with four pairs of silicone eartips in various sizes and fit snugly without the need for earfins.

The on-ear controls are sensitive to touch. A single tap on the left earpiece enables or disables transparent mode (which lets you hear your surroundings), while a single tap on the right bud controls playback. A double tap on the panels controls track navigation (backward on the left and forward on the right), while a triple tap on the right summons your device’s voice assistant. The panels are easy to operate and sensibly laid out; you can also adjust the layout of controls in the companion app.

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With countless ANC true wireless earbuds now available, a standard has emerged: nearly all of them have IPX4 ratings for water resistance, including the CX Plus. Put simply, this is a decent, but not great rating. You can wipe these earpieces down with a damp cloth and don't need to worry about exposing them to light rain and sweat, but they won't survive if you subject them to heavier water pressure (like from a faucet) or submerge them for cleaning. The charging case isn't water resistant at all, so make sure the earpieces are dry before docking them to charge. If you need a more rugged pair with ANC, consider the fully waterproof Jabra Elite 7 Pro ($199.99).

Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless Review

The earphones are compatible with Bluetooth 5.2 and support the AAC, AptX, AptX Adaptive, and SBC Bluetooth codecs, which is better than most models that support either AAC or AptX. Sony's WF-1000XM4 earbuds also support the LDAC codec, however, for a slight lead in this category. Internally, 7mm dynamic drivers deliver a frequency range of 5Hz to 21kHz.

Sennheiser estimates the earphones will last roughly eight hours before their battery runs out, but your results will depend on your volume levels and ANC usage. The charging case holds an additional 16 hours of charge.

Sennheiser’s Smart Control app for Android and iOS lets you update the firmware and change basic settings. It also offers adjustable EQ, which is somewhat limited—it only has three bands—but it works well. It seems more effective at reducing lows and mids than adding them, however.

Beyond the EQ settings, you can set the earphones to automatically answer a call when you remove the right earpiece from the charging case, customize the on-ear controls, toggle the Smart Pause feature (which automatically pauses playback when you remove an earpiece), and enable or disable the transparent listening mode (as well as choose whether music plays when it's on). The app isn’t essential to the operation of the earphones, but it enhances the experience.

Effective ANC

The CX Plus True Wireless earphones delivers above-average noise cancellation. Sennheiser gets points for accurately describing the ANC (in the app, at least) as "low-frequency” noise cancellation. Nearly all ANC implementations target the low frequencies more than anything else—in-ears and over-ears typically rely on passive noise reduction (in-canal seals or abundant foam in earpads) to lessen the intensity of higher-frequency environmental noise. The CX Plus True Wireless earbuds rely on the same method to lower highs.

See How We Test Noise-Cancelling Headphones

The earphones effectively dial back low-frequency rumble, such as the noise of a plane engine, and reduce lows and mids in more varied environments, like a noisy restaurant. Compared with Sony's WF-1000XM4, Sennheiser's earphones let through more high-frequency sound and are slightly less effective at combating deep, low-frequency noises.

An optional transparency mode delivers an exceptionally clear audio representation of your surroundings. The earphones present the audio a bit louder and brighter than in reality, but that's often helpful for when you're trying to zero in on the human voice.

A Refined Sound Signature

The sound signature here is more accurate than on most other pairs we test, and the EQ allows you to make some tweaks and changes. Combined with the strong codec support, these in-ears are among the top options for audiophiles seeking higher-fidelity playback and accurate drivers, but they don't go so far as to sound clinical.

On tracks with intense sub-bass content like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the earphones deliver powerful low-frequency response. At unwise listening levels, the lows don’t distort, and at more moderate levels, the bass depth still feels powerful and well matched by the highs.

Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” a track with far less deep bass in the mix, gives us a better sense of the sound signature. The drums on this track sound full and natural—there’s bass-boosting in there, but nothing that sends things into unnaturally thunderous territory. The in-ears deliver Callahan’s baritone vocals with a pleasant balance of low-mid richness and high-mid crispness. The high-mid sculpting benefits the acoustic strums and higher-frequency percussive hits, as well.

On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop receives enough high-mid presence for its attack to retain its punch. We notice a little extra thump to the beat, as well. The higher frequencies seem boosted—the vinyl crackle and hiss take a step forward in the mix. The sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat have solid depth, but nothing like the exaggerated bass we hear in plenty of competing bass-forward models. The earphones present the vocals on this track with solid clarity and a hint of added sibilance.

Note that when you increase the bass in the EQ via the app, the digital signal processing (DSP) keeps things in check by limiting the overall volume; in other words, the bass depth remains more accurate than intense. The EQ, as mentioned, is far more effective at cutting the bass than other frequencies.

Orchestral tracks, like the opening scene from John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary, deliver a mids- and highs-focused experience, with the clear emphasis on the higher-register brass, strings, and vocals.

The four-mic array mic works fine. We could understand every word we recorded when using the Voice Memos app on an iPhone, with the mics emphasizing the high-mids. As usual, Bluetooth audio artifacts were part of the signal, but not to a degree that seriously impacted clarity.

Noise-Cancelling Earphones Focused on Accuracy

Sennheiser's CX Plus True Wireless earphones deliver an excellent audio experience paired with solid ANC. The companion app provides some useful functionality, too. That said, the earphones split the difference between the most affordable and the priciest wire-free ANC models we've tested, so they face lots of competition from both sides. The Editors' Choice-winning Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds offer class-leading noise cancellation, right alongside the comparably priced Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, while the AirPods Pro deliver the best overall experience for iPhone users. If you're looking for more affordable options, the $129.99 Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro and the $79.99 Anker Soundcore Life P3 are excellent choices. Ultimately, the CX Plus True Wireless earphones stand out for having the most accurate sound signature of the bunch.

Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless

4.0See It$126.00 at AmazonMSRP $179.95



The Bottom Line

The audiophile-friendly Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless earbuds pair solid noise cancellation with a sound signature that focuses on accuracy.

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