When we played the Cake ditty mentioned above at a family wedding a few years ago, everyone from five to 75 hopped to the dance floor to boogie. Listening to the Sennheiser CX 280’s had the same effect on us: We started boppin’ the instant their lush sound poured into our ear canals. And their $50 street price surprised us as much as our guests’ reaction to that song’s profane chorus.
Sennheiser’s CX 280 earbuds kick some serious ass, but they’re not the right companion for your cell phone.
One of the hallmarks of a great set of headphones is their ability to separate and place sounds in your head. A crappy set will make you feel claustrophobic; a great set will produce a big, wide sound stage. Listening to just about any track from The Who’s Quadrophenia will quickly separate the genuine article from the poseurs; the CX 280’s are the real deal.
The Sennheisers handled our playlist with ease. Harmonies from early Beatles cuts were distinct and clear. Modern techno was well supported at both ends of the sonic spectrum. And we found that we could rock for hours without experiencing the fatigue that leads to repeated volume boosts that endanger one’s hearing. They are also very comfortable to wear.
In terms of features, there’s not much to report other than they don’t include a microphone; if you’re looking for earbuds to pair with your phone, these are probably not the right choice. The average-length cord does, however, include a simple volume control in a well-placed spot.
The Sennheiser CX 280’s are very worthy headphones, with a price/performance ratio that’s off the hook. The absence of an in-line mic limits their appeal, and they fell just short of making us fall in love with all our old albums again, but they make listening to everything a pleasure.