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Sennheiser CX 95 Style Canalphones review




  • Recommended by TR

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Sennheiser CX 95 Style Canalphones
  • Sennheiser CX 95 Style Canalphones
  • Sennheiser CX 95 Style Canalphones
  • Sennheiser CX 95 Style Canalphones


Our Score:


When it comes to headphones, you have three basic choices to make. You either go for 'cans' that fit over the top of your head and sit on or around your ears; you can choose earbuds - which hang just on the cartilage 'hook' of your ear; or you can plump for canalphones, the type that you shove right down your ear canals.

The latter has experienced a huge uptake in popularity in the past few years. Once the idea of inserting a foreign object deep into my ears seemed an objectionable concept; now it seems second nature - and earbuds are slowly but surely being consigned to also rans.

It's easy to see why this is happening: the passive sound isolation you can achieve with a snug-fitting pair of canalphones allows you to get closer to the music without having to crank the volume up to deafening levels, and the design has proved so popular that all sorts of variations on the theme have sprung up.

Fittings range from triple-flanged rubber cones that go deep inside your ear to single fitments that sit just at the end. The latter is where Sennheiser's latest canalphones - the CX 95 Style - sit. These are headphones for those who may not yet be convinced or converted by the canalphones concept: they're designed to plug just the outer part of your ear canal not go right in. As a result they're pretty comfortable to wear. Even someone not used to wearing in-ear headphones will get used to these pretty quickly and their light weight means they don't tug at your lugs as other headphones can.

In the box there's plenty of scope for different ear sizes too: small, medium and large fittings are supplied in the box, though I was a little disappointed to see no foam tips. There are other handy accessories, though. You get a sturdy hard case with the CX 95s with a central cable winder, along with a metre-long extension cable, should the 30cm-long captive cable be too short.

The light weight of these headphones and mid-range cost - a reasonable £63 - aren't without their downsides. They don't feel like the most robust phones I've ever used. The cable is the chief culprit here: it feels thin and flimsy, and I was quite nervous about catching it in my jacket zip. Ultimate Ears' Super.fi 4's were much better in this respect, combining thick cabling with a remarkable resistance to tangling. The cables on Shure's headphones are also thicker and feel more hardwearing than this. The earpiece bodies are light, too - they don't feel as well-made as the hefty, metal-bodied Super.fi 4s or the Cerulean X1's I reviewed last year.


January 12, 2009, 10:45 pm

These lasted me 7 months (May 08 to Jan 09) before the left earphone died. Not bad sound quality though.


March 10, 2009, 10:00 pm

My left earphone just died as well!

I can't quite understand how it happened though, as they were fine when I used them once, then I put them in again later that day (they had been in their case) and the left had broken. Weird...


March 18, 2009, 1:48 am


I'm not sure what's going on with these headphones' raving reviews. I've just ordered them and it only took me 3 seconds to realize the quality of the sound is not even worth the definition of mediocre.

A thorough testing showed the sound delivered has no dynamic whatsoever, the music feels muted (I had to change my equalizer to acoustic settings to start getting something near decent), and they're just unable to sustain higher levels on an iPod (bases are okay, the problem is more on the trebles, literally crying for lower levels).

Besides, it's been mentioned elsewhere but the cables are not bad. They're terrible. Tilt your head and they produce a scratching noise. Even clipping them doesn't really save them from mediocrity. So kind of forget using them on the go if you're not into loud music, this irritating noise will get to your nerves before you reach the next tube station.

Now there are 2 options to explain what's going on:

1/ There is something wrong with the ones I bought and they're faulty.

2/ Some people need to buy themselves some proper headphones before they tell they're amazed by the quality of those, and ESPECIALLY before defining them as "the best under 𧴜". Because if mines work properly they're very, very, very far from it, and you can find much better models that will deliver a clearer, more intelligible sound.

All in all, before jumping to conclusions I'd really recommend anyone to TRY these headphones before they buy them, and to not believe the hype.


March 22, 2009, 11:50 pm

I am utterly disappointed with these earphones.

The treble on them is appalling and cannot find one setting on IPOD eq that i like listening to these earphones with.

Try before you but as I feel that have really wasted my money.

André Matos

March 26, 2009, 9:51 pm

I bought them 8 months ago and they continue to sound so well as the first day, the only point I see against and which referred in this review are the thick cables, and it is true they do an annoying sound when the cables touch your clothes, but I hadn't any other problems with the cables until now.

Concerning the sound the sound quality I see these headphones as the best option under 100£ because I have tried several headphones on this price range(for example, Shure SE110) and they all had the same problem, a huge lack of bass. This is an issue for those who like rock/metal genre music and Sennheiser CX95 were the ones until now who proper and perfectly worked with the rock EQ of the iPod 120GB I got, they reproduce a very well balanced sound that can't be compared to the tiny and even depressing of Shure SE110. These are the main reasons for me to truly recommend these headphones among all the others under 100£ price range.

john g

January 9, 2010, 6:09 pm

I've just received the pair of CX550 II's that I understand are the latest replacement for the now obsolete CX95s. Note that, because I know how many cheap fake Sennheiser lookalikes are being sold, I made sure I bought mine from Amazon themselves, not from one of their market traders. Even so I paid a penny less than £40.

I have been using a pair of Denon AH-C551 canalphones, which I never found totally satisfactory - I had to fit seals from other phones to get a decent acoustic seal and, even then, I had to change the equalisation on my music player before I got anything like a decent sound from them. The new Sennheisers, on the other hand, immediately sound more open, better balanced and get me much closer to the music. And now, finally, I can tell that higher bit-rate MP3s do sound better than those recorded at 128 kbs!

Great value and highly recommended!

Dr T

August 4, 2014, 4:28 am

Hi Jonathan Bray!
What has Sennheiser replaced the CX 95/550 with?

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