Sennheiser CX 95 Style Canalphones - Sennheiser CX 95 Style

By Jonathan Bray



  • Recommended by TR
Sennheiser CX 95 Style Canalphones


Our Score:


I could go on waxing lyrical about how good these headphones are, but probably the best way of summing them up is to say that they're extremely easy to listen to. With other headphones, such as Ultimate Ears' 4's or iSkin's Cerulean X1's, for instance, you have to sacrifice one attribute for another; bass goes in favour of diamond detail, or you lose a little clarity in favour of visceral, gut-rumbling low notes. These Sennheisers, however, have that most difficult of things to achieve - balance. Pin-sharp detail at the top end is coupled with thunderous bass; atmospherics are achieved at the same time as a warmth and smoothness of delivery that means they sound good no matter which source you use.

They're not perfect, of course - I wouldn't expect a pair of sub-£100 headphones to match a pair costing in excess of £200 for instance, and they don't compare with my Grado SR35is or the incredible neutrality offered by the top end Shure in-ear headphones. And there are small areas of weakness. Sometimes with live recordings you don't quite feel as in-the-room as you'd like, occasionally instrument separation isn't all it could be, and sometimes there's a touch of over-emphasis on sibilant sounds such as cymbals and snare drums. But these are tiny, teeny complaints in the overall scheme of things.

Even the not-so-deep-in-my-ears design works well - at least as well as my now ageing Shure E2c's - at blocking out extraneous noises. In the raucous surroundings of the London tube network I never found I had to turn the volume up, even to listen to quiet classical music. And while walking down the street I only became aware of a council worker wielding a chain saw when I passed within two metres of him.


In simple terms, Sennheiser's CX 95 Styles are the best headphones I've listened to for under £100 by quite some distance. Ignore the slightly cheesy name and flimsy cabling, concentrate on the sound quality and you have a pair of headphones that offers incredible value for money.

These CX 95s pull off a difficult trick, balancing crisp detail with warm mids and thunderous bass in a way I haven't heard from any headphones approaching this price tag. If I had £100 to spend on a pair of headphones, these are the headphones I'd buy - I can't think of any better recommendation than that.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 10
  • Sound Quality 9


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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