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Sennheiser CX400 Canalphones review



  • Recommended by TR
Sennheiser CX400 Canalphones


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You can usually separate MP3 player owners into three segments: those who are obsessed with getting the ultimate in sound quality from their players and will stop at nothing to achieve it; those who care but don't want to spend too much cash; and those who listen to the £5 earbuds that come with their £200 iPod, and only replace them when they break.

Sennheiser's latest headphones, the CX400, are aimed at the middle group. Though they're not quite in the same territory as some of the top-end Shure or Etymotic headphones Riyad has reviewed in recent times, they are good enough to reward the extra investment over a pair of £20 upgrades - and they're certainly better than the bundled earphones you get with most players.

They're the successors to Sennheiser's popular CX300 headphones, boasting improved bass, clarity and all the usual stuff you expect from an upgrade such as this. I've yet to find a pair of headphones that can match Shure's offerings - such as the SE210s or even the older E2cs - at this sort of price, so I was interested to see how Sennheiser's new babies measured up.

In the flesh, they're certainly an impressive pair of headphones: the build quality seems pretty good - rubber sheaths protect the cabling coming from each earpiece - and they certainly look a lot nicer than the bulbous offerings that Shure offers in this mid-price sector, with silver sealed bodies and stainless steel rings wrapping each unit at its widest point.

They're also among the most comfortable noise isolation headphones (canalphones to be more precise) I've ever worn. With most phones that go right down inside your ear canal, there's usually a breaking in period where you get used to the way they feel, and the rubber or foam adapts to the shape of your ears - but that's not the case here. The CX400s felt comfortable right from the off - they're light and in my ears they hardly felt like they were there at all. And for anyone who the standard medium rubber flange doesn't fit, there are a couple of extra fittings in the box - a small and large pair. With the CX400s pushed as far down inside my ears as they would go, noise isolation was pretty decent too: on a noisy London tube train I was able to listen to quiet classical and jazz music without having to turn the volume right up.

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Viktor Karlsson

November 27, 2008, 4:44 pm


I recently bought theese headphones, and I can't say anything other than "I'm amazed"

The review is very well written, and detailed, good job on that.

One thing, though.

My right speakers volume is nowhere close to the left ones, it's alot lower in terms of pure volume.

Are my headphones defect, or is this some kind of new fancy Sennheiser trick?




July 28, 2009, 11:01 am

thats normal thats just how the distrubution of sound portrudes from speakers and headphones in general... the only exception that i can see in this is probably in televisions because by the time it reaches ur ear u cant really tell

but anyways... i believe the left ear recieves more of the mids and trebles and right ear gets more of the deeper bass but both ultimate recieve 'some' of everything its just the 'ratios' at which they reproduced and heard are different.

This is my observation only

The Finnomenon

August 24, 2009, 6:03 pm

Hi Jon,

I bought the CX400 based on your review, and er... let;s just say I'm not happy with the sound at all. I had this Shure E2C with which the left ear-piece recently stopped working and I was looking for a replacement with more bass - which I think was it's primary shortcoming. I primarily listen to progressive metal {Dream Theater :) } and a lot of live worship, but the highs from the CX400 just dominate everything else. They sound very EQd which I find annoying after the near flat response from my E2Cs. I noticed in one of Hugo's reviews that most ppl generally don't cross the halfway mark on their ipods, and considering I listen beyond the three-quarter mark, I find the CX400 nothing short of unbearable, and have finally been forced to use the Treble reducer EQ setting on my ipod, which is really annoying cos from what I can understand, the CX400 typically needs a 3db reduction in the highs to sound right.

Now, how can I solve my problem? Also, will my CX400 sound better after being run in, and if so, how long? And if it's not too much of a trouble (I rele hope so), how does the new Shure SE102 and the Soundmagic PL50 compare (not only with this, but the old E2Cs also)?


October 1, 2009, 12:21 am

IT seems that all agree they are better than the stock phones - so just to let you know these are available for £7.99 on play. Schweet.

Renee Hanna

October 13, 2009, 5:53 pm

What a load of crap!!

Just got mine in the mail and I am soo dissapointed.

my old pair a Denon C252 sound amazing, are loud and makes you feel like you have surround sound.

The Sennheiser cx400 are not as loud (even with the volume controller on high) and sounds so tinny, you can't even put it up to a decent level with out it hurting your ears

What a waste

DO NOT BUY THESE!!, even though it has had so many good reports


November 19, 2009, 10:10 pm

As sound quality goes they're the best sounding earbud-type earphones I've tried. But I haven't tried many I'll admit. Really impressive bass, though highs are a bit drowned.

What I don't like about them:

the fact that they are like earplugs going rather deep inside your ear, I'm not used to that and I don't like it. You get that strange sound like you're in another dimension or underwater. I suppose you get used to that. But what this also causes is when you move the cords or even slightly touch them, you hear noise. It does not disrupt the signal or anything, what you hear is the physical vibration going all the way to your ear.

Put your little finger as deep as you can inside your ear and scratch the remaining part of it with your other hand, that's pretty much what you hear as soon as the cord touches anything.

But I suppose that goes for all earphones of this type and I'm just not used to it...

I am still disappointed.


February 21, 2011, 4:52 pm

I'm commenting from a google search and want to set the record right a little (as no-one did at the time).

With all headphones and espcially CX300/400's, you need to run them in a little before you comment on the SQ. Run these in for a few weeks decent listening and the improvement is amazing.

Chadrick Smith

September 14, 2013, 11:52 am

must of been the fake ones off Ebay, don't talk smack about the Senny's here mate. Talk shit on the beats reviews.

Michał Zienkiewicz

June 5, 2014, 7:56 pm

they are the best I've ever had - in this price range, I mean. Perfection

Grindfreakmike1 .

July 30, 2014, 4:08 pm

there very good for the money. I use them with a mp3 player that has equalization settings I can adjust and with that I get great bass, mids, and highs. I got them for a steal at around the $25 dollar range ,nothing ive tried is more balanced from lows to highs.

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