The Sennheiser CX 5.00 earphones replace the CX500s, which have been around for years – and yes, the two bear very pretty similar.
Style-wise, they're totally different. A bit more showier, the CX 5.00 definitely deliver a more confident design than Sennheiser’s older offerings. They also sound better than the CX 3.00 earphones we reviewed earlier this year, with a less boomy bass, which is sure to please the more discerning audio fans out there.
However, the focus is still on sounding fun rather than accurate, so if it's the latter you're looking for then there are some better picks out there for £69.99.
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If you own a pair of Sennheiser earphones from a few years ago, you'll be familiar with the company's smooth, rounded earbud design.
The Sennheiser CX 5.00 earphones veer away from this traditional design to take on a more angular shape, with a metal plate bearing the Sennheiser logo. They're also easier to grip on to when taking them out of your ears.
Aside from the outermost part of the earphones, the Sennheiser CX 5.00s appear to be made of plastic. But pop off the rubber tip and you’ll see that the skeleton is actually metal, just like the Momentum In-ear. This should make them a bit hardier: the original CX300 and CX500 had a reputation for falling apart with some use, like so many cheaper earphones.
Happily, that little bit of extra metal doesn’t seem to add significantly to the weight, so the Sennheiser CX 5.00s are pretty comfortable. IEMs aren’t for everyone, as you have to jam them a way into your ears, but Sennheiser has tried to accommodate as many people as possible by including a good selection of silicone tips in various sizes.
It’s also worth noting that the tips don’t dig into your ear canals as much as some other earphones. They feel a little like they’re perching in your ears rather than making straight for your brain, which is the reason behind Sennheiser supplying such a variety of tips. A decent fit is a must.
Isolation is fair but not truly amazing, as the Sennheiser CX 5.00 use a port on top of each earpiece. This is designed to improve bass response – which it does – but it creates a small gap between the driver and the outside world.
The cable is also non-removable, meaning you'll need to take good care of the Sennheiser CX 5.00s to avoid any damage. However, the cable feels fairly robust, and features a y-style design with a right-angle jack at the end.
There’s a three-button remote designed for use with iPhones, but the play/pause button will continue to work with Android handsets. Also take note that Sennheiser produces an Android-specific version of these earphones called the CX 5.00G.
Our review of the Sennheiser CX 3.00 earlier this year found that they were bass-heavy. However, Sennheiser has addressed this issue with the CX 5.00s.
The sound isn’t entirely neutral – neither is it meant to be – but the bass isn’t so pronounced to the point that it's all you hear. Three words that best describe the Sennheiser CX 5.00 among its peers are big, warm and rich.
We listened to them side-by-side with the Shure SE112 and SoundMagic E50, and found the Sennheiser CX 5.00 to be the most lushest-sounding of the three. So how do they achieve this?
Well it isn't down to only tuning; it's about the driver style too. The Sennheiser CX 5.00 use the same driver as the Momentum in-ear. This is of no great surprise, though, when you consider that the two are fairly similar in price.
Where the Momentum in-ear have quite prominent bass, here it’s warmth slightly higher up the frequency range that stands out. It’s offset with a slight emphasis on the treble, although it isn’t so pronounced that it leaves vocals swamped in goop, as overly warm earphones can sound.
Sennheiser is a a pro at balancing what pleases the ear with what is accurate, and it has done pretty well here. The company has capitalised on the Sennheiser CX 5.00 earphones' much wider-than-average soundstage to thicken up the sound, but without trading a sense of separation between instruments/vocals. Still, if you like your headphones to sound sparse and clean rather than rich and full, you should look elsewhere.
So how bassy is the bass? Well to a degree it depends on what your ears are used to. Some prefer conspicuous bass; others may want something more natural.
We consider the Sennheiser CX 5.00 offer robust bass, but they aren't as generous on delivery as the Momentum In-ear, which are part of Sennheiser’s "lifestyle" range.
The Sennheiser CX 5.00 juggle what most people seem to want from a set of earphones. While their bass offering is less than the Momentum In-ear and CX 3.00, the CX 5.00 earphones still provide a very full sound that appears much larger and richer than some of the competition, including the SoundMagic E50 and Shure SE112.
They provide a warm tone, but without the drawbacks of other warm-sounding earphones in this mid-range class. As such they’re great earphones for daily listening, as long as you’re not too sensitive to this sort of signature.
For less money, the SoundMagic E50 offer similar quality but with a sparser sound. Our go-to recommendation for a hi-fi style at this price would be the Phonak PFE112 earphones, but unfortunately, they're now discontinued. As such, the CX 5.00 earphones sit near the top of our list of favourites.
Rich and huge-sounding earphones that should please almost all ears.