It’s also nice to see that you get plenty of extras in the box. With most headphones you’re stuck with a cable that’s either too long and dangles out of the bottom of your jacket as you walk along, or too short and won’t reach to the pocket you want to stash your player in. With the CX400s you get the best of both worlds: the stock cable is just 70cm long – perfect if you hang your player around your neck or pop it in an inside pocket; and if you want something longer, you simply plug it into the extension supplied.
In addition to the extension cable you get a small pouch and also what can only be called a rubber ‘dongle’ which has a couple of holes in it to plug the earpieces into to give added protection. You can also wrap the cable around the tail of this rubber implement to stop it from tangling itself in knots in your pocket and there are a couple of slots – one at each end – to prevent it all from unwrapping. You also get a shirt clip thrown in, but iPhone fans will be disappointed to see that Sennheiser has chosen not to throw in an iPhone adapter.
I always like to see manufacturers take the time to think about what else they include in the box as there’s nothing worse than spending a packet on something luxurious then finding out you have to immediately go out and spend more on accessories. However, focusing on the extras is a fairly pointless exercise if you don’t get the basics right, and with headphones like these that means sound quality.
Sennheiser’s long experience shows through instantly here and the CX400s impress straight from the off with loads of volume and a punch to make Ricky Hatton envious. Compared to my now-ageing Shure E2c they attack your eardrums with more energy, more control and more bite. They kick hard, they stamp on the floor and they thump the desk like an angry newspaper editor at deadline time.
Listening to the Scouting For Girls’ fantastically energetic track – ”She’s So Lovely” – demonstrates this dynamism perfectly, with the drums feeling as if they’re pounding out a beat inside your head. The metronomic bass and piano notes underlying the infectious track, ”Heartbeat”, drive the music on with the insistence and power of a pneumatic drill. Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro’s album ”Puzzle” is a revelation on the CX400s, with the guitar and basslines driving the music forward with immense weight and power.