Clarity is excellent, too, but without ever getting so harsh or sharp that the music becomes tiring to listen to. The acoustic twang of Newton Faulkner’s guitar on his excellent album ”Hand Built By Robots”, for instance, is delivered in an unfussy yet precise manner that many heaphones (the iSkin Cerulean X1s included) just can’t match, while the high-pitched falsetto on Sigur Rós’ haunting ”Heim” album is pure-sounding without ever getting too screechy.
If there is one area of weakness it’s to be found in the area of mid-bass, just above the grumbling lows characterised earlier and just below the peak vocal ranges, where it sounds as if there’s a slight dip in the CX400s response. They also sound a touch artificial at times. Newton Faulkner knocks out the rhythm on the front of his acoustic guitar as he plays, and this didn’t quite sound as realistically wooden as it did on my old Shures.
But if quality of bass is what you’re into there’s nothing at this price that’ll come near these Sennheisers. It has a solid, almost tangible quality that makes you feel you could almost pick it up and take a bite, yet it’s not unbalanced, and rarely overwhelms the rest of the music. Compared to the Cerulean X1s I reviewed at the end of last year – which impressed me in this respect – they’re simply in another class.
It’s quite astonishing what £40 will buy you in terms of sound quality these days and these Sennheiser CX400s are among the best deals you will come across. They’re not quite the last word in fidelity, and if it’s the last word in realism and atmospherics you’re after they can’t match a pair of Shures.
Ultimately, though, it comes down to a matter of preference, and if you’re after a pair of headphones whose strengths lie in pure punch, power, and bass thump, these are a very good buy indeed.
Score in detail
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