Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sennheiser MX 55 for iPhone: A Personal Review

Ever since I bought my iPhone, I've always been on the lookout for a decent and yet affordable earphones. No offense I have nothing against the stock headset shipped with the iPhone. In fact I like it especially for the built-in mic with the clicker switch :-) except for its lack of bass and sometimes the music/movie audio doesn't sound that "full"/rich, if you know what I mean. And sometimes, I just want to experience a more rich audio experience out of my phone, playing the songs that I like or simply watching a movie on it.

But the main problem is that we all know the iPhone (1st Generation model) has a recessed headset jack which most earphones can't fit. And being in Malaysia, there're not much choices to choose from as supply of brands like Sennheiser and Shure (aside from Altec Lansing) is either scarce or the price is too expensive. With the V-Moda headsets being sold at a hefty price tag of RM300+, I rather get a decent 2.1 system for my computer instead.

So, I was at Seoul about a month ago (sorry folks, photos of that coming soon...I hope) and I happened to visit this techmarket-thing in COEX which sells all kinds of tech stuff (much like our LowYat here). And I bumped into these nice pair of earphones for my iPhone....the Sennheiser MX 55 Street.

Some promo pic I managed to Google out

Most importantly, on its packaging there's this nice sticker which indicated that the earphones are compatible with the recessed jacks on the iPhone....Yippee!!!

The essential sticker for me to part with my money :-p

And being Seoul, Korea, the place with the fastest internet connection on planet earth, I pulled out my iPhone and began googling for info (free WiFi almost everywhere here) about the earphones right away....especially for its price back in Malaysia. Not bad....in Malaysia it's priced at a whopping RM200 on average (and that is if there's stocks) while in Seoul it's only RM150 after conversion. Read the reviews next (most of them positive) and off I went to the cashier carrying my new baby :-)

OK...time for the review.

Once the plastic packaging was opened, you'll find a nice case with the Sennheiser brand logo etched onto it for you to store your MX 55 (yes...the earphones are inside as well....duh :-p). Basically you keep the earbuds in the case and you wind the cable around it. Quite a good application to me as this won't cause your cable to get tangled up by itself or with the earbuds which needs you to spend bout 5 minutes to free them.

The case with the cable wound round it.

As for the earbuds, they are designed with the new Twist-to-Fit 'wings' which will cling to your ears and hold the earbuds in place, preventing them from falling off, which happens quite often with the stock Apple headset. The first time you use them, you'll feel some slight pain caused by the "wings" but once you get a good fit out of them (alternative sizes for the 'wings' and earbud rubbers are included as well), you should do fine. I prefer to use the MX 55 with the earbuds sponges/foams fitted in as I feel its more comfortable.

Overall, there's sufficient bass and the mids and highs sound very rich too. I noticed a huge difference in the audio quality between the MX 55 and the stock headset although the MX 55 is just RM30 more expensive (about US$10). Be it listening to music (from jazz to classical to pop to rock) or watching "Transformers: The Movie", what sounded flat (mainly due to lack of bass) on the stock headset turned out well on the MX 55.

The earbuds with the 'wings' with custom-sized rubber for perfect fit

As you can see, this version of MX 55 doesn't come with a volume controller. If you happen to Google for it, you'll find that it should come with a volume controller. For that, it's MX 55 VC Street, which altogether is a different product and might be more expensive than just MX 55 Street... I think. Do look out for the iPhone compatibility sticker on the packaging.

The instrumental factor for my purchase - compatibility with the recessed head jack

Beautiful babes! :-p

Nicely fitted in :-)

Review Summary

Great sound quality
Good fit and won't fall off (once 'tuned' to fit my ears)
Compatible with iPhone recessed jack!!! YES!!!
Great design and accessories
Only RM30 more than stock headset

No mic for handsfree use
No volume controller (the one found on the MX 55 VC Street, which might be more expensive....needs confirmation on this)
Twist-to-Fit 'Wings' cause slight pain for new users
RM30 more than stock headset....nah that's OK :-p

Overall, I am a happy customer with a good product and money well spent :-) By the way, I still use the stock headset when I'm driving :-)


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