It’s amazing just how far headphones have come. In the past, you had three choices. Enormous earmuffs, a cheap and uncomfortable headband set, or tiny and tinny earbuds.
Not any more…
With advanced audio engineering, wireless technology, and advances in battery life, earbuds are now excellent. If you choose the right pair. So, in this Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless Review, we’ll see how well these earbuds live up to the ideal. Do they have great sound, excellent power, durability, and convenience to make the perfect earbuds?
Let’s find out.
- Brand Introduction: Sennheiser
- CX Plus True Wireless Earbuds – An Overview
- CX Plus Earbud Features
- ANC and PNI
- Battery and Power
- Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless Review – Pros and Cons
- Looking for Some Great Earbuds?
- Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless Review – Final Thoughts
Brand Introduction: Sennheiser
While you’ve no doubt heard of the big names in headphones, like Beats by Dr. Dre, Sony, Panasonic, JBL, Bose, and Skullcandy, Sennheiser still isn’t quite a household name. This is partly to do with the company being based in Germany. It’s also partly because they have focused more on high-end quality products and less on cheap and accessible devices.
The fact is that Sennheiser has been around since 1945, albeit with a few different names. They’ve always specialized in microphones, but guess what? Speakers like the ones in headphones are just mics in reverse. In fact, Sennheiser was the first company to make open-backed headphones that didn’t fully cover your ears with their HD414s back in 1968.
These days, the brand is known for ultra-high-quality audio equipment, which is used in professional recording studios worldwide and high-end consumer products. Such as mics and headphones.
CX Plus True Wireless Earbuds – An Overview
In this review, I’ll be looking at the CX Plus True Wireless earbuds. These are the middle child of Sennheiser’s four current models of true wireless earbuds. You can find them regularly priced at $180, though often they go on sale for $20 to $30 less than that. As is obvious from the name, these are “true wireless” earbuds, but…
What does that mean?
Some sets of earbuds are wired together to plug into the device you’re listening to. Other sets receive wireless signals from your device but are still wired together, both for power and data sharing and to keep them from getting lost. Sennheiser’s Momentum In-Ear Wireless Headphones are a good example.
But true wireless earbuds have no external wires at all. This makes them convenient but also easier to misplace. Then again, at this price, I think you’ll keep a pretty close eye on them.
The CX Plus model is also an in-ear earbud, which means that it’s designed to have at least part of the bud go into your ear canal. In fact, these earbuds go in fairly deep, and the rest of the body sits firmly within the concha. That’s the deepest part of your ear which leads to the ear canal. You learn something new every day, don’t you?
Quite small for true wireless earbuds
They’re only 0.2 ounces (6g) each and a little more than ½” square. Compared to some other beasts (Samsung Galaxy Live and JBL Tune come to mind), these earbuds are a lot smaller and lighter, too. Meaning these are some of the best lightweight true wireless earbuds you can buy.
However, the size hasn’t caused them to sacrifice a lot on battery life. They can carry a charge of eight hours of playback on average settings and the ANC off. Yes, they have both passive isolation and active noise cancellation features as well. There’s even a transparency mode for when you need to stay alerted to environmental cues.
And for style points, they come in black and white models, so you can trick yourself out according to your personal style.
CX Plus Earbud Features
There’s a lot to take in with these earbuds, so I’ll break it down into a focus on each of their features.
These earbuds go pretty deep into your ear canals, and I know some people are going to find them a bit overly intrusive. They’re deeper than most buds I’ve tried, but personally, it didn’t put me off. But if you can’t stand anything in your ears for long periods, true wireless earbuds probably aren’t for you.
Fit and feel
They come with four different sizes of silicone ear tips (XS, S, M, L) to get you the most comfortable fit. The right fit also produces a decent level of passive noise isolation (more on that later).
The outside of the buds is small and discreet. Anyone looking at you will just see a smallish black or white box poking a bit out of your concha (remember that?) with a stylized S on it to let them know what’s up.
Another important feature is that the buds are rated IPX4. This means they have a rating of 4 for water protection which protects them from splashes and allows you to wear these buds in the rain. As a result, these are great true wireless earbuds for jogging and cycling.
ANC and PNI
Active noise cancellation and passive noise isolation are both features of these earbuds. Passive noise isolation simply means the buds fit in your ear canals fully, and this helps to block outside sounds from coming in. Sort of like earplugs. Here they do a decent job of blocking out most medium-level noises.
However, active noise cancellation is a powered function that cancels out external sound waves by essentially producing their opposites. In these earbuds, the ANC works surprisingly well. It does a fantastic job blocking out steady, persistent noises like traffic or motors. But this is normal.
Where it excels is by blocking out sudden loud noises like screams or dog barks. You won’t hear these at all with the CX Plus buds in your ears. Making these some of the best ANC true wireless earbuds you can buy.
Times when you need to hear what’s going on around you
Picture yourself waiting for an announcement on a train platform or jogging on busy city streets. Just the passive noise isolation alone might be enough to make you miss important sounds.
So these buds have a “Transparency Mode” you can access to allow outside noises to come through. But keep in mind that this mode also uses more battery power than normal.
Battery and Power
As I mentioned, these earbuds can hold enough charge to give you approximately eight hours of listening time. This is only approximate because it depends on the settings you’re using.
A strong Bluetooth connection will help them use less power, as will keeping them on medium volume or lower. If you love to blast your tunes and leave your smartphone in another room, they may last only seven hours.
With ANC on, however, the numbers are different. Expect no more than five to five and a half hours of listening time with ANC on, or even less in transparency mode.
If you run out of power
These are some of the best fast charging true wireless earbuds on the market. If you need power in a hurry, a ten-minute charge can give you about one hour of playtime. A full charge takes only one and a half hours to get back to that seven to eight hours of full power.
And as with all true wireless earbuds, the CX Plus earbuds come with a carrying/charging case. This plugs into any regular USB-A charger (to USB-C on the case) and comes with the charging cable. The case can store an extra 16 hours of charge, or in other words, two extra full charges for a total of 24 hours of use.
I have one complaint with the case, which is that it’s made out of a lower-quality plastic that I’d like to see at this price point. I don’t think it will be all that durable or scratch-resistant in the long term.
Wireless earbuds need wireless connections. And here, you have the best and most up-to-date Bluetooth onboard. The CX Plus buds support Class 1 Bluetooth 5.2, the latest version. As well as the SBC, AAC, aptX, and aptX Adaptive codecs that allow you to connect to all sorts of saved and streaming sounds.
This gives you a solid range of about 30 feet (10 m) from your source device. One bonus here is that you can use either of the buds individually in case you want to keep one ear free for other tasks.
Sound is what it’s all about with earbuds. The CX Plus buds are powered by individual 7mm transducer dynamic drivers. Transducer drivers are the new thing in earbuds, replacing diaphragms and producing less distortion and a greater frequency range.
The buds can produce sounds from 5 – 21,000Hz, which is excessive since our ears can only hear 20 – 20,000Hz. However, you can still feel the lower frequencies rumble. The bass is moderately strong here, not as strong as Beats or some Sony buds, but nice and clear. The mid-range is flat and natural. The high-end is nicely detailed, clear, and never shrill.
Each bud has a built-in directional microphone with a frequency response of 100 – 10,000Hz to focus on the human voice and block outside sounds. They do a decent job of this, and your callers will hear you fairly clearly, though not as well as with a mic at your mouth level.
Controls on the earbuds are basic and take a bit of time to learn since there’s only one button. You have to remember how many times to press the control buttons to play/pause, change tracks, pair, or talk to your voice assistant to control your device remotely. Volume can be particularly tricky, and a slider or wheel might have been a nice addition.
Another way to control these buds is with the Sennheiser Smart Control App. Load this onto your Bluetooth-ready devices, like your smartphone, and you get additional control over EQ, bass boost, and ANC/Transparency Mode.
Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless Review – Pros and Cons
- Best Bluetooth available onboard.
- Superior sound.
- Very good ANC.
- Bass boost and EQ presets are available through the app.
- Lightweight and unobtrusive look.
- Good battery life and very quick charging.
- Volume can be tricky to adjust.
- Fit is fairly deep into the ear canals.
- The charging case is not top quality.
Looking for Some Great Earbuds?
We can help you find the right ones. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Noise Isolating Earbuds, the Most Durable Earbuds, the Most Comfortable Earbuds, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Bass Earbuds, the Best True Wireless Earbuds, and the Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds you can buy in 2023.
Also, take a look at our detailed reviews of the Best Skullcandy Earbuds, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best iPhone Earbuds, the Best Earbuds for Running, the Best Wireless Earbuds For Small Ears, and the Best Wired Earbuds currently on the market.
Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless Review – Final Thoughts
Overall, I can highly recommend Sennheiser CX Plus to most anyone looking for some of the best true wireless earbuds. They’re lightweight and unobtrusive, although the fit might not be right for everyone, especially people with small ear canals.
The Bluetooth is excellent, helping you to pair easily and listen to streaming audio of all types. And the sound here is excellent, especially considering the mid-range price you can grab these earbuds for. In this price range, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find something that performs better.
Until next time, happy listening.