Sennheiser CX 80S

Wired in-ear headphones with convincing sound at an entry-level price

Priced under 30-Euros, the CX 80S in-ears deliver an amazingly balanced and transparent sound. The built-in remote control not only operates the music played exclusively via cable but also handles telephone calls. The enclosed ear tips in three different sizes ensure an optimal fit.

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With the CX 80S, Sennheiser arrive at an extremely appealing price in relation to their high-quality standards. The design of these tiny spherical in-ears, with their black-silver body, is already impressive; the plastic used seems a little bit cheap, but the partially silver-plated finish makes up for this. Due to their size, they practically disappear into the ear canal and are only noticeable because of their 1.2-metre long cable. A remote control is located below the right earpiece. The headphones are connected solely via an angled 3.5-millimetre jack plug.

Comfort and functionality

The headphones’ compact size, their lightweight of only ten grams and the silicone earpieces, which are included in three sizes, ensure that they are very comfortable to wear. Even during hours of use, you literally forget they are in your ear. The rather thin cable is very flexible, but this makes it more susceptible to breakage, which is a consideration in this price category. Due to the cable and the lack of water resistance, these in-ears are less suitable for sporty-active use, but they are certainly suitable for general mobile use. The earpieces were not completely shielded, and I could still perceive ambient noise when the volume was set at a reasonable level.

I found that the remote control for starting/stopping, skipping and spooling music or answering and hanging up phone calls was too close to the ear; a few centimetres further away would have been better for more ergonomic operation.

Technical features

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With small dynamic closed drivers, you wouldn’t expect to have a transmitted bass down to a low 17 hertz, with a treble extended to 20,000 hertz. But the sound pressure level of 119 decibels and extremely low impedance of 28 ohms should also take on even low-power headphone outputs. The built-in microphone covers a frequency range of 100 to 10,000 hertz, and the distortion factor is less than 0.5 per cent at 1 kHz and 100 dB SPL.

Sound

The above data raises expectations, and disappointment often follows. But not so with the CX 80S, because on this very broad, finely structured sound canvas, one can enjoy listening sessions lasting for hours. The almost imperceptible earpieces literally implant themselves into the auditory canal and transmit the sound directly, precisely and in a balanced manner, without favouring any one frequency spectrum. The bass comes first, noting its runs on the guitar or synth in a pithy and accentuated way. My oft-used sound samples like Röyksopp’s “Sordid Affair” or Moderat’s “A New Error” enjoyed a well-deserved dose of the low frequencies. Even fast basslines like Motörhead’s “Ace Of Spades” sound snappy without being spongy. Even on this song, the performance is marked by transparency, with the individual instruments clearly distancing themselves from the vocals, which is especially praiseworthy. This is thanks to the fine-tuning of mids and highs, which do not steal each other’s thunder. The mids offer their richly deserved range to the lead sounds, as played by guitars or synthesizers. The treble mainly ensures intentional accents in sibilants or high-frequency percussions like cymbals can be heard without being perceived as washed out or exaggerated. In addition, the treble provides noticeable transparency in the overall sound image. This benefits acoustic music, be it singer/songwriters, jazz or even rock.

It is also worth mentioning the spatial presentation, which provides a clear depth gradation and a wide stereo image.

With this data, I would have expected even more pressure and reserves from the volume. In the end, I found the maximum volume quite tolerable.

As already mentioned, the CX 80S have a remote control, including a microphone for telephoning or video conferencing. With a transmission range of 100 to 10,000 hertz, they provide a clear and thus very intelligible voice that does not hiss in the s sounds and does not carry in the lower range, which might otherwise harm intelligibility.

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Dirk Duske
3 months ago by Dirk Duske
  • Rating: 4.13
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

If you are looking for a very affordable pair of in-ear headphones with an excellent sound image, the Sennheiser CX 80S are a good choice. Above all, their very homogeneous, transparent sound is convincing across the entire frequency bandwidth and the built-in microphone for telephoning or videoconferencing also impressed with its very clear intelligibility. The earpieces fit very comfortably, even after hours of use. The built-in remote control can also be used to control music and answer phone calls. If you can do without a wireless connection via Bluetooth and the associated functional advantages, then you will definitely appreciate the CX 80S.

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingIn-ear
  • Typeclosed
  • Transducer principledynamic
  • Frequency response (headphones)17 - 20.000 Hz
  • Impedance28 ohms
  • Sound pressure level (SPL)@1kHz, 1V RMS: 119 dB
  • Weight with cable10 g
  • Cable length120 cm

What's in the box

  • 3 pairs of ear tips (S, M, L)

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