Sennheiser Earphones: Music to the Ears

Earphones from premium brand Sennheiser is now increasingly available in India - at a price of course.

Premium audio brand Sennheiser has evidently come to realize that India is a big market, and you can now look forward to seeing its products in stores across the country. Though sales is currently limited to Class A cities, the company is all set to invest money to increase visibility in smaller cities as well.

I have to admit the visibility hasn’t been great so far. Currently, I have seen only 'Imagine' (the Apple stores) stocking Sennheiser in Mumbai, but the company claims this was only the first step. The next step, they say, would be to establish outlets in major malls and hypermarkets.

For the non-professional crowd, Sennheiser has always come across as a brand that’s out of reach due to the decidedly premium prices, but this is likely to change. The company has slowly started looking at the mid-range segment as well.

If you're interested in MP3 players and PMPs, Sennheiser's new line of Sports and Style earphones is worth a look. I called some in for review, and here are my observations.

OMX 90 VC Style
Our Rating: 4
The OMX 90 VC is a stylish pair of clip-ons from the Style series (the other two being Street and Sport). Sound notwithstanding, the form factor itself is an appealing mix of metal and rubberized holders. The rubber on the clip-ons can be extended from the main earpiece to accommodate all ear sizes.

Sennheiser Earphones: Music to the Ears

What I like about this product is that it exudes a sturdy build quality. The finish of the 90 VC will make you want to grab one for yourself. One problem I have had with clip-ons is that they add unnecessary stain on your ears, making it unbearable after a while. This may be true only for certain ears (mine, certainly) but the lightweight OMX 90 VC is easy on the ears – in every way.

Another feature that grabbed my attention was the simple volume control mechanism: just pull the cylindrical black pen-like structure and it reduces the volume, so you don’t need to go at your MP3 player every time you need to talk to someone.

As far as sound quality is concerned, the 90 VC is simply brilliant. The sound is highly dynamic, with the right frequencies for any genre of music. The highs are well defined and don’t interfere with other frequencies. The bass, while not too punchy, is tight. A tuned damping system helps to eliminate any rattles.

You may be wondering if this is the right piece for you. First of all, you should be aware that it costs Rs 4,990, so if you're a performance freak who's willing to spend that much, I would say go for it. You also get a compact carry case, and extra rubber buds for different ear sizes.

Those looking for a cheaper option could try the Cresyn in-ear earphones, which retail for about Rs 1,000.

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MX 90 VC
Our Rating: 3.5
This pair also figures somewhere in Sennheiser’s Style line of earphones, and is only slightly cheaper than the OMX 90 VC. It's not very different from the OMX in sound reproduction either – the chief differentiator is the form factor. It’s made of what looks like high-quality metal, and has the same volume control mechanism built in.

The oddity, however, is a small circular rubber pad that extends from over the earpiece. After much thought I deduced it to be some sort of a securing mechanism that lodges itself in to the groove just above the ear canal. I could be wrong, since it doesn’t fit snugly in my ear. It did work for some of my friends, so I guess it’s just the shape of my ear that's to blame.

Like the previous one, this pair also comes with a two-year warranty. It’s priced at Rs 3,690, and my verdict on this is the same. If you're primarily concerned about the brand and looks of the product, you don't need to look any further.

MX 75
Our Rating: 4
This one is a real eye-catcher. It comes in a nice lime green color, but without any volume control mechanism. Then again, how often do you need to have a formal chat with anyone while jogging? If it’s informal you could always yell!

Jokes apart, the MX 75 comes straight out of the Sports lineup, which means it’s got a more stable fit. A mix of rubber and what looks like plastic, it fits right where it’s supposed to and stays there. Like the MX 90VC, this one too features the curious circular rubber pad.

The MX 75 features neodymium magnets unlike the ferrite counterparts that are normally built into the transducers. This helps greatly in producing clear, high-fidelity sound. It has a different sound from the other two: the highs are not as accentuated, but well defined nevertheless. It costs Rs 2,990.

Speaking of costs, you might consider these products a bit overpriced. No Sennheiser product is cheap, because the company doesn’t wish to be associated with the budget segment. As a result, if you want to buy a Sennheiser product, you will have to pay a premium. The quality and brand name should be reason enough (think Apple Mac)!

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