While product reviews are not a staple of the TIG newsletter, I recently managed to get my hands on a pair of the new Sennheiser CX Sport wireless in-ear headphones. I thought readers with active lifestyles would appreciate hearing about these impressive ear buds. The CX Sport appears to be Sennheiser’s first wireless set geared towards active and sport lifestyles, building directly off the CX 6.00BT model. Boasting a waterproof rating of IPX4, in-ear fittings, as well as a 6+ hour battery life, the CX Sport are a strong debut in the increasingly expanding active wireless marketplace.
Before diving into tangible aspects like physical design and comfort, one of the crucial factors I encourage all potential wireless buyers to explore is what kind of Bluetooth is running your headphones. With countless products flooding the market, it’s easy to find Bluetooth headphones at very low prices, but how strong and consistent of a connection they carry is usually up for debate.
Sennheiser knows that Bluetooth audio is ultimately compressed and die-hard audiophiles might jump to criticize any Bluetooth setup. As a result, they are making attempts to ease such concerns by including support for Bluetooth 4.2, as well as Qualcomm’s Apt-X codec system, which is designed to increase sound quality, while also reducing latency for certain activities like watching videos or gaming. It should be noted that the device responsible for delivering your content must also support Apt-X, which for iPhone users, is not the case. However, the CX Sport do support Apple’s AAC codec, which Apple contends is optimal for their devices.
The process of connecting the CX Sport to either a mobile device or computer is swift and consistent. I was able to walk 30+ feet away from my device and experience no lapse in connection and regularly connect and disconnect without issue. They are also equipped to be paired to up to two devices at a time, which does not mean you can play two different streams of audio, but rather can stop one and start another without having to pair the device. As expected from Sennheiser, the microphone is of high quality for taking and receiving phone calls, and the controls are intuitive and easy to use.
On the physical side, the CX Sport’s are equipped with ergonomically designed ear fins that snuggle inside the curvature of one’s ears to make active use possible. In order to accommodate biology’s vast range and reach, users will find three different sizes of ear fins (S, M, L) as well as four different sizes (XS, S, M, L) of relatively standard tips. Out of the box, the CX Sport fit my ears really nicely and I was able to go for a run, take a ride on my bike, and shoot some hoops with zero stability issues. I also tried some stationary workouts, i.e. jumprope, sit-ups, push-ups, and never felt like the buds wanted to come out. The way the cable between the left and the right is designed, I think helps in this respect. There is a little cable organizer that lets you tighten or loosen the cable to hug around your neck or slightly hook the bottom of your ears. It also includes a small cable clip for your clothing to ensure safety of your headphones in the event of an evacuation from your ears.
With a price of $129.99, I think the CX Sport’s are a good choice for someone serious about having a solid pair of active sport wireless headphones. The sound quality is quite good, but if you are deep into your favorite outdoor activity or workout, the real strength is having a strong wireless connection for uninterrupted sound. I think in general, all audio manufacturers would benefit to add just a little more low end to their products in order to avoid the eventual backlash from average Millennials and Generation Z listeners whose modern music landscape is over saturated with bass. A testament to Sennheiser, the music I thought sounded the best on these headphones was the latest release from contemporary jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington titled Heaven and Earth, who the Guardian recently hailed as the figurehead of the “new jazz revival”. Much like how Mr. Washington’s classic sensibilities crash like cymbals with the character of modern times, the CX Sport honor Sennheiser’s legacy, while planting them firmly in a present context. Highly Recommended.