Reviewed Apr 2010
Details: Fairly obscure and surprisingly competent budget entry from Sennheiser
Current Price: N/A (discontinued) (MSRP: $59.99)
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16 Ω | Sens: 100 dB | Freq: 20-20k Hz | Cable: 3.9’ L-plug
Nozzle Size: 5.5mm | Preferred tips: Jays Single-flange Silicones
Wear Style: Over-the-ear or straight down
Accessories (2.5/5) – Silicone single-flange tips (3 sizes) and carrying pouch
Build Quality (3.5/5) – The housings are entirely plastic but seem well-made and feature proper strain reliefs. MX-style Y-split and hard rubber L-plug sheath make them feel rather solid but the earbud-sourced cable has no sliding cinch. The cable features a sliding volume pot. Slight driver flex is present
Isolation (3/5) – Longer nozzles and rounded housings mean these can be inserted far more deeply than the CX300, leading to better isolation
Microphonics (3/5) – bothersome when worn cord-down; good otherwise
Comfort (4.5/5) – Very light housings that can achieve a proper insertion depth. Very easy to wear cord-up or cord-down
Sound (5.1/10) – It is unclear just where in Sennheiser’s CX range the CX250 belongs. To my ears they are clearly superior to the older but still popular CX300s, as the slightly higher MSRP indicates. The street price of the CX250, however, has historically been much lower than that of the CX300s. What, then, of the sound? Well, the CX250 follows in its predecessors footsteps in terms of bass quantity, providing plenty of punch to a deep 30Hz (unlike the CX300, which rolls off steeply past 35). The impact is much tighter and the mid-bass hump seems a good bit shallower, leading to greatly reduced bloat and mid-range bleed. The bass isn’t quite as visceral as with my $20 bass fave, the Meelec M9s, but also not at all boomy. The mids are still fairly laid back and boast good clarity, similar to how the CX300 midrange should sound if the bass bloat were eliminated. Soundstage width is nothing to brag about but the sound is well-spaced and dimensional. The treble is more forward than on the CX300s, though not as present and sparkly as on the Meelec M9. Treble smoothness is compromised only slightly. The overall sound is the most balanced of the three, which makes the CX250 a great all-rounder more similar to the rarely-mentioned Soundmagic PL21s.
Value (8/10) – The sound of the CX250 is exactly what I would have wanted Sennheiser to do with the CX300 – tighten up the bass and boost the treble while retaining the midrange clarity and fun factor. Combined with a smaller price tag and superior all-around usability, the CX250 comes out as one of the best all-around $20 IEMs out there.
Pros: Lightweight and comfortable, good build quality, fairly isolating, solid sonic characteristics
Cons: Microphonics can be bothersome