Sennheiser is such a headphone maestro it has managed something just about no-one else has at the price.
The Sennheiser CX 5.00 are very large-sounding, dare-we-say epic earphones, with the biggest soundstage of any in this test. That makes them the most immersive, involving pair going at the price - particularly if you’re using them casually rather than sitting down with a pipe in an easy chair and doing nothing but listening.
The sound is rich, with a luxury veneer that charms the ear. They also look pricier than they are. While only part of the CX 5.00 is metal (the little silvery stem on the back of each earpiece) the rest of the earphone is pretty classy too, for instance the curvy plastic of the earpieces has little metallic flecks in it. Fancy. They're also comfy, with silicone tips which don’t dig too far into your ears. On the remote side of things you get a three-button effort which gives you full control over your tunes without having to dig into your pockets.
You need to make sure you buy the right version, though: there are “i” and “g” variants, and you don’t win a prize for working out that the first works with iPhones, the second with Google/Android phones. They’re real winners, but compare them to our other sound quality favourites the Beyerdynamic Byrons and each has its own advantages.
The Sennheisers have the scale, the Beyerdynamics a slightly more natural tone and smoother treble. Comparing them you can hear a few tricks Sennheiser pulled out of the bag to make these earphones sound grander than the average.