It breaks our heart to think of all the engineering Sennheiser did on the talk-through button on the over-the-head PXC-450s, because it works pretty well. You’re just never going to use it.

No air hostess is ever going to believe that you can actually hear her asking whether you do, or do not, want some hypo-allergenic snack crackers, unless you take them off.

World class sound

Thankfully, the other functions on these Bose-bashers are much more sensible. One AAA battery provides the juice for the in-line noise-canceller, which you can pull out if you run out of power.

Turn it on, though, and it’s clear these are world class. Both the noise cancellation and the sound beat Bose’s QuietComfort 3 ’phones hands down.

Noise-cancelling cans might never match home hi-fi headphones for sound, but these go a long way.

Talk to me

While it’s a little ludicrous, the TalkThrough feature does work well - it’s smart enough to keep volume levels at a pitch where you don’t hit the switch and suddenly find the air hostess yelling at insane volume right in your ear. Which tends to happen with Shure's horribly expensive talk-through system.

More bucks than Bose

The downside? Well, these outperform Bose on another crucial level – the price. And high price point is an arena where we thought Bose had pretty much cornered the market.

These really are brutally expensive. Even if you fly long-haul on a weekly basis, you have to wonder whether your engine-shutting-out needs might not be just as well served by a pair of cheapo air-canal headphones.


Stuff says... 

Sennheiser PXC 450 review

Better than Bose’s QuietComforts, despite the pointless TalkThrough feature. You pay for the privilege though