gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Sennheiser PXC 350 In-Flight Review

Way back in February I took a look at the Sennheiser PXC 350 noise cancelling headphones and found them to be exceptionally good at blocking out unwanted office noises.

I’ve since had the opportunity to try them one of their intended environments, two 12 hour flights to and from Mauritius, and have found them, once again, to be exceptionally good at blocking out a considerable amount of noise.

Anyone who flies regularly will know that there are two distinctly different components to the constant assault of noise you get in-flight. The high pitched whine, presumably of the engines, and the low, roaring sound similar to that which you might get inside a car.

The Sennheiser PXC 350 cancels out the roaring extremely effectively, but only serves to dampen the high pitched component. The removal of the roar is, none the less, welcome however, and once you’ve become used to flying with a pair of PXC 350s adorning your skull you will be hard pushed to part with them and return to the endless, otherwise inescapable roaring.

As far as battery life is concerned I was able to use the PXC 350 on a pair of AAA batteries dug our of a drawer with a questionable life expectancy. They lasted for the entire flight and casual listening during most of the two week holiday before I removed them and chucked them into a little radio instead. I’m pretty sure they would have lasted the return trip.

My usage level in flight was quite extensive, they were on my head and turned on approximately 90% of the time and were used to enjoy the in-flight entertainment undisturbed. Once music or film dialogue is played through the headphones the perceived noise cancelling effect increases dramatically and any remaining high pitched noise or roaring is lost beneath whatever you happen to be listening to. You don’t need to crank up the volume for this to happen, either.

Interestingly the bigger brother of the PXC 350, the 450 were available in the in-flight catalogue for just under £200. If you have £200 burning a hole in your pocket on a BA flight then don’t hesitate to grab a pair, the PXC 450 boasts even better noise cancelling than the 350. I can only imagine the noise-free nirvana you will be treated to.

Alas, noise cancelling technology is not yet advanced enough to effectively cancel sporadic noise such as crying babies. Because of the time required to process noise and produce a cancelling signal the noise cancelling effect will only apply to constant, regular noise such as the roaring on the plane, office equipment and in-car noise at high speeds or on bad roads.

Overall, the Sennheiser PXC 350 headphones have done themselves proud once again and, with them going for £149.95 at there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t pick a pair up, if you’ve been eyeing them for a while.

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008, Personal Audio.