At first glance, the Sennheiser CX 281s seem outsized: the enclosures look chunky, and the in-line volume control is bulky.
In practice, though, they fit snugly and, with the exception of the slightly noisy cable, are a success. They produce a hefty, well-controlled but bass-forward sound.
For once that’s not totally at the expense of the midrange, which is quite well separated and distinct. The top of the frequency range attacks crisply and avoids brightness, although it could be smoother.
Detail and speed are where the 281s really score – though some will hanker after more out-and-out volume.
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