Sennheiser CX281 review

An enjoyable sound – but we’d like even sweeter treble and a bit more volume, please Tested at £35

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

An enjoyable sound – but we’d like even sweeter treble and a bit more volume, please


  • +

    Good detail and speed


  • -

    Slightly noisy cable

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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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What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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