Sennheiser PMX-680: Surprisingly a lot of fun!

The sound is surprisingly open, almost as open as if you were listening to Grados. The problem with regular shaped earbuds don’t exist with this neckband, as you don’t have to shove the earbuds deep into your ears to get a good hold. Once placed on your ears, you can move it around a little to get the ideal position. The position of the earbuds will change the tonal balance a little, mostly the balance between treble and bass, so you can sort of tune the bass amount to fit your liking. I find that I personally like to have the fit a little loose, as it gives me the ideal bass/treble ratio for my music. And although the tiny drivers probably can’t make any bass-shattering bass, I do find it to have a good amount of punch to make most music lively and engaging. You can also add the supplied foam to the earbuds for a fuller bodied sound, although I like the treble better without the foams.

According to Headroom, the PMX680 is the best-built and best-sounding neckband headphones they’ve heard. And while I’m not going to go very deep to evaluate the the sound quality of the PMX680, I’m gonna say that the sound signature is incredibly easy to like and a fun all around headphone. Plenty of bass body and punch yet not bassy, engaging mids, good treble sparkle. To be honest, on most of the situations that I’ll be wearing the PMX680, I probably won’t be fully critical of the sound quality. And as it is, the PMX680 has a fairly fun and all rounder sound with just enough bass, mid, and treble quantity, and I really won’t fret over the other technicalities. While the soundstage performance falls really far behind my JH16Pro, the design of the earbuds make it far more open sounding than any of the IEMs I’ve heard, including the Pro. It’s quite a fun sound, and if you are not the type to worry over the technicalities, I think you’ll find the PMX680 to be a fun headphone.

I also tried the OMX680, but couldn’t get a good fit with it.

 

I also had the chance to try out the OMX680, which is the ear-clips version, and the MX680, the earbuds+fins version. I really can’t get a good fit with the OMX680 clip on, perhaps due to ear shape factor. The MX680, on the other hand, has fins that work amazingly well to keep the earbuds placed firmly on the ear while you’re on the treadmill. There is also a CX680 model, which is an in-ear model with fins, although I didn’t get to try that one out. All these Sennheiser-Adidas sports series also come with microphone options on the “i” models. My personal favorite, however, is the PMX680 as I find the neckband design to be very practical in a day to day use.

I’ve been using the PMX680 more than the ultra-portables (even my long time favorite V-Jays) for almost every day now. The PMX680 is slightly inferior when compared to the sound quality of the ultra portables, but it’s the open design that gives a very open sound, and the convenience of the neckband design that keeps me coming back to the PMX680.

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10 Comments

  • Reply September 28, 2010

    Jose

    Hi Mike,

    Great review as always. How did you find the mid bass of these? is it as obtrusive as with the PX100-II?

    Jose.

    PS: There were a few grammatical errors across the article, like in this sentence that I could not completely understand: "The problem with regular shaped earbuds don’t exist with this neckband, as you don’t have to shove the earbuds deep into your ears to get a good hold." Otherwise great report, I will try them tomorrow.

    • Reply September 29, 2010

      Mike

      Hi Jose, thanks for the correction.

      Mmm… the PMX-680 (I'm sure you'll know by know, as you've heard it yourself) changes the tonal balance quite a lot depending on your positioning on the ears, and if you use the foam or not. Changing the positioning can add bass & mid body, or take a way from it. At one point, you can really make the mid body to be overly thick, which some people may prefer, but I don't really like. Likewise adding the foam, I like the presentation without the foam better.

      The overall sound is really nice. I have to admit it's not as smooth as the PX100-II, but as you've said, it has something refreshing about the sound, even when compared to the other ultra portable headphones (another article that I'm working on at the moment). I've been rarely using the V-Jays ever since I got the PMX-680. It's so much fun!

      I see you've gotten the PMX680. It's awesome isn't it?

  • Reply September 28, 2010

    Jose

    I just had my first run with these, they are amazing! The sound is even better than the flabby PX 100 II, very light and solid (both sound and construction). This is the perfect solution for my portable listening, I might even sell the customs. The only complaint I have is that the 1/8 connector and earphone joints are a little to feeble, but still, amazing, I think it'll withstand the test of time and usage. I might also end up buying an iPod Shuffle, or even one of those new Nanos given that the cable length would be perfect for those.

  • Reply November 14, 2010

    Eric Stoggs

    Have you seen the Sennheiser Adidas MX-680's? If you don't like the neckband, then these might work for you. I also find you get better audio quality becuase you don't have the vertical earbud issue.

    http://www.sporthitech.com/products/Sennheiser-Ad

    Eric

    • Reply November 15, 2010

      Mike

      Hi Eric, yes I've tried the MX-680s as well.

      What you said is true, the quality is better, but one of the point that makes me like the PMX-680 is the practicalities that I get from the neckband design, including the bigger sound leakage due to the vertical earbud design.

  • Reply March 29, 2011

    Anonymous

    Hi Mike,

    I purchased one of these on your recommendation and I just came here to say thank you. These delivered on design, build quality, and comfort (I can barely feel them on my head). Actually, I own a pair of omx80 and pmx80 from the previous line, but the fit on these is better (sound quality is about the same). Also, though the previous models were water resistant and washable (you should mention that in the review, you can run these under running water to clean) like these pmx680, they had a metal screen and exposed parts around the driver housing that would eventually rust.

    In the end, the pmx680 is not as detailed as my go-to portable px-200-II (and honestly, a far cry from my hd280pro/hd-25) but I prefer them to my original px-100. The sound is typical Sennheiser, darkish, very pleasant, and non-fatiguing (just what you would want for long runs).

    For the $27 USD I paid, these are a steal. I paid close to retail for the omx80 and pmx80 back in 2008 ($50-$70 USD), so it’s nice that the street price on the 680 line is low. I’ve tried the competition from Sony, but it’s clear that for purpose built headphones for sports/exercise, Sennheiser is tops.

    • Reply March 29, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks Lazuline. You’re right, I didn’t realize that these models are
      water washable.

      I think the main point about the PMX-680 is about convenience factor,
      and yes the PX200-II and even the PX100-II still betters it in terms of
      sound, but sometimes I just want background music and the PMX-680 is
      enough for that.

  • Reply November 21, 2012

    Dave

    Currently I have a pair of Koss KSC75 which I wear for sports but they’re ugly and too bulky, but I think they sound great.

    How do these sound in comparison?

    • Reply November 21, 2012

      Mike

      Dave,
      Not as balanced as the KSC75, brighter and less bass.

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