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After months of impatience and even a few pangs of longing, music fans in the U.S. can finally use Spotify, the European music-streaming phenom that promises access to any song, any time, anywhere (see review). But of course even the latest and greatest in online streaming isn’t terribly impressive when you’re listening through the equivalent of a tin can and some string, so we were pleased when Sennheiser’s CX880i iPhone headset arrived just in time for us to pull some double duty testing them both.
It doesn’t take gigantic headphones to pump good bass.
First off, the CX880i isn’t just a pair of earbuds -- it’s a headset. That means there’s an inline three-button remote for playing music and a mic for picking up phone calls on your iPhone. The remote functions as it should, and we had no trouble navigating tracks, changing the volume, or using the iPhone’s built-in Voice Control with the CX880i.
As plain Jane as that sounds, the CX880i can be surprising. Tipping the scales at a mere .38 ounces, the headset both looks and feels light. But fortunately, “lightweight” isn’t a word we’d use to describe the sound. Bass is tight and deep, easily standing up to even the throbbing ultra-low Roland 808 bass from ’80s hip-hop gems like the song “Boyz-n-the-Hood.” The overall sound quality is great -- our only real gripe is that, even after a significant break-in period, the higher frequencies still feel a bit overpowering when you crank the volume up.
The bottom line. Don’t let these little guys fool you. The sound is big and bold -- and just like Mom told you -- best at moderate volume.
iPhone or other device with 1/8-inch audio jack
Excellent bass. Light and comfortable to wear. In-line mic and remote.
Treble frequencies are overpowering at higher volume. Thin wires easily transmit friction noise.