The difficulty in developing audiophile-grade earbuds lies in creating a design compact enough to allow for optimal comfort without sacrificing the ability to reproduce audio in high fidelity. With the Sennheiser Expression Line, the German company’s engineers have accomplished this feat flawlessly—with a little help from BMW DesignWorksUSA. The two companies codesigned the three earbuds in the Expression Line (CX 980, MX 980, and OMX 980) to be sleek, comfortable, and, most importantly, to live up to the auditory excellence for which Sennheiser’s headphones are known.
High-density, extremely lightweight neodymium magnets containing massive energy potential power the drivers of these earbuds. For the top-of-the-line CX 980s ($340, pictured), each earpiece weighs a mere .71 ounces without the cable. In the CX 980s, this driver system generates a frequency range from 16 to 24,000 Hz and a sound image that is remarkably precise and powerful for a pair of buds this size. The CX 980s reproduce high- and mid-range brass instrument and vocal frequencies with a quick and airy responsiveness, while the low-end packs a punch more akin to much larger circum-aural models.
The lightweight design affords an unobtrusive in-ear feel for extended comfort during long listening sessions, and various options for ear adapters, which are composed of either foam or soft silicone, create a seamless seal and significantly attenuate external noise. Users will notice sleek and sexy design cues from BMW DesignWorksUSA accentuated by aesthetic lines and a metal finish. Bells and whistles include a volume-control column integrated into the cable design and a variable input jack that can be fitted straight or at a 90-degree angle for convenience of connectivity.
Discerning audiophiles looking for a compact, yet powerful pair of earbuds for enjoying music while on the go will appreciate the level of fidelity that the Expression Line provides. (860.434.9190, www.sennheiserusa.com)