Sennheiser CX686G is considerably lower price earphones that can be used during sports and workout sessions. They need to be durable, sweat resistant and stay in the ear canal without coming off. We will review the CX 686G to see if it can stand up to be called as “sports earphones”.
Build and comfort
As always, the Sennheiser packaging is attractive and contains carry pouch, extra ear tips and the earphones themselves. The carry pouch is made from netted material and does its job well. You can easily place your earphones in the pouch and slip it inside your pocket or your bag and it wont take more than 2cm of thickness. Other than using the pouch just for storing earphones, I thought that it could also be used to slide in your phone or iPod and then slip it inside your pocket while listening to music.
The earphones are made from rugged, hard plastic coloured in green and white which is also the only available colour combination available. Unlike the shark fin design we have seen before on some sports earphones, this one has a curvy fin that snaps in your earlobe. The main thing to notice here is that you can adjust the height of the fins according to your desire and comfort level. The Jaybird Bluebuds X that we reviewed earlier had 3 different fin pairs with different sizes while on the Sennheiser CX 686G you can simply slide the fins up and down. You get 3 different levels to slide. The plastic being rugged you need not worry about breaking the mechanism if you apply extra pressure. As always, nothing is unbreakable, so don’t go too hard on it.
The main problem with earphone cables is that they can bend severely while storing or even while using them in certain positions. In the process, the inner copper conductor breaks and you may not hear sound in one or both ear pieces. To overcome that, Sennheiser has put an extra bend at the bottom of the ear piece while will support the cable as well as flex as the cable bends. This should at least elongate the life span of the cables.
Speaking of cables, they are not really anti-tangling even though they claim it to be. You will often find them getting tangled after removing from the pouch or your pocket. To avoid that there is a small plastic thing that keeps the cables together and avoids tangling. You can move it across the cable length starting from the in-line controller like a zip to allow enough separation of two cables. Everything below the in-line controller up to the jack is our usual elliptical “anti-tangling” cable.
The ear tips are indeed truly comfortable pieces made from anti-sweat material. They are soft and feel good when inserted in the ears. Additionally, the ear tips have SteriTouch anti-microbial coating to avoid stink which might result from sweat. As usual, you get 3 pairs of different sizes.
While workout sessions or playing outdoor games, you will find no problems wearing these earphones. You do not have to force the ear buds inside your ears to have a snug fit. The fin does a decent job keeping them inside, whereas the vertical recess takes support right below your ears which is not at all uncomfortable. In fact the support feels very assuring while doing heavy workout activity.
First thing to notice is an unusual 20 Ohm driver impedance. That means we are going to get quite loud music in our ears. The drivers can achieve a maximum of 118dB sound pressure level, which is quite loud. You can probably keep the volume level to around 40 to 60% and hear music clearly, even while working out.
A low distortion level and a high enough sound pressure level tells us that we can go up to high volume levels and still expect it to operate perfectly well without distorting the sound.
Sennheiser are known to deliver a balanced sound unlike Beats, which are inclined towards bass heavy designs. The trait is seen in the CX 686G as well. It is important to have a responsive and punchy bass on sports ear phones to drive the rhythmic workout. You get just enough bass boosting to keep all other frequencies unaffected and drive your workout. The bass is not that great and it sounds a little hollow. The response of the drivers roll off slightly in the upper mids region and then picks up as we cross over in the highs. The sub-bass response is not significant, but it is present.
The microphone hangs on the chest, yet it is able to provide exceptional call quality. Even while running or doing rigorous activity, the microphone brushing against your shirt will not produce distortion to ruin the call experience. The person on the other side will hear you perfectly without problem.
The way the buds stay in your ear is pretty ingenious.The weakness is really only in the very low part of the bassOnce they’re in your ear canal, you just lock them in and they are NOT coming outThey are washable and fine for running out in the rain.