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Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017)
Sennheiser PXC 550 (2016)
See Top Ranked Closed-Back Headphones

Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) vs Sennheiser PXC 550 (2016)

Analysis:

The Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) and Sennheiser PXC 550 (2016) make for very strong choices and are great Closed-Back Headphones for their respective $279 and $199 asking prices. Depending on how much you're willing to spend, either of these options will serve you well.

The Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) got praised by SoundGuys and Tom's Guide - two highly trusted sources that perform in-depth hands-on testing. It was awarded the "Best All-around" title from SoundGuys and "Great noise cancellation meets even greater sound" from Tom's Guide in their respective Closed-Back Headphone roundups.

Returning to the Sennheiser PXC 550 (2016), Rtings, a source that's known for its high-quality in-depth testing, has great things to say about it. In fact, it was named its "Best Over-Ear Headphones For Running" in its "The 7 Best Headphones For Running - Spring 2020" roundup, which is quite a feat.

Out of the sources that tested and rated both of these Closed-Back Headphones, TrustedReviews, Digitaltrends, Techradar, Head-fi, CNET, and Rtings preferred the Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017), whereas reviewers at HomeTheaterReview.com liked the Sennheiser PXC 550 (2016) better. What Hi-Fi? and PCmag gave them identical review scores.

We also took a look at which sources liked these products best - the highest Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) rating came from TrustedReviews, whereas the Sennheiser PXC 550 (2016) most impressed reviewers at HomeTheaterReview.com; they earned scores of 10 and 10, respectively.

Lastly, we averaged out all of the reviews scores that we could find on these two products and compared them to other Closed-Back Headphones on the market. We learned that both of them performed far better than most of their competitors - the overall review average earned by Closed-Back Headphones being 7.4 out of 10, whereas the Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) and Sennheiser PXC 550 (2016) managed averages of 9.0 and 8.5 points, respectively.

Due to the difference in their prices, however, it's important to keep in mind that a direct Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) vs. Sennheiser PXC 550 (2016) comparison might not be entirely fair - some sources don't take value for money into account when assigning their scores and therefore have a tendency to rate more premium products better.

Comparison of expert ratings
Highly Recommended
Recommended
Mentioned
Not Mentioned
SoundGuys
Tom's Guide
HomeTheaterReview.com
Rtings
PCmag
AVForums
Techradar
CNET
TrustedReviews
The Verge
Tech. Specs Comparison
Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017)
$279
Sennheiser PXC 550 (2016)
$199
Higher than average expert review score
Highly recommended by trusted experts
SoundGuys
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best headphones at Target: Trust the red polo shirts” 
Last updated: 17 Oct 2018
Tom's Guide
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Great noise cancellation meets even greater sound
in “Best Sony headphones 2020: Top wireless and wired Picks” 
Last updated: 21 Aug 2019
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
The best headphones
in “Headphones, speakers, and soundbars: the best audio tech we heard at IFA 2019” 
Last updated: 7 Sep 2019
SoundGuys
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best audio gifts for grads 2018” 
Last updated: 5 May 2018
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Ranked #3 out of 10
in “The best Sony headphones 2020: 10 models to appeal to your inner audiophile ” 
Last updated: 27 Jan 2020
Good Housekeeping
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The Best Wireless Headphones for Quality Sound” 
Last updated: 22 Aug 2018
Recommended by trusted experts
Rtings
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Over-Ear Headphones For Running
in “The 7 Best Headphones For Running - Spring 2020” 
Last updated: 14 days ago
Android Central
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Over-Ear
in “Best Bluetooth Headphones in 2020” 
Last updated: 14 Jan 2020
Reviewed
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Ranked #6 out of 20
in “The Best On-Ear and Over-Ear Wireless Headphones of 2020” 
Last updated: 19 Feb 2020
Rtings
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Over-Ear Headphones For Running
in “The 5 Best Over-Ear Headphones For Working Out - Spring 2020” 
Last updated: a month ago
Reviewed
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Ranked #12 out of 23
in “The Best Headphones of 2020” 
Last updated: 31 Mar 2020
Reviewed
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Ranked #13 out of 16
in “The Best Noise Canceling Headphones of 2020” 
Last updated: 3 days ago
Reviewed
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Ranked #13 out of 28
in “The Best Headphones on Amazon of 2020” 
Last updated: 2 Apr 2020
Reviewed
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Ranked #20 out of 22
in “The Best Headphones Under $200 of 2020” 
Last updated: 28 Feb 2020
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