Thursday, August 05, 2010

Adidas Sennheiser CX 680 Sports Earphones

When I am training I love to run listening to music or pod casts on my IPOD nano . However how many of us take the care to actually buy a decent pair of earphones so that we can enjoy the best quality sound? I know I have been guilty of this but it is daft when you think about. You can have the best MP3 player or IPOD in the world but if you have a poor set of earphones what's the point?
An example, when I bought the IPOD nano which I absolutely love and is great for running it came with a set of those white ear buds. The sound from these earphones was tinny and they were useless for running as they immediately fell out again and again . I know as I tried it and had to give up listening to the IPOD because I was thinking more about the earphones than my run.

In the past year or two I  have been through a succession of earphones none of which seem to last very long.  All of them in the budget price range so perhaps I shouldn't expect too much. Most of them failed within 6 months usually due to one of the earphones no longer having any sound. Most recently I bought a pair of JVC HA-FX34-BE - In Ear Marshmallow Headphone.  . However whilst I am sure these are adequate for walking they will fall out if you run and there was a lack of bass sound.

I have tried neckband headphones, ear buds and clip on earphones. My preference and it is personal is the in ear canal earphones.

I was looking for some new earphones for running when I stumbled upon the Sennheiser 5 for Sports Running Song Charts. My post at the end of June on this blog recommended you pop by and vote on your fave running songs. Have you done so let me know who you voted for?

I was impressed by the Adidas and Sennheiser campaign to promote their products for runners and the song competition was fun to enter and after talking further to the folks at Sennheiser in Wedemark in Germany I agreed to do a product review of their CX 680 Sports Earphones.

After two weeks of running with the the CX 680 Earphones I would have to say these are "simply the best headphones I have ever used when running".
In short if you want a pair of  sweat resistant, high audio quality, earphones then the CX 680's won't let you down.

I have managed to run 4 times over the last week all of these short runs between 2 and 3 miles as I test my injured foot. My son also gave them a try and gave them a big thumps up.

If you are a runner then the reasons why you should consider buying these are:-

1.They don't fall out !

Ahhh the frustration of running with earphones which fall out is as bad as your shoe lace coming undone. You just don't need it. I want to run and focus on what I plan to do be it a training run or an interval session.  

The CX 680's come with a what I guess is a fairly unique feature - Ear Fin pieces!  They look a little like Dr Spock's ears in miniature form but in fact these are flexible rubber hooks . When you insert the phone into your ear canal you slightly bend the ear fin to fit under the fold of skin just above your ear canal. This might sound difficult but describing it is more difficult then the actual action which is extremely simple.

You can remove the Ear fin pieces entirely from the earphones if you so wish to do so when listening with your feet up in your home. However they are comfortable and in practice I am not sure I would worry about doing this but you have the option.

In the packaging you are provided with 3 pairs of ear adaptors and 3 pairs of ear fins in small, medium and large size to cover all sizes of ears. Again Adidas and Sennheiser have thought through this product with the runner in mind and given you choice.

2. Great Sound !

I have to tell you that that when  listening to a range of tracks from many different rock, reggae, pop , punk, folk and classical artists in some songs I heard both words and instruments that I have never heard before. Perhaps that is  partly a reflection of the previous earphones I have purchased but listening with these earphones is a pleasure as you instantly recognise that this is a quality product with dynamic sound giving a wide range of bass and treble. The frequency range is from 18 to 20,000 Hz.

3. Volume Control and Isolation from Ambient Noise

The  ear canal style of headphones offer isolation from ambient noise. In my runs this week in the town centre I have been careful to ensure the volume is not on full. As an experiment when putting these up to full volume you won't hear people talking nearby , birds and most traffic noise. This does give you the opportunity for a complete focus on yourself and your running but if like me you run sometimes in busy town centres then there is volume control on the extension cable. Changing an IPOD which might be attached to the side of your arm and in a Velcro case can be difficult so this is a handy feature.

4. Cable Management System

From experience when running, I have found it oh so easy to knock the ear phones out of an ear when turning suddenly or getting my arm and hands in the way and accidentally pulling the cable. Once again with the CX 680 earphones you are given choice. You have the option of two set ups either to just use the short yellow Kevlar cable to connect to your IPOD attached to your upper arm. I have tried running this way and as the lead is short you do need to position your IPOD well up above your elbow or the short lead will pull the earphones out when your turn suddenly. 

As long as you do this the earphones remain put in your ears and as an added option you are provided with a cable clip which is designed to attach to the cable and I like to clip to the top of my running top under the neck for added security and to keep the cables tidy as I tend to flap my arms around when running!

The second option I mentioned before is to use the supplied extension cable with volume control. There is a large clip on the extension cable and I have found that you can run well with this clipped to the side of your waist. You then have the volume control for your IPOD easily accessible and the longer cable doesn't have to flap as you have the additional cable clip to secure to your running top.  The cables are reinforced with Kevlar and will hopefully ensure greater longevity.

5. Lightweight 

The earphones and cables are lightweight and you forget you are wearing them.

6.  Water & Sweat Resistance 

If you are like me as a runner you are outdoors in all weathers . In the UK we have just come through the coldest winter in 30 years but have enjoyed a decent summer. With the sunshine comes good honest sweat. The CX 680 earphones are said to be uniquely water resistance. The earphones are supplied with diaphragm guards which are small foam filters which help ensure the quality of the sound. Your are provided with a spare set of diaphragm guards and a tool to remove and replace old diaphragm guards.

You can apparently rinse the earphones under the tap to remove any built up grime though I haven't tried this.

7. Two Year Warranty 

As I have mentioned before previous earphones I have bought have only lasted around 6 months. The CX 680's have a 2 year warranty. Along with an instruction manual and all of the spares you are also provided with a handy Velcro storage pouch. With other cheaper earphones I have bought any spares had to be kept somewhere in a drawer or cupboard and without any pouch could often go missing.

Any negative points? Not really but minor points are as follows:-

The packaging was quite tough and I resorted to scissors to get the product out of the plastic in the box. However at least the product was secure safe and undamaged.

The left and right ear are marked with a  small L and R on the earphone. This is in the same black colour as the earphone and in the dark this is quite difficult to see and I would have preferred the L and R to be in bright yellow as per the cables.

The bright yellow cables might not be every ones cup of tea but not a big issue for me.


How much will you have to pay  for the CX 680's? As ever shop around on the Internet. They are available from Amazon for £44.60  This is the best price I could currently see which is about double what I have paid in the past for previous earphones . Can this be worth it? For the reasons I have stated above I think it most definitely is . Check them out as I doubt for this price there is a better pair of earphones.


  1. Hey Paul, thanks for the review. I will have to keep this in mind. The main reason why I have not listened to music or anything whilst I run in the past few months is because of my ear buds falling out all the time. I tried out another pair, and by the end of just a 4 miler, the inside fills up with ear stuff (yes I wash my ears. lol) and the sound greatly diminishes. I would love to have a pair of good ear phones and I would pay for them so I can hear Tony's Trials and laugh myself hysterical as I PB a Marathon or training run. Take care. I will go check these suckers out.

  2. Thanks Kenley they really are the bees knees!


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