Review: Sennheiser PMX 680 Running Headphones
The Sennheiser PMX 680 Sports Earbud Headphones are a part of their Adidas co-branded 680 athletic line. The series is immediately recognizable due to the bright neon yellow ear pads and cable. This wrap-around model comes in a variant, the PMX 680i which includes a microphone and iPhone controls.
I’ve always been a fan of the neck wrap-around format. They’re very lightweight and not as cumbersome as headphones with an over-the-top plastic design and allow you to wear a hat easily. Unlike earbuds, they rely on balance to stay in place and are very comfortable in the ears. Designed for street running, the PMX 680 allows for car noise and other safety-related sounds to be heard in addition to your music or podcasts.
These headphones have a short cord that is perfect for runners that use arm bands to hold their iPod, iPhone or Android device. When used with an upper arm strap, there is no additional cord flapping against your back while running. However, if you run with a waist belt or your mp3 player in a location other than the upper left arm, there is an extender cord that includes a volume knob to adjust the sound without having to locate and manipulate your device.
The sound quality is good; but not amazing. This is because the ear pads sit at the opening of your ear canal and do not fit snugly inside the ear like in-ear bud-style headphones. A lot of low-end is lost due to this design; but the safety factor and awareness of your surroundings makes up for the average sound quality.
If you wear thick plastic glasses or sunglasses while running, you should consider the Sennheiser CX 680 Earfin Sports Earbuds instead. I found that the arms of my glasses prevented the wrap-around sections over the ears to properly grab around my temples. That kept the earbuds even further out of my ears (reducing levels and quality) and caused them to slightly slide. However, the sliding was far less than with low-quality earbuds and wasn’t a terrible nuisance. However, it was noticeable enough that I won’t be changing my typical run-day headphones.
The care regimen could not be easier. When they’ve gotten sufficiently salty and sweat-drenched, simply rinse them under running water. The headphones come with a travel bag, foam earphone covers and the extender cable.
If you don’t wear glasses when running, the Sennheiser PMX 680 headphones are a great addition to your wardrobe. The headphones are lightweight and stay in place well (when not wearing glasses) even with heavy sweating. Outside noises like traffic are let in, making these safe to wear when street running.