Truth be told, a premium pair of headphones can significantly improve your listening experience. But what if the noise in your surroundings keeps ruining your experience? Or what if you cannot work in peace while listening to music because of the chatter around your cubicle? The noise-canceling headphones are made to solve exactly this problem.
Active noise cancellation technology uses the microphones and an electronic circuit to monitor the sounds coming from outside and cancels them out by producing sound waves that are out of phase with them. This is called destructive interference and you might remember the term if you paid attention in your high school Physics class.
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Bose improved the active noise cancellation (ANC) technology by spending millions on its research and development and popularized it. For a long time, Bose was the undoubted king of ANC headphones, but recently the market has become quite competitive for this category of product. Many other premium and budget brands have come out with some excellent products that are worth spending your money on.
There is a huge number of options for noise-canceling headphones today, all with varying features and prices. This buying guide will explain how to choose the noise-canceling headphone that is best for you. We have also handpicked the options that we think are the best of the bunch.
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Uses and Benefits of high-quality noise-canceling headphones
Good quality headphones are not only for audiophiles but also for people who love to listen to high-quality music while working or traveling. If you work in one of those modern open concept offices, you understand how difficult it can be to concentrate on your work in the presence of constant chatter. Noise-canceling headphones will let you work in peace while enjoying good quality sound as well. You can even put these on to just block out the ambient noise without having to play any music at all.
People you travel a lot, either by plane or use the subway for their daily commute also have to deal with the unwanted surrounding noises. Noise-canceling headphones are the perfect solution to that problem. However, you should be careful wearing these when you are out and about as sometimes it is necessary for you to be able to surround noise for your own safety. In fact, the best models on our list of the best noise-canceling headphones also let you adjust the level of noise cancelation that you think is suitable for the situation.
Types of noise-canceling headphones
Types of designs
There are 3 major types of designs when it comes to noise-canceling headphones. The first and the most popular one is over the ear design. These entirely cup your ears, so they are also the most comfortable is there is nothing pressing your ears. However, these are also the biggest in the size you might not be able to carry them around everywhere. Our list of the best noise-canceling headphones includes over the ear headphones only.
Then there is the on-ear type. They have pads that basically press on your ears. Naturally, you can end with sore ears if you have been wearing them for a long time. They don’t cover the sides of the ear so some outside noise will leak into your ears.
The last type is the in-ear (also called earbuds). They sit inside your ear canal, and these too can be quite painful after an hour or two of listing time. They are the smallest of the bunch and therefore can be carried around in your pocket.
Noise isolating vs noise canceling
You must understand the difference between “noise isolation” and “noise cancelation”. It is quite easy to mix up the two, yet they are entirely different technologies with the later being much superior and also the focus of this buying guide.
Noise-isolating headphones use physical means to block out the ambient noise. This relies on the headphones perfectly fitting around or in your ear so there is no space for the noise to leak into your ear. On top of that, they may also use materials that are good at absorbing the outside noise.
Noise-canceling or active noise canceling rely on digital signal processing (DSP) and addition microphones and speakers to cancel out the ambient noise by producing a sound that is out of phase with the noise. This technology is much superior, more expensive, and also the focus of this buying guide.
Wired or wireless
Wired headphones will invariably provide better audio quality simply because of the bandwidth that’s available through the wired medium. However, Bluetooth technology has improved drastically over the years to the point where an average user can hardly tell the difference between the two. You might experience some delay in audio while watching videos but that has also been improving. Professional music producers and audiophiles still prefer wired headphones but there are obvious disadvantages for the average user in terms of portability and convenience. Most Bluetooth models include an audio jack and audio cable so you have both options.
Features of high-quality noise-canceling headphones
The most important aspect of any headphone is the audio quality it can produce. This will depend on the quality of drivers that are inside the headphones. The better the sound quality, the more expensive the headphones tend to get. But this doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to find the right product for you.
Since we are focusing on noise-canceling headphones, the quality of noise cancelation is another vital aspect of the headphone’s performance. While the premium products will completely block out noise, cheaper options would not do a little more than just crank up the volume to drown out the noise. Bose and Sony are the two best brands when it comes to active noise cancelation but they also cost more than other brands. Many headphones also allow you to tweak the noise cancelation settings according to your liking.
Poor microphone performance can be a deal-breaker if you want to take calls using your noise cancelation headphones. Since the mic is quite far away from the mouth, its not easy to find headphones which will make you sound loud and clear to the person on the other side of the call.
When people think of the word design, the first and the last thing that comes to mind is the looks. While looks are important if you want to rock your noise-canceling headphones in college, in the office, or outdoors, they are not the only thing that matters, especially in the long run.
If you will be using your noise-canceling headphones for long periods, comfort is paramount. It is natural for your ears to hurt if you have been exposing them to loud music for many hours. So the ear cups should do their best to provide a nice cushion and just as soft as possible. Also, pay attention to how hard the headphones are squeezing your skull, it might not feel like much in the beginning, but can cause a lot of discomfort if you are using your headphones for multiple hours.
You also want to be able to control the music playback with ease without having to reach for your phone again and again. If the headphones have physical buttons they should be easy to press and easy to reach as well. If the headphone features touch controls they should be intuitive and easy to get used to.
Carrying your headphones around without much hassle is not something many people think of, but is quite important. Make sure the headphones come with a sturdy case. If the ear cups can swivel flat and the fold inwards, the case can be made much smaller and flatter.
You wouldn’t want to charge your headphone every time you think about using them, so long battery life is important. The best modes on our list offer anywhere from 20 to 30 hours of battery life. This number can be much lower if ANC is turned as well. Having to carry different cables to charge each of your devices can be a nuisance, so look for a USB Type-C charging port which is quickly becoming the new standard across all devices. Also, look for the quick changing feature.
In a competitive market like this, companies come up with various other features to make their product more attractive to the buyer. While some of them are just gimmicks, others can be really handy.
Many headphones come with a free app that can be used to tweak various settings. In most cases, you will be able to adjust an equalizer and in some cases, the app might even allow you to tweak ANC settings.
With the increasing capability of voice assistants to handle simple and complex tasks, many headphones are also integrating them. Look for the headphone which offers integration with your favorite voice assistant.
The more accessories a headphone comes with right out of the box, the better. However, make sure that the most important ones are included like a carrying case, an aux cable, and a chagrin cable.
If you are spending a considerable amount of money on a pair of headphones, you also want them to serve you for a long time. Pay attention to the materials that the headphone is made out of, and also the material of the ear cups, as it is one of the first things that start to be the victim of wear and tear.
What Noise Cancellation Can and Can’t Do?
Its vital to understand that even the best ANC headphones cannot completely block out noise, the best they can do is lower it to the point where you are not going to be disturbed by it. Moreover, ANC technology is pretty good at canceling out consistent noise but so much at canceling out inconsistent ones. This means your ANC headphones will do a great job of blocking out white noises, like the rumble of an aircraft or a train while traveling, or the noise of a fan or an AC when working indoors. But complex noises like people talking or dogs barking will not be blocked out easily. It is also easier for ANC circuitry to cancel mid and low-frequency sounds rather than high-frequency noises.
Should Noise Cancellation Add Hiss?
It is true that ANC technology adds a hiss to the signal in order to drown out the high-frequency noises that is is not very good at canceling out, but it can have the opposite effect. Usually, the better the ANC technology, the less hiss you will hear. You can try it out in a very quiet room without any music playing. With the music playing the hiss is practically inaudible. Some people also feel pressure inside their ears with the ANC turned while others don’t feel a thing. It’s best to try out a few models to see which one suits your ears the best.
Top 15 Best Noise-Canceling Headphones in 2022
|1. Sony WH1000XM3
||Control Music Tracks and Volume||$$$||4.8|
|2. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
||Top of the line ANC||$$$||4.8|
|3. Beats Studio3
||Up to 22 hours of battery life||$$$||4.7|
|4. Skullcandy Crusher ANC
||Adjustable sensory bass||$$$||4.6|
|5. Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless
||Active 490 Ohm/ Passive 46 Ohm||$$$||4.6|
|6. Shure AIONIC 50
|7. Bowers & Wilkins PX5
||Excellent sound quality||$$$||4.5|
|8. Sony WHXB900N
||Touch Sensor controls||$$$||4.5|
|9. Audio Technica ATH-ANC700BT QuietPoint
40 mm drivers
|10. Panasonic RP-HD805N-T
||Ambient sound Enhancer||$$$||4.4|
|11. Philips Performance PH805
||Flat-folding and compact||$$$||4.3|
|12. Marshall Mid ANC
||Bluetooth apX; Driver Impedance: 32 Ω||$$||4.2|
|13. JBL E65BTNC
||Up To 30 Hours Of Battery Life||$$||4.1|
|14. Monster ICON
|15. COWIN E7 PRO
||Built-in Microphone and BT 4.0||$$||3.9|
When it comes to noise-canceling headphones, the Sony WH1000XM3 has had the top spot for 3 years in a row. It not only boasts industry-leading active noise cancelation technology but also provides a sound quality that is unmatched. If all you care about is the best audio quality with excellent noise cancelation, with no regard for the price tag, these are the best headphones you can buy right now.
When it comes to audio quality, Sony is the brand to beat. The Sony WH1000XM3 has amazing sound performance just like its predecessors. You’ll find the treble pretty nice, with a midrange that is warm and natural. On the low-frequency end of the spectrum, you get a strong thumping bass that is also very well defined. The headphones support the aptX HD standard, so it will sound much better with Android phones that support this standard too.
For many years, Bose was the standard to beat when it came to active noise cancelation, but Sony has slowly crept up to the top spot in this category as well. There are four microphones in and around the ear cups, add Sony’s best in class digital signal processing to it and you get the ANC technology which is undoubtedly the best in the market right now.
The microphone array that helps with the noise-canceling also does a great job of picking up your voice during calls. The voice is not very loud but makes up for it by being extremely clear.
The Sony WH1000XM3 have a relatively minimalistic design, which appeals to the business-class customers more. The design of the ear cups is very ergonomic and sits perfectly around your ears without pushing onto them. The ear cups are also extremely plush and comfortable. The headband also has enough cushioning to provide a comfortable experience of long listening periods.
The only two physical buttons are on the left earcup, one for power/Bluetooth, and the other for toggling between different noise cancelation modes. The right earcup is touch capacitive; swipe up and down to control the volume, swipe forward and backward to skip tracks, and double-tap to play and pause. These are fairly intuitive and quite easy to get used to.
The Sony WH1000XM3 is fairly easy to carry around in the very nice case that comes with it. Because the earcups swivel and fold in, it allows the case to flat and quite small.
The Sony WH1000XM3 boasts a huge battery life of 30 hours on normal volumes, which way better than what the competition offers. Charging is done via USB Type-C cable, which is always a welcomed feature. It also the Sony WH1000XM3 to be quick-charged, you can get 5 hours of battery life by merely charging it for 10 minutes.
The best feature of the Sony WH1000XM3 is the Quick Attention mode, which lets you cover the right ear cup with your hand to lower the volume and listen to your surroundings. Other features that make the Sony WH1000XM3 an even better choice can be accessed via the free Sony Connect app. It not only lets you customize the sound signature by changing the EQ settings but also lets you control the level of noise cancelation. The Adaptive Sound Control option optimizes noise cancelation according to the environment you are in by measuring various factors.
The right ear cup houses the NFC chip for instant pairing. Furthermore the device comes with the usual accessories like an aux cable and a type-c charging cable. A nice addition is a plane adapter for charging during long flights.
- Best ANC without a doubt
- Amazing sound quality
- Excellent battery life
- Quick attention mode
- Intuitive touch controls
- Voice over calls is not very loud
Bose has been a top performer in the category of noise canceling headphones for a long time, and the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 is no exception. It has the best in class active noise canceling technology, excellent sound quality and unique design. Although a little on the expensive side, they wouldn’t disappoint you in most areas.
In terms of audio quality, the thumping bass from the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 definitely stands out. Even at extremely high volume levels, it doesn’t distort. The mid and high-frequency ranges are sculpted to provide a balanced listening experience but might just annoy the audiophiles out there.
One of the common complaints with ANC headphones is the effect on audio quality with the variation in noise canceling level, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 avoids this pitfall. ANC levels can be varied from 0 to 10 using the Bose app. At level 10, it is able to block out most ambient noises, including the whir of the AC and the typing on the keyboard. Sometimes it can almost sound too quiet. At level 0, the mics are actually picking up ambient sounds without any delay so you can hear your surroundings very well. Most people will use it between levels 5 and 10.
Probably the biggest strength of this headphone is how well it performs on calls and with voice assistants. The mic array actually works to focus more on your voice and ignore ambient sounds to greatly improve voice clarity.
The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 has a unique futuristic look and has a minimalistic design. In terms of comfort, you can wear them for hours and not feel any discomfort at all. The earcups swivel and therefore the case they come with is quite sleek.
Bose has also shifted to touch controls with these headphones and they are quite easy to get accustomed to. There are physical buttons for power, ANC, Bluetooth pairing, and for summoning voice assistants.
Bose estimates battery life to be 20 hours, which is quite less compared to our top pick. Your experience may vary depending on the volume and ANC levels you use. They charge with a type-C cable and also support quick charging.
Many users have complained about getting the Bose app to work with these headphones, hopefully, this issue will be solved by Bose with software updates. The app allows you to set the ANC level from 0 to 10. It also allows you to set up your preferred voice assistant and then use it handsfree with a wake-up command. One big disappointment is the absence of a customizable EQ in the app.
The headphones come with a charging cable and an aux cable, though no charging brick is included. The case is quite slim and feels premium and sturdy. It has a separate compartment to store the cables.
- Excellent sound quality
- Top of the line ANC
- Sleek design
- Great for making calls and using voice assistants
- Buggy app
- No EQ in the app
The Beats Studio3 delivers solid audio performance while also doing a decent job in the noise canceling department. Their integration with Apple devices mean a few extra features for iPhone users as well, making it an attractive option for Apple customers.
While Beats has always been known for their bass-heavy audio signature, this headphone is more about balanced and clear sound than anything else. The bass response is solid when it is included in the mix, but no unnecessary extra depth is added.
The Beats Studio3 also does a decent job in the noise canceling department. If you just have ANC turned on without any music, you may hear a slight hiss, but it is entirely inaudible with the music playing. It does a good job of drowning out most low frequency sounds like the rumble of a vehicle or the hum of an AC, and even manages to lower the chatting sounds around you. However, it is still the best in class by any stretch of the imagination.
The wireless mic and the cable mic both provide good intelligibility, hence the person on the side of the call wouldn’t find it difficult to understand any of your words.
The headphones look very much like other Beats products, with a big logo on both ear cups. The circumaural design of the ear cups is quite comfortable. The B button on the left ear cup acts as a multifunction button to control playback and calls, while the ring around it can be used to control volume levels.
Beats promises a battery life of 22 hours with ANC on and about 40 hours of playback ANC off, which looks pretty good on paper. However, your results will vary depending on how you use the headphones. It charges via a micro USB port, which is disappointing to see from a top brand in 2020.
The Beats Studio3 is fitted with a W1 chip, which has added benefits for Apple users. It makes the pairing process with iPhones a breeze, and you also get a “proximity pairing” and seamless switching between Apple devices that are registered with the iCloud.
The headphones ship with the usual charging and audio cable, as well a padded case with a carabiner, which is good for portability.
- Exceptional balanced and clear sound
- Decent ANC
- Additional features for Apple users
- Micro USB charging port
- Just one button to control playback and calls.
The Skullcandy Crusher ANC delivers enhanced and sometimes unnecessary bass. The bass levels are also adjustable with haptic feedback, a unique feature. However, in this price category, you can find much better noise cancelation.
The earcups are fitted with 40mm drivers that deliver a strong bass. However, the bass levels are adjustable using a slider. Even with the slider at halfway, the bass sounded overly boosted and overshadowed the rest of the mix. The clearest sound with crisp mid-highs is obtained when the slider is at its lowest setting. When the main selling point of the device is the bass slider, it seems quite unnecessary when the headphones work best without it.
The ANC does a wonderful job with low-frequency sounds, so it performs well on airplanes and trains. When it comes to mids and highs, the results are just okay. For its price tag, the ANC should have been much better, especially with what’s already available from Bose and Sony.
The built-in mic picks up the voice pretty cleanly and does not suffer from Bluetooth fuzziness, which is typical of many Bluetooth mics.
The Skullcandy Crusher ANC has a classy and minimalist design, unlike the Skullcandy products of the past. Over the ear, the design has rounded, ear-shaped contour. Both the headband and the earpads are amazingly plush and soft and make for one of the most comfortable headphones out there.
There is the slider for adjusting the bass on the left ear cup, as well as a power/pairing button and status LEDs. The power button also doubles as a switch for ANC. The right ear cup houses buttons for volume control which can also be used to navigate tracks when pressed twice. In addition to that, there is a play/pause button. Finally,holding your hand on the left ear cup for five seconds activates the ambient awareness mode that lets you hear your surroundings.
The battery life is estimated to be around 24 hours, but your results will depend on the volume, haptic bass, and ANC use. The good news is that these charge via a USB Type-C cable.
The most unique feature of the Skullcandy Crusher ANC is the bass vibrations, which will match the actual low-frequency depth in the song. Moreover, there is an app that allows you to set up a personal sound profile after a listening test. Sadly, there is no option to adjust the ANC and EQ from the app.
One feature, rarely found in modern ANC headphones, is that the cable features an inline remote to control playback and manage calls on your phone. Furthermore, the headphones can also be used passively with the cable connected. In the package, you will find a hardshell case along with the cables, which is quite slim and fits easily inside a backpack.
- Solid audio performance with adjustable bass and haptic feedback
- Clear voice pick from the mic
- Can be used passively with the cable connected
- Not the best ANC performance
- Bass is unnecessarily boosted
The Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless offers a balanced and vibrant audio performance. The headphones are insanely comfortable and the noise cancelation is good enough to challenge the industry leaders.
The Sennheiser PXC 550 uses digital signal processing to smooth out the sound signature and avoid distortions at top volumes. This might annoy the purists but delivers solid performance for an average listener with distortion-free deep-lows. Also, the headphones don’t get as loud as many other headphones at maximum volumes.
The noise canceling is good enough to challenge the industry leaders. It achieves a rare feat of avoiding audible hiss with the ANC turned on. The noise cancelation technology uses four mics to pick up ambient sound in order to block it. Furthermore, the headphone allows you to vary 2 different levels of noise cancelation intensities.
The Sennheiser PXC 550 features a simple, yet luxurious design with a black and silver look. The circumaural ear cups are shaped almost like the ear. With an extremely plush and soft headband and earpads, these are some of the most comfortable headphones available.
On the right earcup, there are switches for Bluetooth and ANC, which has three modes. Moreover, there is a music effect button that has modes for CLub, Movie, or Speech. You also turn it off if you don’t need it.
Swiveling the earcups in and out controls the power which makes it easy for the user to inadvertently turn the headphones on and off. The outer panel of the right ear cup is touch-sensitive and offers intuitive controls to manage volume and playback.
The Sennheiser PXC 550 is rated for 30 hours of battery life but your results will vary depending on your use. The headphones charge via a micro USB port.
When you connect the audio cable to the aux input, it kills the Bluetooth connection but the headphones can still be used passively with the ANC turned on. This is a feature many of the top brands have failed to offer.
The Sennheiser PXC 550 comes with charging and audio cables, an airplane adapter, and a slim case to store the headphones. CapTune, the free app provided by the manufacturer, can be used to adjust the EQ to your own liking. The headphones also offer quick pairing for devices that support NFC.
- One of the best ANC performance
- Amazing and adjustable audio performance
- ANC can still be used when the cable is connected
- Insanely comfortable
- Power on/off mechanism is confusing
- Maximum volume is lower than other headphones
The Shure AIONIC 50 outputs a pretty accurate sound signature with top of the line noise cancelation, especially against low-frequency sounds. The ear cups are removable, making the headphones easier to clean and prolonging their life as well. These headphones can also be classified as the best USB C headphones as the charging port also doubles as a data port, so you can play your music over it.
The Shure AIONIC 50 houses 50mm dynamic drivers in both earceps. Also, the headphones have the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology, which not only extends its but also improves the listening experience. The audiophiles will be pleased to know that the Shure AIONIC 50 supports popular Bluetooth codecs like aptX, aptX HD, aptX Low Latency, AAC, LDAC, etc. So you will get the highest quality audio if your media player supports these codecs too. The headphones deliver a pleasing sound signature, keeping the frequency response pure and natural.
The ANC on the Shure AIONIC 50 is on par with the best options out there. It especially does a good job against low-frequency sounds, so frequent travelers will appreciate it.
The microphone quality offers enough intelligibility for you to hold professional conference calls on it. However, it does fail to filter out high-frequency background noise.
In terms of design, the Shure AIONIC 50 manages to keep things lightweight, while the looks are quite sophisticated due to the stitched leather. The earpads are removable, making the headphones easier to clean and prolonging their life in the process. One drawback is that the earcups do not fold, although they still swivel flat for storage, one still expects the design to be a bit more versatile. On the flip side, it might make the structure a lot less susceptible to damage.
The Shure AIONIC 50 sits comfortably over the head and around the ears, without applying too much force to be felt tight around the skull. All the buttons are physical and placed on the right earcup. These include a power/Bluetooth button, an ANC control which also lets you toggle through different modes, volume/playback buttons, and raised multifunction button which can also be used for accessing Google Assistant.
The battery life is advertised to be 20 hours, enough to last on a long international flight, yet less than some other similarly priced headphones. The USB-C port is used for charging but also doubles as a data port so you can play your music over it.
Shure’s phone app can be used to control the noise canceling intensity and ambient awareness mode. It also lets you check the battery levels, play local music files, and receive firmware updates. There is also an EQ in the app, but its not a hardware EQ so the functionality is only limited to the music played from the Shure’s app.
The Shure AIONIC 50 can connect to two devices at the same time. So you can connect it to your computer for music and to your phone for notifications and incoming calls.
- Pure and high-quality sound
- Excellent ANC for low-frequency sounds
- Removable ear cups
- USB-C port can also be used to play music
- Limited EQ functionality in the app
- The earcups do not fold to save storage space
Bowers & Wilkins PX5 provides a relatively effective, yet a slightly affordable noise cancelation experience. The on-ear design is surprisingly comfortable and portable at the same time.
The Bowers & Wilkins PX5 has 35.6 mm drivers inside each ear cup that delivers audio in the range of 10Hz-30KHz. It has Bluetooth 5.0 technology which also supports popular codecs like AptX (Adaptive, Classic, and HD), AAC, etc for high-quality audio. The headphones are able to output a solid low-frequency response but with appreciable high-frequency presence. Don’t worry about distortion at even top volumes. The bass is still strong enough at low volumes.
Noise cancelation circuitry is effective at handling low frequency sounds on trains or planes, while mids are also well handled. High frequency sounds like keyboard click or office chatter are not completely blocked off, but significantly lowered.
The mic signal is quite strong and doesn’t feel like it’s too far away from your mouth. It’s good enough for calls, but there is slight distortion which is typical of Bluetooth mics.
The Bowers & Wilkins PX5 look and feel luxurious with a design that uses cloth, textured plastic, and leather. The on-ear design has a memory form and provides ample cushioning for a comfortable listening experience.
The controls on the right ear cup include power/pairing switch, a multifunction button to handle payback, calls, voice assistant, and two buttons to control volume. The ANC button is on the left ear cup and also lets you toggle through different ANC modes.
The Bowers & Wilkins PX5 is rated for an impressive 25 hours of battery life, but your output will depend on your volume levels and ANC use. The good news is that it charges via a USB-C port.
One annoying feature is the need to keep the headphones powered on even when they are being used with the audio cable. This means you can’t do much to save the battery life. Furthermore, the Bowers & Wilkins app provides features such as adjusting the ambient sound levels, toggling the voice prompts on and off and customizing the standby timer. Sadly, there is no EQ in the app to make adjustments to the sound signature.
- Excellent sound quality
- Solid ANC with different modes
- One multifunction button for too many things
- On-ear design cannot be used for too long
When buying the Sony WHXB900N you should be aware that it is designed for bass lovers. Although, it does provide a fine listening experience which makes a good choice for people looking for a relatively affordable option. The noise consolation is also solid for the price.
In terms of active noise cancelation, the Sony WHXB900N does a far better job than average even at a relatively affordable price. It also gives you the ability to adjust the ANC level using the app. There is hardly, if any, audible hiss and the ANC does not significantly affect the sound signature.
The Sony WHXB900N is advertised as a bass-forward pair of headphones and it delivers on that promise with powerful low-frequency response, even at low volumes. For those listeners looking for a more balanced output, they have the adjustable EQ available in the app.
There is little to no distortion in the Bluetooth mic and it even manages to add some bass depth to your voice, which prevents the mic from sounding too distant from your mouth. So it is a great option for people who expect to field many calls with their headphones.
The ear cups feature a circumaural (over the ear) design, there is plenty of cushioning on the ear cups as well the headband making this a pretty comfortable pair of headphones. The right earcup is touch capacitive and has fairly intuitive controls for playback and volume. Putting your left hand over the left earcup activates the attention mode which lets you hear your surroundings clearly using the ambient sound mics. One slight disappointment is that the headphones ship with a nylon drawstring pouch instead of the more protective hardshell case.
Sony rates these headphones for 30 hours of battery life with the ANC on and 35 hours with the ANC off. This surely is an impressive figure, however, your results will vary according to your use. The charging port is USB-C, which should be the norm in 2020.
The Sony Connect App has an Adaptive Sound Control tool that adjusts the ANC experience according to your activity and surroundings. You can adjust the ANC manually as well through the app. It also offers a Focus on Voice option for conversations.
The headphones will also enable you to use Google Assistant or Alexa using a custom button on the left ear cup. They both work quite well, but there is no wake-command integration for a totally hands-off experience.
- Solid ANC which is also adjustable
- Decent quality sound especially for bass lovers
- Excellent mic for calls
- Alexa and Google Assistant support
- Bass is over boosted unless adjusted from the EQ
- ANC cannot be turned off to save battery
This is a headphone for people not looking to spend too much but still want a product from a reputable brand that has made its name with quality products for professionals over the years. The Audio Technica ATH-ANC700BT QuietPoint manages to deliver decent noise cancelation for the price while also offering natural and high-quality audio.
While the sound from the headphones is high quality, there is only one complaint about the mix being a bit too mid-heavy. Apart from that, it offers natural bass with enough depth which makes for a good listening experience.
The noise cancelation on these headphones was surprisingly good for the price. It manages to significantly tamp down vehicle and machinery sounds, while not affecting the sound signal too much when the ANC is switched on.
The Audio Technica ATH-ANC700BT QuietPoint has subdued design and there is nothing flashy about it. They are built from plastic but still feel strong and durable. All the controls are on the left earcup, including the audio and charging ports and LED indicators. Playback is controlled by touch controls, you have to touch specific areas of the earcup to play/pause, skip tracks, or control volume. This is a different approach and quite easy to get wrong.
Both ear cups and the headband are amply padded to provide a comfortable listening experience for long hours. The extremely light weight of the headphones also helps in this regard. Instead of a more protective hardshell case, you have a drawstring pouch in the box.
According to Audio Technica, you can expect up to 25 hours of battery life out of these headphones, but your results may vary depending on how you use them. They charge via a micro USB port instead of the newer more convenient type C port.
Audio Technica has kept things simple and didn’t bother with an app. This means you can’t tweak the sound signal with an EQ or the ambient sounds with ANC settings.
- Excellent sound quality
- Decent ANC for the price
- Good battery life
- No app to tweak settings
- Touch controls can be tough to get used to
Panasonic is one of the many reputable names in recent years that have decided to challenge companies like Bose and Sony by introducing their own version of noise canceling headphones. The headphones provide a solid audio performance and do a good enough job of lowering surrounding noise to help you get through a busy day at work.
The headphones are fitted with dynamic drivers that are able to produce wideband, high-resolution audio due to their Multi-Layer Film Diaphragm. The Panasonic RP-HD805N-T has the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology which certainly helps the audio quality. High definition codes like aptX HD and LDAC are also supported on these headphones.
The ANC has 3 different modes, which will allow you to vary the amount of ambient sounds you want to leak through the 4 ambient mics that are housed within the headphones. With their Ambient Sound Enhancer technology, the Panasonic RP-HD805N-Ts also enable you to hear important sounds such as airport announcements, sirens, cars honking, or speech.
The Panasonic RP-HD805N-T is designed to fit comfortably around the ear with its circumaural design. The headphones have a 3D Ball Joint structure which helps the ear cups to adjust to the natural contour of your skull. The padding is quite soft and also provides a good amount of passive noise isolation on its own.The design lacks any gaudy attention-seeking features, but the headphones have a classy look and feel.
The Panasonic RP-HD805N-T is advertised with 20-hour battery life, a bit less than most of the competitors. Your results will depend on the amount of ANC usage as well as the volume levels.
Panasonic has not introduced any app along with the headphones. You won’t be able to change the sound signature with an EQ.
- High-resolution audio due to supported codecs
- Excellent ANC for the price
- Ergonomic and comfortable design
- No app to tweak headphones settings
- Slightly less battery life
Looking at the materials, built quality, and design of Philips Performance PH805, they seem like a bargain. The sound quality also doesn’t disappoint. The only downside is the slightly less impressive noise cancelation.
The Philips Performance PH805 are using Bluetooth 5.0 technology, so they handle high-resolution audio very well. The drivers are able to accommodate the whole frequency range very well. There is n’t much to complain about in the audio department.
The noise cancelation offers 3 modes: ‘on’, ‘off’, and ‘ambient sound’. It is certainly not as good as the top brands in this category. It is unable to reduce the train or aircraft sounds by an appreciable amount. Some cheaper headphones have the same or even better ANC as Philips Performance PH805.
The Philips Performance PH805 is definitely one of the better-looking headphones, especially for their spruce. The build quality also feels premium and durable. There is generous padding on the earcups of memory foam. They are also pretty lightweight. All of these factors provide a comfortable listening experience even for long periods. However the ear cups can heat up a little bit more than some other competitors.
In terms of controls, the right earcup offers touch gestures to control volume, playback, and noise cancelation. Once paired, the Bluetooth button can be used to summon your choice of voice assistant as well.
The battery life, as rated by Philips, is 30 hours on single charge. The headphones charge from a micro USB port. There is also a quick charging feature, which will give you up to 2 hours of playing time from a 5-minute charge.
You don’t get any access to additional settings as there is no app offered by Philips. However, one good feature is that you can use this pair headphones passively using the audio cable if you run out of power.
- Excellent sound quality
- Good looking and premium design
- Good battery life
- ANC performance is below par
- No app to tweak additional settings
Marshall, a big name in the world of audio equipment, has done an excellent job of creating a wireless noise canceling headphone that is significantly cheaper than its competitors. The ANC performance is way better than average, excellent audio performance.
The headphone pair houses 40 mm drivers in each ear cup. The vocals get a good amount of mid-high presence making them sound crisp. At the same time, the bass is also powerful and well boosted. Even at reasonable volumes, there is enough depth, while there is no distortion at high volumes.
Marshall Mid ANC suffers from minimal hiss when the noise cancelation is turned on, but it is not too annoying. The ANC circuitry does a brilliant job of blocking out low-frequency rumbles and whirs in your surroundings. The sound is also not affected by the ANC, which is a common problem with many headphones in this price range.
The Marshall Mid ANC headphones have an on-ear design, with almost square earcups. It is hard to tell from just looking at it, but this pair is exceptionally comfortable for long listening periods. The leather patina on nearly every surface makes this pair of headphones immediately recognizable as a Marshall product. Even the case screams Marshall, with its box-like, leather covered design.
There is a multifunction button on the left earcup, which controls everything from power, pairing, playback, volume, to call management. And it is also surprisingly easy to use as well.
Marshall has rated the battery life to be around 20 hours, but your results may vary depending on the mix of your ANC use and volume levels. The charging is done via a micro USB port.
A useful feature of the Marshall Mid ANC is its ability to be used passively with the audio cable plugged in. However, the plugging the cable in doesn’t automatically turn the Bluetooth off, which can make it easy to waste battery life unknowingly. The ANC can also be turned on in passive mode, another excellent feature.
- Bass-forward, clear and crisp audio
- Excellent noise cancelation
- Stylish and unique design
- Intuitive controls with just a single button
- On-ear, square-shaped design, might not suit everyone
- No app to tweak further settings
For its price, the JBL E65BTNC delivers powerful audio performance. Bass lovers will appreciate this headphone even more. The ANC does a decent job to block out noises but significantly affects sound performance.
The listening experience is pretty solid with JBL E65BTNC. There is rich bass but it is well matched by the high-frequency presence, making the overall mix pleasing to hear.
With no audio playing, it is quite clear that the ANC manages to significantly tamp down background low-frequency noises. However, the problem occurs when ANC is turned on with the music playing, as it negatively affects the sound; making it sound tinny.
The built-in mic does a good job of picking up the voice during calls, however, it does a little far away from the mouth.
The JBL E65BTNC is available in various bright colors. The earcups have a circumaural design with enough padding. The headband, on the other hand, could use a little more cushioning for a better experience. There is no pouch or case included with the headphones, which is a major disappointment.
The power switch, volume buttons, and a central multifunction button are all located on the right earcup. The Bluetooth button is also used to turn the ANC on/off when held for more than 2 seconds.
The JBL E65BTNC’s battery life is estimated to be roughly 15 hours with ANC on and up to 30 hours with ANC off. However, your results will entirely depend on how you use the device and at what volume levels. For charging, there is a micro USB port.
A rare feature in this price range is the ability to connect the JBL E65BTNC to two devices simultaneously. So you can use one device for playing music while the other one for receiving calls and notifications.
- Strong audio performance with powerful bass
- Good noise cancelation with music off
- Can connect to two devices at the same time
- Noise cancelation negatively affects audio performance
- No carrying pouch or case
Monster ICON is surely a great option for budget headphones if you are looking for one. With clear and crisp mic sound, they lower the sounds from the surroundings but don’t completely silence them. However, offering a sturdy hardshell design and swivel ear cups, these aesthetically pleasing headphones are a good trade for a reasonable amount of cash!
Monster ICON employs the much-hailed Bluetooth 5.0 technology. The sound that these headphones offer is loud and well-balanced. Overall, it can be said that the quality of sound produced by these headphones is good enough for its price.
The Active Noise Cancellation feature of these headphones could have been better. They are not as effective but this is what is expected at such a low price point. The mic could have been a little bigger, as it seems distant and tiny from its outlook.
Monster ICON headphones come with their signature hardshell case and full swivel ear cups; which makes it all the more attractive for the headphones lovers. These headphones do have a distinct plastic feel to them, and thus don’t look very durable. However, a great feature of these headphones is that they have an ample amount of cushioning protein leather (synthetic leather) on earpads and headband; which make them comfortable to wear for a long time.
The appearance of these headphones is rather flashy, as they have shiny silver elements incorporated in the design. These headphones are not too huge for your ears, so they might fit around your ear perfectly.
Apart from that, Monster ICON is unique in its design for the fact that on the right ear cup, it has a multifunction playback button; which can be used for adjusting the volume as well. There is also an ANC button, an audio jack, and a type c port; which make these headphones all the more functional.
Monster ICON has a USB-C charging port for charging. It takes around 4 hours for these headphones to get charged. The battery life is impressive, as it has 30-hour battery life.
Monster ICON has no app or ANC modes; therefore there is not much extra to offer to the users.
- Long Battery Life
- Ergonomic and Comfortable Design
- No app
- No ANC modes
Coming with a slim hardshell carrying case and a brushed metallic look. COWIN E7 PRO are good budget headphones. However, if you are looking for an immaculate performance and intricate speech details, these may not be the headphones for you.
COWIN E7 PRO comes with a punchy, well-balanced, and warm bass. However, they don’t come with a lot of detail and lack a thump. In high-bass, these headphones might sound very honky due to over-projection and increased intensity to the upper harmonics of vocals and lead instruments. Therefore, COWIN E7 PRO is best suited for quiet environments. In moderate and loud environments, it will struggle to fully separate speech from ambient noise. The mic of these headphones results in a speech that’s noticeably muffled and lacks a lot of detail.
These headphones have a premium outlook due to their sleek hardshell carrying case, and the metallic look of the backplates on the ear cups instead of the glossy finish. However, their build quality still feels a bit cheap overall. The headband is decently well-constructed with a metal frame for reinforcement. However, the plastic used for the ear cups feels low grade and a bit flimsy. Yet another notable thing is that these headphones do not fold to take less space. They’re on the larger side for over-ear headphones with a slightly bulky design, and hence not convenient to carry. Moreover, the headband doesn’t extend far enough and the ear cups are slightly small and round.
These headphones do provide the essential controls for volume, call/music, and skipping tracks. They also have a dedicated switch to enable Bluetooth and noise canceling. Unfortunately, the cramped layout and the odd placement of the volume controls are not as suitable and may take some time to get used to.
These headphones can run up to 33 hours with the battery fully charged. The battery gets charged through a micro-USB port, and takes around 4.2 hours to get charged.
These headphones do not come with any app, and hence don’t offer any additional features.
- Impressive battery life
- Premium outlook
- Stylish design
- Cramped layout of volume controls
- Bulky and inconvenient to carry
- Headband not too extendable
- Muffled speech in mic