How to choose active noise canceling headphones
To begin with, the technology of active noise reduction itself has not only pluses, but also minuses. The first, of course, is the reduction of ambient noise, which often interferes with the enjoyment of music. Due to this, you can not twist the volume to the full, which will help reduce the load on the hearing aid.
This technology also has its downsides. First, these headphones are more expensive. Secondly, in wireless models, turning on noise reduction increases battery consumption. Thirdly, this system is often imperfect, distorting the sound track. Yes, and about individual sensitivity, too, should not be forgotten.
Now let’s look at the main criteria for choosing noise-canceling headphones:
- Design. Plugs, overhead, full-size — the choice of a particular option depends on user preferences. For example, overhead models will put pressure on someone after an hour of listening, while others will feel discomfort after wearing the plug-in options for a long time.
- Connection. Wired or wireless. In the first case, also pay attention to the connector, because in addition to standard 3.5 mm plugs, manufacturers offer the ability to connect via USB-C. But today, users are increasingly completely abandoning wires, because it is more convenient.
- Microphone. It is present in most headphones. Thanks to the microphone, you can use the device as a headset. But the quality of voice transmission directly depends on the installed microphone. Therefore, it is worth personally checking the headphones you are interested in before buying.
- sound. Perhaps the main criterion. However, please note that it is impossible to understand the sound quality from the characteristics. Resistance, frequency range and other numbers, of course, can and should be taken into account. But first of all, you should rely on your own feelings in the process of testing the «ears».
Bose QuietComfort 35 II
Whether your device is Android or iOS, the playback controls should work the same when you’re connected via Bluetooth. Bose also added a built-in battery, ditching the AAA battery required for the QC 25. You can plug in and charge the headphones just like any other device. This is both good and bad, because most people do not like to charge several devices at once every night. On the other hand, now the device has twenty hours of operation with Bluetooth and ANC turned on, so it is enough to charge the headphones 2-3 times a week. The kit includes a hard case — you can not worry about the safety of the device in your bag.
But are they worth their $349? No, but they are definitely better than the $400 Bose 700. And now that the QuietComfort 35 II is battling Sony headphones and the latest Bose model, you can find them online for around $250-$300. Just make sure that the necessary update is installed successfully.
Best Wired Noise Canceling Headphones
Bose QuietComfort 20
The American company Bose is well known to all connoisseurs of high-quality speakers and audio systems for the home. However, the brand also has good headphones in its range, including models with adaptive noise cancellation. QuietComfort 20 stands out among the interesting solutions in this category. To implement noise reduction, each earphone of this model received a pair of microphones. The first listens to everything that happens near the membrane, and the second captures the sound outside. Then the processor processes the data, creating a signal in antiphase, which ensures silence. Noise cancellation in good wired headphones is turned on on the block located near the plug. It contains the battery and all electronics. There is also a button on the remote to quickly turn off the noise reduction.
- reliable fixation in the ear;
- wearing comfort;
- quality microphone;
- great sound;
- good isolation from external noise;
- performance quality.
- impressive cost.
A good headset with high-quality active noise cancellation from the Chinese brand Huawei. ANC3 is suitable for those users who have acquired a smartphone without a 3.5 mm jack, but do not want to buy a wireless ear model. Yes, the plug is USB Type-C, so you don’t need adapters. Such a connection has another plus: no additional power is required for noise reduction to work. But the mobile device will start to discharge faster because of this, which must be taken into account. Huawei’s wired noise canceling headphones sound quite good. But the system itself works average.
- materials and assembly;
- quality cable;
- connection type;
- rich bass;
- does not require a separate power supply;
- good sound;
- affordable price tag.
- operation of the noise reduction system.
Samsung’s EO-IC500 model can offer incredibly clear and high-quality sound to music lovers. It also uses a USB-C connector for connection, so these noise-canceling headphones work without additional power. The perfect shape and several included ear pads provide the owner with maximum comfort when using the EO-IC500. Even Samsung headphones proved to be excellent in headset mode: the voice is transmitted perfectly, without distortion, interference or unpleasant effects.
- comfortable fit in the ears;
- quality of spoken microphones;
- reasoned cost;
- good bass;
- excellent build quality;
- decent isolation of external noise.
- As the headset does not work everywhere.
Audio Technica ATH-ANC50iS
Headphones from the Audio-Technica brand continue the review. Model ATH-ANC50iS is one of the most interesting in its category. It belongs to the overhead type, the build quality of the headphones is excellent. The “ears” weigh almost 200 grams, in their left bowl there is a compartment for an AAA battery (provides up to 40 hours of noise reduction).
Audio-Technica products regularly win prestigious awards for the best sound quality. And indeed, the frequency range here is very even, all the instruments and the voice are well audible. But bass fans won’t like it.
The cable of this high-quality noise-canceling model is quite thin (especially considering the dimensions of the headphones themselves). But its quality is good, there is no memory effect, and the cord does not harden in the cold. It should be noted that the passive resistance of the ATH-ANC50iS is 150 ohms. This means that flagship phones will be able to unleash the potential of Audio-Technica headphones, which cannot be said about simpler models.
- incredible sound;
- passive soundproofing;
- very soft ear pads;
- convenience of design;
- reasonable cost.
- a little flimsy fastening of the bowls.
Bose QuietComfort 25
Another not at all cheap Bose headphones. But is it worth paying more than 200$for the QuietComfort 25 model? Undoubtedly! These headphones are well thought out even in small things. The shape of the headband ensures a snug fit on the head, while the quality fabric trim adds style and comfort. The ear cushions of some of the best TOP 12 headphones are made of leather — a durable and pleasant to the touch material. Cast zinc bowls also add premium to the headset. And, of course, the sound! Here he is incredible. But, again, it is even too correct, so it is suitable only for connoisseurs. Ordinary users should take something cheaper, where everything is set up for a mass listener.
- detailed sound;
- operation of the noise suppression system;
- Comfortable headphone design
- long-term comfort;
- the presence of a convenient cover;
- long battery life.
- Not everyone will like the sound;
- the cost is quite high.
Best Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones
First-class earplugs with excellent active noise reduction from the Sony brand. The WF-1000XM3 is available in black and silver. The package includes 6 pairs of interchangeable ear tips in sizes S, M and L (various materials are available for maximum comfort), a case of impressive dimensions and a charging cable.
The latter, unfortunately, does not support wireless charging, which, given the price tag, would be a completely logical addition. But for quick pairing with smartphones, the case has an NFC module. On a single charge, Bluetooth noise-canceling headphones can work for 5-6 hours. The battery in the case is enough for 3 full charges.
- excellent isolation from external noise;
- the volume of the battery in the case;
- excellent equipment;
- really cool sound
- the possibility of flexible configuration through the application;
- fast charging headphones;
- control and microphone.
- impressive size case;
- no wireless charging.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
A fairly recent model of noise-canceling vacuum headphones from Sennheiser. They are made of high-quality plastic, on the side panel of each «ear» there is a touch panel for controlling playback and calls. The Sennheiser headphone case is not the smallest, but quite comfortable. It looks stylish due to the fabric cover (however, it is easy to get dirty). There is a battery inside, which allows you to add 21 hours of autonomy to the device (the “ears” themselves work up to 7 hours).
The fit of the Momentum True Wireless 2 is snug enough to run and exercise in the gym. A nice bonus is protection against sweat and light rain according to the IPX4 standard. To configure the headphone control scheme, you can use proprietary software for smartphones. As for the sound, here it is very balanced. The 7mm drivers each do a good job with almost all genres.
- battery life;
- convenient complete case;
- a modified version of the case, compared to the previous version;
- thoughtful management;
- secure fit of the «ears»;
- excellent sound.
- very high (for its class) cost;
- inconvenient switching between sources.
JBL Tune 600BTNC
The American company JBL is one of the undisputed leaders in the portable acoustics market. Surely many of our readers have wireless speakers of this brand, which have become one of the most popular in their segment. The manufacturer failed to achieve the same success with headphones, but Tune 600BTNC has no problems with quality. This model is assembled perfectly, it does not press on the ears with prolonged wear.
Unlike other headsets, where the microphone is located on the body, JBL Tune 600BTNC does an excellent job as a headset. But keep in mind that when connected via the supplied cable, the microphone of the smartphone will be used.
Popular wireless noise canceling headphones are equipped with a 610 mAh battery. According to the manufacturer, this is enough for 22 hours of work. But keep in mind that this result is achievable with noise reduction turned off. With this option, the battery will run out in about 12 hours. Her efficiency is very good. And the sound quality (especially for such a modest price) is simply incredible.
- two types of connection;
- perfectly removes noise;
- folding design;
- simple control;
- luxurious driving sound;
- low cost;
- offline work.
- poorly resistant to wear materials;
- not supplied with a cover;
- partially glossy finish.
Marshall Mid ANC
If we talk about which headphones with active noise reduction are better to buy, then Marshall cannot be ignored. Her Mid ANC model is one of the most attractive in both design and sound. Yes, and the noise cancellation itself works quite well here. And this is for modest, as for their capabilities, 110$!
As for ergonomics, it is ambiguous. Judging by user reviews, the Marshall headphones are quite comfortable. But in some cases, due to a too rigid headband, discomfort can be felt after 15-20 minutes of listening. Therefore, it is worthwhile in the process of testing before buying to evaluate not only the sound, but also this nuance.
By the way, about the sound. 40mm drivers are responsible for it, providing excellent balance. There is enough bass here, but not for fans of powerful bass. High and medium frequencies are worked out perfectly, there is enough volume reserve. It is also important that the Mid ANC model has support for the AptX codec, which is responsible for the transmission quality.
- premium workmanship;
- incredibly high-quality sound;
- Ease of controls;
- good noise suppression system;
- support for Bluetooth AptX codec;
- battery life (up to 30 hours).
- some users will be uncomfortable.
Xiaomi AirDots Pro 2
Next in line are good noise-canceling earbuds from Xiaomi. Yes, it is liners, not plugs, which is quite unusual for its class. Therefore, first of all, it is worth mentioning the main drawback of the AirDots Pro 2: the noise reduction here is more for show. But when talking, external sounds are cut off quite well.
The design of AirDots Pro 2 is clearly borrowed from Apple headphones. True, the latter still look much better, and they win in terms of convenience. But in terms of sound, inexpensive Xiaomi headphones are almost not inferior. And this at a price tag about three times lower! On the legs of the headphones there are touch pads for controlling playback. It is convenient to use them.
- excellent fit in the ears;
- high sound quality;
- good volume reserve;
- democratic value;
- voice quality.
- volume cannot be controlled;
- there is no way to adjust the sound from the headphones, only from a smartphone;
- mediocre noise reduction.
The WH-1000XM3 is a great full size active noise canceling headset. This model comes with a handy hard case, a USB-C cable for charging, an adapter for connecting to two jacks on airplanes, and a cable for wired operation of the device (on one side with a straight, and on the other with an L-shaped plug). Noise canceling on Sony headphones works great. Perhaps, according to this parameter, the WH-1000XM3 can even be called the best in the class. A background noise boost mode is also available.
The design of the WH-1000XM3 is understated. On sale the device is presented in 2 colors: black and beige. The coating of the headphones is matte, but since the user constantly touches the touch cups with his hands, there are always prints on them. But on the other hand, there were no questions about landing — it is very comfortable. Discomfort can only be delivered by a too hot environment, due to which the ears begin to sweat. The sound quality of the headset is incredibly good. But, nevertheless, she lacks HF a little.
- cute design;
- excellent sound insulation;
- ease of management;
- battery operation;
- quality of materials;
- thoughtful design.
- voice quality;
- not the most modest price tag.
Beats Studio 3 Wireless
Rounding out the list is another full-size noise canceling headphone, but this time from Beats. This model weighs an impressive 260 grams, but on the head with prolonged wear, it practically does not differ. And yes, the build is great.
Studio 3 is a youth model. And this is hinted at not only by the abundance of bass, which the brand’s models have always been famous for, but also by the variety of colors (12 pieces at once).
The headset can work in wired and wireless mode. In the second case, the battery lasts for 22 hours (40 with noise reduction turned off). Fast charging function is provided (10 minutes is enough for 3 hours of listening to music).
- work with Apple devices;
- incredible autonomy;
- a large selection of colors;
- design and build quality;
- sit perfectly on the head;
- First class case included.
- the sound is quite mediocre.
Jabra Elite 85h
If you’re looking for a durable, waterproof pair of ANC headphones, the Jabra Elite 85h is a great choice. The internal components are treated with a water-resistant nano-coating that will protect against spring rains. Instead of a matte plastic or metal finish, the Elite 85h are covered in a textured fabric, making them very comfortable to use.
Starting with firmware version 1.4.1, Elite 85h supports AAC for high quality streaming. The slightly reduced bass allows vocals and mids to resonate clearly in almost all recordings. Moreover, the high frequencies are free from hiss (they are also slightly attenuated).
Battery life is fantastic, with 34.58 hours on a single charge and a full cycle in just 2.5 hours. Given such autonomy, this is not at all long. If you’re in a hurry, 15 minutes of recharging gives you about five hours of playback. The Jabra Elite 85h cost $50 less than direct competitors with their full feature set and water-resistant design.
What are the best noise canceling headphones to buy?
The presented ranking of the best active noise canceling headphones can offer great options for any user. Among the models available, Xiaomi and JBL are very good options. A little more expensive, but still at a reasonable price, you can buy wired headphones from South Korean Samsung and Chinese Huawei.
Bose and Audio-Technica devices provide very detailed and correct sound. But if you’re looking for something more versatile, Sony and Marshall stand out here. Connoisseurs of powerful bass should definitely take a closer look at the Beats Studio 3.
If you are looking for gaming headphones, then full-size models will be the best option. First, they put pressure on the head a little less overhead. Secondly, they can be conveniently used not only with a smartphone, but also with a PC, which cannot be said about the plugs.