Purposed to create a world of yours - where you're free of the undesired sounds of day-to-day life - at the touch of a button, is what every noise-canceling headphone oughts to do. While a lot of them do just that, they might not sound as extraordinary as the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones we recommend. Or it might not be as voguish as the well-performing elegant Bose 700.
I got the DT-770 Pro as a support for mixing, because unfortunately I do not currently have the opportunity to edit my room acoustically for my studio monitors. So now I use the speakers for the regular work, while I use the headphones for the delicate places where I have to work very accurately. To anticipate it: For this purpose, the headphones work great for me!
It was particularly important to me that the entire spectrum is reproduced as unadulterated as possible so that I can make the most accurate decisions, especially in the bass range. The headphones deliver this without any problems.
We've compiled a List of Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones in 2020
Whether the advertised transmission range of 5 – 35000 Hz is maintained, I can not say, I don’t think any human could hear past 20000 Hz; however, all frequencies that are heard for me are played back and it goes damn deep!
Audeze, one of the most prestigious brands of high-end hi-fi headphones, dived in March 2018 into the gaming industry with a new top-tier gaming headset for high-caliber players. The event was of enormous surprise and truly intriguing; Not only because of the blending of an elitist brand like Audeze with the medium of gaming, but also for the expectations which had arisen by the upcoming of an alluring pair of gaming headsets and the unreal promises they’ve made.
It doesn’t take long to realize the majesty of Audeze Mobius sound once donning them on your ears. As one of the best gaming headset, the audio quality is the second most intriguing aspect after the immersive soundscape generated by the planar magnetic drivers and Waves Nx technology for 3D audio immersiveness.
Not only does the 100mm planar magnetic drivers emulate the most authentic immersive cinematic experiences, they also achieve an admirable level of precision and responsiveness. The complexity of the captivating, imacculate surround sound with the dramatic and vivid sounds filled with details make it almost impossible to take them off your head. The experience is truly addictive.
Best Budget Audiophile Headphones
Why we like it: The great-sounding AKG K701 is an exceptionally popular beast for audiophiles, and because of its open-back design, the music yields beautiful vocals with lifelike tones. The AKG K701 is a little underrated and might not be as popular as Beyerdynamic’s DT 770 Pro or Sennheiser HD 600; However, the sound holds those qualities that delight audiophiles when the music plays.
For most people, open design headphones are a significant turn off for their lack of sound isolation and the music that can be heard by everybody around you. While these headphones are not meant for everyone, they’re the best budget open-back headphones for audiophiles and very enjoyable if you’re an audio hobbyist that has an environment designed specifically for such stuff. For personal use, the AKG K701s are quite satisfying; for professional use, they’re excellent for music producers, home mixing and mastering, though not for recording.
The frequency response displays exemplary linearity for a set of this nature, and that makes the music sound neutral and balanced. Meanwhile, the soundstage feels vastly large and broad, and that is for sure the result of the wide audio spectrum which captures audio wavelengths from as low as 10 Hz, and it goes way beyond our hearing threshold up to 40000 Hz – of course – the open-back earcups also improve that effect quite a lot as the sound flows to the outside creating an enticing audio scene.
We’re satisfied with the overall sound quality, yet we feel that the deep-bass is mildly recessed and less punchy than other audiophile headphones such as Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro, but surely a little punchier than Sennheiser HD 650s. However, the vocals are well nuanced and well-reproduced, while the treble remains clean, yet accentuated around 8 kHz mark.
The K701 manages to deliver satisfying sound; moreover, the headphones look and feel extremely good. It’s made primarily of plastic, which is a bit disappointing considering the sound quality and the price tag, whereas the red-brown leather headband could have been padded to ensure better comfort. Despite those small nitpicks, the earcups covered in soft cushion feel pleasant, and the cable provided is long and convenient if you’re moving around a lot.
Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro
Great All-around Reference Headphones
Why we like it: Beyerdynamic headphones are very popular among audio engineers because of the excellent sound neutrality and high definition they have – in the same fashion – Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro doesn’t diverge from that description. Given that it carries the same traits that audiophiles adore, these headphones offer high-quality sound reproduction and enough clarity to unveil details, which are often hard to notice with most consumer headphones.
The specs show that the over-ear DT 990 Pro headphone is a powerful unit – and indeed it is – its impedance of 250 Ohms requires a high-caliber amplifier in order to enjoy these high-fidelity headphones. A smartphone or iPod won’t be able to power them enough, so you’ll only be able to listen at a low volume; However that shouldn’t be a problem since these, as with AKG K701, have an open-back design that limits public use. The frequency response is very wide, the bass is extensive and deep, slightly more pronounced than DT 880 Pro, although very similar in comparison with DT 770 Pro.
Because of an admirable bass extension combined with an open design, the Beyerdynamic offers a somewhat reasonable bass control and definition that is comparatively better than several other open-back headset models that one could find in this price segment. Moreover, they also don’t cost a vast deal of money, taking into account its well-developed overall frequency response.
The sound is very balanced, and because of it, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro shows a variety of beautiful tones, whereas the soundstage also sounds highly authentic and lifelike which represents a very noteworthy quality of the DT 990 Pro that we thoroughly enjoyed every detail of the music that we’ve played in our testing process. Genres that range from Rock/Jazz and Classical music to Pop, Hip Hop, but also a bit of Electronic music, soft Dubstep (as well as much hardcore type of Dubstep) and some Retro electronic music known as Synthwave. In almost every case, the Beyerdynamic headphones were a pure joy to listen to, experiencing realistic audio with slightly engaging music but very detailed and accurate stereophony rendering.
Meze 99 Neo
Excellent Hi-Fi Headphones for Music
Why we like it: The Meze 99 Neo features a surprisingly clean-cut and immaculate craftsmanship, as well as a very tasteful design. The audiophile headphones that the Romanian company boasts with might be slightly on the higher end of the price range for some looking after budget options (although it doesn’t top the $200 price range) but with exemplary audio definition, sound quality, and pleasing sub-bass.
99 Neo was designed for high-fidelity listening while keeping an extremely low entry for various Hi-Fi enthusiasts and more serious audiophiles. Its mid-range might not compare to Beyerdynamic’s in terms of balance, although the sound spectrum is comprehensive and rich (15 – 25000 Hz range). Besides, the music through Meze 99 Neo sounds fantastic, one aspect that is assuredly the best. Another great thing, where Meze has the upper hand compared to Beyerdynamic, is the low impedance of only 25 Ohms which makes possible high-quality music listening with most devices, very effective, reliable and as the company says “effortless”.
We agree that the appearance of these headphones is elegant. They do look very desirable. Still, what impresses us more is the smooth, balanced sound signature and the overall sound which rarely engages poorly any given frequency – It’s incredible how neutral they are and feel. It’s low-end is lightly warmer, but full-bodied and exceptionally maintained even with some of the most complex songs we played – this effect provides a bit more energy in the low-range that is, as far as we and many other reviewers experienced, professionally handled and beautifully sounding.
Overall, Meze proposes with its audiophile-intended headphones 99 Neo, a neat design, comfortable seating which should entice those of you who love listening to music a lot, and with that, the company made no compromises in terms of sound quality as these great-sounding headphones carry a high-fidelity, crisp, clear and well-balanced sound that you can enjoy once you plug it to almost any low-power device (even with your smartphone).
Optoma NuForce HEM4
Best In-Ear Headphones for Audiophiles
Why we like it: The Plantronics Backbeat Pro II is a fantastic upgrade of the previous headphone for travelers: Plantronics Backbeat Pro, except with a more refined design, lighter construction, and better sounding. Many of the elements that digital nomads or avid travellers want are reinforced in this set of wireless headphones: complete control from responsive smart sensors, the comfort, passive and active noise isolation, multiple Bluetooth pairing methods (aptX, A2DP, 4.0 EDR), multipoint pairing technology, crystal clear sound, and great autonomy.
For a reasonable price, these headphones offer everything your ideal budget NC headphones should have. In our objective judgment, the sound reproduction is fantastic. But listening to each contender, the music sounds amazing in all of them, yet the Plantronics Backbeat Pro II ranks somewhere in-between the noise-canceling headphones from above in terms of music – still in the same league though with a wide soundstage and precise instrumental separation.
It has a neutral sound (starting from the second half of the bass frequencies until the end of middle treble), undoubtedly more neutral than Sony’s and Bose’s headphones, which is preferred by audiophiles who love a balanced or neutral sound profile. The overall sound is mildly recessed – the quantity is not significant enough that it would require extreme amounts of volume to compensate.
Plantronics promises 25 hours of battery that is more than the average autonomy of the competitors, which should be enough for two days or more of listening to music with everything enabled (unless you don’t travel all the time, it should be able to deliver its goods for a whole lot more).
Its nicely-padded earcups are very comfortable, but when you turn on the active noise reduction feature, the bass from music becomes more pronounced – the music still remains appreciable even under this condition (some bass-heads will probably love the “feature”), while a small portion of the highs also receives a bit of the same attention, thus too much volume makes the sounds in that region annoying.
The Jabra Elite 85h is an incredibly powerful wireless headphone that has beautiful aesthetics and great-sounding, as the primary reason people buy headphones with noise canceling is to travel around the world and enjoy music in silent and comfort, even though the Elite 85h has the huge advantage of 40 hours with NC engaged over Bose QC 35 II, they are also heavier (the weight of 300 g becomes unpleasant immediately) and slightly more expensive.
The Everest Elite 750NC is a nice pair of wireless headphones, very comfortable to wear with a homogenous sound response, but short autonomy (15 h), the ANC is effective yet not reliable: the bass becomes excessively rough while activated, whereas the mids and highs aren’t the most accurate.
The Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 deemed as the budget version of the BackBeat Pro 2, have almost the same build quality, stereophony, and noise reduction effectiveness for a smaller price, but our budget pick performs slightly better.
The Parrot Zik 3 is a well-built headphone with rigorous construction, and a decent battery life of 8 hours with all the modules activated, although we do have better solutions for any of those qualities.
The AKG N60 NC Wireless is also a great mid-end pair of headphones which passive isolation and ANC function are very competent, but they’re a bit pricier than our current budget choice, and you can’t turn ANC off in Bluetooth mode. Nonetheless, for $50 more, the sound of N60 is fantastically balanced, accurately rendered and detailed, though the lack of presence in treble is quickly sensed.
The AKG N700NC sounds impressively good in the upper end of the spectrum but has inexistent deep-bass, a bit heavier and less comfortable than Bose QC 35 II (also pricier), and contains a few flaws.