Whether essential or not, Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones with active noise reduction are the most popular models on the market. And as for the wired models, there are some for all budgets. Difficult to make the right choice among the many products and the many approaches, but we are here to help you.
This selection is based on 8 products, those that seem to us the most interesting in their price range. All these models have been tested.
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1- Active Noise Cancelling Headphones TAOTRONICS TT BH22.
The TT-BH22 is a TaoTronics brand entry-level noise cancelling wireless headphone. So we must be content with a box a little fair and sober, stingy in specifications. In addition to some essential accessories (jack and USB cables, a little translated documentation), we still have a rigid and well-designed carrying case, able to carry the headphones but also a small audio player! Unlike the USB cable, which is quite conventional, the audio jack cable is also quite good and has gold-plated sockets. Finally, let us point out the rather strange absence of the airplane adapter, usually supplied with this kind of helmet.
- Reference: TT-BH22
- Type: Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
- Transducers: dynamic 40 mm
- Others: autonomy of almost 25h
A very sober design, but also evocative of obvious sobriety, we must admit that the TaoTronics BH22 is not very original either. Indeed, he copies the outline of the models QuietComfort Bose, so pleasing to the eye. That said, the quality of the assembly or the finish is at the rendezvous, even if slightly below the original, especially with regard to the quality of the plastics and some joints. Taken in hand, the helmet is surprising lightness, offering extreme ease of withdrawal. It’s very large ears in the sense (right / left) well-identified (inside the pads, but also left side Braille) are mobile without being loose. And despite significant passive sound isolation, the TaoTronics BH22 does not grip the ears and remains extremely adaptable to the head of the user.
The pads of the ear cups are all-encompassing and deep, with a fairly soft contact surface. The band, of a thickness and a very correct width, is regulated with precision, thanks to its well-marked notches. All this offers a comfort relatively close to that provided by a Bose QC helmet, the first time at least.
Simple and unsurprising electronics,
Audio brands called “alternative” had us used to many more surprises, and this will unfortunately not be the case here, the TaoTronics BH22 is very conformist. Via a CSR A64210 chip, we enjoy Bluetooth AAC audio compatibility (Apple devices) and SBC (any Bluetooth device, MP3 equivalent 320 kbps). Of course, this headset can be used wired via its standard 3.5 mm jack, which guarantees maximum compatibility. However, it should be noted that the volume will be much larger in Bluetooth!
An essential function of this model, active noise cancellation (ANC) is based on a dedicated circuit and two pickup microphones incorporated into each headset. If the addition of the ANC is a general trend allowing also a better sound versatility (readjustment of medium and high frequencies). In practice, it would rather be reserved for a complimentary use, because of three points: first, the pads already do a great job, providing a passive reduction of surrounding noise effectively; then, the ANC filtering is limited to very repetitive sounds, which makes it not very effective for vocalizations and other high-pitched sounds; finally, it causes here, unfortunately, a fairly marked background noise (with some random artifacts), noticeable at low volume only.
Regarding the transducers used, the electrodynamic standard of 40 mm was chosen and there does not seem to be any particular technology to put forward. We have nevertheless noted the presence of an acoustic chamber, with some filters and specific vents, which may partly explain the sound versatility this model is capable of, in the end. And whether wired or wireless, the sound remains about the same. Finally, let’s end with the serious autonomy of almost 25 hours, thanks to the integration of a large battery of 800 mAh. In practice, this is easy enough and allows for smooth use, whether at home or in transport.
Versatile and full of energy
Musically, this TaoTronics is a very energetic helmet adapted to a nomadic environment where, as we see in a large majority of Asian manufacturers, the details and the precision are not generally elements on which they wish to linger. Logically, the voices are also slightly behind. Rest assured, all the same, this model is far from the cavernous and felted register, typical of low-end headsets. On some more instrumental music, for example, we can even note a good separation and sensation of space, despite its closed side.
A nomadic headset for the general public
The TaoTronics TT-BH22, by its small name, is an ANC Bluetooth headset oriented unambiguously to as wide a public as possible. Presenting extreme simplicity of use and great lightness, it is affordable and visually appealing. It has more of a serious finish and also allows, with a rousing sound and sufficient quality, to run most music registers without much difficulty, even if it is curiously limited to audio codecs AAC and SBC, those offering the least quality among the wireless transmission modes. But every day, the TaoTronics BH22 will satisfy more than one and is undoubtedly a very good musical travel companion, low price, discreet and effective!
2- Noise Canceling Over Ear Headphone PLANTRONICS BACKBEAT GO 810
The Plantronics BackBeat GO 810 seems to have everything to please: a cool design, a price that is just as good, a Bluetooth 5.0 wireless link, an active noise canceling system, an app on smartphone to set it up … It really ticks all the boxes. We tested it to remove doubts.
- Type: In-ear Noise Canceling Wireless headphones
- Connection: Bluetooth 5.0 SBC or wired
- Commands: Physical Buttons and Settings App
- Transducers: 40 mm electrodynamics
- Frequency response: 50 Hz to 20 kHz
- Autonomy: up to 28 h without ANC, up to 22 h with ANC
- Supplied accessories: storage bag, micro-USB charging cable, mini-jack cable
- Weight: 189 g
The Plantronics BackBeat GO 810 is a lightweight, almost all-plastic helmet, but looks good and elegant, with excellent quality finishing. Its arch of a rather fine structure makes hear some crunches but holds well the tests of torsions. Its solid slides, which are made of metal, slide well while having sharp notches of height adjustment. On the head, the Plantronics BackBeat GO 810 has the outfit. It is really a nomadic and urban helmet. We can imagine running (not too fast anyway) by keeping it on the skull. The cushion under the arch is properly padded and the weight well distributed. The ear cushions are ear-type and memory foam. They are a bit narrow.
The hearing aids of the user are a little crushed and one can quickly feel a warm-up. This is one of the few points that denotes an economic conception. Nevertheless, the comfort and the hold are already far superior to what we get with most over-the-ear headphones or with many circum-ear models in this price category.
The Plantronics BackBeat GO 810 has good small 40mm diameter transducers. Its noise-canceling system (ANC) does not use one, but two microphones per earpiece, one outside and the other inside. His performances are far from those provided by the best, but they are already very respectable. They even surprised us considering the price of this helmet. They have a slight sensitivity to the effects of the wind, but here again, it is very correct.
It is possible to choose between two levels of ANC in the BackBeat smartphone application. To activate (or deactivate) the ANC from the headset, press the two-volume buttons simultaneously for two seconds. It does not come intuitively, but once you know it,
For listening, the Plantronics BackBeat GO 810 offers two modes of EQ that can be selected on the fly via a button on the headset: “Bright”, that is to say, clear, or “Balanced” a little more neutral and boomy but not too much excess. You can use this headset in Bluetooth as well as wired off or on. It gives its best results with the activated ANC. It produces a bit of breath when in active mode, but fortunately, it is usually covered by music and turns off as soon as the audio signal stops.
The restitution is not of a very high resolution, its ends are shortened, however, it is rather well balanced. It is characterized by soft highs, warm bass, and fishing, a medium register sufficiently open. The set is relatively natural and sounds good. The Plantronics BackBeat GO 810 has a lot of know-how. It’s really fun to listen to. It represents a very good choice in its category.
3- Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones- JABRA ELITE 85 H
Jabra is not the first brand you think of when looking for an audiophile headset, even if it’s a wireless product. It is best known for utilitarian products such as Bluetooth hands-free kits, pro headsets and headphones for sports. But with the arrival of the Jabra Elite 85h wireless and noise-canceling helmet, its image could evolve.
- Type: In-ear Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones, wireless active noise reduction
- Binding: SBC Bluetooth 5.0 (future AAC compatibility) or wired
- Commands: Physical Buttons and Settings App
- Protection: “Certified durability with resistance to rain and 2-year warranty against water and dust”
- Transducers: 40 mm electrodynamics
- Frequency response: 10 Hz to 20 kHz
- Autonomy: up to 41 hours without ANC, up to 36 hours with ANC
- Included accessories: storage case, USB-C charging cable, mini-jack cable, airplane adapter
- Weight: 296 g
Jabra is part of the Danish group GN, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. GN was born in 1869 at the time of the Telegraph and was a specialist in telecommunications and batteries before becoming an audio specialist. He now owns 6 brands, the result of several acquisitions of American and German companies. Its portfolio includes ReSound, Beltone, and Intertron, which manufactures prostheses and hearing aids; BlueParott and Falcom on the market for headsets for professionals in the logistics, industry, security services or the military; and finally Jabra, which is aimed at both professionals and the general public. Because of this heritage and this expertise, Jabra has the image of a brand more focused on utilitarian and functional aspects than on pure and futile musical pleasure.
However, in recent years, it is increasingly interfering in the field of leisure. It started with Bluetooth headphones for amateur sportsmen, then the headphones true wireless in 2018 with excellent Elite active 65T, and the manufacturer is now continuing on this track with the Jabra 85h helmet that we are testing here.
A look, an outfit and a very good comfort for the first vision
The Jabra Elite 85h is the first wireless and noise-canceling headphones of the Danish brand. He is joining a booming market segment currently dominated by Bose and Sony. Its price places it a notch below the reference models, positioned between 350 and 380 €. But make no mistake, his ambition is to go tickle the best. he arch adopts a curvature near the skull. The pads have narrow edges, but their very soft skin and their soft memory foam compensate for the small support surface. The Jabra Elite 85h can slightly warm ears in hot weather (our tests were conducted during the heat of late June), but apart from this phenomenon common to many other helmets, it provides excellent comfort and there is not much to complain about its good behavior on the head when you are moving. In use, the weight of a little high (296 g) of this helmet is really not a problem.
The quality of finishing and assembly is of the highest level. The Jabra Elite 85h also looks good. The structure of the hulls and the hoop is mainly plastic material, but the hinges for folding the helmet are solid metal.
A little artificial intelligence but no touch.
The Jabra Elite 85h offers three listening modes in Bluetooth or wired: compensation circuits off (off), active noise canceling (ANC) or sound return to hear outside noise ( HearThrough ). The headset is equipped with 8 microphones in total to ensure good voice recording during phone calls, reproduce external sounds or cancel them.
The Jabra Sound + app on iOS and Android allows you to adjust preferences for four predefined usage profiles ( In Private, Trips, In Public, My Moment). For each one, it is possible to choose the listening mode and to define an equalization curve. The settings are quite advanced. They include many options for taking call: activation of the ANC, level of return of the voice, increase treble or bass … It may seem complicated, but fortunately, it is possible to keep the settings by default and let the headset automatically choose the profile best suited to the situation. Simply activate the SmartSound function. The Jabra 85h even claims to intelligently manage its noise-canceling system, adapting its level of intervention to ambient noise. It sounds a little bit like a truism or, at least, a tautology, but one has to admit that in the field we have been convinced.
Jabra had told us that the noise control system of his 85h helmet had a moderate action. We found it, on the contrary, devilishly effective to isolate the noise of a dense circulation for example or to be freed from the effects of the wind. When we were in a quieter place, the ANC did not bother us too much by a too brutal intervention giving the feeling of unpleasant vertigo similar to that which one meets in a deaf room. We have noted sometimes funny pumping effects, like a valve that opens and closes, when we walk or turn our head abruptly. But overall, we greatly appreciated the noise canceling system and automation of the Jabra Elite 85h. Same with regard to the sound return mode,, which seemed much more natural than other headsets or headphones.
Ergonomics has also been completely to our liking. Jabra chose not to equip his helmet with a tactile surface. We are thus more immune to manipulation errors. One has a domed button behind each of the two earpieces, one to choose the listening mode and the other to activate the voice command on the smartphone (Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri). With position sensors, the headset turns on and off automatically when it is removed or removed from the ears. In addition, buttons marked with pins at the top and bottom of the outer panel of the right atrium allow you to adjust the volume or change the range while a recessed button, in the middle, is used to pause, take a call or restart playback. C ‘ is relatively simple. All controls are easy to locate with your fingertips.
No Hi-res audio, yet he can also be an audiophile
Everything was not a long calm river during our tests with the Jabra 85h. His ignition system and automatic connection have sometimes been a problem for Bluetooth pairing with new devices, or it does not always put the music on the go when you put it back.
Fortunately, the Jabra Elite 85h’s software is regularly updated and improved through its smartphone app. This is exactly the kind of helmet you keep on your ears without realizing it, just for the pleasure of listening to music. As far as we are concerned, it is not so common and even very rare for a wireless and noise-canceling model.
What we particularly like is that the Jabra Elite 85h is very versatile and adapts very well to different expectations.
First, in Bluetooth, we benefit from Jabra’s expertise in the professional field to offer an extremely functional product. The sound restitution is wise, relatively neutral. The noise-canceling system is effective. The sound return mode, HearThrough, is of a rare natural. The intelligibility is of the best level, in both directions (for you and for the interlocutor), during the telephone calls. There is a small peak of acidity in the high end, but the sound is pleasant on all styles of music. The volume setting is very progressive. It is possible to listen to the muted music for hours without hearing fatigue. The stamps are a nice balance. The bass has heat without excess. It’s lively and airy. We are not looking for pure performances. The Jabra 85h Bluetooth 5.0 connection does not include the Hi-res AptX HD or LDAC audio codecs, nor the AptX. An update just provides for the addition of AAC. It is true that these absences are a stain on paper.
Then, a wired connection, we feasted. We have discovered that the Jabra 85h has a real hidden audiophile talent. This headset uses 40mm transducers, whose slightly milky translucent diaphragm brings them closer to some Sennheiser models. The moving coils of these transducers are of small diameter (about 15 mm). Yet passing wired link, the performance explodes. The restitution of the Jabra Elite 85h gains an octave in the lower spectrum. The bass becomes very dynamic, deep, fast and punchy. The top of the spectrum still retains a small hint of acidity, but the definition and the feeling of presence make a big good quality. The sound image gains a higher dimension. It gives a very beautiful feeling of space and openness. The sound is very clean, without saturation, even at high levels. The power handling is impressive.
Congratulations to Jabra for this headset that is both functional, comfortable, intelligent and can be audiophile when asked.
4- Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones Bose QuietComfort 35 II
The American manufacturer Bose is recognized as the leading specialist in noise-canceling helmets; Pr. Amar Bose is even presented as the inventor of active noise reduction. The flagship of the range, headphone icon, is the QC35 II, wireless model – active noise reduction, of course! Bose today declines this model in two-colored limited editions: midnight blue or “triple midnight”.
Like its world-renowned designer in the field of active noise reduction, the QC35 II has become an icon. The QuietComfort 35 is part of a range that has marked the entry of bose into the world of wireless headsets. Subsequently, the QC35 II inherited its features, benefiting from an improved control system. It is, therefore, a compact wireless model with active noise reduction, which can be controlled locally via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. It also promises a battery life of 20 hours and works with a dedicated application, Bose Connect, available for iOS and Android. This allows you to customize the settings, including adjusting the noise reduction level, sleep, or the functions assigned to the control buttons and provides some information such as the battery level.
In just a few years, the QC35 (and its QC35 II version) has made a name for itself, becoming a best seller in the headphone market. Bose has not forgotten that the helmet has also become a fashion accessory and declines its QC 35 II in two new colors: midnight blue with the trademark logo visible in “rose gold” or triple midnight, namely entirely dark blue, logo included.
5- Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones Sony WH-1000Xm3
A true technological feat, the Sony WH-1000Xm3 is the helmet of all superlatives. Very comfortable and well finished, it integrates practically all the audio codecs of the market and fulfills an autonomy of 30 hours. Its noise reduction system is simply the best on the market, supported by a really complete application and a lot of settings. It remains powerful, dynamic and warm without becoming too aggressive. Finally, its price is now down to 300 euros at most sellers, which makes it all the more desirable.
- Type: closed-ear, Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
- Link: Bluetooth (SBC, AAC, AptX, AptX HD, LDAC) or wired (active or passive)
- Transducers: electrodynamic 40 mm CCAW coil
- Frequency response in wired: 4 Hz to 40 kHz
- Bluetooth frequency response: 20 Hz-40 kHz LDAC, 20 Hz-20 kHz with other codecs
- Active mode sensitivity: 104dB / mW
- Sensitivity in passive mode: 101dB / mW
- Bluetooth autonomy: 30 hours with RBA (ANC), 38 hours without RBA (ANC)
- Charge time: 3 hours
- Supplied accessories: storage case, mini-jack cable, USB-C charging cable
- Weight: 255 g
The Sony WH-1000Xm3 has perfectly digested the small errors of its first versions. The helmet gets lighter, it weighs only 255 g. Its manufacturing quality is rising. The hoop is closer to a human morphology and the pads of the atria are wider. All these small points make the WH-1000Xm3 is both sturdy and comfortable.
The Sony WH-1000Xm3 uses a hybrid system, combining physical buttons for ignition and noise reduction, and touch panel for volume and navigation. The whole is in focus, even if the touch control keeps its dimension a little risky. It is not uncommon to be wrong in manipulation.
In addition to an impeccable Bluetooth connection, the Sony WH-1000Xm3 is compatible with everything that is done in terms of audio codecs for wireless: AAC, AptX, AptX HD and LDAC are in the program. A little unstable, it is nevertheless powerful and allows us to enter in detail in the settings of the headphones, whether the sound or noise reduction. We can just blame the Bluetooth connection not to be multipoint to connect the headset to multiple devices at the same time.
Autonomy remains one of the highlights of the Sony WH-1000Xm3. Depending on the codec used, it varies between 22 and 30 hours with noise reduction activated. Noise reduction disabled, it is possible to reach nearly 36 hours.
The great strength of this helmet comes also from its sound insulation. In passive mode, it is already excellent. In active noise canceling mode, the Sony WH-1000Xm3 is simply the best model on the market. Not content to go very far in the frequency range, it does so with greater cleanliness and attenuation than the Bose QC35 II offers.
The brand has chosen a fairly universal, detailed and powerful approach. Worn on the bass, the Sony WH-1000Xm3 does not lock so far in its roundness. He places the mediums slightly behind to better bring out his little peak in the treble, which gives ventilation. Listening, the WH-1000Xm3 is perfect for its nomadic target. He is never too aggressive or too soft, but always dynamic and warm. Without achieving the openness and level of detail of a real good audiophile wired headset, it performs well to restore virtually all musical styles.
6- Noise Cancelling Headphones Sennheiser PXC 550
Top of the range of the Sennheiser brand, the PXC550 remains a model of comfort and manufacturing with discreet charm. If its active noise reduction is still very high is not at the level of the best, it catches up with a sound of his own.
- Type: closed-ear, ear-level, Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones, with touch controls
- Autonomy: 30 hours
- Transmission in Bluetooth 4.2 or wired analog (mini-jack) and digital (USB)
- Transducers: 40 mm electrodynamics
- Frequency response: 17 Hz to 23 kHz
- Impedance: 490 Ω inactive, 46 Ω in passive
- Supplied accessories: storage case, mini-jack and USB cables, 6.35 mm jack adapters and aircraft
- Weight: 235 g
From the first contact with this helmet, Sennheiser’s expertise and experience in ergonomics and design are tangible. The Pxc 550 Wireless can be folded flat and on itself to fit in its carrying case and is compact and lightweight (just 235 g). Its pads, despite their small width and small opening, perfectly fit the ears of the pavilion with their profile flaring inward. Covered in a very soft synthetic leather and filled with very soft memory foam, they provide excellent hold, passive sound insulation, and comfort.
The effort on equipment and functions is even more impressive. The Sennheiser PXC 550 can be connected in Bluetooth, but also in classic wired analog connection by mini-jack or directly in digital to a computer in USB. Its right atrium offers full touch controls, including triggering voice control. Apart from the Bluetooth activation button, well hidden, others fall naturally under the fingers. One is used to activate several sound effects (“Nightclub”, “Cinema”, “Dialogue” …) a little gadget, the other to adjust the intensity of the noise-canceling system (0, 50 and 100%). Which is more interesting. In addition, the Sennheiser TuneCap app (iOS and Android) gives the possibility to continuously adjust the noise level and very precisely equalize the response curve of the PXC 550 Wireless. Unfortunately on our iPhone, it only worked by listening to music from the internal library and not with other apps like Spotify.
Listening, the Sennheiser PXC 550 has high performance, deep and powerful bass, sharp treble, a broad frequency response. In Bluetooth, from Spotify, the top of the spectrum sometimes seems a little dirty and aggressive. On the other hand in direct digital connection, since a Mac in USB, the definition is much better.
Finally, good point for the noise reduction system of the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless. If it is not the most efficient in the very low frequencies, it is generally a very good efficiency. In addition, it does not distort the sound reproduction, does not cause pumping or noise or nuisance.
- Type: noise-canceling wireless headphones, circum-auricular
- SBC and AAC compatible Bluetooth 5.0 chip
- Announced autonomy in Bluetooth + noise reduction: 20 hours
- Total recharge time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Fast charge: 3 hours 30 minutes for 15 minutes of recharging
- Supplied accessories: mini-jack cable (1.06m), USB-C charging cable, carrying case (21.8 x 17.9 x 6.2 cm)
- Weight: 252 g
The Bose Headphones 700 contrasts with the history of the brand. The model keeps certain sobriety but brings a touch more design and certain minimalism. It thus coexists very thin and slender hulls with a hoop formed of a single piece. The latter seems infinitely simple, almost reduced to a sketch, without any roughness if not a discreet silicone reinforcement for padding.
A new, more refined and modern approach, but also slightly more massive
If the hulls of the Headphones 700 retain the solid plastic of the previous models, the hoop becomes all metal without any screws or pivots. This change means that the helmet no longer folds, it can only go flat. In practice, its size is very small; it occupies very little space once stored in its beautiful hardcover. The manufacturing is very serious, without play, more opulent than the QC35II. The weight is, on the other hand, a little more important, going from 235 g to 252 g.
The arch is drawn differently, but it becomes especially closer, closer to the skull. This arrangement makes the Headphones 700 tighten more head. Comfort is not bad for all that. This headset remains in the very good models of the genre, but it is not so relaxing for long listening sessions. In the state, one can only note a slight regression compared to the QC35II or even facing the Sony WH-1000xm3.
Ergonomics up to date with the appearance of a touchpad
Exit the approach while buttons QC35. The Bose Headphones 700 pays tribute to the touch. If three buttons still coexist, Bose does everything to hide them. It leaves them subtly flush on the edges of the hulls, making them almost invisible. The first button is used to start/pair, the second to call the voice assistants. The third one, located on the left hull, allows using one of the 3 presets of the reduction of noise.
For all the rest, the navigation is tactile. Unfortunately or fortunately (because it limits handling errors) its area of action is only half front of the right hull. A little too small at times, this surface is yet particularly precise and responsive. Two taps allow playback/pause, the vertical and horizontal slide of the finger respectively bring volume control and navigation within the tracks. To go with this modernity, Bose goes to the USB-C connector for charging.
The Bluetooth chip in the headset shows a more modern version in 5.0, but remains camped on its two favorite audio codecs, mandatory SBC and AAC.
Much improved noise reduction, above all for the voice
The finding is simple, in terms of active noise reduction (ANC) Bose Headphones 700 is slightly higher than the previous QC35II, but does not fully catch up on the Sony WH-1000Xm3, at least not in advanced comparative tests. In actual conditions, the difference is almost insignificant. Bose remains in the very high-end and we can just blame him for not having seized the opportunity to push little further technological limits.
The noise reduction curve shows a good attenuation, either at its maximum level (green curve) or at medium level (yellow curve), for which we notice above all a difference from the midrange. On the other hand, the Bose Headphones 700 stands out very largely from the competition by the rather fabulous quality of its microphones. Call quality, especially in noisy environments, literally crushes the competition. This quality also applies to the sound return, much better quality and much more natural than all other helmets. This results in both a better sound quality, but also a much better reduction of noise surrounding parasites.
The dedicated application Bose Music is however not as complete or stable as that of Sony. It nevertheless allows some settings, including the assignment of 3 predefined levels for noise reduction (left button). The model has 11 levels of reduction, arranged in order of attenuation from 0 to 10. The helmet is set by default to Level 0, 5 and 10. Strangeness, level 0 does not correspond to a total deactivation of the noise reduction but a mix with the sound feedback of ambient noise. This one always attenuates the basses and raises slightly the level of sound starting from the medium frequencies (for the voices). To completely disable the noise reduction, it is imperative to go through the application.
Autonomy preserved, sound Bose in the continuity
The battery life remains very similar to that of the old Bose headsets: a small 20 to 22 h depending on the audio codec used, adjusting the level of noise reduction to the maximum. A very solid result, but behind the 30 hours of competitor Sony.
The sound also reflects this desire for continuity. It remains very balanced in the register of bass and midrange while being a bit sawtooth in the treble. The Headphones 700 retains the powerful character of the Bose QC body35II while providing slightly superior bass control. Treble loses slightly in linearity. Without being lower in this register, the Headphones 700 agency than a little less well the details. The transducers of the helmet, aware of their limits, seek to remain always efficient and without skids where the Sony WH-1000Xm3 is more technical but less balanced, of a character more player. None is really superior to the other. This new Bose headset is therefore without much risk-taking on its sound part.
8- Over Ear Wireless Adaptive Noise Cancelling Bowers & Wilkins PX 7
The PX, ushered in a new era in the family of audio headsets of the British brand Bowers & Wilkins. While maintaining a very refined style and obvious common paternity with his elders, he adopts new dressings, a new structure and especially a home noise system, totally new. With its “V” -shaped metal frames, its woven wraps, the PX has the inimitable class of previous Bowers & Wilkins helmets while standing out with a little more fun, bohemian chic, dropping the polished metal and the black leather upholstery. For the rest, the construction appears solid and the finish is always ultra neat. The auricles have shells in high-end synthetic materials (not vulgar plastic).
- Type: around-ear, closed, noise cancelling wireless headphones
PX 7 Has Dual sensor noise reduction system (it can be switched off and adjustable in three intensities)
- Bluetooth: AptX HD (wireless audio transmission up to 24-bit / 48 kHz), AAC, SBC
- Transducers: 40 mm, electrodynamics
- Frequency response: 10 to 20 kHz
- Sensitivity and impedance (passive mode): 111 dB / V at 1 kHz, 22 ohms
- IOS and Android compatible steering application
- Inputs: USB-C (battery charging and firmware update), 3.5mm stereo mini-jack
- Weight: 335 g
- Battery 850 mAh Lithium Polymer, battery life up to 22 h in Bluetooth with noise reduction, up to 29 h in Bluetooth only, up to 33 h in wired connection with noise reduction
- Supplied accessories: standard 1.2 m audio cable, a storage pouch, USB C / USB A cable
HD Wireless transmission and home noise-canceling system:
The Bowers & Wilkins can operate in wired connection, but only when its circuits are activated. Charging is via USB-C. This is still rare enough on headphones. It could have been hoped that Bowers & Wilkins would make the PX compatible with the Lightning port of iOS products and with the proper Android outlets. On the other hand, the good surprise is that the Bluetooth wireless link supports the AAC codec and the AptX in its HD (High Definition) version. A process that is still uncommon on smartphones, but which should (hopefully) become the norm in the high end, allowing the transmission of sound in better quality, with a minimum of compression.
The other interesting point of this Bowers & Wilkins helmet is its external noise reduction system. The engineers of the brand (according to our sources) did not use a ready-made solution from a subcontractor which is a guarantee of better control of the audio quality.
A wise compromise on the parameters of comfort, ergonomics, and functionality:
In the field, the wireless link is perfectly stable, even at a great distance from the source (more than 10 meters in a congested interior and through partition walls, under our test conditions). The helmet level controls are missing the touch panel, found in many competitors. For the PX, Bowers & Wilkins preferred to stick to five real physical buttons, in the back of the right atrium, and these buttons fall quite easily under the fingers.
When it comes to comfort, the Bowers & Wilkins PX is a good compromise. Admittedly, the padding of his headband and the foam of his ear cups are a bit firm. You can wear it for a long time without feeling too tired, while the weight is still reasonable and the helmet stays in place even when we are moving. By default, the music pausing system when lifting an earpiece or removing the headset (a good idea in the absolute) is a bit too sensitive. But luckily, it is possible to disable it from the control app (iOS and Android).