Best Noise Cancelling Headphones 2019 reviewed by musicphotolife.com Singapore Tech Blog

Back in 2017, I did a detailed comparison on the most popular noise cancelling over-ear headphones. There were the Bose Q35, Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2, Sony MDR-1000X, Sennheiser PXC 550, FIIL Diva, and Beoplay H9. In 2019, I reviewed the following headphones and in this post, I will share the best features on each product.

Links to the detailed review:

When reviewing the noise-cancelling headphones, clearly the most important factor has got to be the noise-cancelling function. But consumers should also know the other features that put them at a competitive edge. I hope this article will help you to make your next purchase decision.

Best Noise-Cancelling: Bose HP 700

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (HP 700) delivers the best noise cancelling among the reviewed. It has 11-step ANC level which balances the ambient sound. At level 0, it sounded as if you are not wearing the headphones, allowing you to hear the surrounding. Controls are done over the touch panel on the right ear cup and offers excellent response. Audio quality is also better than the QC35II, less pushy, cleaner treble, balanced bass. The voice call quality is also impressive as the caller is able to hear me even when I am in a noisy area. It’s a pair of headphones that I find more versatile than I thought.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review by musicphotolife.com Singapore consumer tech blogger

The major drawback would be that the headphones does not fold, so it occupies a larger storage space.

Click below for the full review.

Best Audio Quality: Beyerdynamic LAGOON ANC

If you refuse to compromise on audio quality, then you must settle for Lagoon ANC. The headphones sound good in any listening mode – with ANC, without ANC and even on passive wire mode (power off). Its unique Light Guide System with coloured LED inside the ear cups offer user with visual updates on the headphones. For instance, the ear cups light up in different colours so you know the side to wear in the dark. The Sound Personalisation puts you through a short hearing test to understand your listening sensitivity and then adjusts to optimise your hearing.

Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC headphones review by musicphotolife.com Singapore tech blog

The drawback for the headphones is that the ANC switch is too small and difficult to select the middle slot. And some of the technical features like the auto-pause does not work as intuitively. For that, Beyerdynamic may need a few more iterations to get to a competitive position.

Click below for the full review.

Best Design: Master & Dynamic MW65

Among the headphones here, the MW65 is simply the most stunning pair of ANC headphones. The design details, the premium leather and aluminium materials, they all look so fabulous. The metal buttons are solid and easy to slide, the ANC button is stylishly positioned. Sound-wise, I feel they are almost as good as Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC. The latter however is more audiophile-accurate, while the MW65 is more tuned for better audio experience. It’s got tighter bass, bright enjoyable treble, and for casual listeners, I reckon they might prefer MW65.

Master & Dynamic MW65 review by musicphotolife.com Singapore tech blog

The major drawback is the premium price, the highest among the reviewed. Anyone who buys the MW65 is one that goes for design and style, while the ANC feature is just a good-to-have. At least the design is something worth paying for.

Click below for the full review.

Best Battery Life: Jabra Elite 85h

How does 36-hour battery life sound to you? That’s how long the Jabra Elite 85h can last with ANC enabled. Besides that, they are rain resistant, as the exterior is made of nano-coated fabric. The Elite 85h has quite a lot of features, like auto-pause when headphones removed, intelligent noise cancellation, supports HearThrough (ambient sound). There is no power button: just twist the headphones and it powers up. The sound quality is not neutral, but makes music exciting and fun to listen to. ANC is close to Bose and Sony.

Jabra Elite 85h review by musicphotolife.com Singapore tech blog

The biggest drawback is the audio codec quality: it only supports SBC and I can detect compression artifacts and noise floor.

Click below for the full review.

Best Overall Features: Sony WH-1000XM3

Sony only launched its first premium ANC headphones in 2017, but they have already caught up with Bose in the technology. In fact, the 1000XM3 won the QC35II, only to be dethroned by the latest Bose 700.

Sony WH1000X M3 review by musicphotolife.com, Singapore consumer home travel product blogger

However, when it comes to overall features, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is undeniably tops. The headphones app offers a lot more personalisation and setting changes, from the audio processing, custom EQ, to Adaptive Sound Control. The Quick Attention mode – just place your palm against the right ear cups – turns on Ambient Sound promptly for conversations without removing the headphones. The headphones also fold for more compact travel.

The major drawback would be the build quality. From the first generation to the current generation, while the design is largely unchanged, the latest iteration used more plastic materials.

Click below for the full review.

Conclusion

During my vacation in early October, I brought all my review ANC headphones on board the 6-hour flight. My wife did not think she needed “special” headphones, but after I passed her during the flight, she was sold.

Humans are highly adaptable. We would not realise how noisy the plane engine sounds are until we remove the noise through ANC headphones. Yes, you might still be able to hear some higher-pitched sounds, but it is way better than you trying to stuff your ears with earbuds and turning up the volume. When you wear a pair of ANC headphones, you do not need to turn up the volume and still hear the audio details. We all plugged the ANC headphones into the in-flight entertainment system 3.5mm jack and enjoyed the movies in bliss, oblivious to any noises made by the passengers.

Beyerdynamic LAGOON ANC headphones on flight

With the upcoming vacation season, I highly recommend getting one for your long-haul flights. Or, if you take public transport regularly, you should get one to pamper yourself. For an all-rounder headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is the safest buy, but I personally would go for Bose HP 700 because I prefer the design which is less bulky to wear, more sturdy, and prefer the ANC balance with the ambient sound which is more useful than I had imagined. Because in life, we do not always want to kill the noise, but rather, we want to listen to music while at the same time hear what’s going on around us. Bose HP 700 allows me to adjust and balance the noise isolation naturally without sounding artificial, while maintaining the audio balance.

Are you still at a loss? Leave a comment below and I will share more. Do read the detailed write-up on each of the headphones above to get more insights. Thanks for reading and please share my article if you find it useful.

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