Noise-Canceling Headphone Reviews

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Tyll Hertsens  |  Nov 10, 2017  |  16 comments
About this time last year I reviewed the then new Sennheiser PXC 550 BTNC over-ear, noise canceling headphones in hopes that someone would manage to unseat the Bose Quiet Comfort 35. Didn't happen. The Sennheiser had some great features, but in the end it was just too bright for me.

Recently I got a few more Sennheiser wireless noise cancelers and I found they too seemed overly bright. Now I consider Sennheiser the world's best headphone manufacturer. They've got a lot of experience under their belt, so when I hear a batch of Sennheisers, from differing product lines, that all seem too bright and have a quite similar measured response, I've got to question myself. Maybe they know something that I don't.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Aug 20, 2017  |  17 comments
At the moment, the Cowin E7 is Amazon's top selling wireless, noise canceling headphone and has a four star rating with 3,800+ reviews. We headphone geeks might recognize the brand, but I very much doubt if the average person has ever heard of Cowin. I thought maybe it's just the cheapest Bluetooth, noise canceler on Amazon. Not even close; this one is $13.21! (How in the world do you even deliver the box for that price?) I tried to find a PR contact for Cowin for review samples to no avail. Oh well, it's cheap enough...I just bought a pair.
Tyll Hertsens  |  Aug 06, 2017  |  8 comments
Having not too long ago reviewed the $1499 AKG N90Q and finding it an astonishingly cool and effective noise canceler, I thought it would be interesting to look at what AKG was doing way down the food chain at a more affordable price. Thing is $300 is still $300, and in my book a pretty serious purchase. A $300 headphone needs to be good and competitive. Let's see if AKG managed to pull it off.
Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 05, 2017  |  19 comments
Wow, these headphones are bee-you-tee-full! Not at all in a flashy way at all—they're understated; elegant; shapely. It's as if someone drew the perfect idealized headphone, and then Sony brought it to life.
Tyll Hertsens  |  Mar 13, 2017  |  19 comments
Oh my! What an extraordinary headphone. The N90Q represents the first real effort to deliver seriously good sound quality using DSP corrections. It's my feeling that in the long run this type of headphone may eventually be able to deliver a superior subjective listening experience compared with passive headphones of the same price. On the other hand, I also have a little saying, "The first one is usually the worst one." Seems to me the proper perspective here is that the N90Q will be a good indicator of where we're starting on the road to DSP headphones, and how far they're likely to take us in the future. Let's get to it!
Tyll Hertsens  |  Feb 12, 2017  |  16 comments
Sean Olive and his crew of researchers have been at it for a while now, and I reckon some their work should have trickled down into JBL products by now. One likely candidate is their recently released JBL Everest Elite 700, a wireless, noise canceling, over-ear headphone, which contain Harman's whiz-bang TruNote technology that is claimed to calibrate the headphone to the wearers ears. Let's check it out.
Tyll Hertsens  |  Nov 02, 2016  |  3 comments

Shots fired!

Sennheiser's new PXC 550 ($399) Bluetooth noise canceling headphone is a direct shot across the bow of Bose's battleship Quiet Comfort 35 ($349) dominance of noise canceling headphones, which I reviewed very positively. Not only do Bose own a big chunk of that market, they consistently, in my opinion, have the best isolation and sound quality performance. Let's see if Sennheiser can put a dent in that armored hull.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jul 22, 2016  |  23 comments
"Value packed" is not a word I typically use to describe a headphone. I really thought the Beyerdynamic DTX 350 m was great for the money; definitely a good value...but not packed with value. Sennheiser's HD 600 is an extraordinary value...but no carry case; doesn't have a mic/remote; isn't useful portably. Still a great headphone and an extraordinary value, but packed with value? Okay, maybe. HD 800 S? Great headphone, but no friggen way anything over $700 is "value packed." The Quiet Comfort 35, on the other hand? Oh yeah, this thing will be a delightful traveling companion with technological, comfort, convenience, and solid sound quality characteristics abundantly.
Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 17, 2015  |  22 comments
The audiophile in me was disappointed when I learned that Sennheiser's big reveal at CES this year would be some physical changes to, and wireless versions of, their Momentum and Urbanite lines. What hot blooded headphone enthusiast doesn't yearn for the next Sennheiser flagship? The pragmatist inside me understood the move perfectly, Sennheiser is invested in the two brands and is strengthening them for the long haul. Fair enough.

Let's have a look!

Tyll Hertsens  |  Nov 12, 2014  |  31 comments
It must be going on 5 or 6 years now that I've been recommending the Bose Quiet Comfort 15 as the best noise canceling headphone. Time after time when comparing the QC15 with newcomers to the field, they either slayed the competition with their ability to isolate from outside noise, or with their competent sound...usually both.

Then last year at about this time, Bose introduced their Quiet Comfort 20, a shallow insertion in-ear noise canceling model. I thought it was awesome. The shallow fit is remarkably comfortable—similar to just gently putting your finger against your ear canal—and their ability to isolate astonishing. When recently I heard that Bose was about to introduce a new over-ear model to replace the QC15 I emailed my contact at Bose immediately—when it comes to noise canceling headphones, Bose is the maker to keep an ear on. They did not disappoint.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 19, 2014  |  11 comments
I've never heard a Bluetooth, noise canceling, headphone/headset that sounds good---or even the same---in all modes...until now. This is a really cool, jack-of-all-trades, general purpose headphone/headset!
Tyll Hertsens  |  Nov 26, 2013  |  25 comments

Damn! I almost fell over the first time I switched them on...the quiet was physically stunning. I spent my last two flights with the Bose Quiet Comfort 20 in my ears...the sense of having my own space and refuge was extraordinary. Go ahead and yell it at the top of your lungs, I'm sure I'll barely hear...

SANCTUARY!!!

Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 17, 2013  |  41 comments

Sony gave these cans the model number 1. I've got to believe this was a "pull out all the stops" effort to make a flagship headphone for the brand. Or at least, one that would enter the fray and kick Beats butt.

Well, we'll see....

Tyll Hertsens  |  Oct 31, 2012  |  34 comments

The inside of a great designer's head must be a very unusual place. On the one hand, the world is filled with clumsy, ugly, ill-formed objects. On the other, it's rife with opportunity for utility and beauty. The cacophony of internal dialog must be almost unbearable. Renowned designer Philippe Starck has turned his attention to untangling the mess that is Bluetooth headsets, and in collaboration with Parrot (a French company with significant experience in automotive Bluetooth devices) has developed the most unique wireless headset I've ever seen.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Sep 29, 2012  |  100 comments

Logitech has recently stepped up it's game in the world of personal audio with an entirely new line of Logitech UE branded products. There's plenty of muscle there to do the job well, the question is: Can a mouse company apply it with the finesse needed to really produce well balanced audio products?

Fortunately, Ultimate Ears is in the mix, and it seems to me the mouse has some pretty good ears now.

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