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Orpheus

Best noise cancelling headphones

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Long time no post, but the times require hoarding to get through the corona isolation.

 

I am asking for thoughts about the best over-ear (I think this is the term) noise cancelling headphones, to use on my exercise bike (so with an iPhone or iPad; exercise bike is the chain driven, air resistance type, easily the most enjoyable, but not quiet). I think I can buy covers for the headphones to deal with the sweat, so that isn't a problem.

 

I listen to a wide range of music, from classical to alt country, folk, indie, etc. I want a balanced sound, and do not want mid-bass heavy, which is a common problem, designed (I think) to conceal the lack of bass extension.

 

I am looking at the ff;

Sony WH-1000XM3

Sennheiser Momentum 3

B&W PX7

 

Any thoughts, or other suggestions? In current climate, I will just purchase and be damned, I'm not going out of the house, it's dangerous out there!

 

Cheers,

Orp/Cameron

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Also consider:

Bose nc700

apple Airpod pro

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Thanks, TDX, will be violating the "listen before you buy" rule, so any observations about how they sound?

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Posted (edited)

I have the Sony and they are fine for the purpose I use them for, which is on planes, quietening down office spaces where I can listen to music at lower levels than the office noise and TV at home.

 

Bought them after hearing a few at JBHifi Sydney duty free on the way out of the country. Haven't heard any others on your list. 

 

This is all done via Bluetooth when I use it and the sound is much crisper, tighter and clearer than say Sonos speakers which is my only comparison for the money. I can't enjoy music with Sonos speakers. I make this comparison as both are streaming devices with inbuilt DAC, amp and speaker etc. Far better than $1500 spent on stereo Sonos Play 5s or $600ish on Sonos One pair. And I'd rate the One (not the 1) over the new 5s for clarity and forgive them for lacking low end that the 5s have. 

 

My only other comparison is against two stereo systems where a cable costs as much as the headphones which I don't think is fair. But I can at least enjoy music with them while doing something else but have never used them for critical listening as that isn't the point of them for me. 

 

They are better than the previous Sony version at noise cancellation. And sound quality is more spacious than older Audiosonica.

 

Heaps of modes and adjustments including for ear shape on the app. I've not played with the settings. The equalisation appears to only start from 400Hz unless updates have changed this. 

 

My only drama is self inflicted when I've left them on upstairs and I get a phone call and wonder why I can't hear the other person. Phone has automatically paired with the headphones which I guess at least means the range is good. 

Edited by DrSK

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Sony WH-1000XM3....

 

tried the Boss not sure I’d pay for that....when you can pay for the Sony at this price at Costco

A1906A70-71B4-4035-9F77-77BA30DD8625.jpeg

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Thanks, A to M and Dr SK, I think I will just go with the Sony and be done with it; good, reasonably priced, and easily sourced.

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1 hour ago, Orpheus said:

Thanks, A to M and Dr SK, I think I will just go with the Sony and be done with it; good, reasonably priced, and easily sourced.

My son has been using it for a while, he’s used both the Bose 35 and B&W of memory but could get enough volume out of it and returned it.  Was looking at the AT700 but that had hiss issues and BT problems so we stuck with another Sony for my daughter.

note that we didn’t buy at Costco,  we went to the local JB and showed them that price to match because it’s a drag to return it at Costco....

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https://www.stereo.net.au/reviews/category/noise-cancelling

 

Me, I use the Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC. Crazy battery life, even better sound, and ability to adjust to your individual hearing.

Please they're tough. I've traveled extensively with them and they've held up unlike others.

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On 02/04/2020 at 4:54 PM, Marc said:

https://www.stereo.net.au/reviews/category/noise-cancelling

 

Me, I use the Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC. Crazy battery life, even better sound, and ability to adjust to your individual hearing.

Please they're tough. I've traveled extensively with them and they've held up unlike others.

I'd already bought the Sony by the time you posted, Marc, and I suffered serious  buyer's remorse, as I couldn't engage with the sound at all using Bluetooth.

 

I then tried them using the headphone jack on my Apple MacBook Air, which requires strategic placement of the computer to allow me to use the exercise bike.

 

The  sound is much, much better, which leads me to wonder whether there are inherent limitations with the Bluetooth protocol, or whether it is possible to do it significantly better.  

 

I might now try to set up a DAC next to the bike, as this might improve the sound even further.

 

The noise cancellation is pretty effective, and the trademark noise cancellation hiss is evident when nothing else is happening, but not a problem when the music is playing.

 

I have to batten down the hatches, as barristers are self-employed, and in current circumstances, that means self-unemployed, but I may see myself clear, when the dust has settled a bit, to try the Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC.

 

To summarise; good headphones, with good noise cancellation, but let down by the sound quality of the Bluetooth.

 

@Marc, do the Beyerdynamic Lagoon headphones overcome the problems with Bluetooth? 

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Bluetooth technology can be tricky, as it relies on both the headphones & source using the same codec, in order to get the best possible quality. Keep in mind, wired still remains the superior option with regard to sound quality, but Bluetooth is certainly gaining ground & for most, acceptable.

 

What device are you playing music through with these headphones?

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On 04/04/2020 at 7:28 PM, Orpheus said:

I'd already bought the Sony by the time you posted, Marc, and I suffered serious  buyer's remorse, as I couldn't engage with the sound at all using Bluetooth.

 

I then tried them using the headphone jack on my Apple MacBook Air, which requires strategic placement of the computer to allow me to use the exercise bike.

 

The  sound is much, much better, which leads me to wonder whether there are inherent limitations with the Bluetooth protocol, or whether it is possible to do it significantly better.  

 

I might now try to set up a DAC next to the bike, as this might improve the sound even further.

 

The noise cancellation is pretty effective, and the trademark noise cancellation hiss is evident when nothing else is happening, but not a problem when the music is playing.

 

I have to batten down the hatches, as barristers are self-employed, and in current circumstances, that means self-unemployed, but I may see myself clear, when the dust has settled a bit, to try the Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC.

 

To summarise; good headphones, with good noise cancellation, but let down by the sound quality of the Bluetooth.

 

@Marc, do the Beyerdynamic Lagoon headphones overcome the problems with Bluetooth? 

What source are you using for your bluetooth music?  I'm guessing an iPhone?  Need to ensure it's using the AAC codec (which the Sony headphones support).  https://www.head-fi.org/threads/howto-find-which-codec-is-used-between-ios-device-and-bluetooth-headphones.835289/

 

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Thanks, Blairy, I'll look into this.

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3 hours ago, Jovan.s1987 said:

Bluetooth technology can be tricky, as it relies on both the headphones & source using the same codec, in order to get the best possible quality. Keep in mind, wired still remains the superior option with regard to sound quality, but Bluetooth is certainly gaining ground & for most, acceptable.

 

What device are you playing music through with these headphones?

iPhone 7.

 

I am now using my Teac UD501, connected to my MacBook Air, but using the headphone jack (ie  wired). Compared to going direct from the MacBook through the headphone jack on the Mac, there is much less difference than either  of these compared to wireless from the iPhone.

 

I use Tidal premium.

 

I could live with the MacBook Air with the headphone jack. There is cleaner and better bass and a bit more definition with the Teac,  but it is essentially similar in character, whereas wireless through the iPhone is a bit crap.

 

I did wonder whether wireless through the MacBook Air would be better than through the iPhone, but I can't seem to get the AirBook to see the Sony, perhaps they are not compatible?

 

 

 

 

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The Beyer Lagoons have a totally different sound signature than the Sony, is it  better?  depends on what you want that’s why you have to try them all b4 out laying the $$. Headphones are super personal,   It’s like the Boss 700, I wouldn’t pay for those because I don’t think they are any better unless you like them and prefer them but not at that price.   I have Beyer T90,  that have similar drivers to the Lagoon but are not wireless and I am super happy when I connect them to any iPhone 7,  6 or 5... anything else used to drive them may be an added bonus but we are talking $1000s  and that type of amount I’m not prep to pay especially when I can get the results I’m after.  The iPhones are good enough for the T90.   Plenty of other wireless including the AT900 but you won’t be able to demo them wireless at JB.   Wireless will never be better than wired, it’s a convenience  that you look for in wireless and how that interacts with the environment your using them for NC, the Sony does well in these areas, surprise about the hiss you’re reporting, never noticed it to any of the Sony I have access to.  Not everyone is going to agree with the Sony, I didn’t until you audition other NC wireless headphones. 

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Realise OP has bought some but adding to the convo.

 

Got the Sony from SonyAustralia on eBay. Big discounts and less an eBay code too brought them near half price. Making good for bang for buck.

 

Free Sony headphone app needed to use greater functions.

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I have the B&W PX. They sound nicer and more natural than the Bose 700, which I had a chance to listen to in a store, but if I was buying headphones to listen to at home only I wouldn't go Bluetooth. They aren't as good as wired as stated above.

 

If I were to buy now, going on John Darko's video of the B&W PX7 I would get them.

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And for the OP, I have had great easy results using a Dragonfly Red USB DAC with any apple i-things.  May be worth trying for you’re sticking with a wired setup.  You can use directly with your laptop, or via an “Apple camera connector” to get from your phone’s out to usb.  Make sure you only buy a genuine one - I’ve never had a knockoff work properly.....

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