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post #1 of 10 Old 01-07-2019, 01:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Suggestions for active noice cancelling headphons

Hi all,

I'm looking for decent noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones for my different use cases, and I figured it won't hurt asking here for ideas or suggestions.

Mainly I plan to use them with:
  • Home: Acer Android tablet (YouTube, Netflix etc.)
  • Home: Samsung Android phone (Spotify, Netflix, jogging etc.)
  • Home: Sony Android TV (Netflix etc.,will most likely need also an external BT transmitter with aptX support for the TV, as this Sony model does not support BT headphones directly)
  • Office: Samsung Android phone (phone calls) if the headphones have a decent microphone
  • Office: HP Windows 10 laptop (MS SfB & Teams) if the headphones have a decent microphone
I have some old Plantronics ANC headphones at the office, they somewhat still work but they are not very comfortable and are starting to break apart.

At the moment I am evaluating Bose QuietComfort 35 II, which are very comfortable, but lack the support for aptX, which will most likely cause A/V sync issues with the Sony TV. Haven't verified though, as I havent bought the BT transmitter yet. I am considering returning these to the store and maybe trying something else.

Another option I have looked is the Sony WH-1000XM3, that does support aptX, and feels also super comfortable (same as the Bose), but Sony only allows pairing to 1 device at a time. This might be an issue as I need to switch between different devices often. I don't know how annoying or difficult it is to switch between BT devices with Sony, could someone else comment on this? Also there has been reported some issues when using the Sony headphones at cold weather conditions, of which Sony is aware of.

What else would you recommend? What other similarly priced and featured ANC headphones are there? My budget is around 150-400 USD/EUR.

Many thanks.
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post #2 of 10 Old 01-07-2019, 03:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tekarijee View Post
Hi all,

I'm looking for decent noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones for my different use cases, and I figured it won't hurt asking here for ideas or suggestions.

Mainly I plan to use them with:
  • Home: Acer Android tablet (YouTube, Netflix etc.)
  • Home: Samsung Android phone (Spotify, Netflix, jogging etc.)
  • Home: Sony Android TV (Netflix etc.,will most likely need also an external BT transmitter with aptX support for the TV, as this Sony model does not support BT headphones directly)
  • Office: Samsung Android phone (phone calls) if the headphones have a decent microphone
  • Office: HP Windows 10 laptop (MS SfB & Teams) if the headphones have a decent microphone
I have some old Plantronics ANC headphones at the office, they somewhat still work but they are not very comfortable and are starting to break apart.

At the moment I am evaluating Bose QuietComfort 35 II, which are very comfortable, but lack the support for aptX, which will most likely cause A/V sync issues with the Sony TV. Haven't verified though, as I havent bought the BT transmitter yet. I am considering returning these to the store and maybe trying something else.

Another option I have looked is the Sony WH-1000XM3, that does support aptX, and feels also super comfortable (same as the Bose), but Sony only allows pairing to 1 device at a time. This might be an issue as I need to switch between different devices often. I don't know how annoying or difficult it is to switch between BT devices with Sony, could someone else comment on this? Also there has been reported some issues when using the Sony headphones at cold weather conditions, of which Sony is aware of.

What else would you recommend? What other similarly priced and featured ANC headphones are there? My budget is around 150-400 USD/EUR.

Many thanks.
I have Bose QC35s, I use sometimes with my LG OLED. The TV has built in blue tooth. I never have experienced sync issues, except when using the built in netflix app.

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Headphone Rig: Oppo BDP-95, Burson Audio Soloist MKII Headphone amp/ Sennheiser HD800S, Sennheiser HD650
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post #3 of 10 Old 01-07-2019, 08:45 PM
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Just purchased the sony WH-1000XM3 and they are the finest in noise canceling I could find. The sound is excellent as well. The best thing to do is listen to them all, I did and I am very satisfied with my decision.

Mike
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post #4 of 10 Old 01-08-2019, 12:58 AM - Thread Starter
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I have Bose QC35s, I use sometimes with my LG OLED. The TV has built in blue tooth. I never have experienced sync issues, except when using the built in netflix app.
My main use with the TV will also be the builtin Netflix, so Bose might be a no-go for me.
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post #5 of 10 Old 01-08-2019, 01:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Just purchased the sony WH-1000XM3 and they are the finest in noise canceling I could find. The sound is excellent as well. The best thing to do is listen to them all, I did and I am very satisfied with my decision.
I have tried Sony on the store, they feel excellent, but I decided to try out Bose first.


How do manage swapping between devices? Or do you have multiple devices to use them with? Is it a pain in the arse? This might be the only negative side of the Sony for me if it proves to be too clumsy.
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post #6 of 10 Old 01-08-2019, 01:14 PM
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Bose QC 35 II are the way to go assuming you want bluetooth wireless.
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post #7 of 10 Old 01-08-2019, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tekarijee View Post
Hi all,

I'm looking for decent noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones for my different use cases, and I figured it won't hurt asking here for ideas or suggestions.

Mainly I plan to use them with:
  • Home: Acer Android tablet (YouTube, Netflix etc.)
  • Home: Samsung Android phone (Spotify, Netflix, jogging etc.)
  • Home: Sony Android TV (Netflix etc.,will most likely need also an external BT transmitter with aptX support for the TV, as this Sony model does not support BT headphones directly)
  • Office: Samsung Android phone (phone calls) if the headphones have a decent microphone
  • Office: HP Windows 10 laptop (MS SfB & Teams) if the headphones have a decent microphone
I have some old Plantronics ANC headphones at the office, they somewhat still work but they are not very comfortable and are starting to break apart.

At the moment I am evaluating Bose QuietComfort 35 II, which are very comfortable, but lack the support for aptX, which will most likely cause A/V sync issues with the Sony TV. Haven't verified though, as I havent bought the BT transmitter yet. I am considering returning these to the store and maybe trying something else.

Another option I have looked is the Sony WH-1000XM3, that does support aptX, and feels also super comfortable (same as the Bose), but Sony only allows pairing to 1 device at a time. This might be an issue as I need to switch between different devices often. I don't know how annoying or difficult it is to switch between BT devices with Sony, could someone else comment on this? Also there has been reported some issues when using the Sony headphones at cold weather conditions, of which Sony is aware of.

What else would you recommend? What other similarly priced and featured ANC headphones are there? My budget is around 150-400 USD/EUR.

Many thanks.
The problem I think you might run into with this sort of question is that, in general (myself included), most people aren't going to have a lot of (or any) HANDS-ON runtime with a variety of different models... they'll have done their own research, to whatever they did it, picked a model, and then share with you what they think about it. MOST of the time, with mid-to-higher priced gear, when people make an investment like that, they *usually* like the product and are happy with the purchase (or they HATE it and will go on-and-on about how it's disappointed them). I don't think you'll get a lot of luke-warms by posting/asking this sort of question.

That said:
I purchased a pair of Sennheiser HD1's about a year ago (January 2018). I have no hands-on experience with the QC 35 II's (although I do have a pretty low opinion, in general, about "Bose") or the Sony WH-1000XM3's you mentioned. In fact, this is the only pair of beyond-$50 bluetooth headphones I've owned. In general, I don't like Bluetooth. I *really* didn't like Bluetooth before I owned these. These have softened/reshaped my opinion on Bluetooth. I now know that Bluetooth doesn't *have* to suck.

I went with them over other alternatives for a few reasons:
- I've always liked Sennheiser as a brand. I like Sennheiser as a brand even more now than I did in January of 2018 (more to come)
- They supported AptX, which as an Android owner/user I wanted.
- Their ANC was "effective but a bit more understated" than some of the other options, particularly from Bose. It "works" but you won't hear/notice as strong of a *hiss*.
- Their sound signature was tuned "a little bit" (so they said) for "fun" ("warm"/"dark", "tastefully boosted" low end, rolled off highs, etc.)

The HD1's impressed me so much when I first got them (particularly in a quiet room and using the cable rather than the Bluetooth, but again, the Bluetooth on these was/is the best bluetooth audio experience I've personally had thus far), and I came to realize that I had a newfound use-case for quality headphones in my mid-30's (small children in bed before 9:00) that I didn't in my 20's, that I *really* dived headfirst into "higher end headphones" (at least legit "mid-fi") audio. I bought MULTIPLE pairs of non-bluetooth headphones in the past 12 months; so many that I'm almost embarrassed to share what all I bought. But in the process of acquiring so much headphone-related-audio-gear, I settled on a pair of Fostex TR-X00 Mahongany "closed cans" for office use, and for in-home I am now the proud owner of a pair of Sennheiser HD-6XX's and Audeze LCD-2C's, both of which my wife got me 3rd-party (periapt) XLR cables for Christmas to connect to my Schiit Jotunheim. I even use a pair of Sennheiser PC-37x's for gaming 2-player co-op with my son. Several other pairs were purchased in this time period but will go unnamed as they aren't getting much use in favor of the ones I did mention.


On three different occassions I had audio-gear-fan friends over during the Fall and Holidays to hear my new gear and weigh in. None of the 3 of them have much/any experience with that kind of Headphones/"Head-Fi" gear before (more into speakers). Side-by-side and after only a few (30ish) minutes of back-and-forth listening, 2 out of 3 of them *really* liked how those original Sennheiser HD1's stacked up against all that other gear. It has the "fun" sound with a big beefy mid-pass thump, and it grabbed 2 out of 3 of my buddies and they liked it/pointed to it/went back to it, even in the face of all those other options (the 3rd guy, to my surprise, choose/preferred the HD-6XX's; this pre-dated my owning the Audeze LCD-2C's, and I'm very interested to hear his thoughts when he finally gets to check those out). I think it's the VERY tangible/present bass, combined with the quality and detail in the mids, that reaches out and grabs people on their first impression.

To me? At this point? For portability, I still "like" the HD1's. I like the way they look. I think they're super comfortable. And I still think they successfully make "bluetooth not suck," which is good. But when in my house rather than on-the-go, with the benefit of a dedicated headphone amplifier and quality DAC? I think they do not stack up well compared to my non/less-portable gear. The low-end now sounds bloated, bloomy, and unrefined to me. I think it maybe takes more than the 30-60 minutes my friends all spent with them to begin to appreciate the finer points and subtleties that some of the other sets (like the Sennheiser HD-6XX's) do well that the HD1's do not. But the mid's/vocals and imaging on the HD1 really do hold up fairly well, and are likely the easiest thing I can point to for how they "kicked me into" such a headphones-craze. Not much soundstage, but far better overall performance than I had experienced before, and the extent to which it was an improvement over what I'd previously had was enough to drive newfound interest, and I've had a lot of fun (and spent a lot of money) in the last 12 months primarily because of them. So that's a pretty good endorsement, IMO. Right up until the point where I now look back at them and no longer think they stack up well, sound quality wise, to all the new gear I've bought because of them.


You didn't mention travel/flight, so I'm not sure you *need* (although you may want) the stronger ANC *hiss* of the Bose. That's the thing every reviewer says they do best; they have the best ANC. The HD1's are a little less aggressive (which partially drew me toward them). For flights or a desire to just completely deaden a loud/noisy environment/outside world, most everything I've read/heard is that the Bose gear tends to do best at.

You did mention Netflix/video, not just music. If that's a real/significant use-case, I think you're going to want not just AptX, but AptX-Low Latency (Aptx-LL) support too (unless audio-video sync errors don't drive you BANANAS the way they do me). I don't believe my HD1's support AptX-LL.

I don't know how much this will or won't help... hopefully you find at least a little bit of it to be of use.

Last edited by psuKinger; 01-08-2019 at 03:52 PM.
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post #8 of 10 Old 01-12-2019, 01:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by psuKinger View Post
The problem I think you might run into with this sort of question is that, in general (myself included), most people aren't going to have a lot of (or any) HANDS-ON runtime with a variety of different models... they'll have done their own research, to whatever they did it, picked a model, and then share with you what they think about it. MOST of the time, with mid-to-higher priced gear, when people make an investment like that, they *usually* like the product and are happy with the purchase (or they HATE it and will go on-and-on about how it's disappointed them). I don't think you'll get a lot of luke-warms by posting/asking this sort of question.
Perhaps, but if there are people like myself, who are obsessed of researching and experiencing thoroughly between different options and iterate over and over before making any conclusions or decisions, they might have some valuable insight to offer. Of course the opinion is usually subjective, and that's the point, to get a wider view of things. Anyway, I appreciate your comprehensive comment on the question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psuKinger View Post
That said:

I purchased a pair of Sennheiser HD1's about a year ago (January 2018). I have no hands-on experience with the QC 35 II's (although I do have a pretty low opinion, in general, about "Bose") or the Sony WH-1000XM3's you mentioned. In fact, this is the only pair of beyond-$50 bluetooth headphones I've owned. In general, I don't like Bluetooth. I *really* didn't like Bluetooth before I owned these. These have softened/reshaped my opinion on Bluetooth. I now know that Bluetooth doesn't *have* to suck.
Reading this I presume Bluetooth has a reputation of not being the first choice of "true" hifi people? I can understand that, fortunately I don't have "golden ears", so I'm satisfied with the experience and sound quality BT headphones offer at the moment, and I'm willing to compromise a bit if needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psuKinger View Post
I went with them over other alternatives for a few reasons:
- I've always liked Sennheiser as a brand. I like Sennheiser as a brand even more now than I did in January of 2018 (more to come)
- They supported AptX, which as an Android owner/user I wanted.
- Their ANC was "effective but a bit more understated" than some of the other options, particularly from Bose. It "works" but you won't hear/notice as strong of a *hiss*.
- Their sound signature was tuned "a little bit" (so they said) for "fun" ("warm"/"dark", "tastefully boosted" low end, rolled off highs, etc.)

The HD1's impressed me so much when I first got them (particularly in a quiet room and using the cable rather than the Bluetooth, but again, the Bluetooth on these was/is the best bluetooth audio experience I've personally had thus far), and I came to realize that I had a newfound use-case for quality headphones in my mid-30's (small children in bed before 9:00) that I didn't in my 20's, that I *really* dived headfirst into "higher end headphones" (at least legit "mid-fi") audio. I bought MULTIPLE pairs of non-bluetooth headphones in the past 12 months; so many that I'm almost embarrassed to share what all I bought. But in the process of acquiring so much headphone-related-audio-gear, I settled on a pair of Fostex TR-X00 Mahongany "closed cans" for office use, and for in-home I am now the proud owner of a pair of Sennheiser HD-6XX's and Audeze LCD-2C's, both of which my wife got me 3rd-party (periapt) XLR cables for Christmas to connect to my Schiit Jotunheim. I even use a pair of Sennheiser PC-37x's for gaming 2-player co-op with my son. Several other pairs were purchased in this time period but will go unnamed as they aren't getting much use in favor of the ones I did mention.
Sennheiser is one the brands on my check list, but haven't gotten a chance to try them out yet properly. Will definitely check them out too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psuKinger View Post
On three different occassions I had audio-gear-fan friends over during the Fall and Holidays to hear my new gear and weigh in. None of the 3 of them have much/any experience with that kind of Headphones/"Head-Fi" gear before (more into speakers). Side-by-side and after only a few (30ish) minutes of back-and-forth listening, 2 out of 3 of them *really* liked how those original Sennheiser HD1's stacked up against all that other gear. It has the "fun" sound with a big beefy mid-pass thump, and it grabbed 2 out of 3 of my buddies and they liked it/pointed to it/went back to it, even in the face of all those other options (the 3rd guy, to my surprise, choose/preferred the HD-6XX's; this pre-dated my owning the Audeze LCD-2C's, and I'm very interested to hear his thoughts when he finally gets to check those out). I think it's the VERY tangible/present bass, combined with the quality and detail in the mids, that reaches out and grabs people on their first impression.

To me? At this point? For portability, I still "like" the HD1's. I like the way they look. I think they're super comfortable. And I still think they successfully make "bluetooth not suck," which is good. But when in my house rather than on-the-go, with the benefit of a dedicated headphone amplifier and quality DAC? I think they do not stack up well compared to my non/less-portable gear. The low-end now sounds bloated, bloomy, and unrefined to me. I think it maybe takes more than the 30-60 minutes my friends all spent with them to begin to appreciate the finer points and subtleties that some of the other sets (like the Sennheiser HD-6XX's) do well that the HD1's do not. But the mid's/vocals and imaging on the HD1 really do hold up fairly well, and are likely the easiest thing I can point to for how they "kicked me into" such a headphones-craze. Not much soundstage, but far better overall performance than I had experienced before, and the extent to which it was an improvement over what I'd previously had was enough to drive newfound interest, and I've had a lot of fun (and spent a lot of money) in the last 12 months primarily because of them. So that's a pretty good endorsement, IMO. Right up until the point where I now look back at them and no longer think they stack up well, sound quality wise, to all the new gear I've bought because of them.

You didn't mention travel/flight, so I'm not sure you *need* (although you may want) the stronger ANC *hiss* of the Bose. That's the thing every reviewer says they do best; they have the best ANC. The HD1's are a little less aggressive (which partially drew me toward them). For flights or a desire to just completely deaden a loud/noisy environment/outside world, most everything I've read/heard is that the Bose gear tends to do best at.
I don't fly that often, so it won't be playing a big part setting criteria for the headphones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psuKinger View Post
You did mention Netflix/video, not just music. If that's a real/significant use-case, I think you're going to want not just AptX, but AptX-Low Latency (Aptx-LL) support too (unless audio-video sync errors don't drive you BANANAS the way they do me). I don't believe my HD1's support AptX-LL.
Exactly what I meant, Low Latency is what I need (Or do I? Read forward..), just figured it out. I started doing research of this subject after starting the thread and I'm learning things as I go.


I bought a BT aptX-LL transmitter for testing, knowing that Bose doesn't support it. I was planning on comparing Bose's potential latency/ lipsync issues later on with Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 (that do support LL), but when I fired up Bose's and connected them to the TV through the BT transmitter, there was zero latency between audio and video. Quite surprising, wasn't expecting that. It seems Sony TV has built-in A/V adjustments when I looked, there is a setting for that under the menus. I am feeling lucky at the moment. I tried generating lipsync issues with normal TV broadcasts, builtin Netflix app, and builtin Youtube app. No issues whatsover. And no issues with the Android devices either with the same streaming apps. Based on this testing, Bose might very well be my choice, because the ANC is quite good, sound quality is more than enough for me, and they are very comfortable on the head. And they perform well in the office use too with phone and Skype. I will still check out Plantronics and Sennheiser, just to get a different perspective, before making up my mind. Sony has been left out, because I didn't get along with the touch controls.

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Originally Posted by psuKinger View Post
I don't know how much this will or won't help... hopefully you find at least a little bit of it to be of use.
It will, many thanks for your input.
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post #9 of 10 Old 01-12-2019, 08:16 AM
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Reading this I presume Bluetooth has a reputation of not being the first choice of "true" hifi people? I can understand that, fortunately I don't have "golden ears", so I'm satisfied with the experience and sound quality BT headphones offer at the moment, and I'm willing to compromise a bit if needed.
Understandable. Sometimes convenience wins out. As I noted in my lengthy post, I too have some Bluetooth audio gear; it has its place/use. Especially in 2019 when so many smartphones have eliminated the headphone jack and can't be charged AND connected to an audio device at the same time.

I just think it's also cool/useful/nice to have some non-Bluetooth gear, too, for those times when you don't need the convenience and you just want "the best sound you can get."





Quote:
Originally Posted by tekarijee View Post
Sennheiser is one the brands on my check list, but haven't gotten a chance to try them out yet properly. Will definitely check them out too.
I own four different pairs of Sennheisers at this point:
- A cheap (~$60ish) pair of PX-200-II's that fold up and take up very little space in a travel/on-the-go bag.
- The HD1's I mentioned above. My "premium travel" / bluetooth / ANC headphones.
- My best gaming headset (PC37x)
- One of my two "best sounding, need-an-amp-to-drive, sit down with a cup of coffee or an adult beverage and *listen*" pairs (HD-6xx).

As long as you do a little research and know what you're getting before you buy them (examples: the HD-6XX's don't have a ton of bass/low end, which is generally undesirable for synthetic modern music; the HD1's, alternatively, are definitely boosted a bit in the mid-bass frequencies for a lot of low-end-slam for synthetic modern music, which can get in the way/over-exaggerate things at times for jazz/classical/accappella/etc).

As long as you pick a pair that reviews indicate is what you'd be looking for, you'll probably be quite happy (in my experiences at least) with a Sennheiser purchase.

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post #10 of 10 Old 01-18-2019, 07:04 AM
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Just my personal experience... I was also looking for noise cancelling bluetooth and narrowed it down to the Sony 1000 xm3, the Bose QC 35 II and the Sennheiser HD1. They were close in fidelity (and price) I found, but the noise cancelling of the Sonys plus their app put them on top of the heap. Then just after Christmas, the Senns became available locally here with $170 off so I bought them. No regrets, and I felt they were the best built of the 3 (but whether that translates into better longevity, I'm unsure). For reference, I'm listening to mostly hi res Tidal via macmini or iPhone. Again, I found these 3 choices to be close enough to make the purchase price be the deciding factor for me. If they were all a similar cost, I would have went for the Sonys.
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