Originally Posted by tekarijee
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.
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.
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.