So, you’re going wireless and are also thinking of tuning out the world while you’re at it. I don’t blame you. I live in New York City. So here’s a list of the best Bluetooth headphones with active noise cancelling.
First, let’s debrief the big questions. What is active noise cancelling (ANC)? People often ask about this feature looking for a headset that’ll turn the mute button on the world. Well first myth debunked, these ANC headphones cannot 100 percent tune out background noise – that’s a bit dangerous don’t you think? But, they can get pretty darn close. Anyway, active noise cancelling works by taking the constant hum of sound waves in through the headphones and uses a microphone to send out the reverse sound waves, which as a result cancel out the constant hum or background chatter you normally hear without the headphones. Now, ear pads are designed to already provide passive sound isolation when securely resting on your head fit. The choice of fabric can further isolate your music inside the ear cups are further block out ambient noise. These ear pads working in tandem with ANC can do a great job of reducing the your bustling environment to a mere whisper. So on to the goods. Here is a list of the best Bluetooth headphones with active noise cancelling capabilities.
There is currently no one on the level of Sony when it comes to noise-cancelling. Sony has developed industry-leading technology for its ANC and ambient aware functions. Featuring dual noise sensor technology and a QN1 processor, the range of environments is greatly increased for superior isolation. With the XM4 even being in the harshest settings, like on an airplane, can be made to sound like you’re nowhere at all, leaving you to your music without any distractions. In addition to this, the XM4 also includes a multipoint Bluetooth connection and DSEE system that’s used to upscale compressed audio files in real-time. With this Sony tries to maintain musical fidelity while masking the frequencies with heavy noise cancelation. With the combination of these various technologies and support from high-quality Bluetooth CODECs, the inclusion of spatial audio, and an optional companion app for IOS and Android, the XM4 is the whole wireless package. Get yourself a pair at Audio46.
Shure Aonic 50
While the XM4 far exceeds the Aonic 50 in terms of technology, the pure sound signature of the Aonic 50 outweighs the timbre of the XM4 without EQ. The level of noise-cancelling is still serviceable, but its functionality is extremely smooth and has a wide stereo field that many can enjoy. This is a headphone for those who think the sound of the XM4 is too congested, the Aonic 50 will be more clear and dynamic. Shure has developed a consumer Bluetooth headphone that, like the XM4, is a jack of all trades, although listeners might be bigger fans of the unmanipulated timbre of the sound here. Find it at Audio46.
Sennheiser HD 1 formerly Momentum M2
Editors Note: See the updated version of this model, the "Momentum 3" here.
I will always be such a fan of the M2s. This headphones was crafted with such premium grade materials and quality it gets the job done right. The ear cups are a super soft leather in the over-ear design and plush fabric in the on-ear model. Both are able to provide a wide and deep soundstage with crisp highs, shimmery mids, and my favorite booming bass lines that are both powerful and natural. That being said, the ANC abilities of these headphones are just as superb. So much so, when playing music I found it difficult to hear the person who was speaking right next to me. When completely charged, the M2s will give you up to 22 hours of wireless, noise cancelling playback. Sennheiser Momentum M2 in the wireless over-ear model will run you $499.99, though you can get them at the lowest price at Audio46 when you use discount code “majorhifi” during checkout. They’re also available at a competitive price on Amazon.
Bowers & Wilkins PX7
The PX7 is one of the smoothest noise-cancelling headphones currently available. A good mix of balance and heft, the PX7 showcases an effective sound signature that puts forth a clean timbre over everything else and that works in its favour. It’s difficult to not enjoy all of its textures for long periods of time, presenting a gripping bass that’s both punchy and soothing, with a dynamic midrange and sweet high frequencies. The ANC is perfectly functional and should give you the effect you need to eliminate outside interference. Their fit is the only aspect to these headphones that might take some getting used to, but otherwise, you can’t have a more solid choice than the PX7.
Like the PX7 the Dali IO-6 favors clarity, but with a more neutral timbre. Out of all the selections you see here, the IO-6 sounds the most like a natural headphone, as most tend to have a more digital signature. In case you’re worried, the 50mm driver of the IO-6 still packs a significant punch. Texture is minimal throughout the frequency response, but those who are looking for accuracy in a wireless headphone with ANC capabilities will find the IO-6 quite suitable for their tastes. The ANC itself is effective, but clearly not the focus of the IO-6. It will help eliminate light environmental sounds, but harsher sounds heard on an airplane or a loud city block for example won’t be completley reduced. Overall this is still a top pick if you’re looking for a neutral, more easy-going sound signature.
BOSE QuietComfort 35
QuietComforts may be the most popular when people are searching for active noise cancelling headphones and for good reason. BOSE is one of the best in noise cancelling abilities. I wore these headphones right next to a drum circle during a Brazilian Day celebration here in New York City and fund although the headphones could not completely mute the booming drums, it did a great job of turning down the dial on the super loud cadence of the enthusiastic drum circle. However, I’d say the sound is good, but not great. The bass booms which is nice, but it can some times cover the lush mids and glittering highs. The QC 35s are the wireless upgrade to the QC 25s. Both models feature soft, plush ear cushions and a padded headband. The entire frame is collapsible which makes it easy to take on the go. The cans are said to run for up to 20 hours wireless and 40 hours while wired. However, one fault we must acknowledge is that when the headphones are completely out of battery, the headphones will not be able to play music even as a wired option. Boo! However, these headphones still make our best Bluetooth headphones with active noise cancelling list because they have the best noise cancelling capability of all the headphones mentioned. The BOSE QuietComfort 35 headphones will cost you $349.95. Grab it at the lowest price on Amazon.
So, now that we’ve detailed the best Bluetooth headphones with active noise cancelling which one will you choose?