The new Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC has finally touched down on my review desk, and I could not be more hyped. I demoed a prototype at IFA in Berlin back in August. Sinking back into the Corinthian Leather seats of the MajorHiFi Review Jet as we took of from Tegel, I couldn’t get the sound out of my head. Now after so many months of sleepless nights and really tired days, I can hear the Lagoon once more. But at $399, will Beyerdynamic’s first foray into wireless noise cancelling pay off? And how does the Lagoon measure up to other wireless ANC headphones?
Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC Review
Unboxing the Lagoon ANC, you’ll find the headphones, a swanky form-fitting carrying case, a charging cable, and an aux cable.
Powering this headphone up, you’ll notice all the lights are located inside the earcups. From the outside, the Lagoon looks very low-key. No walking around lit up like the Fourth of July. Just you and your headphones.
Holding them in my hands, I’m surprised at how light the Lagoon feels. It has come a long way from its prototype version, with the finished product feeling feather-light. While featuring the same solid build as any other Beyerdynamic headphone, that lightweight build still makes it feel just a tad bit flimsy. However, I’m not exactly put off by this. Mostly because Beyerdynamic reinforced the headband with aluminum extenders. Plus, Beyerdynamic manufactures the Lagoon in Germany and backs the whole kit-and-caboodle with their famous 2-year warranty.
Once situated on my head, the Lagoon ANC fully covers my giant dumbo ears and blocks out 90% of the office chatter – and the ANC isn’t even on at this point. Here the Lagoon has you covered, though – there are three levels of ANC to choose from, whether you want it off, maxed out, or at an ANC-lite level in-between the other two.
When selecting a mode, a sexy Tilda Swinton voice tells you what mode has just been selected.
Running on Bluetooth 4.2, the Lagoon supports aptX, aptX Low-Latency, SBC, and AAC codecs. Battery life measure between 25 hours with ANC on and a whopping 45 hours (!) with ANC off. Pairing feels incredibly easy – simply push the designated button on the headphones and Tilda tells you the headphones are ready to pair.
For playback control, a touch sensor on the right earcup lets you adjust volume, skip tracks, pause your music, or reject phone calls because you’re demoing a new pair of headphones, dammit. The pressure sensitivity for these controls seems natural and very intuitive. My first try proves fruitful, and definitely less aggravating than it was on the Sony WH1000XM3.
Beyerdynamic has long been held in esteem by the audiophile community for the quality of its lows, and the Lagoon ANC will reinforce this perception. Lows sound deliciously detailed, with a level of precision and accuracy you didn’t know you were missing. Then the bass drops and the sound gets even better. Rock tunes like Brand New’s Failure by Design and hip-hop tracks like Brother Ali’s Take Me Home highlight the immaculate interplay between an overall luscious and full low end, but one that doesn’t skimp on tight, powerful bass.
Whatever you listen to, though, be prepared to be blown away by these lows.
Not quite as forward-leaning as I was hoping, the mids still deliver the goods. It’s not just a matter of nuance and resolution: the Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC has these qualities in spades. But the mids sound clean, with zero distortion. And while I know, theoretically, there HAS to be some compression in the wireless connection, I can’t pinpoint it. Instead, I’m blown away by the vocals and instrumentation alike, and the overall impression of contrast and precision. There’s space and definition, and these mids sounds lifelike, never really having to compete with the lows or highs for your attention. The rattle of a maraca, or the strum of a guitar. The intricacies of an artist’s vocal delivery, in all its hi-resolution glory. Just listen and feel.
In the high end, the Lagoon ANC never sounds too bright, but nails every note. My girls Demi Lovato and Kylie Minogue sound svelte but full, with a surreal sense of clarity and intimacy. But this high end doesn’t just excel at pop music; instrumentation feels solid as well. My gold-standard test track for violins, Spring 1 by Max Richter, sounds breath-taking. In that you will forget to actually take breaths. You can practically feel that violin in your throat, striving against the weight of the upright bass as it growls in your chest. The high notes, climbing ever higher, seem to strive with altruistic earnestness for something. And yet they do so while being weighed down by – or struggling against the memory of – the undercurrent of a darker and baser nature.
Indicative of the Lagoon ANC’s sound quality, it’s not so much music that you hear as it is music that you feel.
Spacious and deep, this is the best soundstage I have ever heard on a closed-back, wireless headphone. Instruments occupy finite space, and vocals rise and fall away without clouding the kick of a drum, the lilt of a harp, or the twang of banjo. Everything is in its place, arranged in formation around you like a personal concert. Simple compositions still sound close and intimate, but the soundstage seems to scale with larger ensembles, allowing plenty of room for your favorite tracks to breathe.
ANC is solid, comfortable, and effectively blocks out the sound of my coworkers debating the best PJ Harvey song (it’s Missed, dammit). But going out to the streets proves just as rewarding. Michael Bay could be filming a firetruck crashing into a jackhammer factory and I’d be none the wiser. The Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC blocks out EVERYTHING. ANC here might actually stand for All Noises Cancelled (reached out to Beyer for comment, but no word yet).
Mindless workplace chit chat? Blocked. That crazy person on the subway who wants to tell you a story about inventing the soy latte? You betcha. Traffic, airplane engines, cabin noise, and Armageddon? Probably.
The Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC isn’t available in stores yet. But it’s officially slated for release in July. So if you want the most popular wireless noise-cancelling headphone right now, I highly recommend the Sony WH1000XM3. It’s a good headphone and you will most likely enjoy it. And, at $349, you can save $50.
But, if you want the best-sounding, longest-lasting, smoothest-functioning wireless headphone out there right now, you want the Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC. Delivering about everything you could want in a consumer headphone, it’s a solid buy for daily commuters and audio freaks alike. Because no matter who you are or what you listen to, this headphone sounds AMAZING.
Like any good headphone, listening the Lagoon ANC feels like you’re hearing your music all over again, for the very first time. The rich, rewarding sound doesn’t miss a beat, pairs great with any genre, and takes full advantage of the best ANC on the market to ensure you hear your music – and nothing else. Our take? For $399, wireless headphones never sounded so good.
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