Testing a bunch of headphones over the years, I’ve been pretty fond of Active Noise Cancelling headphones. They don’t get rid of everything around you, but headphones with ANC usually does a great job at blocking out the world.
So here’s my list of the best ANC headphones that I’ve personally tested. I’ll place my links in the video description below, click on my links and they’ll give you the most updated prices in real time.
First up, the Parrot Zik 2.0 and 3 models.
I really love how these look. Not only does the minimalist design looks unique, but you can feel the quality materials used, the very smooth polished metal and the leather feels great. The biggest reason why they’re on this list is although Parrot has them for $300 retail, I have always seen them on sale for around $200 making these the cheapest on the list. The Noise cancelling is close to the Bose QC35, you do have the option through the app to adjust or turn off the noise cancelling, and there’s other options like sound profiles and NFC. Audio performance in very good in my opinion offering a well rounded sound, good enough for most genre’s to be eenjoyed. But the battery life in wireless mode is a bit low at just 7hrs. However, one of the biggest perks, the Zik’s do have interchangeable batteries so having a spare ideal. If the battery ever goes bad, you can replace them. And last regarding comfort, they feel great but in hindsight and after some time with them, they do tend to slip off the head if I lean over. If you’re just sitting at a desk listening, thee Zik’s works fine. Again, links will be in the video description for updated pricing.
Moving to number four, these are my oldest and have been my favorite for some time. These are my Sennheiser Wireless Momentum 2.0. They offer one of the best bass-boosted audio signatures, perfect for pop, hip-hop and EDM. The wireless Momentum’s offers very loud performance, amazing battery life at over 22hrs of use, and a timeless design. Active Noise Cancelling cannot be turned off with these, but after testing some newer headphones lately, many other headphones now perform better at Active Noise Cancelling than these wireless momentum’s. They leak in more sound than others. Last regarding comfort, they feel great for extended play, super light again and overall very durable. The retail price on these are a crazy $450 to $500 from Sennheiser’s website, but again, my link has them for $349 at the time I uploaded this video.
Number three, it’s a more recent model and it’s also from Sennheiser. This is the PXC 550 that’s specially made for travelers. Super lightweight, very comfortable to wear as well, and the features offered are one of the best. You have touch controls on the side and they’re much more responsive than the Parrot Ziks. You do have the ability to turn off the Active Noise Cancelling if you choose. You can place these on stand-by if you fold the earcups inwards which is unique, and a very handy feature, if you lift off either ear-cup or take the headphones off altogether, the headphones pauses your music and will resume once you put both earcups on your ears once again. The Active Noise Cancelling works very well, but again, there’s two other headphones after this one that does a better job. In regards to audio characteristics, very easy to listen to, a balanced or flat sound signature with a lot of quality, and the PXC 550’s can be tuned with Sennheiser’s App. These retail for $399.
Number two, and this was my number one pair for ANC headphones for a long time. It almost ties with first place, it’s the Bose QC35. It’s the most comfortable out of all of them on this list, very light weight, durable and the audio quality sounds great. Despite if not having some audio certifications like Apt-X and such, they still sounded as good as any of the other headphones mentioned so far, if not better. Although the QC35’s offers a flat and natural sound signature, it’s clean and many say accurate. Perfect all rounders, but genre’s where these shine are instrumental, rock, pop, musicians strong in vocals. I still enjoyed them very much for Pop, EDM, and hip-hop but bass lovers, bass heads might need an equalizer to help out or look else where. The soundstage for an Active Noise Cancelling pair of headphones is one of the best in my opinion. The only areas I see consumer’s critiquing is there’s no way to turn off the Active Noise Cancelling for times you don’t want to block out the outside world, and for some people who are more sensitive to ANC, the Bose QC35’s do give that air cabin pressure feeling to your ears. Bose has always been a brand that offers the least amount of features as well. NFC is offered, but no in-depth app to adjust audio, no lifting of earcups to pause music, no touch controls. But on the flip side, again, the most comfortable pair of headphones on this list, audio signature is great from the factory, battery is one of the best on the market, overall, no gimmicks, just a great pair of performing headphones. And let me stress one more time, the most comfortable out of the bunch. These are priced at $349 retail at the time of this video.
Now last but not least, number 1 on my list here.. Are the Sony MDR-1000x if you want the bells and whistles. These are Sony’s flagship in active noise cancelling headphones. They’re as comfortable as the Sennheiser PXC 550’s, but the earpads do slightly warm up my ears more than the Bose. From the factory, in general they’re a more balanced sound signature with a little more emphasis on bass and mids versus the Bose QC35. As stated in my versus video, the high frequencies are a little recessed, but with some slight tweaking with an equalizer, these things sound as good as the second place winning on my list.. With that being said, what makes this top choice, is for $50 more than the Bose QC35’s, you get just an ever so slight better performance in Active Noise Cancelling, it’s not much, but worth stating it blocks out a little more noise than the QC’s and every other pair of headphones on this list. Like most other headphones, you can turn off the Noise Cancelling if you’d like. There is an abundance of features including sound profiles which can be switched on the headphones themselves. Another useful feature allows you to place your hand over the ear cup causing your music to stop, and the microphones will actually amplify your surrounding so you can hear what is around you, without fully taking off your headphones. Touch sensitive controls are on the side and they are super responsive, very similar to the PXC 550s, battery life is still one of the best in the industry at 22hrs of use. And very last… Sony does offer audio processing. Such as the Digital Sound Enhancement Engine, which takes traditional audio files on your phone, like mp3 and upconverts them to provide a higher quality audio experience. Then there’s LDAC which is Sony’s high resolution audio support offering the clearest audio performance that wireless headphones can have. In the end, the Sony’s are not perfect either, , that’s why I believe the Bose QC35’s comes in very close, but I believe the Sony overall provides a slightly better value for just $50 more retail and you get all the features and the best in Active Noise Cancelling performance, even if it’s minute. If you go with Bose or Sony in the end, you honestly can’t go wrong with either.
Guys, in the comments section below, please let me know which one is your favorite. I am sure I missed some other headphones on the market, specifically the Beats Studio’s, I simply haven’t tested them myself. But continue to support my work by Liking and Sharing and if you haven’t already, be sure to Subscribe… Follow me on your social media at either Facebook or Instagram.
I’m Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom. And my channel is here to help YOU make a purchase decision. You guys take care, I’ll see you on the next one. Bye.