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Noise Cancelling Headphones (Over Ear)
Noise Cancelling Headphones (Over Ear)
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good poll idea... I just went thru this process a month or so ago when I purchased NC headphones for traveling and the gym.
What I found after listening to the Bose, Sony, B&W, JBL and Senn PXC550 (not in the poll):
1. Sony WH-1000x mkii- NC was best in class, slightly better than the Bose. Sound quality was very, very good. These were the only cans that I didn't hear a noticeable drop in SQ with different levels of NC. I like the feature that you can turn off NC by putting your hand over the right ear cup... helpful for quick conversations (ie., flight attendant) . Very comfortable for extended wearing. Aesthetic is ok, very plastic appearance
2. B&W PX - Sound quality was best in class, but only with lower levels of NC (or no NC). With increasing NC I found the sound quality diminished. The NC itself is ok, not to Sony or Bose levels. The cans turn off when you take them off, but they need to work on this as shifting them on my head would cause them to drop sometimes. I would turn this feature off. I found the headband uncomfortable and I would not want to wear for extended periods. IMO these are the best looking by a mile, but I wish they folded up for travel... I think they are a little bulky for storage. If I was looking for the best sound with minimal NC (eg., office use), then I could be persuaded to spend the $50 premium for these over the Sony (but would end up adding cushion to the headband).
3a. Bose QC35II- NC was close to Sony levels but I found the sound quality to be a noticeable step down from the Sony and an even bigger step down than the B&W. The google assistant was interesting (and since I use Android, useful), but was not something I was going to base a decision on. The aesthetic is similar to the Sony... IOW, looked ok, but very plastic. Overall, I put these and the Senn as a tie. The Bose NC is better, but the Senn has better SQ.
3b. Senn PXC 550 - I like the Senn sound... I have an HD600, HD6xx and PC37X gaming headset, so going in to this exercise I expected Senn to be my favorite. They weren't. Nothing bad about them, I just thought the top 2 did things a little better (ie., Sony SQ similar but with better NC; B&W SQ was better, but Senn had better NC). I like the fact that these automagically turn off/on when folding them up. Aesthetic is very sharp... successful businessman type look. FWIW, I think the $399 list is a little high... $349 (same as Bose & Sony) is a fair price. I wanted to listen to the Senn Momentum 2.0 Wireless, but couldn't find them.
5. JBL Everest 750NC - (note the 700 in the poll is last years model) I didn't expect much out of these and tossed them on my head just for the hell of it. They were surprisingly decent... a little bass heavy, but a good value on sale (I would not pay the $299 list price). They sound different with NC on vs NC off with the highs taking a hit with NC. Very comfortable for extended listening. If you're the type of person that likes Beats, then take a listen... these are similar sound signature but better and can be had for much less. I considered picking up a pair of these for my teenage daughter for Christmas (I've seen these as low as $199).
If I rank based on NC it would be Sony>Bose>Senn>B&W.
If I rank based on SQ it would be B&W>Sony~Senn>Bose.
I ended up buying the Sony on a Black Friday sale over thanksgiving weekend for $50 less than the Bose and $100 less than the B&W. Pretty sweet.
I must agree with your opinion about Sony. Brilliant sound with great noise cancellation, both better than Bose QC35.
What I’ve heard is consistent with this. It makes my personal preference the B&W.
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