Productivity December 9, 2020

Best noise cancelling over ear headphones that don't cost $549? (Apple's new Airpods Max 😮)


Just saw the Airpods Max.

I definitely want them, but the price seems... high.

What are you favorite over ear noise cancelling headphones?

Wirecutter recommends Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 which are $380 currently.

  1. 4

    I've heard good thing about Wyze's headphones and they are affordable:

    1. 3

      My pair arrives on Monday and I can't wait! Lots of good reviews thus far and at $49 it's hard to go wrong. Love Wyze's other products

      1. 1

        Yes I'm probably going to order a pair. Crazy how many products Wyze has released. Their new v3 outdoor camera is amazing and $20.

    2. 1

      sucks they dont ship to canada

  2. 3

    The best noice cancelling headphones that I test was Sony WH1000XM4. It has a similar price to the Bose.

    1. 3

      I've got the previous model, the SONY WH-1000XM3, and I find two things very annoying:

      1. The battery life sucks. I find myself needing to charge these every 1-2 days. My previous Bose headset I only ever charged once a week.
      2. The bluetooth connection mechanism sucks. If you want to connect it to a new bluetooth device, you have to disconnect it from a previous device. This is annoying, because it means switching between my phone and computer requires two steps. The way it worked on my Bose headset was much easier: it would use whatever was most recently connected to it, which meant connecting to a new device only ever involved one step.

      That said, it's got a few good traits:

      1. The battery charges insanely fast. Like 5 minutes of charging is enough for hours of listening. This isn't helpful when you realize they're dead just as you're late running out the door. But if you've got 5 minutes of buffer, that's good enough to charge them up.
      2. The noise canceling is solid. I don't use it that much, but when I do, it's excellent.
    2. 1

      Best choice. Used them in planes, coffee shops, work on a busy floor. etc

    3. 1

      What did you like about them? Obviously the noise reduction? How was build quality?

      1. 1

        Yes, noise reduction is the best feature of this gadget and the sound is very good. I've used in a mall on Christmas with plenty of people around me and without music, only with the NC activated, the ambient noise of the conversations was heard as whispers far far away. By my perspective, perhaps the worst part is the moving parts, it seemed fragile and the foam too soft.

  3. 2

    I have a pair called cowin se7 from Amazon. They work and sound really well for under a hundred bucks.

    1. 1

      I can second this. I have two pairs they're that good! Cowin is a great brand and the packaging is awesome too. Feels super lux.

  4. 2

    Best I’ve experienced is the Sony WH1000XM4.

    Regards the apple price point. I don’t think it’s that bad. I’m kinda sick of people being all ranty because apple charge a premium.

    BMWs and Mercedes get you from a to b the same as Kia’s and Hyundai’s - but they’re built a bit better, they have prestige attached to them and they cost a lot more.

    Gibson and PRS guitars sound about the same as guitars a third of their price (yes, they do) but they’re built a bit better and have prestige.

    It happens in every sector. No-one forces you to buy it (this isn’t aimed at OP, just a general reaction to the “haha typical apple” narrative)

    1. 1

      I agree. I buy Apple products because they are quality and they just work. I am typing this on a 2014 Macbook Pro that is my main computer still.

      1. 1

        Ditto - I'm on a mid 2014 15" MacBook Pro. Still performs like new.

        Which is kinda annoying coz I do want to buy a new one, but I just can't justify it. This still performs literally like it's fresh out the box.

  5. 2

    Now the noise cancelling becomes the hype. I love apple's free affiliate marketing. Put a nonsense price and let everyone talk about it.

    Even $380 is higher than minimum wage around, so I'll pass for now :)


    I couldn't help but check the prices;
    $729 Airpods Max
    $429 WH-1000XM4

  6. 2

    I can only speak from the personal experience that I have with my over-ear sound-canceling headphones.

    I have owned the Bose QC25, Bose QC35, and the Sony WH-1000XM4. For build quality and usability, I think the Bose headphones win in a landslide. The Sony headphones have much better ANR.

    I use the Bose QC-35 when I'm walking around NYC. I break out the Sony headphones when I'm working and need to concentrate.

    Edited to add: It's plausible that other over-ear headphones are better, but I haven't tried others.

    1. 2

      Would like to second the Bose QC line. Can't work without them.

    2. 1

      Thanks! ANR is active noise reduction correct?

  7. 1

    That price is insane in my opinion. As most of the comments have pointed out there are other very high quality options at a lower price point (which is still high in my opinion).

    I purchased the Sony WH-1000XM4 when they were on sale for $250 and returned them. The sound quality was amazing, but I didn't love the touch controls and I found the headphones pretty heavy. After a few days of use, my neck was hurting. I had an old pair of wired Bose headphones with physical buttons that I love and found myself missing them.

    After I returned the Sony headphones I ended up purchasing the Bose QuietComfort 35 II when they were on sale for $199.00. I love these headphones, although not perfect I found them lighter and they have a physical volume button, pause/play button and you can control the noise cancelling from another physical button on the headphones.

    The battery life is amazing, I use them most of the day and charge them once a week. I only have two minor issues with them.

    1. I haven't figured out a way to disable the noise cancelling by default. Every time I turn the headphones on I have to disable the noise cancelling. On the Bose SoundLink II headphones I could turn the noise cancelling off with a physical button so it was off by default.
    2. I get the pressure feeling when using the noise cancelling on any headphones. The technology on the QuietComfort 35 II is much better than on the SoundLink II I previously had and I've read the new Bose headphones, Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones 700, are much better. I am able to use it a little more than my previous headphones but find I don't really need it or miss it.

    I love the Bose headphones and for less than half the price there is no way I'd upgrade to the Apple headphones...but then again I'm a Linux user (although I am an iPhone user) so you may not trust my opinion :)

  8. 1

    I've got the Bose 700s and I absolutely love them. I've had them for about a year now, and they're probably the best over ear headphones I've ever had.

  9. 1

    I’m rocking the Bose NC700. They’re great

  10. 1

    Classic apple.
    No doubt many people are going to buy this product, but for me and others it's even more obvious how premium and expensive that ecosystem is and makes me run in the other direction.

  11. 1

    I am using Plantronics Backbeat Pro - they are pretty good and go for around 180 EUR.

    They automatically pause music or podcast when you take them off :)

  12. 1

    Taotronics makes noice cancelling headphones that slap for the budget, all of them are in the $50 range.

  13. 1

    Bose or Sony, it changes, but I think now WH1000 from Sony are winning the competition. Personally I have Bose QC35 II and I'm super satisfied.

  14. 1

    I’m thinking of getting Sony’s WH-XB900N

    They are like the WH-1000XM4 everyone is talking about but a bit more budget with great quality and actually better bass.

    If you want more “bass”, try the XB900N

  15. 1

    Go for the Sony WH1000XM3 or M4, they're amazing.

  16. 1

    I have been using Bose QC35 II for a couple of years already, and I am in love with them. Since Bose released newer models, their price has dropped, and they are still a very good option.

  17. 1

    I bought QC35 after trying several other options in the store. For me, QC35 wins because they felt better both in terms of quality and comfort.

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