Audiophiles Will Crave These Noise-Canceling Headphones

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Headphones enhance a variety of activities. From music listening to hands-free calling, gaming, and even movie watching, a robust pair of headphones is a must for anyone. However, noise-canceling headphones elevate audio consumption. Through filtering outside sounds, these isolate the audio pumping through the cans.

Need to reduce noise pollution? These are the best noise-canceling headphones available for audiophiles.

Why Buy Noise-Canceling Headphones

Noise-canceling headphones offer plenty of benefits over standard headphones. Namely, noise-canceling headphones fight noise pollution. That snoring guy in the window seat next to you in what’s definitely not first class? Not a problem. Your obnoxiously loud roommate? Nope, you won’t hear them either. Trying to block out the doesn’t-have-an-indoor-voice conference call coworker? Noise-canceling headphones to the rescue.

But there’s a bit of a catch.

Although these headphones isolate the audio playing through your headset, blocking outside sound remains the first priority. After that, it’s sound quality. Audiophiles will want to find headphones that satisfy both criteria. (Note that noise cancellation is different from noise isolation.)

Pros

  • Block outside sounds

Cons

  • Prioritize noise cancellation over sound quality

Noise-Canceling Headphones for Audiophiles

Looking for the best in noise cancellation and optimal sound quality? Check out these top picks.

Paww WaveSound 3




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$99.99

Best Noise Canceling Headphones - PawwWaveSound 3
Image Credit: Amazon

The Paww WaveSound 3 is an excellent pair of cans that offer superb noise pollution reduction that won’t break the bank. It’s a Bluetooth pair of headphones that comes complete with an airplane adapter, charging cable, and carrying case. You’ll notice exquisite noise cancellation with reduction for as high as 23 dB of ambient noise.

Additionally, Paww WaveSound 3 headphones include a microphone for calling. The Paww WaveSound 3 currently sit at 4.5 out of 5 stars on over 700 customer ratings. Yet its active noise cancellation comes up short when compared with offerings from premium headphones. Still, its sound quality rivals that of much higher-end headphones. The Paww WaveSound 3 really have no business punching as high as they do. Nevertheless, they compete well outside of their weight class. With wired and wireless connectivity, superb noise reduction, and top-notch build quality at around $100, the Paww WaveSound 3 ranks among the best noise-canceling headphones available on a budget.

Pros

  • Bluetooth
  • Budget pricing
  • Both wireless and wired modes
  • Reduction for up to 23 dB
  • Lots of included accessories
  • Excellent sound quality

Cons

  • Active noise cancellation lacking

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B QuietPoint




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$120.00

Best Noise Canceling Headphones for Audiophiles - Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B
Image Credit: Amazon

Like the Paww WaveSound 3, the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B headphones yield impressive noise-canceling headphones with supreme sound quality. It’s an affordable pair that anyone should consider. The ATH-ANC7B is a wired set, not wireless, and as CNET raves in its review, considerably more affordable than models from the likes of Bose and Sennheiser. Its over-ear form factor folds up well for travel, and Audio-Technica engineers its headphones to function in passive mode if the noise cancellation feature is switched off or the batteries die.

At the price point, it should come as no surprise that noise cancellation isn’t top tier. Expect a bit of sound bleeding. Furthermore, the ATH-ANC7B don’t quite sound as polished as other headphones for the money. Although, when comparing Audio-Technica’s sweet budget headphones to competing noise-canceling headsets, the ATH-ANC7B balances sound quality and noise reduction exquisitely.

Pros

  • Budget pricing
  • Good sound quality
  • Work in passive mode
  • Fold up for travel

Cons

  • More sound leakage than on competing headphones
  • Better sound quality available

Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II




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$349.00

Best Noise Canceling Headphones - Bose QC 35 Series II
Image Credit: Amazon

When it comes to high-end audio, Bose consistently ranks among the upper echelon. Not surprising, this formula doesn’t waver for audiophile quality noise-canceling headphones. The Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II, successor to the Bose QuietComfort 35 (our QuietComfort 35 review) over-ear headphones sound fantastic — with strong noise reduction. They certainly aren’t cheap at just under $400. Sound quality is delightful, though lower-end cans like the Paww WaveSound rival the QuietComfort 35.

TechRadar praises the QuietComfort 35 for its crisp and clear audio profile as well as stunning noise cancellation. Moreover, Bose packs fantastic battery life and simple pairing. Anyone who has dabbled with wireless pairing knows that intuitive, quick pairing is a must.

Unfortunately, the QuietComfort 35 is essentially the ThinkPad of the noise canceling headphones. It’s a total workhorse under an extremely boring veneer. Sure, it’s about functionality. At that, the Bose QuietComfort 35 completely dominates. Plus, TechRadar notes that its active equalization is pretty polarizing. The active EQ jacks up bass frequencies a bit when you lower the volume. This can lead to bass-heavy audio at lower volumes. Ultimately, despite minor quibbles, the QuiteComfort 35 Series II stands as one of the best pairs of noise-canceling headphones on the market.

Pros

  • Excellent audio quality
  • Top-notch noise cancellation
  • Great battery life
  • Simple pairing

Cons

  • Active EQ a bit bass-heavy
  • Mundane looks

Sony WH-1000XM2




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$348.00

Best Noise Canceling Headphones - Sony WH-1000XM2
Image Credit: Amazon

For those seeking premium audio quality and noise cancellation which bests Bose, check out the Sony WH-1000XM2. Noise cancellation is arguably the best you’ll find, and audio paints a lush soundscape. Additionally, you’ll find a substantial 30-hour battery life.

In its review, CNET lauded the WH-1000XM2 for its gorgeous sound and incredible comfort. Noise cancellation capabilities take this set of headphones from good to great. But the battery is non-user replaceable. Aside from that touch controls are a bit cumbersome and build quality, particularly with the hinges, is a little weak. But these noise-canceling headphones deliver where it counts: audio quality and noise reduction. Because of their performance in these areas, the Sony WH-1000XM2 totally justify their high price tag.

Pros

  • Excellent audio quality
  • Top-notch noise cancellation
  • Arguably better sounding than Bose offerings
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Battery not replaceable
  • Moderate build quality

Sennheiser HD-1




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$349.95

Best Noise Canceling Headphones for Audiophiles - Sennheiser HD-1
Image Credit: Amazon

A renowned name among headphones aficionados, Sennheiser’s HD-1 headphones are the best pick. These noise-canceling headphones boast an all-around solid product offering with impeccable noise cancellation, mind-blowing sound, and Bluetooth.

Disappointingly, noise canceling features don’t match what you’ll find on Bose headsets. Yet looks, comfort, and Bluetooth support in addition to its strong if not the best noise cancellation makes the Sennheiser HD-1 a major contender. Sure, these HD-1 headphones don’t come cheap. But if you’ve got the budget, Sennheiser’s HD-1 cans are the best noise canceling headphones for audiophiles.

Pros

  • Excellent audio quality
  • Great noise cancellation
  • Comfortable
  • All-around solid package
  • Bluetooth

Cons

  • Noise cancellation not as robust as Bose
  • Pricey

The Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Audiophiles

Noise-canceling headphones are an excellent investment. By blocking out ambient noise from around you, the onus is thereby placed on the audio pumping through the headphones. Almost any noise-canceling headphones will function and filter out sound. However, for audiophile-caliber, noise-canceling headphones, these are the best cans on the market.

Bose is a safe bet for ultimate function and uncompromising quality. You may consider the QuietComfort 25, a medium budget pair of noise-canceling headphones. Though the QuietComfort 25 doesn’t offer a wireless option, it’s far less expensive than its older sibling in the QuietComfort 35. Similarly, Sennheiser is a trustworthy name.

For those that demand a wireless in-ear style pair, Bose’s QuietControl 30 handily trounces the competition. However, its performance doesn’t rival over-ear cups. The HD 4.50 BTNC is an excellent set of noise-canceling headphones excellent build quality. If you’re on a tight budget, the Naztech i9BT (our review) deliver decent audio and wireless functionality. But if you’re willing to spend a bit more, you can snag even better-sounding noise-canceling headphones.

Need a gaming headset? Try these stellar options. Seeking a BlueTooth headset with long-lasting battery life? Take a look at these four pairs.

Which noise-canceling headphones do you recommend?

Image Credit: IgorVetushko/Depositphotos

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