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5573 posts

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# 255688 23-Aug-2019 20:00
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Does anyone have any current recommendations for noise cancelling (probably) in ear headphones?


Looking for something to use with an iPhone to listen to music, make phone calls (so needs mic) and sometimes just block out background noise without music. Prefer in-ear type as lighter, but wouldn't totally rule out over the ear if lightweight and good noise blocking. The noise cancelling/blocking is more important than high end audiophile sound, but both would be nice! Prefer cabled over bluetooth, don't really want the neck thing like Bose QC30. Bose QC20 are the closest I've seen, but don't think the mic and controls work with a lightning - 3.5mm adapter. Any suggestions?



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  # 2304906 23-Aug-2019 20:24
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Have you looked at the Sony wf-1000xm3? I've heard good things about these earphones, although I don't believe they support apt-X.

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  # 2304910 23-Aug-2019 20:38
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Hadn't seen them - that looks really interesting thanks. Does iOS support aptx, that might not matter?


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  # 2304912 23-Aug-2019 20:41
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iOS does not support aptX, those Sony buds are the ones that seem to be the current recommendation.

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  # 2304916 23-Aug-2019 20:52
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Looks like they support SBC, AAC which is good for iOS, so works for me.

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  # 2304945 23-Aug-2019 22:21
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The sennheiser 'airpod' equivalent (can't remember the model name) is really quite nice. I hate in ear stuff, but found these really comfy and great sound.

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  # 2306510 26-Aug-2019 22:51
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I have both the Sony wf-xm1000 3 and the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless that's been mentioned here (likely to sell the latter). I got the latter when it was first released late last year and they were my daily driver. Then I picked up my Sony in Hong Kong around late July, took a flight with these on my ears, and have been using them daily. So I have a reasonable knowledge and awareness of their respective strengths and weaknesses.


The Sennheiser is the best sounding earbuds that I have ever heard/had. And I have had some expensive cabled buds. Where the latter can never match a good pair of wireless earbuds is the isolation through being able to sit deeper inside your ear canal and the absence of any kind of noise/interference caused by physical cables. Yeah sure AAC isn't the purest of sound (I am an Iphone user) but the former two factors are far bigger game-changers. I went to the gym (ran and did Cross Fit-like exercises with them on) with them, walked with them, and listened to the music with them on. The fit is beautiful and they look unobtrusive. I normally prefer a more "pure" sound (so like my KEF speakers and Q Acoustics if you want a reference point) but for more casual and eclectic listening, the Sennheiser's warmer and more smiley sound curve is great. And the soundstage is just out of this world for something so small.


"But you went and bought something else, so something clearly was wrong?". And you'd be right -- the weaknesses of the Sennheiser ultimately meant that I preferred something more usable/practical. The Sennheiser's battery life is poor -- despite the advertising, it really can only run for 3 hours at a time and the case can only hold one additional round of charge and not the two advertised. I say the latter because if your case's battery gets below 1/3, your buds will have trouble connecting to your phone when you pull it out. The Sennheisers also don't automatically turn back on with the reliability of the Sonys if you take them off but don't return them to their case. The battery inside the buds also drain when they are in the case, thus leading to battery drainage. If you fully charge the case and leave the buds in, the batteries both inside the buds and the case will run dry after a week.


OTOH, the Sonys don't suffer from any of the above problems. They don't have the soundstage of the Sennheisers either. But the battery life is phenomenal. With light usage I had to charge the Sennheisers' and the case every two days; with the Sonys I can listen for a whole week for around 3 hours a day (with noise cancellation on) and not worry about re-charging the case once. And the case supports fast charging of the buds -- you put the buds inside for 10 minutes and you get 90 minutes of playtime. The noise cancellation is not as good as a headphone's -- so if you just wear the buds and don't turn on music, they won't block out anywhere near the quantity of noise as good NC headphone. But combine the passive noise cancellation with active NC and listen to some music at the same time, I basically couldn't hear anybody/anything on my flight to Melbourne inside an A380 in cattle class. Nor can I hear anybody at the office. No, the sound isn't as transcendental as the Sennheiser's but the much greater usability won out for me.


If one wants the best sound quality available (in a wireless earbud) plus the best comfort and is okay with some usability compromises, go for the Sennheiser. If you want the best of everything else plus still excellent sound, the Sonys win. Don't worry about the latter's lack of water-proofing, provided you don't directly splash them with water. My partner and I both sweat a lot and go to the gym with the Sonys and they haven't skipped a beat.


In terms of phone call quality, I would rate the Sonys higher. Beware however that the microphones pick up a lot of wind noise, so trying to talk to anyone on a windy day will be difficult for the other party.

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