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Cover image for Looking for Great Headphones

Looking for Great Headphones

nickytonline profile image Nick Taylor (he/him) Originally published at iamdeveloper.com Updated on ・1 min read

I've generally been working with cheap headphones. I currently have a pair of MPow H7 headphones. They're not bad for a non-audiophile, but I am not fooling myself into thinking these are premium noise-cancelling headphones.

I have never considered a high-end set of headphones because I've broken every pair I've ever owned at some point. I'd like to think I'm a little more careful these days with them though, so I think it's time to grab a solid upgrade.

I'm looking for Bluetooth, noise-cancelling, great sound and ideally a great built-in microphone. An optional wired option would be nice as well. Ideally, I would like to spend no more than 350$ USD. It's a chunk of change, but I'm in it for the long haul with whichever headphones I decide on.

I'm going to throw out a couple here that I might consider, but I'd love to hear peoples suggestions as I've only begun my research.

Yeah

Photo by Frank Septillion on Unsplash

Discussion

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mercatante profile image
Steven Mercatante

I own the Sony WH-1000XM3s and love them. I actually bought a pair of QC-35 II at the same time to compare, and the Sony's easily won. The noise cancelling and sound quality was noticeably better.

I haven't tested the mic on them, and I don't plan on it. For calls I either use my Airpods, or my Shure mic for video calls.

My one complaint with the Sony's is that you need to disconnect them from one device before connecting them to another. E.g, if they're connected to your computer and you want to use them with your phone, you need to manually disconnect them from your computer's bluetooth before you can use them with your phone. I wish they handled multiple device connectivity like the Bose do, but this isn't a huge issue for me. I've had these for about a year and think they were a great purchase.

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Carlos Garcia ★

I purchased the XM3s a year ago and they're the best pair of headphones I've ever owned. The sound quality is top notch for listening to music or calls. Having said that, the microphone leaves a lot to be desired. People on the other end often tell me that I sound too distant or muffled.

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thecodingalpaca profile image
Carlos Trapet

I would go as far as saying they compete with the Bose 700 (almost 100 pounds pricier).

I tried both and the only reason I went for the Bose 700 is because the Sony XM3 didn't feel as comfortable (I guess I have a weird head lol)
Otherwise, +1 on all that Steven said.

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persimone profile image
Simone

I got a Sony one too, love it! Don't want to be without anymore.

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nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor (he/him) Author

Awesome, thanks for the advice!

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omrisama profile image
Omri Gabay

The only Reddit post you'll need:

reddit.com/r/Zeos/comments/97mi5s/...

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nans profile image
Nans Dumortier

This article is incredible ! Thanks for sharing !

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nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor (he/him) Author

Thanks for sharing Omri!

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Chinmay Joshi

Honestly, the best one till date - Bose QC-35 II.

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Ben Halpern

I have those and really like them. I don't need a new pair any time soon, but I have seen that Bose has a new model that I'm curious about.

Even though they have a new, simpler naming convention they seem like the next generation of this line.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

One problem with bluetooth in general is that it's kind of a pain in the ass to switch between sources. Bose has a dedicated app which helps, but it's still a pain. Native Apple products (Airpods and Beats) have the best chance at this being smooth.

All that is to say that right now I have a pair of headphones which is both for office and walking around, and I'm considering making them just for office and getting something new for walking around with.

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nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor (he/him) Author

Yeah I can see the switching being annoying, but that’s definitely not a deal breaker for me. More of a nice to have feature. I didn’t realize the AirPods and Beats made it seamless.

I’m reluctant to buy AirPods or the Pro ones because earbuds in general always pop out of my ears. I blame rugby and wrestling for that although my ears aren’t really mangled. I’m still available for ear modelling contracts if anyone is looking. 😂

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joshichinmay profile image
Chinmay Joshi

I feel what you are talking about @ben . Switching between devices is not as seamless as other headphones. I occasionally had to restart them while switching between my Mac and the phone.

@nickytonline - I also have an extra pair of earphones for leisure use because Bose is not handy to carry around everywhere. Especially, gym or in winter when you are wearing a winter cap. So I use Bose when I am working. Otherwise, I prefer using stock Apple headphones. And for gymming and wireless purposes, I have RHA MA650 Wireless headphones. Sound quality wise they are nothing compared to Bose or Sony or Sennheiser.

Also, I am sure that the new Bose headphone are good. I liked their design, but it looks a little bit delicate to me. QC-II are robust-looking headphones. Tech specs-wise, it'd be good to compare with Sennheiser MOMENTUM Wireless.

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tomekbuszewski profile image
Tomek Buszewski

Hey, kinda late to the discussion, but since I've used both Bose and Sony, I thought I'd chime in.

First of all, what do you need and why do you need it? Noise cancelling? Do you work in a loud environment? Most of the time, closed-back headphones will do the trick. Bluetooth? It's comfortable, that's for sure, but cuts the quality. Plus, these headphones requires charging.

Bose and Sony has all the things you want. Both have great noise cancelling, but it's quite different. For example, I never had any problem adopting Bose's options, while Sony had me nauseous after 30 minutes, until I developed an inner resistance to this in more or less a month. Bluetooth works good in both, since it's the same version (I believe). But, Bose can "memorize" three devices, Sony – only one. So the former allows to simply switch between the source, while the latter takes a bit of work to do this (I usually turn off bluetooth on one device and then reconnect). Bose has far better microphone that Sony, that's simple as that.

But these things are just extras. Headphones are two things – sounds quality and comfort. And here we go.

Bose are slightly lighter and fit me better, are more comfortable and I can keep them on for a longer time. Sony tend to wear me after a two or three hours of listening. They are less comfortable for me. But everyone has different ears, so it would be best to try them yourself.

When it comes to music, frankly, they both sound like crap. Sony has more bass-oriented sound and works better with rock music, while Bose is kind of all-around-good profile. But, having said that, they don't sound good, sound isn't clear and you'll get some scratching on higher registers. Wire gives them a bit more quality, but still, this isn't what I was expecting.

To clarify, I sold Bose, got Sony and I am using it around the office and in commute. Do I regret it? Frankly, yes, Bose were just more comfortable and pleasant, more neutral in sound and less tiresome.

For my home office, I bought Focal Elegia with JDS Atom and Topping D10. It costed me way too much, but I can honestly say – it was worth it. It's like, every song is great, sometimes there are albums I listen at home and rate them 4/5, and try them next day at the office and I am like "what the hell is this racket?" :D

But this is all based on what do you need. For Spotify and mp3 in general, Bose or Sony'll do just fine.

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nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor (he/him) Author

This is awesome info. Thanks so much. It's mainly or home office, which usually is not noisy, but I plan on using them in a café as well.

I'm not that much of an audiophile, or at least not yet. 😉 Even my super low budget headphones sound fine to me for music, so based on your reviews, I'd be inclined to go towards the Bose pair.

I'll check out the Focal Elegia as well as long as it doesn't mean I need to sell a kidney.😂

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tomekbuszewski profile image
Tomek Buszewski

Hey,

Bose are great and my two friends also recommend these. I'd probably switch my Sony for the new Bose, but reviews of those aren't really favorable.

Elegia, as well as other "audiophile" headphones are quite expensive. I gave around $1500 for the set. But it's an investment, headphones don't age. They'll be worth similar money for quite some time. It is opposite with bluetooth ones, since every new model basically succeeds (both in terms of price and performance) previous ones.

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Michael Kohl

I'm very happy with my Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC (review). I know a lot of people prefer Bose, but these came at a significantly lower price point.

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Chris Otto

I have owned different iterations of the Bose QC series and they are so good I have never looked at any other NC competitors. I have had the QC15s and now have the QC25s. They've held up so I haven't had to upgrade to the QC35 IIs yet, but may soon just out of want rather than need. They have my business for life.

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Vikas Rana

Try Audio Technica amazon.in/Audio-Technica-ATH-M50XB... , you will not regret

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Oscar Laureano

For me QC-35 IIs are the best ones, maybe not the best NC (I've tried the WH-1000XM3 and seems to work in most environments) but Bose are super comfortable, I can wear them for hours without any discomfort in my ears.

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nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor (he/him) Author

So I tried on a pair of the Bose 700 today while I waited to get my winter tires on.

Bose 700 headphones

First impressions were super comfortable and the y sounded amazing. My ears had enough wiggle room. 😸 I also tried the Bose QC 35 II. Same verdict.

Bose QC 35 II headphones

I definitely like the look and feel of the 700. So the QC 35 II go for 450$ CAD and the 700 for 500$ CAD, at Staples. I’ll see if they’re priced better on Amazon.

Both seem like solid choices, but I definitely want to try on the Sony’s that others recommended.

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Jason Ormes

I really like the Audio Technica M40x and M50x's Come with a really nice long cable. Sound great and are very comfortable for long periods of time. The M50's are a bit more Bassy to me.

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Dennis Webb

For items like this I wait until Black Friday. Go through what's on sale and pick the best from the lot.

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Samkit shah

Whens the black Friday this year? :D

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nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor (he/him) Author

Even though it can’t be paired with multiple devices, so far I’m leaning towards the Sony WH-1000XM3. I’m in no rush, so still trying out devices and watching reviews.

I was watching this review and man, do they look durable.

samkit15 profile image
Samkit shah

Ok thanks :)

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David Johnston

I've been really happy with my Bose QC-35s. The noise cancelling on them is AMAZING.

I've had a pair of Audio Technica before - and I was disappointed at how quickly they broke.

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michelemauro

I bought my first noise-canceling headphones last year, and my Sony WH-CH700N have proved to be very well worth their cost. And they switch from source to source quite easily.

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captainawesomedi profile image
Di Wu

I suggest you try them all, they are all great. Just down to personal preference when is on your head

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pragmcode89 profile image
pragmcode89

Senheiser 25hd1 great headphones! Modular design easy to replace parts if needed.
Also consider stylish retro koss headphones)

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Deka

I'm a huge fan of AKG headphones, but I think that there aren't wireless models