This started innocently with a friend of mine that I made while working with Sonos years ago who now has gotten in to the Headphone side of things said hey Joe would you like to test some Sony phones for me? He sent me them, and it started my quest to find the best Noise Canceling headphones I could find. You may ask why noise canceling? I used to rock the Airpods like most of America, but found myself any time things got loud turning them up which will lead to hearing loss. Being blind that scares me. I had the Bose QC1 which Abby had gotten for me 3 or 4 years ago for Christmas. It was an amazing gift. The padding on the headband has warn down, and I wanted a bit newer tech. I ended up giving them to Abby, because her in ear buds were starting to bother her. Audio is super subjective, but I am going to talk about the following headphones. Bowers & Wilkins PX, Sony WHXM3, Bose 700, and Master & Dynamic MW65.
My favorite here is the Master & Dynamic MW65. They have real Lamb Skin earpads and let me tell you those things feel great. They have a vintage look, and every part on them is beautiful. I also like the fact they have no plastic anywhere. Seriously Google them you’ll think they’re pretty too.
Bowers & Wilkins also feels premium real leather, but boring everywhere else.
The Sony’s felt like $100 headphones, and felt like they could break. So much plastic.
Bose has a new design on the 700’s which has been how long in years it’s been since they’ve strayed away from the QC look. I like it metal in the headband and no clicking when you move the earcups. I do hear from sighted folks that the overall look of them is a bit bland.
Sound and Noise Canceling
Sony has a really great headphone for noise canceling however for me it tends to hurt my ears a bit I feel some pressure. Also the headphone has just to much base. They do have an equalizer, but the problem is when you start messing with it the sound stage decreases which is a shame. Man the sound stage on these phones is great. If your in to base you’ll love these. The other thing for me that became a problem is the earpads made my ears get to warm and I didn’t like them for long listening sessions. Everyone’s a little different, but take that in to mind when looking at these.
My favorite for the most part here for sound is the MW65’s again. The highs and mids are clear and beautiful. I have to be honest when I put them on and heard the detail of songs I hadn’t heard before I just smiled. These have 3 down sides though that break them for me. I’d love to just have them to listen to tracks in my house, but for there price tag I just can’t do it. If I were to keep them they’d be my main headphone, and they fail in a few spots. The first is if you bump the earpad on the outside near the buttons for example you hear this clanking noise win your ears. Also if you laydown with them on they are obnoxious, because you get this sort of banging noise in your ear, so for $500 just sit in one spot and don’t move. . Secondly noise canceling is good here but not great like the Sony’s and Bose. I am excited to see where they go with this though maybe the second gen will be even better. Finally for $500 they just don’t have enough features for me. I love the build quality of them, and I love the sound, but they have no aware mode or no Alexa support. They do have Google, but I’d rather see Alexa. I did weep a little when boxing these up and sending them back, because the sound was just so good from them. Thanks Andy for hooking me up with a review set.
Bowers & Wilkins PX. I was excited, because I’ve heard great thinks about B&W, but after having these for a day these weren’t for me. They are heavy. Seriously it felt like I had a big offensive lineman sitting on my head. They isolated well and noise canceling was really sufficient, but that’s where my love for them ended. Just so damn heavy.
Finally the Bose 700. I looked for them all over Maine, because I went in to a store tried them on, and fell in love. Maine didn’t have them yet, so I ordered them from the hotel and they came to me when I got home. The clamping took about 2 days, and then they got lighter and felt better. These though are not as comfortable as the QC line. I’ve grown to like them, but you always notice them, or are aware they’re on your ears. The QC’s I could forget I had headphones on super comfortable. The sound hasn’t changed much, but I think the base is tighter. Something else I do think the sound stage is a bit better defined, but also seems to be song specific. If you have the QC line and don’t have any trouble with them I’d say just sit tight. If you love tech get these. One thing in my case I love is the microphone quality. Not so much how it sounds, but that I can pretty much whisper to it and it hears me. This is great for Alexa. In are house we use headphones so much, that I sort of got away from using Alexa because I’d rather have something on the headphone. Now with these I press a button on the side of them or just say Alexa if you have the wake word on, and it responds. Seriously I can all most whisper which is great, because I won’t bother Abby that way if I’m up late listening to baseball or rugby. Noise canceling is about the same now as the Sony’s. They now have gotten rid of some of the white noise the QC line had, which is great! For me for the features they have, and the more noise canceling they offer these are my new headphones.
I could make a review for each headphone and give you way more info, but they don’t pay me for this. Reviewers often give Sony the number 1 spot, and while I think they’re good they do have flaws. If it’s cold for one the touchpad doesn’t respond. Secondly people complain that the Bose 700 don’t fold, but yet one of the breaking points on the Sony’s is the hinge. I don’t think you can go wrong with either also the XM4’s are coming out soon. If your trying to save money, and don’t want a expensive set the QC35 will go on sale, and you can those. I like the 700’s, but I don’t think they are miles ahead of the QC II.. Also a reviewer may have placed a bid on Ebay for the MW65, because they sound just so damn good for Bluetooth headphones.