Latest Questions Answered

1
Can I use the MDR-XB950B1 wirelessly with the Playstation 4 via Bluetooth?
Weren't able to pair it. Our PS4 says that it does not support Bluetooth Audio Devices.
1
Hello, I am trying to seek your expert advise for a set of headphones. My goal is to find a set that is wireless so I can use them while I do yard work and block out sound while listening to music, talk radio etc from my iphone. I also work from home in my office and would like the same pair to be able to connect to my cordless Panasonic phone via included cable with the headphones to the 2.5mm headphone jack. Reason being is that I am on a lot of conference calls and that had to be a big factor in my search. So needing active noise cancellation, wireless and a cable to be able to connect to my phone for work. So far I narrowed it down to the Sennheiser PXC 550, Sony MDR-1000X and the Bose QC 35. I would love your advise on which one and even if its a different model I have not thought of. One thing to note is that I do understand that it will be a jack of all trades headset and i dont have to have the best noice cancellation or audio. The most important is the call functions with the cord. Thank you in advance!

QC35 and MDR1000X have superior noise cancelling compared to the PXC550. With MDR1000X you have the option of turning the ANC off, but with QC35 the ANC is always on. On the other hand, the QC35 has the best sound quality out of the three, but it requires a 1/16th TRS jack instead of a 1/8th (2.5mm).

If you don't care about being able to turn off the ANC, and can find a 1/16th jack adapter, then we'd recommend the QC35. Otherwise, the MDR1000X would be a better fit for you than the PXC550 because of their better ANC.

1
Did these ratings change recently? They seem quite different, and some of the text doesn't seem to correspond to the scores. For example, 8.1 for imaging meaning average imaging?
Yes. The review has been updated with our latest test bench. The text will be updated after all the headphones have been updated.
0
I'd like to get an inexpensive pair of headphones for listening to podcasts while mowing the lawn. I want ANC to eliminate/reduce mower noise so I can listen at a reasonable volume. It looks like there aren't really any reasonably priced (under $1000) options that do a good job of noise cancellation though. Would the Plantronics Backbeat Pro be any good? What about the CB3 Hush?
Both in our measurements and subjective tests, the Sony MDR-1000X performs best in Noise Cancelling. However, we don't have a reference for the noise profile and loudness of a lawn mower, so it may or may not be adequate. Our other recommendations would the Bose QuietComfort 35 and QuietControl 30.
0
Can you please elaborate on your methodology when measuring with human subjects? Do you still also measure on the dummy head? I don't understand it.
We are working on a video to better explain our issues and workarounds for headphones measurements. In short, we measure over/on-ear headphones on 5 human subjects, 5 times each. We also measure the headphones 5 times on the dummy head. We then merge the results of the two sets of measurements (human and dummy head) in the Mid Range to get the final Frequency Response.
0
I'd love to see the HD 700 reviwed
We have a new tool for suggesting products to be reviewed! You can vote for the HD 700 here.
2
Why didn't you lock 1 kHz to 90 dB? And did you change the compensation curve recently? A lot of the measurements seem to have a hump around 2 kHz while there used to be a dip (800S, M50x, HEX, SHP9500, iirc).

We don't lock down the response at 1KHz, because it won't align the Frequency Response across the Target SPL properly. Currently we align the response full range (20Hz-20KHz), but we are open to suggestions for doing it differently.

We have just updated our Target Response (compensation curve), which you can see below, and we are in the process of updating our measurements and scores with the new target. That's the reason for some changes on the website.

All the headphones will be updated to the latest test bench (which includes measuring the bass of over/on-ear headphones on 5 human subjects), by the end of April.

Rtings.com Headphones Target Response
0
I prefer ON-EAR Wireless headphones because they seem to fit better and are less bulky, especially when my head is on a pillow (OVER-EAR headphones seem to get pushed around). I saw the Beats Solo 3 are ON-EAR and have favorable user ratings on Amazon, but I cannot find a review of this model at Rtings.com. Do you have a review of this pair of headphones, e.g. are they comparable to anything else?
You can check our latest review of the Beats Solo3 here.
0
My Bose SoundLink Around-Ear II are paired with my Bluetooth ready TV. The volume suddenly gets louder at times. Don't hear a pop, but it's not a gradual increase, more like something just started working. I can't pinpoint any particular type of program and it doesn't back & forth. I just want to be sure it's not the headphones themselves, hoping it's a distance or something else problem a 76-year-old lady can't figure out. Thanks,
To confirm whether your headphones or the TV caused the sudden volume increase; We suggest connecting your headphones to another Bluetooth source, if possible, and checking if the issue persists on other devices. Also, if you have the brand and model number of your TV, we will try to reproduce the problem with our SoundLink Around-Ear II. We will update you on the results and possible fixes for the issue, once we receive a bit more data.
0
I am looking for a recommendation for a great headphone to use for PC gaming. Are critical listening headphones ideal for PC gaming, or is there another type of headphone you can recommend me?
Most of our Critical Listening recommendations are open-back and don't have a microphone, so if a microphone and isolation are not a concern, then they should be a great choice for gaming. Otherwise, we would suggest a pair of wired closed-back headphones (for the lowest latency) that also come with a mic, like the Bose QuietComfort 25.
2
Additional Review Notes
Here is the raw FR plot for MDR-1000X at 100dB SPL (Red Wired, Blue Wireless) MDR1000X BT vs Wired - FR and here is the THD plot for MDR-1000X at 100dB SPL (Red Wired, Blue Wireless) MDR1000X BT vs Wired - THD
0
Is this Qi-enabled? I have one and the USB port is broken and can't be charged with wire charger
Unfortunately, the Bohm B-66 do not support Qi wireless charging. We have yet to test a headphone that is Qi-enabled and would appreciate any suggestions to add to our to-do list.
1
Did you guys notice any issues while multitasking and using bluetooth? I was using these headphones during my morning train commute, and noticed a lot of intermittent drops when using anything that required data. But if I left the iPhone locked, no issues. This makes the device unusable (for me) outside of exercise or reading a physical book. Did you guys notice the same issues? I have an iPhone 7+.
We tested the Jaybird X2 with both Android and iOS (the Nexus 6P and the iPhone 7 respectively). We played youtube videos, audio from Spotify and the native media players on both operating systems while switching between different apps. There were no connection drops as long as the devices were within range. We suggest pairing the X2 to another Bluetooth device, if possible, to isolate the issue and confirm if the connection drops happen on other devices or only with your phone.
9
How do these headphones compare to Bose Quietcomfort 35's?
We have experienced some measurable Sound Quality issues while using our MDR-1000X wirelessly, but they are not terribly audible. Assuming this can be taken care of with a firmware update, the Sound Quality of the Sonys are very similar to the QC35. But the main difference between the two is the superior noise-cancelling of the MDR-1000X and the fact that you can turn off the NC and still use the headphones wirelessly. Additionally, the QC35 would have the edge in comfort and the MDR-1000X in build quality.
0
This test result only Aptx codec?
Yes, when available we use aptX for our measurements. But for the MDR-1000X we double-checked our results without aptX as well, and still had the same issues above 10KHz.
0
Can you please also consider reviewing JBL Everest Elite 700 headphones? It's been well received by critics, especially since the headphones has gotten cheaper.
We have a new tool for suggesting products to be reviewed! You can submit your suggestions here.
0
How about the over the ear version of the amazon basics headphone? Is it significantly better in terms of sound quality?
We haven't reviewed the Over-ear version of those headphones, so can't comment on it yet. But we will consider reviewing them. You can now submit your review suggestions here.
0
Hello, I would like to know when the gaming section will be released as I see it says "Coming Soon".
Most likely in the second half of the year.
1
When will you test/publish the results of the LDAC codec testing of the MDR 1000X?
We have yet to find a reliable Bluetooth dongle that supports the LDAC codec, as it is typically only available on Sony devices. However, when we do, we will update the review accordingly, but it may take some time.
1
I noticed recently that the frequency response measurement for the M50x has changed considerably, I don't know exactly, but I remember seeing it differently. Were the measurements updated/corrected?
We are in the process if re-testing our old headphones against a new test bench and that's why the scores may fluctuate a bit for the next month, until they stabilize. A key feature of the new test bench is measuring the low-end of headphones on 5 human subjects, 5 times each to cover for seal/leakage issues experienced with measurement heads. The M50X was just updated.
7
Hey Rtings, First of all, thank you so much for this detailed review, I really appreciate it that you made a review based on measurements instead of own experience. However I do have one unanswered question, could you tell me which firmware of the Bose QC is used for this review? I am wondering about this since I have read that there are some considerable differences in sound quality between one firmware and another. Thanks in advance.
We measured the QuietComfort 35 on firmware 1.0.6. We will retest the headphones with the most recent firmware 1.2.10 and append the review with the new data and any significant changes. However, we also have a new test bench, which means we are re-measuring all our previously posted headphones, so not all the changes will be due to the firmware update. We've bumped the QC 35 in our priority queue so the review should be up-to-date in a week or two.
0
Follow-up on the BOHM B-66. The battery barely held a charge for longer than 20 minutes. Fully charged, all works well until the low battery signal starts in. Usually dead about 3 mins later. Any plans to test the Sony MDR-1000X? Would love to see results against the Bose QC35s. Thanks for all of the great work!
It seems that the Bohm B-66 has a low manufacturing tolerance. Our unit is still working and holding a charge for up to 10 hours after repeated battery drains, and we've used them a couple of times in the office without any issues. However, we've had several questions about the Bohm and Diskin's fluctuating battery performance, and our unit does take a surprisingly long time to charge fully. I would suggest contacting the manufacturer as your unit appears to be defective. Also, the MDR-1000x review will be posted very soon.
0
I'm total novice want to use this gift to watch movies on my iPad. The first day, wonderful. When I tried the next day, not a sound. I'm using the audio cord. What is my problem.? I'm 82 with zip technical knowledge. Thanks
The Bohm B-66 will continue playing audio even when the battery is completely drained, so there may be a couple of things that are causing this issue: The first being that once the headphones are out of power, they will only play audio if noise canceling feature is turned off. The switch on the right ear cup must be toggled downwards so that you see the small red marker, indicating the off position. If this does not solve your issue, make sure that the audio cable is properly plugged into your iPad. Also, when fully charged the headphones should play regardless of the noise canceling feature. We suggest charging the headset for a couple of hours and trying again, to check that your unit is not defective.
0
Disregarding the sound and the ANC, is there a noticeable difference in comfort between the QC35 and the Bose SoundLink Around-Ear II?
No, they are basically made identically.
0
Will you please consider testing quality DACs? For example the Oppo HA-2SE, or RHA Dacamp L1.
At the moment we are focused on reviewing headphones and there's still a lot left to add/improve in our reviews. However, we are open to reviewing other products once our headphones reviews have become more solid and complete.
0
How do these sound compare to the wired model? Is it the same?
They are very close. The wired model has slightly less distortion and phase error, but there's a good chance you won't notice the difference. On the other hand, the wireless model has active noise-cancelling which improves the isolation, but a consequence of increased isolation is decreased openness in Soundstage. Unfortunately, you can't disable the noise-cancelling on while using them wirelessly.
0
Hi, are you planning on reviewing the HD-700? Its the little brother of the HD-800 S at $500.
It is on our radar, but not very high priority because of their price and their reputation.
0
To repeat with a slightly different selection set, if my wish list was 1. Sound quality 2. Comfort 3. NC 4. Wireless/wired capabilities and money wasn't an issue, which should I buy, the Bose QC35 or Sennheiser PXC 550s over ear?
We would still recommend the QC35, unless the extra wireless features of the PXC550 are very important to you.
0
I plan to purchase the Audeze Isine 20 which is a open back, planar magnetic, in ear, with an frequency range of 10hz-50khz. I absolutely love the system you guys use to evaluate headphones and would very much like to see it and it's baby brother the isine 10 reviewed on your website.
Thanks for your suggestions. We already have the Audeze headphones on our to-do list, but we don't have an estimate for when we will be able to review them.
3
Could you please review the Sennheiser HD 599. Thanks!
Already have them in the office, but it may take us some time to test them and publish a review.
0
I would really like to see how Etymotic earphones measure, especially the recent ER4XR and ER4SR.
We have them on our to-do list, but it may take us some time to get to reviewing them.
1
Love the website, thanks for all the great info, it helped me pick out the perfect tv for my parents. I actually wanted to suggest reviewing Etymotic earbuds. I had a pair that is now discontinued but they sounded amazing and the isolation is probably unparalleled (i could mow the lawn with them in). I cant vouch for their current lineup, but if they havent dropped the ball I think they would be well worth your time. Regards, Caleb
Thanks for your suggestion. We tend not to review discontinued products, but we will take a look at their new lineup.
1
I own the Bose QuietComfort 20 and the jaybird X2 primarily for noise isolation. The Bose is very comfortable to wear whereas the X2 makes my ear sore in short order, however I don't like the cord and rectangular box that you have to carry around with the Bose. But there's nothing else on the market, so I had the best of both worlds AFAIKnew. To my surprise, I discovered that Bose has merged the best of both worlds with the QuietControl 30 Wireless headphones. I think I'll get a pair, but I'd love to see a review write-up on them. Lastly, this is my "go-to" website before buying televisions. I upgraded my Samsung J5200 televisions to KU6300 series and I couldn't be happier. Night and day difference. I upgraded my soundbar from a J355 to K450 primarily for the wireless sub and HDMI-ARC. But what I want is 5.1 multiroom systems, yet they're still expensive to gamble. I can't find a good site that makes things scientific like your television and headphone reviews. Are you aware of any? Thank you for this website.
We have the Bose QuietControl 30 in the office and we're in the process of reviewing them, but we are also building a new test bench so it may take some time before the review is actually posted. However, from our experience, we can confirm that the QC30 are more comfortable than typical in-ears/earbuds and also isolate quite well. As for the website suggestions, unfortunately, we are not aware of any objectively based review site for soundbars.
0
I'm looking for a decent pair of Bluetooth on ear headphones. Would be mostly used for watching TV (a Samsung with Bluetooth) from 8-10'. All of your on ear headphones in <$100 range seem to have the same comment of too tight on the ears. The Bohm B66 seem to have a nice price/performance ration with the latest price on Amazon of around $85. Any other recommendations?
The Bohm B-66 are a versatile and affordable pair, but as mentioned they're pretty tight on the head. You may get used to them over time, but they're not the most comfortable headphones out-of-the-box. If you're looking for a good On-Ear substitute, the Samsung Level On Wireless are currently on sale. They're equally, if not more, versatile than the Bohm but they're a bit more expensive too. Alternatively, there's also the Sony MDRZX770BN. They're comfortable over-ear headphones for most use cases but do not sound as good as the Level On.
0
Have you considered testing the definitive Technology Symphony 1 headphones? They are in the same price range as the Denon AHGC20, but appear (based on other reviews) to have much better mid-range and treble response, better noise isolation, and better leakage.
Thanks for your suggestion. We were not familiar with the brand, we'll look into it.
0
Please review Oppo PM-1.
We will add them to our to-do list, but they seem to be one of the older planar magnetic headphones and quite expensive too! So newer high-end planars will probably be given priority.
0
how replace battery for Diskin bluetooth headset?
The battery in the Diskin Wireless Bluetooth headphones is not replaceable. You can only recharge it through the micro-USB port, and attempting to open the earcups, will most likely damage your headphones.
0
What's the best Bluetooth transmitters to use with my wireless solos?
We are currently using a MEE Audio Connect Bluetooth transmitter with AptX, AptX(low latency) and dual pairing for one of our Bluetooth tests. It's easy to use and versatile, but it's a bit pricier than others. However, any Bluetooth 4.0 (or higher) transmitter would be a good fit for the Solo2 Wireless as they don't have the aptX codec and rely on the typical SBC connection with most Bluetooth devices. Also, we have yet to test for the AAC audio quality codec and cannot recommend an ideal transmitter for that purpose.
0
Should you be able to expect a headphone like the Bose QuietComfort 35 to block out talking in a cubicle office setting?
For all intents and purposes, the QC35 will block out the conversation in an office environment. Meaning they will block out the outside noise enough so that you won't be distracted by them. Actually, the amount of noise-cancelling on these headphones can be a bit unsettling at first. Which could be considered a down side if you want to use them where you need to monitor your environment, since you can't turn off their noise-cancelling. But they don't block out all the noise 'completely', and no noise-cancelling headphones exist that can really do that.
0
Any updates on the Apple AirPods now that they're publicly available?
Here it is.
0
I think you guys should review the MEE audio Matrix3 because its predecessor were greatly well received by reviewers for their sound quality at a low price, please consider reviewing them? Also since I'm the 100th question asked?
We'll add them to our already long list. And yes, you asked the 100th question! No prize though ;-)
0
Hello, do you plan to review the Astro A50 gen3 headset? I can see you did a review on Turtle Beach Elite 800, Astro and TurtleBeach are the top premium gaming headsets - it would be super cool to have your opinion on the Astro A50 gen3 as well. Thank you
We are planning on reviewing gaming headsets and will add the A50 to our list, but that would probably be sometime later this year.
0
When will you be reviewing the new Apple AirPods?
We have already tested the Airpods and will post the review in the coming weeks.
0
In terms of sound quality, which is better QY8 or QY7?
We haven't measured QY7, so can't comment on that. But between QY8 and QY9, we'd recommend QY8.
1
What capacity micro SD card does it take?
We tested three micro SD cards with the same mp3 file. The headphones were able to read the audio file on the 2GB and 32GB micro SD cards but not on the 64GB. Therefore, the maximum capacity for the SD card you can use with the Bluedio T3 Plus is 32GB.
0
I have had people inform me that the microphone picks up the tiniest sounds and makes them sound quite loud when I am on calls. Did you experience this, and how did you solve for it?
We haven't had any unusual experiences with the microphone on Soundsport Wireless while making calls.
0
First of all, i want to thank you guys for making this site, i love it, i love the reviews, they're very informative, detailed and helpful for making comparisons, really thank you! I've already made a couple of lists of headphones (2 headphones per list to choose between), One for my music listing needs (mainly based on your Critical Listening score and details) the other is for the on-the-go listening (that contain wireless and ANC features and match your Portability, Stability and other scores) Now I'm trying to find a headphone for my gaming needs, I know you guys didn't start reviewing gaming headsets yet, I just want to know which of the sound specs and characteristics i should focus on if i want to have a great sound experience in games from a non-gaming headphones, is it the bass the mid or the treble? the Soundstage or the Imaging? i don't really care about the mic or the design. hope to see an answer soon, keep it up guys.
If you only care about sound quality, then critical listening rating should match up pretty well with what you are looking for. Then only thing to consider is whether the leakage of open-back headphones is an issue for you. In that case remove Soundstage (specifically Openness and Acoustic Space Excitation) as one of the criteria.
0
Are your values (dB) for "Noise Isolation" correct (Overall Attenuation, Bass, Mid, Treble & Self-Noise)? The recorded dB levels don't seem to correlate with the associated line graph.
Thanks for pointing out the error! Should be fixed now.
0
I currently own a Sennheiser HD 598 and plan to get the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO. Just want to know if there is a massive upgrade for this. And would my Fiio E10k be able to drive DT 990 250 ohm?
We don't consider the DT 990 Pro to be a big upgrade over the HD 598. The DT 990 is a bit heavier in bass, but also more sibilant than the 598. So if you care about sound quality, you'd probably get more out of your investment by getting a good software/hardware EQ for your HD 598.
0
Hi, In your review, you say that the Samsung Level app is for iOS and Android; however, based on everything I can find, it is only available for Android. Can you confirm that you were able to find an iOS version? Also, any idea on when you plan to review some of the newer sets of BT earphones? Specifically, I'm trying to decide between the Powerbeats3, the Samsung Level U Pros, Plantronics BackBeat Fit, and Bose Wireless SoundSport. I'll be using them for mild physical activity (walking), lawn work, and while sitting at my desk. Of most importance to me is comfort. I like something that fits like Apple EarPods (but the cable drives me nuts when I'm working with them on); I really don't like earplugs that go deep in your ear and seal them off - they make my ears hurt. I'll be using them with my iPhone 6s, Apple Watch Series 2, and MacBook. Sound quality isn't as important to me as comfort when wearing, Bluetooth reliability, and battery life. I mostly listen to podcasts; when I listen to music, I can't really tell the quality difference between CDs, MP3, satellite, or FM radio. The Apple AirPods would appear to be perfect for me, but from what I've read, they're not water or sweat proof, so I'm worried about spending that much on something that can get ruined so easily. Also, I've learned to avoid first generation Apple products based on bad experience in the past. I'm even considering the Samsung Level U (base ones for $approx. $25 not the Pros) as an under $30 quick fix and wait to get a more expensive pair in 9 - 12 months after we see what Apple and others release in 2017. Based on the criteria I've laid out, do you have any suggestions?
Thank you for catching the error on the Samsung Level U Pro. We can confirm that the Samsung level app is not yet available for iOS. As for the headphone suggestions, the Bose SoundSport Wireless will be the most suitable reconmendation for your needs, as they have a semi-open fit thats more comfortable than most in-ears. However, they're a bit pricey and some models have shown to not be as sweatproof as expected. We have yet to post the review of the QuietControl 30 but they have a similar fit in a more durable design and a longer battery life. But if you don't mind the neckband and fit of the Level U Pro (they have a regular in-ear fit but softer tips that makes them a bit more comfortable), then they're a safe and cheap option that perform well overall. Also, the BackBeat Fit and Powerbeats3 are on the list but it may take some time until we are able to review them.
0
In your research, have you found any plug-in, wired noise-canceling headphones? All of the noise-canceling headphones I've seen are either powered by traditional (i.e., AA or AAA) or rechargeable (usually via a USB cable) batteries. That's fine for travel, however, my only use for these headphones is at work, where I'd much rather utilize either a traditional 120V power outlet or a USB cable to power the noise cancelation. As such, if it wasn't plugged into an outlet or my computer, noise cancelation would not function (but audio could still be played in the former case, presumably if there were two cables coming from the headphones -- one audio and one power).
We have just recently added a new battery test, that also checks if the active headphones can continue streaming audio, wirelessly or plugged-in, while charging. As long as you don't mind having two cables, the PXC 550 would be the best recommendation overall, to use in the office, for their comfort, noise canceling, sound, and ability to play audio when connected to a direct power source. The QuietComfort 20 are also a good, completely wired option that work, while charging, but for more comparisons, please check our new battery test article.
1
How does the sound quality compare to the SoundTrue II?
Nearly identical, but the QC35 could in theory sound slightly less open and spacious because of their noise-cancelling feature.
1
Will you please do a review of the V-Moda Crossfade Wireless?
Already on our to-do list, but it may takes us some time to get to them.
2
Will you please do a review for the Wireless version with ANC?
Sure we'll add it to our list, but the list has gotten quite long!
0
So if the QC 35 sound more accurate than the Momentum Wireless, which headphones sounds more appealing? Because alot of other other sites praised the momentum wireless for its sound quality? Even more than the QC 35?

Yes, we'd still recommend the QC35. But if you really want something from Sennheiser, the PXC550's performance is closer to the QC35's than the Momentum's. We don't think there's a big difference between accurate and appealing sound reproduction. When the sound of a pair of headphones is described as appealing or exciting, it usually refers to a few extra dBs of Bass (and sometimes also Treble). We try to account that in our compensation curve.

0
I need help with a decision to buy either the V-Moda Crossfade M-100's or Sennheiser Momentum's 2.0 (Wired) Which one is better overall especially with sound quality and also is the noise isolation from the M-100's really bad?
The M-100s don't have as good an isolation and leakage as the Momentums, because their ear cups are a bit shallower and thinner. However, the M-100s have a more balanced sound overall, the Momentums lose a lot of clarity in Treble.
4
Regarding your distortion measurements, specifically the parameters you set forth as targets, are you aware of the work of Geddes and Lee (available on their site, GedLee, under "distortion perception") and subsequently Olive and Welti (The Correlation between Distortion Audibility and Listener Preference in Headphones, available via the AES as well as on Listen Inc.'s site) on the matter? Have you considered measuring and displaying distortion via other methods, such as Olive and Welti's non-coherent distortion tests with music (which, in their test, correlated the most to individuals' preferences), or Geddes and Lee's GedLee metric?

Thanks for your message. We are familiar with Olive-Welti's paper, and have even discussed improving our measurements with them. As part of our new test bench, which will be rolled-out slowly over the next few months, we have an improved THD weight curve and have also added IMD measurements. But measuring non-coherent musical distortion may be a bit more difficult for us to implement at the moment.

The GedLee metric seems quite interesting! We've been thinking of something along the same line for a while, and are definitely open to incorporating it into our reviews, but it won't be a high priority at the moment. We have just finalized our new test bench, and based on the papers out there, we should first make sure we're getting our Frequency Response, Soundstage and Imaging right, before worrying about distortion! ;-)

0
Please please please add a column to factor in the Bluetooth headset's microphones. If they're listen-only headphones then great, but if there's a microphone present then it needs to be more than a mere afterthought. The lack of detailed commentary on call quality by reviewers in general grants permission to completely overlook a critical part of headphones' usability with the phone they're paired to. Experiences with the flagship travel-friendly bluetooth headphones: After owning the QC35 for a month I pre-ordered the PXC550 and then also the MDR1000X simply because of my experience with the QC35 on calls. The PXC550 fared significantly worse, which was a dealbreaker because I actually really liked them. I listened to a call recording with the MDR1000X and it was, no exaggeration, no better than wired earbuds with the omni-directional inline mic dangling below my neck. So until I try something better (almost afraid to try Backbeat Pro 2 because I do love the sound image and ANC of the Bose), I'm forced to supplement my $350 Bose QC35 with a $40 Plantronics. In an office the QC35 is hard to use for a conference call without putting myself on "mute" between every word, yet with even a cheap calling-oriented Bluetooth headset I can stand on a Subway platform and only have to worry about myself going a little deaf. For what it's worth, Bose and Sennheiser both make premium ANC aviation headsets, and Bose makes a lot of ANC military headsets (most especially for vehicle crews). Sony's product measures the acoustic characteristics of the wearer's ears and head to optimize the DSP for better listening, so they're not idling either. It's not a big stretch to ask for good microphonics from their flagship consumer bluetooth headsets.
Thanks for your message. As previously mentioned, we have yet to review the quality of headphones' microphones. But it's part of our road-map. Having said that, please keep in mind that with Bluetooth devices you are always at the mercy of the bandwidth provided by the Bluetooth protocol. Therefore the microphone audio will always sound compressed.
0
Any chance you guys could review the Bohm B76 headphones and maybe the Avantree Audition Pros? both seem to be pretty popular lower-cost alternatives that seem pretty interesting.
We will add them to the list, but the list has gotten quite long and we're not sure when we will get to them.
0
I am noticing considerable difference between the fidelity of the bluetooth connection to my iPhone 7 vs my MacBook Pro. Is there anything that can be done to improve the audio connect to the Macbook.
We can't think of a reason for why the sound quality would be worse on a MacBook, since both are apple products. And we don't have MacBooks in the office reproduce your problem. Maybe you would be able to find something in the Bluetooth settings of your laptop.
0
As the owner of several wireless headsets, battery charge time/life are extremely important when considering Wireless headphones. Can you please include battery life and charge time information in your reviews.
We are currently testing all our active headphones for battery life and charge time. The results will be posted and scored by the end of December. There will also be a dedicated article, with the test results' table, to easily compare battery performance across all headphones.
1
Hello, I have used your site to purchase a TV in the past and now headphones. Love it! I am looking for a pair of headphones that will block some/most sound when I am mowing with my riding lawn mower. The m40x's seem like good headphones for my price point. Are there others that I should be taking a look at that would block more sound with similar audio quality?
It sounds like a pair of noise-cancelling headphones would better suite your case. Depending on whether you'd prefer a wired or wireless design, Bose Quiet Comfort 25 and 35 would be excellent choices.
0
If my wish list was 1. Sound quality 2. Comfort 3. NC and money wasn't an issue, which should I buy, the Bose QC35 or Momentum 2 over ear?
Bose QC35 beats the Momentum in all three.
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The summary says Mic: Yes but there is no other mention in the review of the mic. Is this accurate?
Yes, the QC35 do have a microphone. However we are not testing the microphones of headphones yet, that's why we don't have more information on that at the moment.
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Is there an effective way of adding volume controls to the headphone?
The Bohm B-66 have a slightly unintuitive control scheme. To change volume levels, you have to press and hold the volume buttons. A simple tap will skip tracks instead.
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Hi there! I'd like to suggest that the Sennheiser HD 380 Pros be reviewed; they're the successor to the HD 280s and widely considered to be better subjectively, and they're also widely and relatively cheaply available, so I'd love to see a scientific assessment of them.
Already on our list, but it may takes us a couple of months to review them.
2
Hello! I have used this site before for TV recommendations and you guys have not disappointed me. I have looked for the "perfect" pair of wireless headphones for a while now and many sites state that it is the Momentum 2 over the Bose QC35's. I am wondering which one of these two to get. I listen to all kinds of music besides heavy metal and rock. Many people say that the bass on the QC35 is not as good as the Senheiser but you say otherwise. I am also not an audiophile whatsoever, but am looking for headphones with good bluetooth connection, sound, and comfortability. Which one would you recommend, the Momentum 2 or the QC25?

Both our measurements and subjective impressions of these headphones favor the Bose. Its audio reproduction is more accurate, it has better noise cancelling and is a lot more comfortable than the Momentum (the Bose are actually our highest rated headphones in Comfort). The downside of the Bose headphones seems to be their leakage. If you listen at loud volumes and have people around you, they will be able to hear you. The Momentums are considerably better in this category.

One thing to point out however, is that both of the headphones you have considered are noise cancelling, and you won't be able to turn off their noise cancelling while using them wirelessly. We don't recommend noise-cancelling unless you really need it. The non-noise cancelling variant of the QC35, which has a near identical performance, is the SoundLink Around-Ear II.

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I'm a music producer. Whenever I make beats late at night in the house I've been using my beats pro headphones that I've had for about 5 years. They still sound excellent but it's time for an upgrade. I've considered just getting a new pair of beats pro headphones but I've been searching for a good wireless solution. The wireless beats studio headphones are out of the question because I only want the best. Is the sound in these headphones comparable to the beats pro headphones?
We haven't reviewed the Beats Pro, so we can't comment on that. But the QC35 on their own are pretty neutral sounding. They may sound different from the Beats Pro, but the QC35's neutrality makes them a pretty good candidate for wireless music production. One slightly negative thing about the QC35 is their leakage though. So if you listen at moderately loud volumes, and there are people around you, they may be able to hear the sound.
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Great reviews! I could really use your advice. I am looking for Bluetooth fitness headphones, but I have very small ears and most all in-ear options will fall out if I do not have a "hook" that goes around the top of my ear. I haven't seen any good options. Any ideas? Thank you!
The Powerbeats 2 have a stable ear-hook design, and their in-ear fit is a bit more comfortable than typical in-ear models. However, they don't have the best audio reproduction. Alternatively, you could get the Soundpeats Q9A, which are very similar to the Powerbeats but at a much lower price. These are the best, of the few, ear-hook designs that we've tested so far but you can always manually place the audio cables of better sounding headphones, behind your ears, to simulate an ear-hook fit. For more options, please check our Sports/Fitness recommendations.
1
Why don't your reviews of high quality headphones like the Sennheiser 650s mention amplifiers or DACs? Do you test the headphones with headphone amps? Shouldn't you inform consumers that they would need to purchase an amp to appropriately drive these headphones?

We are planning on testing the impedance and drivability of the headphones hopefully sometime in the coming year. However, our immediate priority is to improve our current test bench so our scores correspond better to the user's subjective experience.

Once we have our test bench solidified we will explain our testing procedure and philosophy fully in a couple of articles and videos. But just to give you some information for now; we are using an RME UFX as our audio interface/preamp, and a Schiit Ragnarok as our headphones amp. Our new test bench calculates the final results by averaging 30 measurements that were gathered using a variety of measurement devices in order to account for different head shapes/sizes and headphone positioning preferences.

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Can any of these headphones be used on a Tv or is that a special category.
If your TV supports Bluetooth headphones, then the Bluetooth headphones listed here should work. For wired headphones, you may need an amplifier to bring the TV signal up to a level that headphones can use.
0
Great site;critical to my TV purchase. Any intent to review 1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones ? I'm on the endless search for quality running audio gear.
Thanks for your suggestion. We will add them to our to-do list, however, it may us take us a while to review them.
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can you review the Bluedio V {Victory} pro Bluetooth headphones? I would love to see all the tests and your professional reviews and opinions on these. Are they worth it?
Thanks for your suggestion. We are not familiar with the Bluedio V, but will add them to our to-do list. It may take us some time to get to reviewing them though.
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What is the criteria for "Limited Availability Products". I don't understand why the Sony MDR7506 is marked as one.
The criteria for "Limited Availability Products" is usually, if they're out-of-stock or unavailable through the affiliate links. However, thanks to your question, we noticed that some headphones would display as unavailable because of the "hidden price" feature of several Amazon links. We have since pushed a fix for this issue, and all test result tables should now be displaying the correct list of available headphones.
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Would love to see a review of the mdr-1000x. You seem to have a well defined procedure for testing which is really nice.
Thanks for your suggestion. Added to our to list, but it may take us a while to get to it.
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Where are the soundstage comments?
We haven't been able to add comments to all of our new tests yet. The texts will be updated early next year. In short however, the 598s good Soundstage is mainly due to their open-back design and large ear cups.
2
Can you compare and contrast the Bose QC35, the Sony MDR 1000X, and the Parrot Zik 3.0? I am especially interested in which one has the best microphone for use in noisy environments. 2nd priority would be the most isolation from noisy environments.
We haven't reviewed the MDR 1000X yet, and we haven't started testing microphones yet either. However, in terms of isolation, the QC35 should outperform the Zik 3.0 by a small margin, but the ANC in Zik 3.0 will most likely be more comfortable than the QC35. That's because it adapts to the environment and doesn't overly isolate in quiet environments.
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I'm debating between these (Bose QC35's) the Sony mdr-1000x's and the Sennheiser PXC 550's. I trust your reviews, but there's nothing on the sonys or the sennheisers, so I was wondering if you had any opinions or suggestions as to which one I should go with. Appreciate all the detailed reviews, thanks guys!
We haven't reviewed the MDR 1000X or the PXC550 yet, but have the latter in the office. It seems in terms of noise cancellation, the QC35 outperforms the PXC550 by a small margin, but the PXC550 is a pretty good headphone too and a big improvement over the previous attempts by Sennheiser.
3
I just purchased a pair of Bose QC35 headphones and have the following observation. I tried using them to practice playing drums with them and they are fine except for one annoying issue. When I play a bit hard, I am hearing a pop that corresponds to my stick hitting the head. It sounds like the headphones are being overloaded with sound even though I am playing them at about a quarter volume. It almost sounds like "clipping" at high volume. Any ideas what might be causing this? Would there be a very high quality headphone that is non-ANC that would not possibly have this issue? I am wondering if the ANC is causing this problem. Thanks

We didn't have a source loud-enough in the office to replicate your scenario, and although we were able to get a couple of clicks out of the headphones by exposing them to loud noise, the clicks were not consistent enough to indicate a overload of some kind.

Since it is quite possible that the drums are overloading the ANC, a good non-ANC alternative to the QC35 would be the Audio Technica ATH-M50X.

0
Awesome reviews guys. Can't write my expression. Would you guys please add soundmagic to you list of 'to be reviewed'. I owned couple of them for their decent stage. I find them good, in fact value of money. Again kudos n keep up the good work.
Thanks for your suggestion, Soundmagic is already on our list. :-)
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Hi RTings! Thank you for the detailed review on the headphones! I just have one question. Since the QC35 has a volume-dependent Active EQ, at what volume was the headphones tested at for the Frequency Response graph?

At the moment we measure headphones at 90dB & 100dB SPL (C-weighting, 20Hz-20Khz pink noise, post compensation curve). However, this may change slightly in the near future.

Not sure how Bose calibrates their headphones, but if the volume-optimized EQ is based on the Equal Loudness Contour, then theirs should be pretty close to ours. Also, the EQ's gain should more or less be reducing as the volume increases.

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Good job... Please review dt880 pro and focal Elear.
We are mostly focused on low to mid priced headphones at the moment, and will review more high-end headphones in the near future.
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Will you be reviewing the Koss KSC75? I understand that they are often purchased as a cheaper (and less stylish) alternative to the Porta Pro, and many say that they have a better sound. It would be nice to see how they compare head to head.
Thanks for your suggestion. We will add them to our list, but it will be low in priority since we have plenty of headphones on our to-do list already.
1
I noticed your commuting headphones are largely noise-isolating. However, I find that when commuting I need to be able to hear some of what is going on around me. Therefore I need headphones that give me detail without having to be too loud, but that don't completely isolate me. They also need to be able to be driven by a phone rather than a high end DAC. I currently use 1st generation Sennheiser Momentums and am very happy with everything except the ear cup size. Are there any phones you can recommend along these lines?

At the moment our Commute score favors headphones that can achieve the most amount of noise-cancelling. We agree that this may not be the choice for everyone and are thinking of ways to improve this.

We find the Bose SoundLink/SoundTrue over-ears perform similarly to the Momentums, but with more comfortable ear cups. They tend to be a bit leaky though. The Audio Technica ATH-M50x is also a great sounding headphone, but not as comfortable as the Bose.

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Just curious. The Beats studio wireless got a 6.9 in Critical Listening but not in the table. I don't like Beats that much as well. But since you did the review, I hope you did it equitably. First please add Beats to the table. Second either change your methodology and test all headphone again to eliminate the error or just admit that Beats studio wireless has a no-bad sound quality since SR325e has only got 7.1. I found RTINGS is a good website, at least for headphone review. Now a days not all people still doing the frequency analysis, even innerfidelity. I like your website. Also, I think Beats is not that bad. I have a Solo 2 and it happened to be very good sound quality. You are the only website that tested the Beats. I wish you could, if you can, test the coming Beats X;Beats Powerbeats 3; Bose QC30; Sony MDR-EX750BT. Since these 4 IEM are competitive and I want to buy one for my new iPhone 7. Thank you very much!

We currently have a bug in our system that checks the product availability on Amazon.com. The reason the Studio Wireless are not showing in the table is that our system mistakenly thinks they are not available on Amazon.com. We are working on a fix.

We do have some inconsistencies and errors in our measurements, and it is our current priority to fix them. However, Beats headphones in general don't score and sound as good as most other headphones in their price range. We have already been planning on reviewing most of the headphones you recommended, but it could take us 3-4 months to get to them since we have a lot of other headphones on our to-do list.

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Your site is great, your reviews are fair and well structured, and your work is much appreciated. Sennheiser has recently released replacements for the 5X8 line of headphones. Any chance you guys can review the HD 599 and all-new closed back HD 569? I know there are, and will be, a TON of people interested in these new models.
We are planning on reviewing the new Sennheiser HD 5xx headphones, however, they will probably be published in 3 or 4 months since we have a lot of other headphones on our to-do list.
1
How do you access the battery compartment? I don't see how to open the left side. Thanks.
To open the Noontec Hammo Go, tilt the left ear cup and look for the slight dent at the top of the back plate. Once you see the dent, you can use your nail or a sharp object to pull the back plate off and access the battery compartment.
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Hello, great review site thanks so much for all the information. I recently purchased the QC35's and have been pretty happy until I tried listening to Daft Punk 'Around the World' . The bass became very boomy and I had to turn the volume way down. Are you able to replicate this? I wonder if my pair are defective or I just reached the limit of what is possible with these. I am considering exchanging them for the sennheiser momentum 2.0 wireless or the new Sony MDR 1000x. Your review suggests that you prefer the Bose over the sennheiser momentums, any word on the sony's? I'm willing to sacrifice anc quality for increased sound quality but for me wireless is essential. Thanks!!
Unfortunately we can't tell if your unit is defective without listening to it. The QC35 does sound a little boomier than the Momentum 2.0 Wireless on "Around the World", but not enough for us to recommend exchanging it with the Momentum 2.0. Double check to see if you have an EQ setup in the signal chain affecting the QC35. Also, the kick on "Around the World" sounds a little boomy on its own, so it may not be the best reference for sound quality.
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This is not really a question---rather just two statements.

1. Thanks for a useful site.

2. I found this information on the Amazon website, it may interest you.

Thanks for your link, it turns out our test unit is authentic.
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They're being called AirPods.
The AirPods hadn't been announced yet when we posted that answer. We will review the AirPods when they come out too.
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Are these comparable to the Q12? I could not find these on amazon anymore.
We haven't reviewed the Q12, so can't comment on that. But the updated versions of it that we have tested are the QY8 and QY9.
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Hi RTings, Thank you for your headphone reviews! They're extremely comprehensive and well organized. However I would like to point out a few things about the review of the Bose SoundSport In-Ear that I think are inaccurate. The first is the frequency response graph. I'm not sure if the extremely low bass readings is due to using a dummy that doesn't allow the earbuds to create a good seal or something else went wrong, but in my experience there is FAR more bass than shown in the graph. The SoundSport essentially utilize the same design as the Bose IE2 earbuds, which has a number of frequency response measurements that show extremely strong bass performance, quite unlike the frequency response measurements listed in your review. I agree with the previous comment: I can also easily hear sub-bass rumble even down to 20Hz. Additionally, I would like to point out that while they are in-ear earbuds, I think the SoundSport have some of the widest soundstage out of the WIDE variety of earbuds I have tested. It even outperforms many around-ear headphones I have tried. I think this is largely due to the treble port on the side of the earbuds that points toward the side of the ear. However, nothing in your review reflects this, and in fact it criticizes the SoundSport for having a narrow soundstage. I have been using these earphones for over three years and I don't believe these two aspects of your review provide an accurate representation of the Bose SoundSport. Will revisions be considered?

Thanks for your comments.

As mentioned in a previous answer, we agree that our Bass score for the SoundSport In-Ear is too low and doesn't necessarily reflect the subjective experience of it. In order to fix that we have to improve our scoring infrastructure, which takes a bit of time, but it's coming in the near future.

It is also true that we have some leakage issues with our HMS II.3 dummy head, which makes some of our Bass measurements not reflect the subjective experience. We are considering purchasing a new dummy head with the purpose of fixing this issue. However, we almost only experience bass leakage issues with closed-back over-ear headphones that have small/shallow ear cups. We rarely experience this with in-ear headphones, and almost never with open-back headphones, since they don't rely on a seal to create bass. The SoundSport In-Ear doesn't rely on seal to create its bass either (which creates the very open soundstage), so we don't have a reason to think we are experiencing leakage issues with the SoundSport In-Ear.

We are not familiar with the IE2, so can't comment on that. But we do have the SoundTrue Ultra In-Ear and SoundSport Wireless in the office, and the SoundSport In-Ear ranks as less bass-heavy compared to the other two both in objective measurements and subjective listening tests. Both of these have a better seal than the SoundSport In-Ear which reflected in their isolation/openness scores. We are open to being wrong, but at the moment our best guess is that sub-bass is just very hard to hear on headphones.

The SoundSport In-Ear is currently our highest rated in-ear/earbud for Soundstage, but we agree that the score of 4.6 doesn't necessarily reflect the openness of these headphones. Fixing this also requires an upgrade to our scoring infrastructure. As a side note, we are very careful with the terminology used in our reviews in order to keep things clear (click on the blue question marks for more). That's why we try to avoid using the term "wide" too much in our reviews, since headphones by design sound too wide compared to a stereo speaker setup. We would like to think openness/spaciousness is different from width. Since width in stereo content usually refers to the amount of correlation between the L/R channels, and that would be shown in our Correlated Crosstalk test.

0
Hello, Rtings Staff, I recently purchased these headphones, looked at these graphs, and couldn't help but notice some abnormalities. For one, the frequency response seems off. At least with my unit, there seems to be a bass heavy and upper mid lacking headphone. By this I mean,while listening to music, i can easily hear sounds well below 64 hertz... down to even 20. The mid-bass and upper bass seem emphasized quite a bit, along with lower mids. Is there a definite answer to this, or does my unit just suffer from a defect? Thanks!

The SoundSport In-Ear does produce adequate amounts of bass and high-bass, the roll-off only affects low-bass (sub-bass). The roll-off means that the sub-bass level is lower than it should be, and doesn't mean that they are not able to produce any sub-bass. Also, low-bass is quite hard to hear especially on In-Ears, therefore its absence won't be as detrimental to the sound as bass or high-bass. So we agree that the Bass score doesn't necessarily reflect the subjective experience of bass with these headphones. We are currently working on improving our scoring and an update should be out in the near future.

2
Please review Sony Playstation Gold Wireless. I find these headphones perform surprisingly well in all areas.
Thanks. We haven't started reviewing gaming headsets yet, but are planning to do so in the near future. We will add your suggestion to our list of gaming headsets.
0
Kanoa wireless earbuds look very interesting. They're not yet GA but I'd be curious to see how they stack up to the competition. Thanks!
Thank you for your suggestion. The Kanoa Earbuds do seem quite interesting, as they are truly wireless and feature packed. We will add them to the list. However, it may take some time until we can test them, as we have a lot of headphones currently in our review queue.
0
Which Bluetooth wireless over the ear headphones would be best for classical music?
We don't really think that sound quality is genre-dependent. If the music is mixed properly, then the only thing a pair of headphones have to do is to reproduce what the mixing engineer had in mind. Therefore, any headphones that score well in our tests should be expected to perform well with all kinds of music. Currently Bose QuietComfort 35 and Bose SoundLink Around-Ear II are the highest scoring bluetooth headphones, in terms of sound quality, that we have tested so far.
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I think you guys should show the "Raw" Frequency Response graph along side your compensated graph. Also, it would be a good idea to tell us what compensation curve you are using so we can get a better idea of how to read your FR graph.
We are planning on adding the option to view both the Raw and Compensated responses in the near future. Below is our current compensation curve, which is a modification of the Harman Target Response curve. At the moment, we are working on improving our current Compensation curve, as well as adding a dedicated compensation curve for the In-Ears, based on Harman's recent paper. Rtings.com Headphones Compensation Curve
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Somehow you guys are showing Sennheiser hd598 as closed-back, in the big chart on the critical listening page. I don't know if others are affected.
Thank you for noticing this issue. We have updated the HD598 specifications, and verified that the critical listening table is currently displaying the right data.
0
Do you plan on reviewing the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC? I just purchased it and while the ergonomics are good, for the cost, I'm less than thrilled with it's noise canceling performance across the board. (e.g. Mic picks up other voices / rustling papers. Speaker ANC does not really do too much to deaden background noise) It would be good to see how you rate it compared to Bose QC35's etc. Maybe it's worth buying those instead.

Thank you for your suggestion, we will add the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC to the list. But, since we do not have them yet, we cannot make a direct comparison to the Bose QuietComfort 35. However, based on our test results we can confidently say that the QC35 provide one of the best noise isolation performances.

Unfortunately, unlike the QC25, the mic does pick up voices/rustling papers when making a call. This does not occur when the phone mic is not active, and shouldn't be a problem during regular listening sessions.

0
Curious to know if you will be reviewing the new Samsung Gear IconX in-ear earbuds at a later date?
Thank you for your suggestion. We will add it to the list, however, we are currently testing a lot of headphones, and it may take some time until we review the Samsung Gear IconX.