The 8 Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Audiophiles
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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? Not a problem. Your obnoxiously loud roommate? Nope, you won’t hear them either. 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. Sound quality comes after this. Audiophiles will want to find headphones that satisfy both criteria. (Noise cancelation is different from noise isolation!)

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

1. Paww WaveSound 3

Best Noise Canceling Headphones - PawwWaveSound 3

Paww WaveSound 3 Bluetooth Headphones – Active Noise Cancelling Headphones with Airplane Adapter, Charging Cable & Carrying Case – Foldable Travel Headphones/Over-Ear Headphones (Black) Paww WaveSound 3 Bluetooth Headphones – Active Noise Cancelling Headphones with Airplane Adapter, Charging Cable & Carrying Case – Foldable Travel Headphones/Over-Ear Headphones (Black) Buy Now At Amazon $99.99

The Paww WaveSound 3 is an excellent pair of cans that offers superb noise pollution reduction that won’t break the bank. It’s a pair of Bluetooth 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, the Paww WaveSound 3 headphones include a microphone for calling. While this headset currently sits at 4.3 out of 5 stars on over 1,100 customer ratings, its active noise cancellation comes up short when compared to offerings from premium headphones. Still, its sound quality rivals that of much higher-end headphones.

With wired and wireless connectivity, superb noise reduction, and top-notch build quality, 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 is lacking

2. Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B QuietPoint

Best Noise Canceling Headphones for Audiophiles - Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B QuietPoint Active Noise-Cancelling Closed-Back Headphones, Wired Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B QuietPoint Active Noise-Cancelling Closed-Back Headphones, Wired Buy Now At Amazon $99.95

Like the above, the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B headphones yield impressive noise-canceling ability with supreme sound quality. It’s an affordable headset that anyone should consider. The ATH-ANC7B is a wired set (not wireless) and remains 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 sound as polished as other headphones for the money. Altogether though, the ATH-ANC7B balances sound quality and noise reduction well.

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

3. Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II

Best Noise Canceling Headphones - Bose QC 35 Series II

Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Headphones, Noise Cancelling, with Alexa Voice Control - Black Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Headphones, Noise Cancelling, with Alexa Voice Control - Black Buy Now At Amazon $345.00

When it comes to high-end audio, Bose consistently ranks among the upper echelon. Not surprisingly, this holds true for audiophile-quality noise-canceling headphones. The Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II, successor to the Bose QuietComfort 35, sounds fantastic and features strong noise reduction. However, they certainly aren’t cheap. Sound quality is delightful, though lower-end cans like the Paww WaveSound rival them.

These headphones offer a crisp and clear audio profile, as well as stunning noise cancellation. Moreover, Bose packs fantastic battery life and simple pairing, which is a nice convenience.

Unfortunately, these workhorse headphones come in an extremely boring veneer. And because the active EQ jacks up bass frequencies a bit when you lower the volume, you might notice bass-heavy audio at lower volumes.

But in functionality, it completely dominates. Despite minor quibbles, the QuietComfort 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

4. Sony WH-1000XM2

Best Noise Canceling Headphones - Sony WH-1000XM2

Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH1000XM2: Over Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with Microphone - Hi Res Audio and Active Sound Cancellation - Black (2017 model) Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH1000XM2: Over Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with Microphone - Hi Res Audio and Active Sound Cancellation - Black (2017 model) Buy Now At Amazon $348.00

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

The Sony WH-1000XM2 boasts gorgeous sound and incredible comfort. Unfortunately, the battery is not user-replaceable. Aside from that, the touch controls are a bit cumbersome and the build quality, particularly around 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 justifies its 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

5. Sennheiser HD-1

Best Noise Canceling Headphones for Audiophiles - Sennheiser HD-1

Sennheiser HD1 Wireless Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation - Black Sennheiser HD1 Wireless Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation - Black Buy Now At Amazon Too low to display

Sennheiser is a renowned name among headphones aficionados, and its HD-1 headphones are a top pick. These noise-canceling headphones are an all-around solid 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 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 one of 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

6. Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2

The Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Audiophiles - plantronics backbeat pro 2

Plantronics Wireless Noise Cancelling Backbeat - Headphones (Black & Tan) (Pro 2) Plantronics Wireless Noise Cancelling Backbeat - Headphones (Black & Tan) (Pro 2) Buy Now At Amazon $174.10

With strong battery life, the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 touts impressive lasting power. With included accessories such as a carrying pouch, the BackBeat Pro 2 is a fantastic option. Aside from lush performance with music, these Plantronics noise-canceling headphones work well for making calls.

While it’s a comfortable pair of headphones, the BackBeat Pro 2 is a bit heavy. Moreover, noise-cancellation doesn’t match that of Bose cans. Nevertheless, its price to performance ratio makes the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 a worthy contender in the noise-canceling headphone space.

Pros:

  • Comfortable
  • Excellent audio quality
  • Good for calling
  • Carrying case included
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Slightly heavy
  • Poorer sound quality than Bose and Sennheiser

7. Bose QuietControl 30

The Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Audiophiles - Bose QuietControl 30

Bose Quietcontrol 30 Wireless Headphones, Noise Cancelling - Black (761448-0010) Bose Quietcontrol 30 Wireless Headphones, Noise Cancelling - Black (761448-0010) Buy Now At Amazon $295.99

Whereas many sets of noise-canceling headphones come in an over-the-ear or on-ear form factor, the Bose QuietControl 30 is different. Instead of a bulky set of headphones, the QuietControl 30 come in a neckband-style pair of earbuds. It’s sweat-resistant, making these noise-canceling earbuds the ideal workout companion.

Still, quality fails to surpass the likes of the QuietComfort 35 or QuietComfort 20. Additionally, there’s no wired connectivity option, so you’re relegated to a Bluetooth connection. But with many phone manufacturers abandoning headphone jacks, this may be a non-issue anyway.

The earbuds stay in your ears fairly well. Ultimately, the Bose QuietControl 30 features a snug, comfortable fit and noise cancellation in a small package.

Pros:

  • Great for workouts
  • Sweat-resistant
  • Good for calling

Cons:

  • No wired connection option
  • Noise cancellation not as robust as on or over-the-ear headphones

8. Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC

The Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Audiophiles - Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTC

Sennheiser HD 4.50 Bluetooth Wireless Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation, Black and Silver(HD 4.50 BTNC) Sennheiser HD 4.50 Bluetooth Wireless Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation, Black and Silver(HD 4.50 BTNC) Buy Now At Amazon Too low to display

The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC provide a luxurious, audiophile-quality experience which compete with Bose headphones at an affordable price. They’re wireless with solid battery life and conveniently fold for portability.

There’s an included carrying case as well. Build materials deliver comfort, though plastic and synthetic leather components pale in comparison to high-end models from Bose and Sony. But with quality on par with the QuietComfort 35 Series II at a lower price point, the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC is a terrific buy.

Pros:

  • Convenient folding design
  • Included carrying case
  • Wired and wireless connectivity
  • Excellent price-to-performance ratio

Which Noise-Canceling Headphones Will You Choose?

Noise-canceling headphones are an excellent investment. By blocking out ambient noise from around you, you can focus on the audio pumping through the headphones. Almost any noise-canceling headphones will 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, 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 with excellent build quality.

If you’re on a tight budget, the Naztech i9BT (our review) delivers decent audio and wireless functionality. But if you’re willing to spend a bit more, you can snag even better-sounding noise-canceling headphones (even noise-canceling headphones especially for kids The 7 Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Kids The 7 Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Kids For safety reasons, adult headphones are unsuitable for children. Here are the best noise-canceling headphones for your kids. Read More ).

Take a look at the best Bluetooth headsets with long battery life, too.

Image Credit: IgorVetushko/Depositphotos

Explore more about: Audiophiles, Bluetooth, Buying Tips, Headphones.

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  1. Don Hess
    October 1, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    Can you include use with airline entertainment systems in the future.