The Best Noise-Canceling Headphones Audiophiles Can Buy
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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 in what’s definitely not first class? Not a problem. Your obnoxiously loud roommate? Nope, you won’t hear them either. Trying to block out the doesn’t-have-an-indoor-voice conference call coworker? Noise-canceling headphones to the rescue.

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. After that, it’s sound quality. Audiophiles will want to find headphones that satisfy both criteria. (Note that noise cancellation is different from noise isolation Noise Cancellation vs. Isolation: Which Headphones Are Better for You? Noise Cancellation vs. Isolation: Which Headphones Are Better for You? Misunderstandings abound when it comes to noise cancellation and noise isolation for headphones. Here's all you need to know to make a sound decision between the two. Read More .)

Pros

  • Block outside sounds

Cons

  • Prioritize noise cancellation over sound quality

Noise-Canceling Headphones for Audiophiles

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

Paww WaveSound 3

Paww WaveSound 3 Bluetooth Headphones – Active Noise Cancelling Headphones with Airplane Adapter, Charging Cable & Carrying Case – Foldable Travel Headphones/Over-Ear Headphones (Black) (black) Paww WaveSound 3 Bluetooth Headphones – Active Noise Cancelling Headphones with Airplane Adapter, Charging Cable & Carrying Case – Foldable Travel Headphones/Over-Ear Headphones (Black) (black) #1 AIRPLANE HEADPHONES: Our headphones kit includes an airplane adapter and an auxiliary cable, making it a must-have for travel and a great gift idea for travelers of any age. Hook the headphones up to the viewing system on an airplane to watch the movie or show that is playing or plug them into your laptop/smartphone/tablet in order to listen to your own music or watch a movie/show of your choice. Buy Now At Amazon $99.99

Best Noise Canceling Headphones - PawwWaveSound 3
Image Credit: Amazon

The Paww WaveSound 3 is an excellent pair of cans that offer superb noise pollution reduction that won’t break the bank. It’s a Bluetooth pair of 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, Paww WaveSound 3 headphones include a microphone for calling. The Paww WaveSound 3 currently sit at 4.5 out of 5 stars on over 700 customer ratings. Yet its active noise cancellation comes up short when compared with offerings from premium headphones. Still, its sound quality rivals that of much higher-end headphones. The Paww WaveSound 3 really have no business punching as high as they do. Nevertheless, they compete well outside of their weight class. With wired and wireless connectivity, superb noise reduction, and top-notch build quality at around $100, 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 lacking

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B QuietPoint

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B QuietPoint Active Noise-Cancelling Closed-Back Headphones - Wired Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B QuietPoint Active Noise-Cancelling Closed-Back Headphones - Wired Connectivity Technology: Wired Buy Now At Amazon $140.99

Best Noise Canceling Headphones for Audiophiles - Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B
Image Credit: Amazon

Like the Paww WaveSound 3, the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B headphones yield impressive noise-canceling headphones with supreme sound quality. It’s an affordable pair that anyone should consider 3 Affordable Noise-Cancelling Headphones Every Student Should Consider 3 Affordable Noise-Cancelling Headphones Every Student Should Consider Noise-cancelling headphones can be just what you need in a plane to block out that low hum, or provide relief when the exams draw closer. Which should you buy? Here are some great choices. Read More . The ATH-ANC7B is a wired set, not wireless, and as CNET raves in its review, 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 quite sound as polished as other headphones for the money. Although, when comparing Audio-Technica’s sweet budget headphones to competing noise-canceling headsets, the ATH-ANC7B balances sound quality and noise reduction exquisitely.

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

Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II

Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Headphones, Noise Cancelling - Black Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Headphones, Noise Cancelling - Black Noise-rejecting dual-microphone system for clear phone calls and voice access to your phone's default virtual assistant, like Siri Buy Now At Amazon $349.00

Best Noise Canceling Headphones - Bose QC 35 Series II
Image Credit: Amazon

When it comes to high-end audio, Bose consistently ranks among the upper echelon. Not surprising, this formula doesn’t waver for audiophile quality noise-canceling headphones. The Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II, successor to the Bose QuietComfort 35 (our QuietComfort 35 review Bose QuietComfort 35 Noise Cancelling Headphones Review Bose QuietComfort 35 Noise Cancelling Headphones Review Back in 2014 Bose released the over-ear QuietComfort 25 headphones to near universal praise. Two years later they followed them up with the QuietComfort 35 – a wireless take on their popular noise cancelling headphones. Read More ) over-ear headphones sound fantastic — with strong noise reduction. They certainly aren’t cheap at just under $400. Sound quality is delightful, though lower-end cans like the Paww WaveSound rival the QuietComfort 35.

TechRadar praises the QuietComfort 35 for its crisp and clear audio profile as well as stunning noise cancellation. Moreover, Bose packs fantastic battery life and simple pairing. Anyone who has dabbled with wireless pairing knows that intuitive, quick pairing is a must.

Unfortunately, the QuietComfort 35 is essentially the ThinkPad of the noise canceling headphones. It’s a total workhorse under an extremely boring veneer. Sure, it’s about functionality. At that, the Bose QuietComfort 35 completely dominates. Plus, TechRadar notes that its active equalization is pretty polarizing. The active EQ jacks up bass frequencies a bit when you lower the volume. This can lead to bass-heavy audio at lower volumes. Ultimately, despite minor quibbles, the QuiteComfort 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

Sony WH-1000XM2

Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH1000XM2: Over Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with Case - Black Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH1000XM2: Over Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with Case - Black DIGITAL NOISE CANCELLATION: Industry leading noise canceling eliminates distracting background noise Buy Now At Amazon $348.00

Best Noise Canceling Headphones - Sony WH-1000XM2
Image Credit: Amazon

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

In its review, CNET lauded the WH-1000XM2 for its gorgeous sound and incredible comfort. Noise cancellation capabilities take this set of headphones from good to great. But the battery is non-user replaceable. Aside from that touch controls are a bit cumbersome and build quality, particularly with 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 justify their 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

Sennheiser HD-1

Sennheiser HD1 Wireless Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation - Black Sennheiser HD1 Wireless Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation - Black Closed back, around-ear design featuring Bluetooth 4.0 technology and immediate pairing to smart devices using NFC connectivity for wireless freedom. Connectivity Technology: Wireless Buy Now At Amazon $345.20

Best Noise Canceling Headphones for Audiophiles - Sennheiser HD-1
Image Credit: Amazon

A renowned name among headphones aficionados, Sennheiser’s HD-1 headphones are the best pick. These noise-canceling headphones boast an all-around solid product 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 if not the best 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 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

The Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Audiophiles

Noise-canceling headphones are an excellent investment. By blocking out ambient noise from around you, the onus is thereby placed on the audio pumping through the headphones. Almost any noise-canceling headphones will function and 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 in 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 excellent build quality. If you’re on a tight budget, the Naztech i9BT (our review Naztech i9BT Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones Review Naztech i9BT Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones Review Noise cancelling headphones are nothing new, but do the results really justify the expense? As new tech becomes old tech, you can now get noise-cancelling cans for under $100. Meet the Naztech i9BT. Read More ) deliver decent audio and wireless functionality. But if you’re willing to spend a bit more, you can snag even better-sounding noise-canceling headphones.

Need a gaming headset? Try these stellar options What Are the Best Wireless Gaming Headsets in 2017? What Are the Best Wireless Gaming Headsets in 2017? The right headset can take elevate your gaming experience without messy, distracting cables getting in the way. But which wireless gaming headsets should you buy? It depends on your budget, the games you play, and... Read More . Seeking a BlueTooth headset with long-lasting battery life? Take a look at these four pairs Now Hear This: 4 Bluetooth Headsets With Good Battery Life Now Hear This: 4 Bluetooth Headsets With Good Battery Life Looking for a Bluetooth headset with good battery life? You'd be surprised how hard it is! We've rounded up some of the longest lasting Bluetooth headsets on the market. Read More .

Which noise-canceling headphones do you recommend?

Image Credit: IgorVetushko/Depositphotos

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  1. John Lockard
    January 12, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    You comment that the $345 headphones are "pricey", but do not make the same comment about the $348 and $349 headphones?