Monday, September 4, 2023

Testing Noise-Canceling Headphones

Andrew Marino (via Dave Mark):

The Sony WH-1000XM5 offered the best passive attenuation and very good ANC. The Sonys were an overall good noise canceler, with solid performance in all noise environments. The Apple AirPods Max were a close second and did especially well with the airplane cabin noise due to their efficient noise canceling in the lower frequency range of 100–500Hz. The Bose QC45 scored just under these headphones.

All of the headphones struggled to cancel loud environmental music — not much surprise there. That is a difficult and complicated noise to suppress. For speech quality of audio playback with all the noise environments, the AirPods Max did the best. According to the results, even with ANC set to the max, the AirPods Max did a great job of “allowing the speech playback to come through undisturbed, unaltered, and sounding natural.” So, if you’re listening to podcasts or audiobooks on your daily commute, they may be your best choice.

I guess they only tested over-the-ear models, not earbuds like AirPods Pro.


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