Noise cancelling headphones – an interesting piece of hardware , and as far as I have witnessed, they are worthy of buying.
Just recently, I have come up to a great deal on one of these so I decided to purchase them, and to my surprise, they had a microphone attached. Now, you may be wondering, a microphone on noise cancelling headphones? What? That’s the same reaction I had when I found these and I was pretty hesitant about them due to the uniqueness, however, I have decided to proceed down with the purchase.
To my surprise, they have turned out to be, actually very good, both in physical and audio quality. Now, one may ask, why would you ever need noise cancelling headphones with a MICROPHONE? Who knows, perhaps you like listening to music while isolating yourself completely from the outside noises, or you are an avid gamer such as myself and require crystal clear sound.
No matter the reason, the headphones I had bought the first time encouraged me to test out a few more with same or similar capabilities, and I have ventured far throughout the course of a whole month to reach the conclusion you all want to hear. THESE THINGS ARE MARVELOUS.
Each of these provide amazing noise cancelling technologies paired with superb microphones to provide you with excellent audio quality.
Myself, I have tested seven of these and all of them turned out to be great in what they claim to provide. They come from multiple brands, if that’s what concerns you, and almost each of all these have their own unique selling point, which is great. Now, to get onto the reviews themselves, I shall present each of the headphones individually and determine the three winners in three of the categories: BEST, BESTBUY & BESTSELLER according to their specifications, usability, price and market value. Below is a table of contents for easier navigation.
- [BEST] Sennheiser HMD 27
- [BEST SELLER] Razer Blackshark
- [BEST BUY] HyperX Cloud II
- Audio-Technica ATH-ADG1x
- Bose QuietComfort 25 ANS
- Jabra Evolve 80 ANS
- Sennheiser PC 350
[BEST] Sennheiser HMD 27
- dynamic microphone
- protection against noise peaks(>110dB)
- modular microphone
- impedance: 64 ohms
- frequency response: 8 – 18 000 Hz
- distortion: <0.1% @ 1KHz
- extremely accurate sound reproduction
Now these headphones are really unique, first off with it’s design and second off by the precision of the sound. It is absolutely amazing what people at Sennheiser are able to do. These are professional broadcast headphones made for audio engineers and commentators and the price of these is very high as they have been released very recently, however I think the functions it offers out-weight the high price bar. Now, honestly, I would not recommend this to a casual music listener because the price is really high and you can probably get a somewhat better product if you searched a little for way less money.
As I have said, these headphones have been made with a goal to be used by commentators and mostly audio engineers out in the field, however that does not prevent anyone from buying these and using them at home for recreational use. I must advise you, if you do decide to ever buy these, you will not give your money away for nothing, that is for certain. This is pure quality. When they were creating these headphones they were aiming for low weight, high accuracy headphones, and they managed to accomplish that. The ability to be so modular is what makes these headphones really shine. For example, you can use any other cable from these series of headphones with these headphones, or, another good example would be the fact that you can mount the microphone on either the left or the right side, the choice is completely yours, both sides have support for microphone so it’s all up to you and personal preference. Technically speaking, these are heavy-duty headphones made for work in the field such as big events and similar, but they have proved themselves to be also good in casual environment, like your home or office space.
It’s ability to produce sound at such clarity and accuracy is the selling point of these headphones. When you first try them out, you will never want to go back to anything else, seriously. Alongside the exceptional sound quality, you have great noise isolation which comes from carefully engineered ear cushions which are so nice and comfortable for your ears that you will never want to take these off. The ability to be modular is one the crucial points as well. You can take it apart if you have to travel, you can fold it, but that may be slightly difficult because it is quite large, however, like I said, you can always disassemble it for easier packing up. The cushion on the top of headphones is amazingly done as well, while it may mess up your haircut just like any other headphones, it will leave your head without any irritations or pain.
Sennheiser has really given their best with this piece, the comfort bar is through the roof. Even if you are an audiophile, you will like these, no matter how big and expensive they are. They are made for perfection and accuracy, and that’s what they offer.
One last thing I would like to talk about when it comes to these headphones is the round microphone which I have already mentioned a little. The best thing about it is that you can attach it to either the left or the right side of the headphones, it all depends on your preference. The technicalities of the microphone itself are rather interesting because you would expect a bigger microphone with such powerful features. It’s a dynamic microphone which stands out due to a strong and powerful pattern for audio recordings and transmissions in the highest quality even in really loud and noisy environments.
Whether you are an audio engineer, a studio producer, a casual gamer or a really big fan of music, these headphones will set you down for $500, but it’s worth every penny.
These headphones are very pricey, but they do reason that high pricing with it’s build quality and the features it brings, so we’ve decided this is the winner of the BEST category.
[BEST SELLER] Razer Blackshark
- military helicopter headset design
- superb sound isolation
- great flexibility
- 3.5mm audio cable, 4 feet cable
- 40mm sound drivers (neodymium)
- frequency response: 20Hz – 20KHz
- impedance: 29 ohms
Well, isn’t she a beauty? These headphones have caught my attention the most by far. They are robust, big, bulky, flexible and I love these sort of headphones, however most people may not as they are looking for simple and useful headphones. Right, well, these are really made for a specific group of people, and I know for certain that those people need these sort of headphones.
Amazing sound isolating combined with a unique-style heavy-duty microphone that is actually good is what really makes these headphones stand out, other than the look of course. First thing that catches everyone’s eye is the fact that they are absolutely huge. Well, yes, they are designed after military helicopter headsets, that was the grand idea, which turned out to be actually very good. They combined excellent hardware with a flexible and heavy-duty design and added just a little bit of that green color to make it look even cooler.
Right, well enough about the looks, let’s move onto technical aspects of these headphones. They are big, so you may think to yourselves: “Well, if they are this big, they have to be powerful, right?“. You’re not wrong if you thought that. These pack a punch, like, a big one. First off, the sound quality itself is superb. These headphones can be used for music, podcasting, watching movies, series and shows, playing video games, whatever you like and want. They are that powerful. A bit heavy, but that is out-weighted by the technical aspects. I have tried various music genres on these headphones because I liked these the most, so I really wanted to put them to the test, and I did. Honestly, I have nothing negative to say about the sound quality. I may not be a musical prodigy but I can hear the difference between decent, good and excellent, and these fall under the ‘excellent’ category when talking about sound quality. If you like getting loud and freaky, the volume won’t be a problem either, because these can go really loud, however as it is the case with every headphone out there, if they can be really loud, they can also leak sound, so if you really turn it up to 100% volume, some of the sounds will be audible for the people around you, so keep that in mind.
Moving onto the microphone, simply said, it’s a piece of art. You can move it in pretty much any direction. Three anchor points allow you for pretty much any sort of customizability and flexibility, so there is absolutely no reason to get worried if the microphone is going to be hitting your mouth, or your nose and similar. As these headphones kept reminding me of those big and bulky headphones commentators use on sport matches, I decided to test the microphone possibilities in a podcast, and was that a great idea? Well, yes it was. The sound quality this microphone is able to capture is astonishing. Taking into effect it’s noise cancellation, this thing is a beast. It can do whatever you need it to do, whether you’re on a huge tournament in a loud arena, or simply in a noisy room, this thing will do everything it can just to block out the unnecessary sounds from the background, and damn does it do a fine job at it. One thing I have not mentioned which makes these headphones even better is the ability to detach the microphone in such a way that when you take it off, the headphones don’t even look like they had a microphone there. There are no holes left over, nothing.
The thing that impressed me the most about these headphones is the microphone. The fact that it can capture such high and low frequencies basically means it can be used for almost anything. Studio? Sure. Gaming? Sure. Skype Calls? Sure, though it is overkill if you are only going to use these headphones for Skype calls.
All in all, a great piece of hardware that you should definitely get in my personal opinion, especially if you are into video games quite a lot.
These headphones win the award of a BESTSELLER as they do prove their build quality as really good and the features it brings alongside that. All of that while considering great pricing, these headphones are truly the bestseller from the headphones we’ve reviewed.
You can buy these below:
[BEST BUY] HyperX Cloud II
- 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound
- 53mm sound drivers (neodymium)
- USB connectivity
- passive noise cancellation
- active noise cancellation microphone
- weight: 272 grams
These are my favorite when it comes to video games. They have everything you’d ever look in headphones for gamers. Cool design? Check. Great microphone? Check. Wide range of frequencies? Check.
It’s basically a perfect match, if you are looking for something like this. I myself have tried these with both music and video games and I have come to a conclusion that these do excel more at video games than music, however you can still listen to music on these on daily basis without any issues. It’s just the fact that these headphones are very, very bulky. They’re large, but the low weight compensates for that which makes wearing these very weird due to the fact that you are wearing huge headphones, but they feel so light.
As big as they may look, you can do a few customizations which prove to be very useful. You can take off the microphone, which makes it detachable so if it’s bothering you and just causing distractions, you can detach it just by unplugging out from the left headphone. It’s that simple, just make sure you don’t lose it! You can also replace the cushions to a color you want, but the default color is black which fits the theme and design really great in my opinion.
But let’s talk about the main point of these headphones, the noise isolation/cancellation. Yes, it is passive, but the big cushions really make up for it due to the fact that you can raise the volume so high, you wouldn’t be able to hear a drill next door if that was the case. Even if you do not want to increase the volume to high levels, the cushions themselves provide great sound isolation. The most you will hear from common background noises are just muffled sounds that make it through, so really, it shouldn’t be a concern.
The amount of features these headphones have is mind blowing. From custom software support to a custom made sound card in the headphones themselves, they should and will satisfy your every gamer need when it comes to sound. One of the key features that really caught my eye was the unique audio control box these headphones have. It offers so many features while keeping itself pretty small. You can mute, unmute your microphone, lower and raise the volume of course, turn on and off the 7.1 mode, and the best thing about this control box is the fact that it has it’s own amplifier sound card inside of it that modulates and amplifies the sound as needed for optimal gaming experience.
The microphone is really well built too. You would usually expect a well made microphone to look elegant and luxurious, and while this one doesn’t look luxurious and such, it is well made and it has proven itself on that point. It looks simple and it is simple. There’s a phrasing I like a lot and it goes along the lines of: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” and this microphone is a good reflection of that quote.
The best thing about it is it’s quality. Due to the fact that these headphones offer active noise cancellation for the microphone, you shouldn’t be worried about that AC or fan in the background causing trouble on TeamSpeak, Skype or similar. It isolates and cancels out the unnecessary sounds perfectly and basically, it does its job perfectly.
Sure it may do it’s job, but we also have to take in effect the fact how the headphones themselves look like, and in this case, for gamers, it’s perfect, if you ask me, however I may contradict myself here. No matter the look, if the technical specifications satisfy your needs, you should not worry about the looks and visual aspect of the headphones.
We were really in detail with the grading and we’ve concluded that these headphones deserve the BESTBUY award from us as it presents great quality and features alongside a reasonable price.
You can buy these below:
- 53mm audio drivers
- frequency response ranging from frequencies of 5 Hz to 35,000 Hz.
- sensitivity: 99dB/mW
- impedance: 48 ohms
- weight: 285 grams, without the cable
- microphone: Condenser, with sensitivity rated at -41dB
- connector is the usual 3.5mm gold-plated stereo mini-plug
These headphones shine with elegance and uniqueness. With specially designed 53 mm drivers, they provide high-fidelity sound which you seek for. Despite their bulkiness and a weird looking design, these are one of the most comfortable headphones I have personally tried, and trust me, I have went through many. The comfortable ear padding they come with is pure bliss for ears, especially if you have to wear these for extended periods of time. Well suitable for long gaming events and extensive music sessions, depending on your choice and need.
A major problem for me was that after extensive use of any type of headphones, I’d start to get uncomfortable and all, and I just couldn’t get rid of the feeling. Well, due to the fact that these headphones have really well made and comfortable ear-cushions, it makes using these headphones a job without problems.
Now, the second most important thing to look at is the microphone build and sound quality. So far, I haven’t had any issues with it, it records my voice perfectly due to the active noise cancellation it comes with as well, so I can safely say that Audio-Technica did an absolutely great job with these.
You can buy these below:
Bose QuietComfort 25 ANS
- weight: 195 grams
- 4.6 feet long cable
- bulky and comfortable design
- a stylish carrying case
- inline microphone
One of the greatest headphone brands I have ever seen. Like, really, these people make such great headphones that it’s astonishing. In general, they are heaven made for music enthusiasts as they provide low, mid and high frequencies at amazing clarity. You like bass? They got it. You like crystal clear vocals? THEY GOT IT. This is what years of experience and constant work makes, and trust me, once you try these, you will not want to go back. They are quite pricey, hitting the $300 line, however you will not regret giving that money to BOSE for these headphones. They have their own active noise cancellation which works really well and will suppress those annoying background noises you always hear when wearing headphones and trying to listen to some music.
However, there is one notable thing about these.. They do have a microphone, but it’s inline, meaning it’s not your conventional headset microphone that is foldable or detachable. It’s on the cable itself, so I would not recommend using these for something that really requires constant use of your voice as you might be hard to hear, may sound muffled and such, depending on the situation. It will however suffice for general Skype calls and phone calls, if that’s what concerns you. So, basically, if you are looking to play some video games with these, it can be done as the sound is impeccable, but if you need voice communication and interaction, well, I would recommend looking at a different headphones then.
Other than the great features these headphones bring, you also get a very stylish and aesthetic carrying case for your headphones and as they have the ability to be folded, that comes in handy quite well. The quality of the headphones themselves is amazing. After hours of constant use, I have not felt any pain or irritation on my head. The ear cushions are really well made and make it comfortable to wear these for more than a few hours. There is also the leather padding on top part of these headphones that lays upon the top of your head once you put the headphones on, so basically, nothing is uncomfortable.
I have to say, they really did look out for everything with these headphones. While there may be better alternatives depending on what you’re looking for, BOSE QuietComfort 25 really reach in multiple areas of comfort and sound.
You can buy these below:
Jabra Evolve 80 ANS
- noise cancelling microphone
- USB connectivity
- ‘busy light’ feature
- folding microphone
- one click noise cancellation
There is a lot to be said about these headphones. First off, the brand. I myself was skeptical about these as it’s from a brand I haven’t heard of before and in my experience that usually means it’s a bad product, however I decided to try them out as the build quality looked very good according to numerous pictures on the internet I checked out, and I have went through multiple reviews of these as well due to my skepticism about the brand and to my surprise, people were talking good and positive things about these, so I decided to try them. They arrived in a very good package which prevented any damage so that’s a plus for the seller. I believe the unique thing about these headphones that you can always recognize them by is the red decal that elongates around the headphones on specific places. The cable is also red, which is a nice addition if we’re looking at these from a design aspect.
The bulkiness is really a big factor with these. I mean, they are big. Big BIG. You wouldn’t be going outside with these I’m sure, maybe on a train or airplane, but that’s the most I’d go with due to the fact that they are so huge, it’s impossible to keep them low-profile, especially when they do not have the ability to fold, however, they are absolutely amazing for your home. I suppose the reason they aren’t foldable is due to the fact that they have so much padding that it doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable at all, even after really long use. I have found out that these headphones were specifically targeted for marketers, but they are excellent for video games and voice communication. One key thing these marketers needed was some sort of an indicator that will tell others that you are currently on a call, so if you are in Skype call, or your microphone is actively transmitting, a red light will turn on on the headphones indicating that you are most likely busy, so if there is someone in your room with you bothering you, they will know you probably cannot respond, which is quite useful when it comes to video games, speaking from experience.
They provide active noise cancellation (ANS) and you can activate or deactivate it by pressing the small button on the bottom side of one of the headphones, which is amazing. The actual cancelling isn’t a joke either, it really does its job as it is supposed to. Just imagine yourself in a relatively large room with quite a lot of people, and there’s a constant chatter, right. Well, when you activate the active noise cancellation on these headphones, the volume of that chatter and background noise around you falls down by roughly 90%. It might sound like a large number, but I have tried it myself and it literally works. Obviously it is more noticeable on less audible sounds, such as hums from your computer and such, and those will be completely cancelled out which is pretty impressive.
The sound quality overall is excellent. I mean, you are paying a little more than $300, so you would be expecting the best, right? Well, I understand the still present skepticism due to an unknown brand and such, but these headphones do what they say they do. The sound quality is absolutely amazing. You can hear the lows, mids and highs, depending on the music you’re listening to, but whether you are an EDM fan and like some bass or such, or a classicist and like the classical pieces, you will hear what you want to hear. Everything. I myself am a big musical enthusiast and I listen to multiple genres of music, like, quite a lot, and I have tried these out on multiple types of music and sounds. Guess what? They are amazing for all of those. You will not regret spending $300 on these, that’s for certain.
The last thing I’d like to point out about these is the microphone. It looks small, sure. It feels small, sure. But damn is that thing powerful. The sensitivity on it is quite a punch. I mean, they do offer noise cancellation for the microphone as well, but that microphone can pick up anything you want, if you want it to do that. So if you are a gamer that plays fast paced video games or something similar where voice communication is a virtue, these headphones are a great pick then. The active noise cancellation on the microphone comes in really useful if you’re in a busy room or something and you’re playing with teammates. You would usually hear them complaining about the noise coming from your side of the microphone, but with this one, in 95% of the cases, will not happen anymore. They really wanted to make a good product, and they did, gotta give them that.
Overall, these headphones are great, absolutely, however they are quite pricey and that may be the only factor that will affect your purchase of these, but if you have the money, go for it if it is what you are looking for.
You can buy these below:
Sennheiser PC 350
- impedance: 150 ohm
- frequency response: 10 – 26000Hz
- sound pressure level (SPL) : 108dB
- microphone: frequency response: 50 – 16000Hz
- sensitivity: -38dBV at 94 dB SPL
- standard 3.5mm audio cable
Sennheiser, a wonderful company who keeps surprising me every time I buy one of their headphones. Those people really know how to make headphones and I mean it. Whether you like full active noise cancellation or just casual cool looking headphones, Sennheiser is a wise choice to take. Over time, I have tried a few of their products and each time I would try a new one out, I would be left impressed and surprised, because the quality and features these people give to their products is just amazing. Sure they may look simple, or even cheap at first glance, but for the price of $180, they are quality made.
Starting off from the visual design and looks, they look pretty decent, even though I am not a big fan of the oval shape of the speakers, however to each their own. There is a reason for the oval shape though. If we go in detail about these headphones, we will find out that the primary goal was to create headphones for gamers, and this is what they came up with. Nothing overly attractive, right? Well, it’s not the looks that give it good points. Sennheiser has aimed for absolute precision when it comes to sound for gamers, because let’s face it, sound if really important when it comes to 95% of currently existing games, and people who play those games need good hardware to properly interpret the sounds coming from the games. From my perspective, the most notable game from that area is Counter Strike: Global Offensive and as that game and it’s tournaments are becoming more and more popular, more brands revolving around the headphone industry try to create products for gamers.
Well, this is one of them, and Sennheiser really killed it, if I may say. Not only can you play video games with these headphones, but you can also enjoy to any musical genre you want. Whether it be hard metal, or perhaps some relaxing classical pieces, these headphones will serve you that purpose. So, basically it doesn’t just go into one direction, but it goes in multiple. Would you rather buy headphones that are only good for listening to music, but you also play video games sometimes? Or would you buy headphones which can do you both at pretty much equal quality?
To be more detailed, if you are listening to music most of your time, you will be satisfied with these headphones as they provide you all three of the following: lows, mids and highs, when it comes to frequencies in sound, so there should be no worry revolving around that. Myself, I listen to various genres of music so I decided to put these to a test. I have tested different types of songs and musical pieces on these headphones to reach a conclusion that they will excel at it if you only want to listen to music while having a microphone available for Skype calls or similar. But if it’s not the music that interests you that much as gaming, well, I could not notice any negative sides about that aspect. I mean, I like games quite a lot so I did try them out in multiple scenarios, in a quiet atmosphere, in a relatively noisy one and a loud one and the results were quite similar, due to the noise isolation and suppression these headphones offer.
The microphone it self seems to be quite big at a glance, but in reality it’s not as big as it seems because if it were, it would constantly be in your field of vision which would bother you quite a lot if you had to focus on something specific, so Sennheiser did think of a lot of things before making these headphones. I’ve tried it out in Audacity and Adobe Audition and the pure recording you make, without any effects sounds like you recorded it in a quiet studio, granted the surroundings were quiet when I was recording, so you have to take that in account. The point I’m trying to make here is that you will have no issues in daily use of the microphone as it captures sounds and your voice clearly without any problems, and if you take a closer look, the microphone itself has an integrated pop filter behind the plastic part so in most cases, you wouldn’t need an external pop filter if that’s what concerns you.
All in all, amazing headphones if you like to play video games on daily basis and voice communication is a vital part to your strategy.
You can buy these below:
In conclusion, it really depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re more into gaming, but you need good sound isolation, you either go with Razer Blackshark or HyperX Cloud II, however if you are looking for headphones with which you can listen to any sort of music while also having an agile microphone there for your daily use, then it would be wise to go with Sennheiser PC 350. But like I’ve said, it’s all up to your personal preference and what you’re looking for, but no matter which of these headphones you decide to purchase, you won’t regret it as all of them are absolutely amazing.
To conclude it all, we present to you a very simple grading picture which displays the winners in each of the category.
We have analyzed all of the headphones in different aspects, such as their usability, build quality, price & market value and have picked a winner for each of the categories.