Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 52 total)
  • Are the high-end BOSE/SONY etc. headphones worth it?
  • Premier Icon fatmountain
    Free Member

    I need some decent bluetooth noise-cancelling cans that have mic. The top end Sony/Bose are 250-270 quid, but they have ones for half that price with the same features. Are the high end worth it? Was looking at the Sony WH-1000XM3 and Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 in particular.

    Ta.

    Premier Icon mrmonkfinger
    Free Member

    £100 gets you past the cheap and cheerful by a good degree IMO. As ever, with increased spend comes diminishing returns.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    For me, yes. And I am not a great freak nor am I particularly rich.

    I bought the second best Sony ones (WF-H 900?) when I started my new job about a year ago because I was going to be flying a lot and I wanted good noise cancelling. They were great but the NC wasn’t as good as I was hoping. The thing is that even if you cut out most of the noise your ears still pick it out. So the extra money is worth it.

    The 1000 xm3 are outstanding though. Used with a HD music sub they are superb and particularly the lack of compression seems to result in far less ear fatigue. I can only listen to MP3 music for a short time, it feels like the beats start hurting my ears and it sounds like noise somehow. With the xm3 though even though the beats are clearer it’s far more comfortable and I can listen for hours.

    Also tried the best rated budget ones from Amazon, £60, they were awful by comparison.

    Premier Icon BoardinBob
    Full Member

    Yes.

    I’m not an audiophile, but I bought the Sony WH1000mx3 headphones about 18 months ago and they are just fantastic.

    Like Molgrips, I bought them for flying. I spent 8 months flying up and down to london every week, and the noise cancelling made flying that much bearable. The plane is completely silent because the noise cancelling is that good. For that alone, they were a worth while investment.

    The actual sound quality is great too. Music, netflix, podcasts etc all sound infinitely better than any in-ear phones, and a lot better than an older set of Technics over-ear phones that cost me about £100 15 years ago.

    Premier Icon deadlydarcy
    Free Member

    I have a pair of the Bose wireless jobbies. I use them constantly. Pretty much wear them all day at work so I can listen to podcasts, my own music etc instead of building site Heart/Kiss/Radio1. Best £250 I’ve spent in years.

    Premier Icon kneebiscuit
    Full Member

    The Sony’s are awesome and on offer at about £225 on amazon at the mo

    Premier Icon J-R
    Full Member

    I listen to a lot of music while travelling (pre Covid) and after listening to a lot of BT-NC headphones thought that the Sennheiser Momentum 2 were best, at about £250. In particular they had a much better sound than the Bose headphones which I found kind of “reserved” and undynamic.

    But it is all a matter of personal preference. One tip that worked for me, but might not be so useful at the moment, is to take some music you know well on your phone and audition a few different pairs in one of the electrical stores in the airports – they have dozens of options to try, ready for you to plug in.

    Premier Icon derek_starship
    Free Member

    Soundstage

    Mid range

    Puchy bass

    Coherent

    Premier Icon CaptainFlashheart
    Free Member

    Yes.

    I have QC35s, and (normally!) travel a lot. Wouldn’t be without them.

    Also great while doing boring stuff like mowing the lawn!

    The new, mx4 Sony offerings are supposedly excellent, will be trying some out to see if they’re enough to warrant an upgrade.

    Premier Icon deadlydarcy
    Free Member

    35s here too – bought as end of line before upgrade came out (I think). I can even hear stuff above a multi-tool!!

    Premier Icon big_scot_nanny
    Full Member

    yes

    Premier Icon YoKaiser
    Full Member

    Sony XM4’s coming out soon, speculation is that it will be more features rather than a sound quality leap. XM3’s should get cheaper in the next couple of months. From what I’ve read of the various models in that price range is that there is not much in it, Bose have slightly better NC and the Sony slightly better sound.

    Premier Icon grahamt1980
    Full Member

    I have tried my wife’s xm3’s and they are great. The sound isn’t quite as good as my audio technica m50’s but with the nc they are amazing. I’m hoping they drop a little in price so I can get some with my government £500 voucher and a new waterproof camera

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Full Member

    I have the Bose QC 35s and they are very impressive, super light and comfy to wear all day and excellent noise reduction / quality – superb product.

    They were a bit of a punt bought at Southend Airport in a moment of weakness. 3.5 hours later getting off the flight in Portugal, the wife was compaining about the two crying babies on the flight – I’d not heard a thing!

    Premier Icon fatmountain
    Free Member

    Hmmm really useful – thanks!

    Struggling between the Sony’s and the Bose >:)

    Premier Icon grahamt1980
    Full Member

    You need to see if you can try them. I found the sound quite different between the 2 and I preferred the sony’s. But it is def personal choice

    Premier Icon rt60
    Full Member

    I have a set of the 1000xm3’s I have been very impressed. I am fortunate enough to to have a very expensive pair of IEM’s for work so have become a bit picky, but the Sony’s we’re a genuine surprise.

    As always there is an element of personal preference so try both if you can, but the Sony’s definitely get my vote.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Full Member

    Very impressed with my Bose QC25s – best VFM for years in terms of time spent using them and the improvement to my quality of life.

    Got mine cheap off Amazon but would pay RRP for a pair, they are so good.

    Premier Icon FuzzyWuzzy
    Full Member

    You also need to consider the audio source if investing hundreds in headphones, ideally you should have lossless format tracks, if you just have 96Kbps bit rate MP3’s then you’re not going to get nearly as much benefit

    Premier Icon pk13
    Free Member

    Bose pair in my house I’m not fussed with brand names but I borrowed a pair from a friend and they won me over.
    Battery life is very good 👌

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    Hence Amazon Music HD for me. Also had to select LDAC in the Bluetooth options on my phone cos it wasn’t selected by default.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Full Member

    You also need to consider the audio source if investing hundreds in headphones, ideally you should have lossless format tracks, if you just have 96Kbps bit rate MP3’s then you’re not going to get nearly as much benefit

    or just use them with whatever’s on your smartphone and the noise cancelling is still amazeballs

    Premier Icon fatmountain
    Free Member

    I’ve got Spotify premium; I guess I’m justifying the price as I’ll use them for work, hence sound isolation and comfort with long video calls is needed. BOSE seem to sell this as a feature (i.e. that they isolate microphone sounds too). Also, recently I’ve got tinnitus and it’s doing my head in – it won’t cure that I know but I’m increasingly anxious about noise which I find is invasive, such as traffic etc.

    Premier Icon jonba
    Free Member

    I’ve got some of the top end Sony ones. I’m not a hifi geek. I put “blue tooth, noise cancelling headphones” on my xmas list a while back and my MiL got me these.

    They are really good, to the point where they’ve ruined the other speakers and headphones I own. I believe the professional reviewers had Sony edging out Bose.

    I just listen to whatever, I have some high quality music files, some low quality music files, you tube, podcasts. You can tell the source quality but even the lower end stuff sounds better.

    I’ve done a number of long haul flights with them and found the noise cancelling really good. I’d honestly replace them just for this feature if it looks like long haul is going to become part of my job ever again.

    I’m guessing like most things there are diminishing returns on top end kit. In the post covid era I doubt going into a shop and playing with a few different sets is allowed. I would imagine the next model down is more than up to the job for normal people. Maybe even the level below. Bit like in bike tech, XTR is bling, XT is nice but if you had to settle for SLX it wouldn’t be the end of the world! If you are that way inclined you may be able to find out what the technical difference is between the 900 and the 1000 on the sony site?

    Premier Icon big_scot_nanny
    Full Member

    I had both Bose 35s and Sony wh-1000xm2.

    Both have pros and cons. battery life on both is incredible.

    Bose had slightly better NC, extremely light and comfortable to wear.

    Sony has better sound, by quite a margin, to my ears, so kept those.

    Must admit that for almost everything I just use my AirPods Pro now, as they are just so damn convenient! For flights I still go for the Sonys however.

    Premier Icon bensales
    Free Member

    You’d have to prise my Sony MDR-1000X from my cold dead hands. I’m no audiophile, but they’ve made planes and trains vastly more pleasant over the last three years.

    Regarding choosing between them and Bose, or others, I’d say you must try them on. Bose simply wouldn’t stay on my head, so it would matter how good the noise cancelling is, I can’t wear them.

    I also did a back to back test in Glasgow airport of every pair of NC headphones Dixon’s had, and was surprised to find my Sonys cut the most out.

    Premier Icon gingerbllr
    Free Member

    You also need to consider the audio source if investing hundreds in headphones, ideally you should have lossless format tracks, if you just have 96Kbps bit rate MP3’s then you’re not going to get nearly as much benefit

    No – you’re paying for noise cancelling not amazing quality sound. If you want amazing quality sound, then neither the sony or the bose will deliver. They both still sound good/great though.

    I have bose QC35, my partner has the sony wh-1000xm3’s. There isnt much in it, they both sound really good, they both cancel noise really well. Mine are coming up on 6 years of daily use, and I have just replaced the ear pads for the first time. I love them and they are worth every penny.

    Bose shops often have referb stock in. If you’ve an outlet place near you then it can be worth going to have a look. Cheapest I’ve seen them is £150.

    Referb deal online here for the bose: https://www.bose.co.uk/en_gb/products/headphones_outlet/quietcomfort-35-wireless-ii-fr.html#v=qc35_ii_fr_black

    Premier Icon fatmountain
    Free Member

    Thanks for the link 🙂

    Premier Icon timmys
    Full Member

    Another anacdote to add the the pile; I have the Sony mx3’s and my wife the Bose q25’s. Sony sound better but Bose are marginally more comfortable due to being lighter (and consequently cheaper feeling).

    Premier Icon rickon
    Full Member

    I tested around 20 headphones in the £200-400 bracket.

    The 1000xm3 was in my final shootout. Which ended up between them and the Jabra 85h.

    I picked the Jabra after a couple of hours of back to back listening.

    They were brighter, and had better soundstage. The noise cancelling was pretty even. Overall, I really found it hard to pick between the two.

    Everything else I tried lacked decent low-end, either muddying the bass, or just loosing it entirely.

    If you don’t need isolation, as in people won’t be annoyed around you, or you don’t need to shut out noise – I love a decent open back headphone.

    I’m running some Philips XR2s, which I use for music, gaming and guitar. The sound pretty expansive compared to closed back, and are really lovely with a female vocal.

    I’d suggest, you buy a few pairs on Amazon, try them out, and send back the ones you don’t like as much. Free returns. Headphones are a pretty personal purchase, cups can work for certain folk and not others. Your ears may like a really good treble, or a really powerful bass, or just a super flat clean analytical sound.

    Premier Icon grum
    Free Member

    I got a good deal on some of these and I’m super happy with them – https://www.wired.com/2015/11/review-master-dynamic-mw60-wireless-headphones/

    There is now a noise-cancelling version, the mw65. I tested the Bose and the Sony and found the noise cancelling a bit disappointing. On a plane I can imagine it works well as the noise is mostly quite consistent – they can’t really cope with random intermittent noises though, can’t really expect them to.

    I find the ‘passive noise cancelling’ of quite well-sealed closed back headphones works pretty well most of the time, and the sound quality is amazing.

    Premier Icon CraigW
    Free Member

    Some interesting reviews here: https://medium.com/@scarbir/best-cheap-active-noise-cancelling-headphones-under-100-e965dad626bc
    He does say the Sony or Bose are best for noise cancelling. But there are some much cheaper options, that are almost as good.

    I have the Sony’s – the NC works amazingly well in a very busy gym in St Alban’s and for me, the sound is great. Tried them initially back to back in Currys with Bose and found the sound much better

    Premier Icon WillH
    Full Member

    Another vote for the Sony 1000xm3’s here. We got a couple of pairs using points ‘earned’ from a credit card, in advance of a trip from NZ to the UK and back. Noise cancelling is superb, makes aeroplane noise disappear completely. Even your own voice sounds far away if you talk while wearing them! The sound quality is great too, really grunty bass without being overpowering.

    Premier Icon baldiebenty
    Full Member

    I tried both the XM3 and QC35 multiple times in John Lewis before opting for the QC35.

    Sound-wise I think I preferred the Sony but only slightly and the “cabin pressure” feeling was also not so noticeable but 95% of the time I don’t use the NC and as I wear glasses all the time the Bose were more comfortable applying less pressure to the arms of my glasses.

    The wife hates them though because when I’ve got them on I can’t hear here summoning me to perform another tedious household task.

    Premier Icon fatmountain
    Free Member

    Went for the BOSE 35’s on refurb for 215. Thanks for all the advice.

    Premier Icon timbog160
    Full Member

    Bose NC700’s here. I didn’t test them and know nothing about headphones, but I really like them. My wife has some £120 Sony ones which are also very good. If I swap directly from one to the other I can spot the difference. Noise cancellation deffo better on the Bose ones. Given I expect these to last a minimum 5 years I figured it’s not such a big investment. So basically yer pays yer money and takes yer pick!

    Premier Icon willard
    Full Member

    I have had, or used, three different sets of Bose active noise cancelling, including the in-ear ones and the 35s were the best at making the outside go away. It was also nice to have a pair of headphones that I could charge overnight when I was at home, rather than having to change batteries (compared to the 25s).

    Sadly, the headphones I actually bought, the in-ear ones are not brilliant for noise cancellation. They do work though and make driving and flying less of a pain, but the 35s are better.

    If I can really be bothered, I’ll buy my own pair of 35s at some point. Or not.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    I tried the previous model in-ear Sony ones and whilst they were brilliant to wear and sounded gorgeous, and I loved them – the NC wasn’t enough to do what I needed nor were they very reliable. However the new model is supposedly much better on both those fronts.

    Premier Icon baboonz
    Free Member

    The question is worth it for what? From personal experience:

    The Bose headphones are closed noise cancelling headphones with great music quality. If the intended use is for travelling and office, then go for it. They are not headphones I would ever choose for home use.

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