Everyone knows it: Best noise cancelling earbuds for android, Best noise cancelling earbuds in india, “100+ Best in ear headphones noise cancelling” Best active noise cancelling earbuds, Best budget noise cancelling earbuds, Noise cancelling earbuds wireless, Best noise cancelling earbuds for sleeping, Noise cancelling headphones, Best noise cancelling wireless earbuds: You want to listen to music in a relaxed way on the train, on the bus or while jogging, but conversations with other people, traffic noise or other things force you to turn up the volume so that you can no longer talk about relaxation.
Headphones with active noise cancellation ( A ctive N oise C ancelling) can provide a remedy. They reduce the background noise with an electro-acoustic trick. That works amazingly well, but especially with in-ears there is still a little background noise. There are circumaural earpiece that isolate themselves simply by their design outside noise, a clear advantage.
We had 42 in-ears with active noise cancellation in the test, 40 models are currently still available. More and more completely wireless True Wireless In-Ears are finding their way into the market, while In-Ears without Bluetooth and instead with cables are rarely offered. Here are our recommendations in the brief overview.
Are noise Cancelling headphones good for ears?
The short answer is, yes. Noise-canceling headphones, on their own, are safe. In fact, the ANC technology was actually invented mainly for the hearing protection of pilots against the loud sounds of the plane engine. Noise-canceling headphones can also help with noise-related stress.
Also Read: The Best Kids’ Headphones for Year
Brief overview: Our recommendations
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
The Galaxy Buds Pro offer a very differentiated noise canceling via app and a very good sound.
With the Galaxy Buds Pro , Samsung has achieved a real coup. The degree of shielding from the outside world can be freely adjusted with the sophisticated app, and you don’t have to take it out for a conversation. They sit very comfortably in the ears and also offer excellent sound, speech intelligibility is good even when making calls – and the batteries last a long time!
When money doesn’t matter
With the EAH-AZ70W, Technics presents a real treat with excellent sound properties and very good noise canceling.
The Technics EAH-AZ70WE are of high quality and can also convince with excellent sound and very effective noise canceling. They are operated either via touch surfaces or conveniently via an app. The app allows very differentiated adjustments to the noise canceling and an individual sound setting. They are more expensive than our favorites, but also slightly superior to them in most disciplines.
The best with a neckband
Huawei FreeLace Pro
With the FreeLace Pro from Huawei, a neck strap holds the in-ears together.
The Huawei FreeLace Pro In-Ears are held together by a neck strap. In addition to the control elements, this neckband also houses all of the electronics and the battery. The only connection cable that is known to have been weaned off the True Wireless constructions has advantages. Nobody gets lost that quickly. And if one of the in-ears should slip out of your ear, it will still be held by the cable. In terms of sound, the FreeLace Pros are very good, and ANC and Talkthrough can also be coordinated with one another with the help of an app.
The best for the iPhone
Apple AirPods Pro
Apple has now given the AirPods an active noise suppression, now they are called AirPods Pro.
With the AirPods Pro , Apple has taught the AirPods to use active noise canceling. To do this, the in-ears themselves had to be completely revised because they now also have to completely seal the ear with adapters. Unfortunately, there are currently still some restrictions that affect noise suppression – apparently Apple has firmly integrated the operation of the AirPods Pro in iOS version 13.2 and higher, there is still no suitable app that also supports older iPhones, there you have to use the rudimentary functions, the same applies to Android smartphones.
Good & cheap
Soundcore Life P3
With the Soundcore Life P3, Anker has a real price hit with active noise canceling.
The Soundcore Life P3 are the latest coup from the manufacturer Anker. For the price called, they come up with astonishing features, so the case can even be charged wirelessly on a corresponding Qi charging surface. The listeners play particularly well with the in-house app, which allows extensive sound and ANC settings. Right now you can’t get any more in-ears with active noise canceling for your money.
How does electronic noise canceling work?
As with all in-ears, the same applies to earphones with active noise cancellation: the better the fit, the more comfortably the earphone sits in the ear and the better it sounds.
With a good seal, a lot of ambient noise is muffled, but the typical travel noises such as train, ship and aircraft engines are still clearly audible even with a perfectly fitting earplug and annoy the relaxed, music-listening traveler – just like the noise level of other passengers.
In-ears with active noise suppression therefore not only rely on mechanical sound insulation, but go a bit further and fight ambient noise with a physical trick: Similar to how you can fight fire with fire, you can extinguish sound with phase-shifted sound.
Sound is canceled out by anti-sound
Sound is nothing more than air set in vibrations, so it consists of waves. If wave crests meet, they add up and the sound becomes louder. If, on the other hand, a wave crest meets a wave valley, both cancel each other out and the result is: silence.
This physical principle is used in active noise suppression. In order for this to work, microphones are integrated in the earplugs to pick up outside noises.
Intelligent electronics generate a negative image from this external sound by rotating the phase – anti-sound, so to speak. This is played through the headphones in addition to the music. If the phase-shifted noise from the headphones meets the external noise, the sound waves of the noise are canceled, leaving only the music. Hence the term »noise canceling«.
That sounds simple in theory, but when it comes to practical implementation, the devil is in the details. Many manufacturers approach noise suppression rather selectively, in which case only certain frequency ranges that correspond, for example, to the engine noise of an aircraft, are eliminated. That works well in such situations, but not in others.
To make matters worse, depending on the environment, you don’t want to be completely shielded from the outside world. You want to hear announcements in the train, bus or plane in good time. Even if you are in an environment where the presence of other people creates a certain background noise, such as in the office, it can be advantageous to block out this background noise, but you should listen fully to a direct address (from the supervisor).
Sony in particular is on the intelligent way with its new range of active noise-canceling headphones. The WI-1000X has ingenious electronics that do just that on request: It analyzes the environment, suppresses unwanted disruptive factors and selectively forwards all announcements and announcements directly to the ear.
That sounds even more complicated than a “simple” suppression of engine and other external noises – it is too. The special art is that the sound quality of the music does not suffer too much. For sound purists, headphones with noise canceling are therefore not particularly suitable, except when traveling or in other active surroundings – you should rather enjoy them in a quiet little room.
Music quality can suffer when it comes to noise cancellation
Another disadvantage of headphones with active noise cancellation: The electronic processing takes place via a processor and it needs electricity. In-ears with noise canceling usually also need a rechargeable battery. Libratone makes the exception with the Q Adapt In-Ear , which draws power directly from the smartphone via its Lightning connector. However, this only works with the iPhone.
Bluetooth or cable?
Even among in-ears with active noise canceling, the trend is gradually moving more and more towards Bluetooth connections to smartphones or mobile music players. If you still had to choose between Android and iOS with the wired Bose QC20, this is a thing of the past with the QC30, thanks to the Bluetooth connection it is fully compatible with both platforms.
Even the connection between the two in-ears is increasingly taking place via Bluetooth, so the true wireless in-ears are also finding their way here. But many cannot really make friends with the tiny ones, especially athletes prefer to use wired in-ears or at least those with neck bands. You can always find these in our recommendations, under “Also tested” anyway. We have also listed the fully wired copies there, if they are still available.
Aside from their clear orientation towards Android or iPhone, the wired earphones have a serious advantage: They also work with an empty battery, at least as a simple headphone, Bluetooth models remain completely silent when the battery is empty.
Test winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
With the Galaxy Buds Pro, Samsung has consistently developed the True Wireless In-Ears with active noise canceling. A comfortable fit and compact dimensions for both the in-ears and the charging and transport case were particularly important. When it comes to sound, you can fall back on the expertise of AKG at the Samsung Group. The AKG logo can also be found on the lid of the charging box.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
The Galaxy Buds Pro offer a very differentiated noise canceling via app and a very good sound.
After the Galaxy Buds Live couldn’t really convince with their bean-shaped design and innovative fit, the Galaxy Buds Pro was completely redesigned. At first glance, the in-ears look like most of the others of their kind, but when you insert them you will notice that Samsung has modified the conventional design a bit. The in-ears are slightly funnel-shaped, but slide even better towards the ear canal.
Processing and equipment
The Galaxy Buds Pro is available in three colors: silver, purple and black – all of which are high-gloss. As I said, the charging case has become quite compact, so that there is still space in the small bag. Nevertheless, the battery has enough capacity to charge the in-ears at least three times. The case itself is charged via USB-C, a suitable charging cable is included – a charger is missing as with the others. The smartphone charger or another USB power supply unit has to be used. Since the case is also compatible with the Qi standard, it can also be charged inductively, i.e. wirelessly.
Otherwise, the Galaxy Buds are rather sparingly equipped, a total of three ear tips made of soft silicone must be enough. Thanks to the particularly ergonomically shaped in-ears, they do that in most cases.
One charge is enough for seven hours of music – with active noise canceling
The capacity of the battery in the compact charging case is sufficient to fully charge the earbuds three times. After that, it is still enough for about half a charge, which means you can listen to music for at least three hours – with active noise canceling, mind you.
In our test, one charge of the two plugs was enough for a good seven hours of continuous sprinkling, at full volume and with noise canceling switched on. If the noise canceling is deactivated, it is enough for eight hours or more.
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The Galaxy Buds Pro are operated for the first time via touch surfaces on the in-ears. As usual, you can find out quickly. However, it can lead to slight irritation as soon as it is inserted and aligned with the ear canals. The free Wear app from Samsung can help here immediately, as the touch surfaces can be deactivated without further ado.
The Galaxy Buds Pro can only be used in a really comfortable and versatile way via the Wear app. This app works with almost all Samsung portable devices, so the Galaxy Buds Pro must be selected and activated after installation. In addition to a personalized adaptation of the touch gestures, the update and find function, the intensity of the active noise suppression and talkthrough can be set.
Extensive adjustments are possible in the app
As a special feature, the app recognizes the voice of the wearer and switches on the outside noises because a conversation partner is suspected. Only after ten seconds of silence are the outside noises blocked out and the music started up again. This dialog setting can of course also be switched off. The sound characteristics of the listener can be selected from a total of six presets. A tone control in the form of an equalizer is missing, however, if in doubt, it could simply be supplemented with an update.
Sound and comfort
Despite the smooth, high-gloss surface, the Galaxy Buds Pro are easy to insert and slide automatically into the correct position, where they then seal nicely. As always, a good seal serves two purposes. On the one hand, it is now more difficult for annoying outside noises to penetrate to the ear, and on the other hand, the sound can develop so much better.
The sound of the Galaxy Buds really has it all, after all, the audio specialists have placed two dynamic drivers in the tiny in-ears. One is responsible for the bass and mid-range, a second for the treble. Each of the two drivers therefore only has to reproduce part of the frequency band and is specialized in it.
The appearance of the Galaxy Buds Pro is correspondingly broadband . From the deepest bass cellar to the finest, glittering highs, everything is reproduced cleanly and precisely. The in-ears convey a spatial sound image that one hardly expects from the tiny things. The bass does not seem superimposed or thickened, nor do you help the low and high frequencies with a loudness tuning. If necessary, this can be set to suit individual tastes using the presets in the app, but it wasn’t necessary for us. For the sake of completeness, it should be mentioned that the ANC has no audible influence on the sound. In addition, the Buds Pro also provide very good speech intelligibility when making calls.
The Galaxy Buds Pro have only a few disadvantages, the most important one is probably the poor equipment with ear tips. The missing equalizer, on the other hand, affects the app more, but one of the next updates may help.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro in the test mirror
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are just new on the market, so only a few test results:
In the test on Connect from March 2021, the set received a very good result of 434 out of 500 points, especially the excellent sound and a very good ANC lead to this result:
»The Galaxy Buds Pro are among the best in-ears you can buy right now. Although they are extremely compact, they offer an excellent sound and a very good ANC, as well as the best water protection. There is also a versatile app with many extras and control options. “
The Chip colleagues also got a very good test result in February 2021 with a grade of 1.2:
»The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro expand the headphone segment from Samsung with very good in-ears, which impressed with great sound and convincing ANC quality in the test. The equipment leaves little to be desired and even offers IPX7 water protection. The battery lasts quite a long time, but the Bluetooth range could be better. The price for the excellent overall package is fair «
However, we had nothing to complain about in terms of range; in our test, the Bluetooth connection easily bridged ten meters as the crow flies and a lightweight wall in between without any interference.
There are still alternatives that are cheaper or that follow different principles of carrying or transmitting music. For example, not everyone can handle true wireless in-ears.
Luxury version: Technics EAH-AZ70WE
The first thing that strikes you about the Technics EAH-AZ70WE is not the sober, cryptic type designation, but the extremely high quality of workmanship – and the size of the in-ears. Well, the Momentum True Wireless 2 from Sennheiser are not exactly small either, but still fit surprisingly well in smaller ears. Fortunately, this also applies to Technics in-ears. In addition, the large in-ears can also be easily inserted into the ear by gross motor skills.
When money doesn’t matter
With the EAH-AZ70W, Technics presents a real treat with excellent sound properties and very good noise canceling.
The Technics EAH-AZ70WE are operated, as it should be in this price range, via touch surfaces, whereby the gestures are fixed and cannot be adjusted via the app. The Technics Audio Connect app is used with these listeners. Although it bears a striking resemblance to the Panasonic app, the apps and headphones from Technics and Panasonic are probably not compatible with each other. It doesn’t really matter, after all, both applications are free to download.
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Talkthrough and Active Noise Canceling can each be set continuously in the app, and there is also the usual find function and a scalable standby switch, similar to that on a smartphone. Last but not least, there are also sound presets (bass boost or speech intelligibility) and an equalizer for setting the sound according to your own ideas.
The EAH-AZ70WE sound nice and clear and with rich depth in the right places. The mid-high tones are resolved very finely and reproduced very impulsively. Music is fun this way! The fact that the spatial aspects of the sound also come into their own makes the EAH-AZ70W often sound like full-blown headphones.
In terms of acoustic capabilities, the Technics come very close to Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 2 , but they deliver a somewhat more rounded sound thanks to the pronounced fundamental range. The Technics play a bit more discreetly and therefore sound a bit more open. But these are only nuances and fall under the heading of a matter of taste.
Hard to beat in terms of sound
The Technics EAH-AZ70W replace the Momentum True Wireless 2 at this point, because there are hardly any differences in terms of sound and processing quality, but the noise canceling of the Technics listeners can be adjusted in a much more differentiated manner. And active noise canceling is the main focus here.
Classic design: Huawei FreeLace Pro
Huawei not only has True Wireless In-Ears in its range, with the FreeLace Pro there is also a model with a neckband as a connection between the two In-Ears. In addition to green, the FreeLace Pro is also available in black and white or whatever it is called: Spruce Green, Graphite Black and Dawn White. The control buttons are located on the right-hand end of the neckband, and it can also be plugged in. If you remove the right in-ear, the USB-C connector becomes visible, which can be plugged into a suitable USB charger to charge the set.
The best with a neckband
Huawei FreeLace Pro
With the FreeLace Pro from Huawei, a neck strap holds the in-ears together.
Until then, however, the FreeLace Pro will play music non-stop for 24 hours at maximum volume. The three control buttons are easy to feel on the control panel, and the form of the respective function follows here. This makes the operation easier for some people than with a True Wireless, because you can work virtually under sight and don’t have to tap around blindly on your ears.
Strictly speaking, the FreeLace Pro are ear buds , unlike “real” in-ears, they are not placed in the ear canal, but rather in front of it. The correspondingly shaped large body ensures a good hold in the so-called concha, i.e. the auricle. If the Huawei FreeLace Pro is not in use or if someone falls out of your ear, they dangle securely on the neck strap. Thanks to integrated magnets, the in-ears are even attached to each other.
If the in-ears are not needed, they dangle securely on the neck strap
As already mentioned, it is operated either using the buttons on the right-hand end of the neckband or via the app. This also works with other headphones from the manufacturer, but offers very few setting options. A kind of balance can be set between ANC and talkthrough, the function of the touch surfaces of the in-ears can be varied, but there is no tone control.
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There are three settings for noise canceling: all noises are blocked out, the external microphones let through and the ANC is completely switched off in the third setting. Regardless of which mode is selected, there are no audible differences in terms of sound.
The Huawei engineers have attached the microphone for making calls so cleverly that we can be heard very well on the other side – regardless of the position in which the control part of the neckband with the microphone is currently hanging. We can also understand our interlocutor well – in both ears.
A large driver ensures a rich sound
For the acoustic implementation, Huawei uses generously dimensioned dynamic drivers for the FreeLace Pro . These have a diameter of a full 14 millimeters – just for comparison: Most of the competitors are well below 10 millimeters.
As expected, the FreeLace Pro also put a lot of pressure in the bass room without doing too much of a good thing. On the contrary, the connection to the midrange and high frequency range succeeds without audible gaps. They are not even particularly demanding when it comes to the position in the ear. The combination of the ear tips with the wings, which provide additional support, does a great job here.
For Apple fans: Apple AirPods Pro
The Apple AirPods Pro are the first headphones from Apple to have integrated active noise canceling. They are based on the AirPods, but with one major difference: the previously propagated one-size-fits-all concept without adapters or ear tips is not used with the AirPods Pro – for good reason. The system may find a secure hold in many ears, but they are never completely sealed – but that is a basic requirement for effective noise canceling.
With three pairs of silicone adapters
Consistent with the new passport concept, the AirPods Pro come with three pairs of silicone adapters, two pairs neatly attached to the cardboard. We also find an old friend with the loading and storage dock. Technically, it corresponds to the charging dock of the AirPods 2019, like this, that of the Pros can either be charged via the included cable with Lightning connector or wirelessly via induction.
The best for the iPhone
Apple AirPods Pro
Apple has now given the AirPods an active noise suppression, now they are called AirPods Pro.
The pairing of the AirPods Pro works great with the iPhone, by the way, with most other smartphones you only have to briefly press the button on the dock, and then it works smoothly there too. What is missing on Androids is a charge status display, but this can be implemented with the free app from various third-party manufacturers. With the Podroid Pro app, which we installed without further ado, the charge status of the charging dock is even displayed.
With the iPhone, of course, this is not a problem, but for additional adjustments, such as rearranging the buttons or automatic ear detection and testing the correct fit, at least iOS 13.2 is required. These features are stored there in the Bluetooth menu. Remapping the keys? That’s right, the AirPod Pro now respond to real buttons that are integrated into the handles.
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Both sides fulfill the same functions: If the button is pressed briefly, the music starts or stops, pressing twice zaps one track forward, three times one backward. A longer press activates the ANC or the transparency mode or, alternatively, calling up Apple’s voice assistant Siri on one side. You only get confirmation through different sounds, there is no voice message as feedback – and certainly not in German, as is the case with the Sonys. On the other hand, the click of the button can be heard quite well.
The ANC has almost no audible impact on volume or tonality
The noise canceling works as well as with most other in-ears and also depends a lot on how well the passive noise canceling works, i.e. how well the listeners seal. It works with almost no audible impact on volume or tonality.
That’s a good thing, because the AirPods Pro deliver excellent sound. They deliver almost the entire audible frequency spectrum and the tonally fairly balanced. In the deep bass it pushes something down, which is particularly noticeable in comparison with the “old” AirPods. Either this is due to the better fit or the dedicated bass driver that Apple supposedly built in.
If you really want AirPods with active noise canceling, the AirPods Pro are a very good choice, they are also far ahead of their colleagues in terms of sound. However, one can expect an app for the price and one or the other additional fitting piece should also be included.
Good choice for little money: Soundcore Life P3
The Soundcore Life P3 are again significantly cheaper than their colleagues, but they are also available in five different colors: black, navy-blue, sky-blue, coral-red and off-white. The five pairs of included ear tips are just as much a saving measure as the case with the simple folding mechanism, but one with which you can live with.
Good & cheap
Soundcore Life P3
With the Soundcore Life P3, Anker has a real price hit with active noise canceling.
The Life P3 charging case can now be charged inductively, i.e. completely without cables. This is a real novelty in the price range under 100 euros . The in-ears can be fully charged exactly four times. In our test, one charge of the plug was enough for seven hours of music at full volume. That is considerable and, above all, longer than the more expensive colleagues.
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The free Soundcore app has also learned a lot. Noise canceling can still be selected from the traffic, indoor and outdoor presets. You can select the transparency mode if you use the soundcores for jogging, for example, or just use them normally – then both functions are switched off.
Extensive setting options via app
The P3 now has around 20 presets for setting the sound . Alternatively, you can still adjust the sound individually using the equalizer and save this setting accordingly.
The sleep mode has been added. It works particularly well on long air or train journeys because, on the one hand, the background noise is blocked out and, on the other hand, a relaxing background noise can be set. From the chirping of birds to fine chimes to wind noises or the famous rustling of the forest, some ambient sounds are stored.
The Soundcore Life P3 sound very mature for their money. The bass is powerful and controlled, only the mid-high range is better resolved by many more expensive competitors. In any case, the sound remains fairly unaffected by the various ANC settings.
More Bluetooth InEar with active noise canceling is currently hardly available for the money, especially since the Life P3 are equipped with the latest charging technology.
With the WF-1000XM3 , the true wireless in-ear from Sony is entering the second round, even if the type designation suggests something different. The in-ears are bigger and even more intelligent than their predecessors. As befits its standing, the WF-1000XM3 now supports Alexa in addition to Google Assistant and Siri. One more reason that they were our favorites for a long time.
The charging dock is enough to charge the earbuds three times in total. One charge of the two plugs was enough for us for a full eight hours of continuous sprinkling, at full volume and switched off noise canceling. If the NC is active, the electronics are challenged more and the running time is reduced a little.
It is mainly operated via the sensitive touch surfaces of the listener, at least for the basic functions. The activation of the noise canceling or the ambient sound is also possible via the generously dimensioned touch surfaces. The ambient sound mode determines which type of outside noise is allowed to pass through to the ear, for example voices for announcements or important traffic noises such as horns or sirens. However, it is not possible to adjust the volume using the plug.
The individual settings work more differently via app, of course, the Headphones Connect app from Sony allows a differentiated setting of the ambient noise and also includes an equalizer for sound optimization. From the surrounding scenarios “lingering”, “walking”, “running” and “being transported”, which the WF-1000XM3 reliably and automatically recognize, I can individually set the strength of the external noise suppression and make it permeable to voices as required.
The WF-1000XM3 sound pleasantly balanced and at the same time very dynamic and convey a very spatial sound image. This can be reinforced with the help of the 360 Reality Audio function in the app. But that doesn’t work for all pieces of music, so it’s better to turn it off.
With the WF-1000XM4 , Sony is now entering the third generation of true wireless with active noise canceling. This can already be seen clearly from the listener when unpacking, Sony is testing a new packaging material for the WF-1000XM4 for the first time. This is obtained from old packaging material, among other things, and should in any case be more sustainable than the large amount of plastic waste that currently protects many consumer electronics devices from damage in transit. According to Sony, this is a first attempt that will gradually be extended to all products.
At least that’s a start. With the WF-1000XM4 , we asked ourselves what Sony wanted to improve on its previous successful model. After unpacking, you immediately notice the charging case, which is significantly smaller than its predecessor. The battery apparently also suffered as a result: The in-ears can only be fully charged once and half charged once. You won’t get a shoe out of it if the in-ears last ten instead of eight hours after our test. The in-ears themselves have also been completely redesigned. The material and surface look much higher quality than their predecessor, and instead of the usual seven pairs of ear tips, there are now only two made of silicone and one made of adaptable foam.
The WF-1000XM4 still have one of the most intelligent noise-canceling systems I know. In the meantime, the in-ears, or rather the app, are even learning something new. After a while, you can now identify activities such as house cleaning, cooking or others as individual activities and adjust the ANC accordingly. Together with the app, however, this should also be possible with the older WF-1000XM3 .
The sound of the new WF-1000XM4 has also remained true to itself. There was hardly any room for improvement anyway. However, the telephone test, which we like to do with these devices, was disappointing. Although we can hear the other end very well and of course on both sides, we can only be understood in a very distorted manner at the other end. Since we archive the files of our telephone tests, a quick comparison with the WF-1000XM3 could show that there was indeed a deterioration at this point.
Bose QuietComfort earbuds
Bose is back: After a long period of abstinence, which at least affected the European market, Bose has caught up with the true wireless in-ear hype with the QuietComfort Earbuds . Right from the start, the Bose True Wireless will of course benefit from the manufacturer’s extensive know-how – in terms of active noise canceling and sound quality in equal measure.
However, they have become large, both in the in-ears and in the charging case. However, the case had to be big enough for the in-ears to fit in well. However, the capacity of the integrated battery is only enough to charge the QuietComfort Earbuds twice, so that a maximum of three charges are available. The case itself can optionally be charged with the help of the supplied USB-C cable and a corresponding charger; the smartphone usually fits here. However, the case can also be charged wirelessly via induction; it simply has to be placed on the Qi charging surface.
The intensity of the noise canceling can be adjusted in ten levels and works so effectively that at level ten nothing from the outside can penetrate the ear. The very good fit is not entirely to blame for this, however, because the large in-ears are surprisingly easy to insert and then seal very well. If in doubt, the Bose Music app helps with the correct insertion of the in-ears, but the app is still so fresh that not all functions run as smoothly as the online manual.
In fact, we had some difficulties pairing the in-ears with the app. After resetting the in-ears and restarting the app, it worked. However, the app is not yet fully developed. If you activate the carrying detection, the corresponding options (pausing when putting down, etc.) are hidden directly. A tone control is also missing so far.
But Bose has done everything right with the sound of the QuietComfort Earbuds . They offer a balanced sound that is particularly suitable for very long listening sessions. They do not illuminate the limits of the audible frequency band as far as, for example, the EAH-AZ70WE from Technics. On the part of the app and also the speech intelligibility when making calls, there is still room for improvement.
JBL LivePro + TWS
In addition to white, the JBL LivePro + TWS are also available in beige, pink and black – so there should be the right color for almost every taste. JBL listeners can, however, pay much more than just current fashion tastes – after all, JBL is an audio specialist.
Even if the main aim here is to block out certain audio – namely disturbing ambient noises – the LivePro + TWS also attach great importance to good sound quality. Locking out is all the easier as the in-ears can be perfectly placed in the ear, not least because of the many included ear tips. In this way, a large part of the potential for disruption is left out.
The rest is done by active noise canceling, which can be adjusted to the different environments with three different settings. In »Everyday Mode«, everyday noises such as murmuring voices and the like are faded out. »The travel mode« is recommended when traveling by train or plane. Finally, the “active mode” blocks out noises that arise during outdoor activities.
The noise canceling works quite well, especially because all the settings can be conveniently made in the app. The degree of the transparency mode can also be continuously adjusted here, so that you are not necessarily completely separated from the outside world. Incidentally, the sound is not audibly affected by the settings.
That’s a good thing, because the LivePro + TWS also have a lot to offer in terms of sound. The bass reaches down very deep, but always remains contoured and also covers neither the mids nor the highs. It conveys the intimate atmosphere of a club as well as a large orchestrated spectacle.
The JBL LivePro + TWS is a handset for everyone who values smart design as much as it does a very good sound result. The good noise canceling ensures enough privacy.
Bowers & Wilkins PI7
With the PI7 , Bowers & Wilkins launched a real big ship. The case alone is not only large, a good proportion of metal has also been invested in the case. The integrated battery can recharge the in-ears up to four times, which is now almost standard, and what the PI7 urgently needs with a runtime of the in-ears of just under four hours. The large case hides even more than the battery and the associated charging electronics.
Bowers & Wilkins thought ahead and remembered how many hi-fi systems still have to get by without a Bluetooth interface. This is why a so-called Bluetooth transmitter is integrated in the thick case of the Bowers & Wilkins PI7 . You only have to plug the supplied cable into the headphone socket of your stereo system, the other end into the USB-C socket of the case and you can enjoy the music from the stereo system via the PI7 True Wireless. Incidentally, the cable in question is included in the scope of delivery.
Of course, Bowers & Wilkins wouldn’t make such an effort if you weren’t convinced of the sound quality of the in-ears. And the PI7 actually deliver a very appealing sound image, with a similarly broad stage as the competition from Sony and Technics. In terms of sound, they manage the perfect balancing act between deep, rich bass, a pleasantly sonorous basic tone and a very finely resolved mid-high range. The rather large and bulky-looking in-ears sit surprisingly comfortably in the ears.
Therefore, the Bowers & Wilkins PI7 also provide an excellent external seal, which is always a good prerequisite for a well-functioning active noise canceling. In the case of the PI7, this is also fine-tuned via an app. I can either scale the ANC steplessly, or activate the automatic adjustment, which is then based on the volume of the ambient noise and adapts accordingly. The environment switching, as the transparency mode is called here, is scalable or can be switched off completely. In contrast to many of its competitors, noise canceling has an audible influence on the sound, which moves very slightly towards the loudness characteristic.
On the other hand, there is no tone control in the app, nor is there any individual adjustment of the touch gestures on the in-ears. The app has a feature for this: Bowers & Wilkins has stored corresponding background noises in the app to relax while traveling or to fall asleep. So there are many natural background noises, such as the babbling of a brook, the rustling of a waterfall, the crackling of a fire and many others that help you relax.
The Bowers & Wilkins PI7 is the ideal Bluetooth supplement for the home stereo system. When traveling, it can provide perfect relaxation with good noise canceling and the corresponding soundscapes, provided that the journey does not last too long.
LG TONE Free FN7
The LG TONE Free FN7 continue the pure tradition that the previous models began. Every time the in-ears are inserted into the charging case, they are cleaned using UVnano technology. At least this should kill germs that could cavort on the in-ears.
They are very easy to use and then seal very well. In most cases, the three pairs of included ear tips are sufficient to achieve a really perfect fit. With us they fit perfectly in the ear after a slight twist, and the TONE Free FN7 sounded correspondingly rich .
The sound can also be extensively adjusted in the app. In addition to the four selectable presets, two custom settings are available. Here, the sound can be adjusted according to individual needs with the help of an equalizer. The audio specialists at Meridian are responsible for the good sound.
In addition, the intensity of the noise canceling can be set in the app, at least in two stages. Alternatively, with the TONE Free FN7 , you can also activate the outside noises in order to be able to take part in conversations without having to take the plugs out of your ears. Even gesture control on the in-ears can be customized in the app.
If the TONE Free FN7 fit, you will be delighted with them, whether germ-free or not. A more variable adaptation of the noise canceling to different scenarios would be appropriate, especially since they are not cheap either.
The 1More EHD9001BA was our recommendation for a long time in neckband construction, it has some ingredients that ensure promising sound properties. The EHD9001BA also has an audio cable via which you can still listen to music if the battery is empty.
Until then, however, the 1More EHD9001BA will play 15 hours of non-stop music at maximum volume. It is operated either using the buttons on the left end of the neckband or using the 1More app, which also works with other headphones from the manufacturer.
With noise canceling there is Off and two levels (mild, strong) as well as an additional circuit for suppressing annoying wind noise. No matter which mode is selected, the sound does not change audibly. However, there is a slight noise when noise canceling is activated, but this can only be heard when the music is paused.
When talking on the phone, surprisingly, I am not easier to understand than with most True Wireless, although the microphone is built into the end of the neckband and is therefore much closer to the mouth.
For the acoustic implementation, the 1More EHD9001BA relies on so-called hybrid drivers. 1more builds each a dynamic and a BA driver ( B alanced A a rmature). They share the frequencies, so the dynamic driver is responsible for the bass and the BA driver for the high notes.
The 1More then also puts a lot of pressure in the bass cellar, apparently something is being helped. The following keynote and the seamlessly connected mid-high tones prove that 1More succeeded in matching the drivers to one another.
When it comes to neckband constructions, the 1More EHD9001BA is still one of the best that you can get, especially the emergency cable is convincing.
Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro
In addition to the sapphire blue version we tested, the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro is also available in white, rose quartz and onyx. They come with a total of nine pairs of ear tips. The gradations in size are actually so finely selected that there should be the right fitting piece for every ear. The earphones also seal properly when they are used, which is important both for the sound and for good isolation from annoying external noises.
The Liberty Air 2 Pro are housed in a charging case, which is designed as a so-called slider. The lid is pushed open and the in-ears can be removed without much fiddling. The in-ears can be fully charged exactly twice. After that, it is only enough for an emergency charge of around 50 percent. The service life of the in-ears is very good at six hours, especially since we let them run at full volume as always.
Many functions of the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro can be easily adjusted with the help of the free Soundcore app. In addition to the sound, this also applies to the perfect adaptation of the noise canceling. There you can select the presets traffic, indoor and outdoor – or you can set the efficiency yourself.
Thanks to the many setting options, the noise canceling of the Liberty Air 2 Pro works extremely well, but many of the annoying outside noises can be locked out with the right ear tips and there are plenty of different ones included.
In terms of sound, the Liberty Air 2 Pro basically have a pronounced loudness tendency, so the smartphone delivers an ostensibly voluminous sound image even at lower levels. If you don’t like that, you can try using the equalizer to achieve a natural reproduction. In any case, the Soundcore together with the app offers a wide range of options, especially in the area of active noise canceling.
The Audio Technica ATH-ANC300TW comes off the manufacturer’s top shelves. This is not only noticeable in the price, the workmanship also leaves a high-quality impression. In addition, Audio-Technica did not skimp on the equipment: In addition to the four silicone ear tips in three different sizes, there is also a pair made of the adaptable Comply foam. Charging via USB-C is now common in this price range, as is the included charging cable.
The two tiny buttons used to operate the ATH-ANC300TW don’t really fit. They work reliably and also have pressure points that can be felt well, but this is now done more elegantly with touch-sensitive surfaces. In addition to fiddling, this also saves the clearly audible clicking of said keys.
Fortunately, the universal Audio Technica app also supports this handset. This can be used to set the intensity of the noise canceling and talk-through. With active noise canceling, there are three environment settings: airplane, on the go and office. Three levels of intensity can be selected for Hearthrough: Low, Medium and High. ANC has no audible effect on the sound and does not develop any audible noise.
In terms of sound, the Audio Technica ATH-ANC300TW tends slightly towards loudness characteristics and delivers a considerable spatial image. He does not overdo it with the pressure from the bass cellar, so he does not confuse level with depth. It has plenty of depth, but does not neglect the mid-high range either, so that it comes across as extremely lively.
Tronsmart Apollo Bold
The in-ears of the Tronsmart Apollo Bold are quite tall and correspondingly bulky , but they are quickly inserted correctly and sit comfortably in the ear. Operation is via the large touch surfaces of the in-ears, which requires a little practice. Apparently there is no app for the Tronsmart Apollo Bold , so that all operating steps have to be entered using fixed knocking signals on the touch surfaces. Noise canceling doesn’t make things any easier. You have to tap a total of three times to switch noise canceling on or off or to put the ambient sound through. This has almost no effect on the sound.
The very pronounced loudness character of the listener gives them a voluminous sound, even at lower volumes. The midrange is, as is usual with this expression, a bit underrepresented, which takes some of their timbre away from many voices. The fine resolution in the mids and highs is well developed, and even the spatiality is okay.
Despite the somewhat inconvenient operation using the various knock signals, the Tronsmart Apollo Bold can offer a surprising amount for the money. If you don’t mind the service, you can get a real bargain here.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
With the Momentum True Wireless 2 , Sennheiser is hot on the heels of the competition from Sony. As the name suggests, there is the second generation of the Momentum True Wireless, this time with active noise canceling.
The endurance of the Momentum True Wireless 2 in-ears has doubled compared to its predecessors, so they now play for over seven hours on par with the Sonys. Both can be reloaded up to three times in the dock, so that they are in a head-to-head race here.
The Momentum True Wireless 2 fit easily in the ear and provide a perfect seal, even if Sennheiser includes three fewer adapters – ideal basic requirements for efficient suppression of outside noise. The Momentum True Wireless 2 is operated via touch surfaces, whereby the commands can be individually adjusted in the »Smart Control« app.
The so-called “Transparent Hearing” can also be activated in the app or directly on the in-ears. So you can switch on the outside world and either stop the music or let it continue. Although the noise canceling does not adapt to the ambient conditions as much as with the Sony WF 1000XM3 , it works very effectively and, above all, has no audible influence on the sound.
Here, in turn, the Momentum True Wireless 2 can easily score, because although the app has a very adaptable equalizer, you will mostly be able to do without it. The Momentum sound very natural, reaching deep into the bass cellar and creating a seamless transition into the midrange. In the mid-high range, they deliver a very fine resolution, taking too much cheeky sibilance at the top. It is not for nothing that Sennheiser listeners support the aptX codec for Bluetooth transmission, which Sony can top with the broader bandwidth LDAC.
The True Wireless 2 also impresses with excellent speech intelligibility and no interruptions or other interference when making calls. Here they are clearly in front of the Sonys and can even be positioned just behind the AirPods Pro .
The Momentum True Wireless 2 are currently still a whopping 100 euros more expensive than the favorites, but the rather high price can also be argued: They simply sound better, both with music and when making calls.
1More ComfoBuds Pro ES901
The 1More ComfoBuds Pro ES901 live up to their name, once taken out of the case and put in your ears, they actually sit very comfortably and offer the sound quality you are used to from 1More. The very smooth surface of the in-ears, however, sometimes causes real problems when fumbling out of the case. The magnetically supported position in the case also makes it difficult to remove.
There is a decent app for this, with which the noise canceling can be set in two levels (strong and mid). Incidentally, this has no audible impact on the sound. The sometimes annoying wind noise, especially when jogging and similar outdoor activities, can also be suppressed with a switch in the app. Smart Playback can be switched on and off, which means that the music transmission stops or does not stop when the ienss receiver is removed. In the custom settings you can individualize the touch gestures of the operation, there is no tone control, however.
The 1More ComfoBuds Pro ES901 hardly need that either, because as I said, the in-ears pamper you with the usual full, full sound that does not lose control even during violent deep bass orgies. Only when telephoning you have to accept a slight distortion of your own voice, which should really only bother people who call all the time. On the other hand, like everyone else, they are happy about the 15-hour battery life of the in-ears, which can then be recharged a good four times in the case.
The manufacturer KEF was able to engage the star designer Ross Lovegrove for the products of the Mu series. The corresponding lettering is emblazoned on the True Wireless In-Ears Mu3 , albeit discreetly under the lid of the charging case. The connoisseur can already see the designer’s signature when looking at the organic shapes of both the charging case and the in-ears themselves. All surfaces are made of polished metal, which does not always make inserting the in-ears very easy.
Once used, however, the KEF Mu3 sit securely and comfortably in place – in such a way that they seal well and can develop their enormous sonority. That is exactly the core competence of the KEF listeners, so it is hardly surprising that there is only rudimentary ANC, which is also activated by pressing a button. An app is currently not available, at least none dedicated to the KEF headphones.
In terms of sound, the Mu3 can play along at the top, they deliver a more detailed sound image than the QuietComfort Earbuds from Bose and can even keep up with the Technics. So if you are primarily looking for a great design and excellent sound properties, you will surely be happy with the Mu3. Active noise canceling plays a subordinate role here.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live is available here in the three color variants Mystic Bronze, Mystic White or Mystic Black. The completely redesigned in-ears in white were available to us. In terms of construction, the earphones are somewhere between in-ears for the auditory canal and the AirPods introduced by Apple, which are only hooked into the ear and with the one-fits-all design do without adapters or ear tips. The shape of the Galaxy Buds Live is somewhat reminiscent of beans, and you simply cannot do without Eartips – or, better here, seals. The sound openings should point into the ear canal, but are not surrounded by the seals. They seal the ear canal against the so-called concha, i.e. the inside of the auricle. Two different sizes are probably sufficient for this, because there is nothing more included.
If you are unsure, the animated instructions in the app will help you quickly. The Galaxy Buds finally sit very comfortable in the ears and dense actually not completely off. This is what the manufacturer wanted, because, on the one hand, some users find the complete seal to the outside world strange to uncomfortable, on the other hand, you save yourself the technical effort of a talk-through function.
Here is the crux of the Galaxy Buds Live, because the noise canceling works the better the more the listeners seal. Since the Galaxy earphones do not seal completely, the user accepts that a certain basic level of outside noise will always reach their ears. On the other hand, you never have the feeling of sitting in the diving bell, which sometimes completely sealing headphones bring with them. As a travel companion on the plane, train or car (as a passenger), the Galaxy Buds are still suitable, because the annoying, mostly low-frequency engine noises are successfully dimmed down.
The Galaxy Buds Live are initially operated via the touch surfaces, the associated Samsung Wear app then allows personalized adjustment of the touch gestures. In addition, the updates for the in-ears are carried out via this, and a find function is also available. The sound characteristics of the listener can be selected from a total of six presets.
We mainly heard the Galaxy Buds Live in the “normal” preset and were not a little surprised at how close the sound quality came to the more expensive competition. They deliver an overall natural sound and sound out the lowest and highest audible frequencies. The bass foundation is powerful and solid, leads over a pleasant fundamental range without audible gaps or transitions to the middle and high tones. The activated noise canceling does not affect the sound in any way.
If conventional in-ears are too tight for you and the design of the AirPods is too loose, you can find an alternative in the Galaxy Buds Live . For what they also offer in terms of sound, they are also astonishingly cheap.
Tronsmart Apollo Air
After many others, we now have the Apollo Air from Tronsmart for testing. The handset in the stem design is convincing with its easy handling. They are quickly removed from the charging case and inserted into the ear. With the associated app, both active noise canceling can be activated and ambient noises can be faded in in the so-called talkthrough or transparency mode. In addition, the gestures for operation can be individually adapted. A tone control via equalizer and presets rounds off the app.
Except when making calls, the Tronsmart Apollo Air delivers an astonishingly natural sound in this price range, which can even play at the top. On the other hand, it becomes problematic as soon as you use the in-ears to make calls. I arrive at the remote station slightly distorted and with occasional interruptions, which seriously affects communication. The in-ears did not last four hours in our test, but they can still be recharged up to four times in the case, which gives them a total runtime of 20 hours.
As well as the Tronsmart Apollo Air perform in their core competencies, namely the sound and active noise canceling, the disturbances when making calls and the short runtime of the in-ears are just as annoying.
Razer Hammerhead Pro
The Razer brand is known to many from the gaming scene. There is even a smartphone there that is optimized for online gaming. The Hammerhead Pro are also ideal for playing games, preferably on a smartphone or tablet, because the Bluetooth data transmission between the listener and the smartphone can be carried out completely without the usual delays. However, there is also active suppression of outside noise, which can preferably be switched on via the app. The Hammerhead Pro sit very comfortably in the ears once you have fumbled them out of the case. They have a power-saving function – that is, they switch off if they are removed from your ears for a few seconds.
Unfortunately you can only set simple ANC modes with the otherwise quite extensive app: Noice canceling “On” and “Off” as well as talkthrough “On” (for announcements in the train, etc.). The Hammerhead Pro are simply too expensive for that, even if they sound very good.
Epic Air ANC True Wireless
The Epic Air ANC True Wireless come from the American audio specialist JLab Audio, who is still quite unknown here. On the other hand, the True Wireless trumps with a particularly practical feature: The USB charging cable is firmly integrated in the case, so it is always with you when you are out and about. The design of the case itself also differs significantly from the competition. It is hardly rounded and the surface is structured like synthetic leather. This has the advantage that scratches and other damage are less noticeable than on the high-gloss surface of some competing products.
The Epic Air ANC then again correspond to the proven stem design, and with their perfectly cranked top are quickly and optimally placed in the ear. There they develop their full sound, which is actually quite “American” in tune. The bass is very pronounced, so strong that you have to take something back with bass-heavy music so that the rest of the frequency band comes into its own.
Particular attention was paid to active noise canceling with the Epic Air ANC . With their comfortable fit, the listeners seal very well in order to then, together with the very good app, allow an individual balance between ANC and transparency mode. The transparency mode is called Be-Aware here because the app is completely in English. Nevertheless, it is designed so clearly and intuitively that you can quickly find your way around. The equalizer is also just a click away so that you can adjust the sound to your own taste.
However, the Epic Air ANC are not at all suitable for telephoning , as I cannot be understood at the other end. This is a shame, because the listener can also convince in terms of battery life. After all, together with the case, they last for a full 60 hours! In our test, the listeners alone ran non-stop for 15 hours at the highest volume. So if you can do without telephoning, the Epic Air ANC is a long-lasting, travel-friendly true wireless set.
The 1More E1004BA has an emergency cable with which even active noise canceling works. For the good sound, two drivers are installed on each side, a conventional dynamic driver for the low and medium frequencies and a so-called BA driver (Balanced Armature), which is specialized for the high frequencies.
The earplugs are held together with a neck strap, which not only houses the electronics but also the batteries. The operating mimic is located at the left end of the neckband. The noise canceling can be set or deactivated in two stages with the slide switch. In the first stage, background murmur is mainly dimmed, as occurs in some large offices. The second stage makes this even better, but also attenuates some frequencies “around the bottom”, such as those generated on the train or on the plane. However, the 1More blocks out the background noise neither as effectively nor as intelligently as the Sony.
In addition, when noise canceling is activated, it rushes, very quietly, but at least audible in very quiet passages. Fortunately, there are no audible differences in sound when the NC is activated or deactivated. The tuning goes slightly towards loudness, which is not a problem, as it also finely resolves the mids and also provides sufficient bass foundation. If you don’t want to spend a lot, the 1More is definitely worth considering, but you can get better noise canceling from Sony or Bose.
Panasonic is involved in the true wireless warehouse with the RZ-S500W , also with active noise canceling. The in-ears are very easy to use and, not least thanks to the many ear tips, sit comfortably in the ears. The touch operation reacts reliably, for more ease of use you should install the Panasonic Audio Connect app, which allows extensive tone control and differentiated noise canceling settings.
In addition, a location function helps to find lost or misplaced in-ears. The RZ-S500W sound very good, but the noise canceling has an audible effect on the sound. As soon as the ANC is switched on, the sound comes out slightly compressed. The RZ-S500W are not so well suited for telephoning: The call partner heard us only very distorted, whereas we could understand him very well on both sides.
The headphones can only be recharged twice in the dock, but they are enough for about six hours of music at a time, so that a total range of about 18 hours is achieved. The in-ears are also recharged very quickly, so a quarter of an hour in the dock is enough for a good hour of music enjoyment.
The Panasonic RZ-S500W mainly benefits from the very good app, which makes it possible to adapt both the sound and the noise canceling to your own needs. Of course, this is only possible because the RZ-S500W has the appropriate hardware basics by default.
Huawei FreeBuds 3i
The Huawei Freebuds 3i are designed like the AirPod Pro from Apple, Huawei also relies on Eartips for a comfortable, well-sealing fit in the ears. However, the Huawei costs less than half. The charging cable with USB-C plug is significantly longer than you are used to from other manufacturers – this is not absolutely necessary, but practical.
The Freebuds 3i are very easy to use and can hardly be felt afterwards. Only the sound reaches the ears unmistakably and thanks to the good sealing by the ear tips, it is very full in the ears. Sometimes the bass range is a bit overrepresented, but that’s exactly how many want it. Operation is carried out using the touch surfaces on both in-ears, regardless of which side: Long tapping switches noise canceling on or off, double tapping stops and starts the music or the phone call. There is no app for adjusting the sound or noise canceling. The noise canceling works mediocre, but has little effect on the sound.
It can even be heard while talking on the phone. Here the Freebuds 3i are at the highest level, which also makes their purpose clear: The Freebuds are the ideal accessory for smartphones, even if they are not from Huawei. The small compromises in ease of use and sound are easy to get over in view of the price.
Huawei FreeBuds Pro
The Huawei FreeBuds Pro , unlike the neckband headphone FreeLace Pro , pure True wireless in-ears. Both the case and the in-ears themselves have a beautiful, glossy housing, optionally in white – or, as in our test samples, in black. The first hurdle before using the in-ears is also the most annoying and unnecessary. The plugs are difficult to move to come out of the case. On the one hand, the surface hardly offers the fingers any hold, and the in-ears are also held in place magnetically in the case. The latter makes for a full “clack” when inserting it into the case – but that annoys when you want to remove the charged plug.
Once released from the case, the little ones can be easily inserted into the ears. The FreeBuds Pro are recognized by the same app as the FreeLace Pro , the setting options for the ANC and the sound are accordingly extensive. However, the FreeBuds Pro do not seal as well as their colleagues with the neckband, which not only has a negative effect on the ANC but also on the sound. The fact that the FreeBuds do not have a protection class is not bad, but overall they are too expensive for what is offered.
Huawei FreeBuds 4i
The Huawei FreeBuds 4i , unlike the FreeBuds 4 in one-fits-all design, can be individually adapted with various ear tips. However, they sit very firmly in the charging case and also offer hardly any grip, so that they can only be removed with great difficulty. In our test, however, the FreeBuds 4i lasted almost 10 hours, so with two possible additional charges in the case they can easily deliver 30 hours of music in total.
The noise canceling works very well because of the good sealing per se. What is (still) missing is the connection to an app, which would further refine and simplify the operation and, above all, the balance between noise canceling and transparency mode.
The FreeBuds 4i sound very natural and balanced, even the activated noise canceling has no audible impact on the sound. Together with the comfortable seat, the in-ears can convince musically. They are only conditionally suitable for telephoning, as my voice arrives at the other end quite distorted.
The in-ears 1More EHD9001TA stand out simply because of the striking carbon look, which has been coated with the finest high-gloss lacquer. The low weight of the earplugs suggests that the material known for its lightness is actually used here. The charging and storage dock alone weighs considerably heavier, which in turn is due not only to the built-in battery, but also to the aluminum housing.
The case is charged using the supplied USB-C cable and an appropriate power supply unit. You can also simply put it on a Qi charging surface – like many high-quality smartphones now.
The 1More EHD9001TA is operated in two ways : The small switches on the in-ears are exclusively responsible for the music and telephony functions. The volume is set here, the next or previous track is selected and incoming calls are accepted. The touch surfaces switch on the in-ears, activate the Bluetooth connection and switch between the noise-canceling levels.
The active noise canceling works in two stages and also offers a talk-through function, with which outside noise can be passed through if necessary. As always, the efficiency of the noise canceling depends to a large extent on the soundproof fit of the in-ears, but there shouldn’t be any problems with the seven pairs of silicone fittings and four pairs of special hooks. However, the influence of the active external noise suppression on the sound looks different: As soon as the ANC is switched on, the tuning is clearly in the direction of loudness. This pick in the acoustic bag of tricks is much more moderate or completely eliminated for most of the competition.
When talking on the phone, the 1More suffer from the same constructive flaws as most of their colleagues – because the microphone is in principle quite far away from the mouth, we are not particularly easy to understand on the other side. On the other hand, there are no problems, we hear our conversation partner clearly in both ears.
Normally, the EHD9001TA can fully convince in terms of sound. Two drivers are used in each case: a dynamic ten-millimeter driver works in the low-mid range, the high frequencies are taken care of by a balanced armature driver. The coordination of the two is extremely successful. The bass works bone dry and with a little more emphasis than the music demands, but always remains contoured. The mid-high and high-frequency ranges connect seamlessly, which gives the sound a certain full-bodiedness and dynamism. The EHD9001TA create an unexpectedly large musical stage and an almost three-dimensional sound image.
Bowers & Wilkins PI4
With the Bowers & Wilkins PI4 , the manufacturer has implemented its idea of an in-ear with active noise canceling. Bowers & Wilkins has always placed great emphasis on design and build quality, and the PI4 is no exception. Although a lot of metal is used, the PI4 is astonishingly light at just over 40 grams. The neckband is made of very soft, comfortable rubber, the controls are cleverly distributed on the left (on / off switch, noise canceling) and right (volume / skip buttons) side, so that you can find your way around very quickly.
The power button must be held for two seconds to switch it on / off, and five seconds to pair it with the smartphone. The noise canceling is also implemented via a single button, three modes are available: High, Low and Auto. In addition, you can choose to let the ambient noise pass or hide it, for this purpose the button is then held for several seconds, a voice provides information about the status. The PI4 can also be controlled via an app – this saves fiddling with the controls on the neckband and opens up further customization options, which are currently still within reasonable limits.
Incidentally, the multifunction button between the volume buttons is only for making calls – here you can not only accept or end calls, there is also a hold function and even the option of a conference call. These are all features that have been supported since Bluetooth 5. As far as we know, the PI4 is the first in-ear to use this potential, or at least the best sounding one.
The noise canceling works as well as most other models that have the same or a similar circuit. Only Bose and Sony cook their own fine soup in this regard. Since the effective suppression of external noise with in-ears is essentially dependent on the perfect seal or fit, the differences here are not as great as with full-size headphones. It is only important to note that the Bowers & Wilkins’ active noise canceling has no influence on the sound.
The sound is full-bodied, big and hardly shows any difference to a full-size colleague. However, the manufacturer was unable to resist a touch of loudness with the PI4. The very intelligent telephone function can also be considered a special feature: This is why the PI4 is also the ideal companion for frequent callers who do not want to do without good noise canceling or excellent sound.
Bose QuietComfort 20
A long time ago, when Bluetooth wasn’t that common in headphones, especially headphones with active noise canceling, the Bose QuietComfort 20 was right at the front and topped our list as a favorite. This was mainly due to its exceptional ability to effectively eliminate annoying outside noise. Even after a long market presence, it has not lost these capabilities – it has noise-canceling qualities similar to the QC 30, but does not offer the convenience of wireless music transmission.
However, there are no restrictions of Bluetooth transmission, such as the loss of quality that often go hand in hand with it, if one of the codecs, such as aptX or LDAC, is not used. If the battery of the Bluetooth headphones is empty, the cards are reshuffled anyway: If you have, you pull out the cable in case of an emergency, which is by no means possible with all Bluetooth headphones. Meanwhile, the QuietComfort 20 continues to play lively, it only needs the battery for the noise-canceling electronics.
Its sound is similar to that of the QC 30, making it ideal for long-term, relaxed listening. Thanks to the same construction, the wearing comfort leaves nothing to be desired. Here, too, the combination of soft ear tips and wings ensures excellent sealing and a secure hold.
In the meantime, the QuietComfort 20 is only available sporadically, which unfortunately does not affect the price. It’s been stable for years – stable high, to be precise. In addition, you have to decide before buying whether the QC 20 is intended for an iPhone or an Android smartphone. In both cases, the smartphone should still have a headphone socket; a connection via the Lightning or USB-C socket is either not possible at all or only possible with an original adapter from the smartphone manufacturer.
The WI-1000X impresses with a long battery life of around ten hours. The WI-1000X is also supplied with an audio cable so that in an emergency you can listen to music without Bluetooth transmission. Such an emergency cable is normally reserved for larger headband headphones, but since the WI-1000X has a neckband, it was apparently no great effort to accommodate an audio socket for the corresponding cable. In cable mode, however, neither the noise canceling nor the hands-free system work.
The operation is completely integrated in the bracket, the control buttons are all on one side and can be clearly felt even without visual contact. On the other hand, the NFC logo can be seen, so it is enough to hold the smartphone with the corresponding surface against it and both devices are paired.
Of course, the individual settings work more differently via app: the headphones connect app from Sony allows differentiated ambient noise settings and also includes an equalizer for sound optimization.
The sound of the WI-1000X can be more than heard. In direct comparison with the Bose QC30 , the former favorite, it almost looks as if a veil has been pulled aside in front of the musical stage. The Sonys are never intrusive, offer a powerful bass foundation with a good fit, without exaggerating and without drowning out other frequency ranges.
It is particularly positive that the sound remains unchanged, regardless of whether noise canceling is active or not, you always get the perfect music enjoyment. If you use the supplied cable, you also benefit from the completely loss-free music transmission that Bluetooth can hardly offer.
The noise canceling also works adaptively here, so it can either be adjusted manually to the ambient noise using the smartphone app, or it can even be done automatically.
The WI-1000X is interesting for everyone who does not want to get used to the true wireless version, but it is not cheaper than its current colleague, which works entirely without cables.
B&O BeoPlay E4
The BeoPlay E4 not only has the proverbial clear, Scandinavian design, it also knows how to impress with its excellent technical properties. The noise canceling has been revised compared to its predecessor and can now keep up with the very good values of the Bose listeners. The E4 doesn’t have to hide in terms of sound either, you just have to forego the convenient Bluetooth connection.
B&O has given the E4 a lot of development work compared to its predecessor, the noise canceling electronics have been redesigned, as has the box in which it sits. In addition, the fit of the earplugs has been improved, to which the additional adapters from Comply certainly make a good contribution.
A good fit in the ear is a basic requirement for rich sound and good external insulation. Although the earplugs are not among the most delicate, after all, the microphones are built into them to compensate for the external sound, but they are easy to insert and do not interfere over a long period of time – not even due to their own weight.
The labeling is clear, the inline microphone and control buttons are located on the cable of the left plug, but most of the electronics and certainly also the batteries are housed in the additional box.
Noise canceling works excellently, also because with BeoPlay E4 the music level is slightly increased when noise cancellation is active. However, this happens completely without background noise.
In terms of sound, the E4 belongs to the balanced variety, with the right dash of dynamics. The bass is abysmal and contoured, provided the plugs are properly seated in the ears. Nevertheless, the sensitive mid-high and high frequency ranges come into their own, but not ostensibly. The slight level increase with active noise canceling is even and does not create a loudness character.
The effective noise canceling, together with the good sound properties, the high level of wearing comfort and, last but not least, the simple operation make it a recommendation as a wired in-ear with noise canceling.
Libratone Q Adapt In-Ear
The Libratone Q Adapt In-Ear also works with a cable, but only on iPhones or iPads with a Lightning interface. For noise canceling, the in-ear can simply draw power from the iPhone’s battery via the Lightning cable. This not only saves you a bulky box on the cable, you also don’t have to worry about charging the battery before the trip.
There are three levels of noise canceling available, which are used depending on the ambient noise or can be switched off completely. The quality of the noise reduction is good, but not quite close to that of the industry leader Bose. The slight noise that could be heard with the Q Adapt when noise canceling was activated has disappeared after the latest software update.
In terms of sound, the Q Adapt plays in a fairly balanced way, but pushes a bit in the deep bass, which is definitely wanted. In the highs it could resolve more finely, but that’s whining on a high level.
For iPhone owners, the Libratone Q Adapt can be an interesting alternative for everyone who does not value the last bit of noise reduction, but wants to save on charging a battery.
EarFun Air Pro
The EarFun Air Pro can be used well and are then quite comfortable to wear. They also seal very well, which makes noise canceling easier. The sound is a bit bass-heavy, sometimes even tends to boom, so that it is better to take it back in the smartphone settings. However, there is no dedicated app.
Our price tip Liberty Air 2 Pro currently costs only a few euros more, but is a more worthwhile investment in comparison.
Libratone TRACK +
With the Track + Libratone has the second representative in this test. This time it runs via Bluetooth and not connected to the iPhone. However, he took over the noise canceling from that one: It works in three stages and works almost noise-free. The Track + can also tie in with its colleagues in terms of sound and even easily outperform them – so far, so good.
However, a large, oval shape has now been chosen for the earplugs. The insertion has become a bit more fiddly. In addition, the neckband has quite a life of its own and may seem too short to some great contemporaries. In addition, the Track + is a very good alternative to the colleagues wired exclusively for Apple.
A real bargain is the ATH-ANC33iS from Audio-Technica given the very low price . Its sound is very balanced and does not change its sound characteristics even when noise canceling is switched on. On the other hand, it filters out significantly less noise than the Bose QC 20. In addition, the Audio-Technica is operated with an AAA cell, regardless of whether it is a rechargeable battery or a battery, but it cannot be charged in the device, which is much less convenient . The ATH-ANC33iS from Audio-Technica can still be a good choice for bargain hunters who focus on good sound at a low price and do not have too high demands on noise canceling.
The WF-1000X were the first true wireless in-ears with noise canceling from Sony. They even sound significantly better than Apple’s AirPods. The quality of the noise canceling is on par with the sister model with a neck strap. However, you have to make compromises when making calls and especially when it comes to battery life.
EarFun Free Pro
Inserting the EarFun Free Pro into the ears works quite well, but first you have to fumble the in-ears out of the case with a lot of effort . No matter which of the three included ear tips are used, at least they didn’t really want to seal me optimally. Exactly for this reason, they can neither prove their noise canceling qualities properly, nor fully exploit the sound potential.
The construction of the Aukey EP-N5 is also reminiscent of the AirPod Pro from Apple, because they also have ear tips. Considering the low price, they even sound very decent. Unfortunately, there is also no app here that would facilitate the settings for the noise-canceling functions in particular. To activate or deactivate noise canceling, you have to hold the right handle for two seconds. This does not cause a sound difference, but the noise canceling is not particularly effective, and operating errors cannot be ruled out.
Huawei FreeBuds 4
The Huawei FreeBuds 4 are modeled on Apple’s ear pods, which is especially true for the so-called one-fits-all design. Like the role models from Apple, the FreeBuds get by without any Eartips. Although this is chic, it also has its pitfalls.
Especially for a solid bass foundation, the in-ears should seal the ear well. Annoying outside noises can also be successfully blocked out with well-fitting ear tips, so that the electronics for active noise canceling then have a very easy time of it.
Both of these things suffer from the FreeBuds 4’s innovative design, of all things . Rich bass is difficult to achieve, and the noise canceling is as good as ineffective because the in-ears barely seal the ear. At least as a listener with active noise canceling, the FreeBuds are not at all suitable, the sound and the wearing comfort can certainly be appreciated.
That’s how we tested
We regularly test all new releases, with the trend clearly going towards so-called true wireless in-ears , which get by without cables. That is why there is more and more overlap with our corresponding category. In this test, however, the main focus is clearly on active noise canceling, while the true wireless in-ears focus more on perfect sound.
We test all headphones under real conditions. We assess the quality of the noise suppression in traffic noise, in a crowd and with a household vacuum cleaner. We attach particular importance to the best possible sound properties, both in NC mode and without. Since the in-ears on the smartphone are often used to make calls, we also test speech intelligibility in both directions.
The most important questions
Does active noise canceling work just as well with in-ears as it does with full-size headphones?
In principle, the ANC works according to the same principle with in-ears: The external sound is recorded, rotated once in the phase, and then quasi cancel itself out as “anti-noise”. The passive noise canceling, i.e. the sealing of the hearing against external sound, sometimes works better with full-size headphones that surround the ears, depending on the fit.
Is it allowed to wear headphones with noise canceling while jogging and cycling?
The legal situation here is not entirely clear: In principle, wearing headphones is not expressly prohibited as long as it does not restrict attention to traffic. We believe that wearing headphones on all roads and paths on which other road users are also restrictive too much attention. The so-called talkthrough or transparency mode, which many current headphones have, provides a remedy. Alternatively, it is also sufficient if at least one ear remains free when wearing in-ears. So you get enough of the outside world and can avoid unpleasant collisions.
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Does active noise canceling shorten the battery life?
Yes. A tiny processor is responsible for active noise canceling and it needs electricity. According to our tests, active noise canceling shortens the battery life by around 20 percent.
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