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Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC

Rating:
4.25/5,
  1. JoshG1217
    A very competent BT overear
    Written by JoshG1217
    Published Sep 29, 2019
    4.0/5,
    I've had high hopes for the Lagoon for a while. I've gone through a lot of BT headphones and have rejected ones others have loved. Xm3 was the best overall (though Nad Hp70 beat it in SQ), but I let those go. I've been using Sony Z5's for a while on the go and DT 1770 at home, but even the Z5 just doesn't quite have the effect of a true overear and the 1770 is just so bulky and heavy. Enter the Lagoon.

    Im very picky about overear fit. I dont want a giant stupid looking headphone. I want it tight and minimalist. To that end, I think V Moda Crossfade are the best looking and best built you can get. The Lagoon, on the other hand, is built very similarly to the XM3. Black plastic that does the job, keeps it pretty tight, but is neither striking, nor offensive. They are pretty light and keep it tight, Making them great for on the go.

    Like the Xm3, they aren't quite overear, but rest on the edges of my ears. This can create some discomfort after a while.

    As for Connection, these have aptx. That's just dumb. This isnt 2012. Every BT headphone, especially one for $400 should have Ldac. I would also encourage you to dow load the MIY app and disable headphone pausing. I found just when wearing them, they were constantly pausing. Disabling this feature fixed that.

    So how's it sound? Damn good. It's a pretty neutral sig. Bass is less boomy and more defined than xm3, but isn't even close to Crossfade 1. In an a/ b, Lagoon is wider, and more detailed, with smoother treble, more space and better separation. Bass can be EQ'd but is there without it. I'm a bit of a bass head though, so that crossfade bass really calls to me.

    All in all, it's become my on the go. After updating the firmware (download update tool to your PC), fixing the pause effect in the app, you have a headphone whose ANC approaches Sonys, that looks pretty similar, but sounds more detailed and has a longer battery. Also, unlike Sony, you can use it unpowered and it still sounds good! Without its DSP, the xm3 driver sounds terrible. Not so with the Lagoon. Highly recommended as a strong package. Apparently, an update with aptx HD is on the way as well.
  2. jeremy205100
    An excellent noise cancelling headphone
    Written by jeremy205100
    Published Jul 22, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Sound, ANC, passive noise isolation, Bluetooth connection, design
    Cons - Earpads can get sweaty, build quality could be better
    Disclaimers:
    1) This product was provided to me as a loaner unit by Beyerdynamic at no cost. I had to return the review unit to them at the end of the review period. There is no incentive for a positive rating and this review expresses my honest opinion of the product.
    2) Audio is a very subjective hobby, and my opinions might not accurately reflect your preferences and experiences. So please keep this in mind when reading my review.
    3) This is my first review of a product with Bluetooth and active noise cancelling, so the format will differ slightly from my previous reviews.

    I welcome any feedback and questions.

    Introduction
    Beyerdynamic is a German audio company based in Heilbronn. They are known for creating the first serial-produced headphone with dynamic drivers, the DT 48, in 1948. Today they remain best-known for their full-size headphones with dynamic drivers, although they have also expanded their product range to include IEMs, Bluetooth products and microphones, among others. The Lagoon ANC (hereafter referred to as the Lagoon) is Beyerdynamic’s first headphone to feature active noise cancelling (ANC). My ratings reflect the Lagoon’s current retail price of $399. The product page for the Lagoon contains a download link for a detailed spec sheet, so I will not repeat them here in detail. The Lagoon also has an app that allows for equalization and the creation of personal sound profiles. Due to the limited time I had the headphones I did not get a chance to try out the app.

    In order to understand this review, and the Lagoon itself, it is important to understand the difference between passive and active noise cancelling. Passive noise cancelling, which all (except open) headphones have, blocks outside noise using the barrier the headphones create on your ears, without requiring any power. Active noise cancelling, on the other hand, uses microphones to monitor background noise and then counter it by producing inverse sound frequencies to cancel it out. ANC works best at cancelling out lower frequencies, such as the hum of a plane engine, which is why it first gained popularity among frequent travelers. Nowadays it has become much more common and many brands have created headphones featuring it.

    For this review, I used my iPhone 6 as a source (both wired and over Bluetooth) and music ranging from 320kbps Spotify to lossless. I own higher end desktop sources, but given that the Lagoon is geared toward portability and use on the go, I limited this review to just my iPhone as a source. While the Lagoon might sound slightly better in wired mode with more expensive equipment, I believe the vast majority of customers will be using it with just a smartphone. As such, they are relatively easy to drive at 20Ω. Beyerdynamic specifies the frequency response as 10 Hz – 30 KHz, and the sensitivity as 91 dB at 1 mW. The battery life is advertised as 25 hours with both Bluetooth and ANC on. Using it wired or without ANC allows it to be used longer on a charge. I can’t comment on the claimed battery life other than to say that in my weeks of testing I used it several hours a week and never had to recharge it. So I would say the claimed battery life is accurate. Rounding out the specs is a 24-month warranty, which is competitive for a flagship ANC headphone.

    At the time of this review, the Lagoon is readily available from many online retailers, including directly from Beyerdynamic via the product page I linked to in the first paragraph of this section.

    Design and Accessories – 8.5/10
    The packaging is efficient, with an outer layer containing an inner layer with a flip open cover. Inside is the Lagoon inside its hard-shell case, a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable for using the Lagoon wired, a USB-A to USB-C cable for charging and paper documentation. I didn’t feel like there was anything missing in the included accessories.

    The case is black with orange accents on the zippers and a protruding gray string that buttons onto the case. This could be useful for attaching the case to a backpack or some other loop. The case was durable and should do protect the Lagoon well. In order to fit into the flat case, the earcups rotate 90°. There is ample room to fit both the charging and 3.5mm cable inside the case as well.

    The design of the Lagoon is great. It is sleek and very lightweight for a full-size headphone with a modern and clean design. I would have no issues being seen wearing them in public. The workmanship of the Lagoon is average, and clearly reflects the consumer nature of the product. Compared to my other Beyerdynamic headphones (which can be seen in my head-fi profile) which are all Made in Germany, the Lagoon is made in Asia. Additionally, the other headphones I have use a spring steel headband, while the Lagoon makes due with a plastic one. Compared to the other Beyerdynamic headphones I have (particularly the much cheaper Custom One Pro), I found the plastic used on the Lagoon to feel cheaper. I didn’t feel any metal in the Lagoon. While I would not call the build quality great by any means, it is not horrible, and efforts to improve it may have increased the weight of the headphone. Nevertheless, I am taking off a point and a half for the build quality.

    Instead of the exterior lights most Bluetooth headphones have on the earcup, the Lagoon incorporates what Beyerdynamic calls the Light Guide System. These are LEDs on the inside of the earcup. When you turn the earphone on or take it off, they light up different colors to make it easy to see which earcup is the left or right. They also show battery life. I really liked this feature as I’ve always felt the lights on the outside of other headphones look ugly.

    Lastly, I was pleased to learn that the faux leather earpads are replaceable. This means that when they inevitably get gross and wear out you can simply pop in a replacement set instead of having to buy another pair of headphones. There are several white plastic brackets under the earcup that hold it in place. It takes a good amount of force to pull them off, so they definitely won’t be coming off accidentally.

    Bluetooth, Remote and Mic – 9.5/10
    Beyerdynamic used Bluetooth 4.2 in the Lagoon. I would’ve liked to have seen the newer Bluetooth 5.0, but the Lagoon worked perfectly. It was easy to pair to my phone. Once paired, the connection was rock solid. It never cut out, not even for a moment. There is a pleasing female voice (not robotic sounding at all) that tells you the battery life and connection status when the headphones are turned on. Once you start playing music it tells you the codec being used (aptX Low Latency, aptX, AAC or SBC). Overall, the Bluetooth and voice feedback system worked excellently, regardless of the slightly older Bluetooth 4.2.

    The right earcup serves as a touchpad instead of a three-button remote. This is becoming the norm with other noise cancelling headphones. Double tap pauses, a double tap and hold summons Siri, left and right swipes change tracks, and swiping up and down changes the volume. I had no issues with the touchpad's responsiveness. But personally, I would've preferred a three-button remote instead. The gestures, while simple, require more effort than simply pressing a button, and I occasionally triggered one accidentally when my hand rubbed against the right earcup while adjusting it. I took off half a point for this minor issue.

    I made several calls using the built-in microphone and my callers had no complaints. It was nice being able to take calls hands free and have the noise cancelling as well.

    Comfort – 9/10
    I found the Lagoon to be comfortable when used indoors for extended periods of time. The clamping force is just enough to prevent the headphone from moving around too much while not putting too much pressure on the head. The headphone can be extended on each side to accommodate different head sizes and the earcups rotate as well to ensure a proper seal. The earpads surrounded my ears, but just barely. If you have big ears you might want to look elsewhere.

    When it comes to outdoors use, you’re really at the mercy of the weather. The faux leather earpads made my ears sweaty after just a few minutes in hot weather. This made extending listening sessions very uncomfortable. I took off a point for this, but only one point, as other headphones with leather earpads do the same when I use them outside. Using a more breathable earpad material would’ve almost certainly reduced the effectiveness of the noise cancelling. Furthermore, other noise cancelling headphones I’ve tried have gotten just as sweaty. I’m sure the Lagoon would be excellent outside in more moderate or cool temperatures.

    Passive Noise Isolation and ANC – 9.25/10
    I found the Lagoon to have excellent overall noise isolation. While it doesn’t block out everything, it allows you to listen to music at a moderate volume and hear little, if anything, in the background. I used it on my loud commute and with the volume only slightly above halfway on my iPhone I was able to enjoy the music without getting distracted by the background that often. No noise cancelling headphone is going to block all noise.

    The ANC works well. There are two levels, selectable by a switch on the right earcup. The higher-level blocks out more noise. Unfortunately, if you use the ANC in a quiet room with no music playing there is considerable white noise. This is annoying, but can be remedied by either playing music, which easily overshadows the white noise, or turning off the ANC. Even without the ANC the Lagoon still blocks a surprising amount of noise with just passive isolation.

    Soundstage – 8.5/10
    The soundstage is average for a closed headphone. There is good separation between different instruments and vocals, but the width and depth are slightly worse compared to my non-Bluetooth headphones without noise cancelling.

    Highs (Treble) – 9.25/10
    I had no complaints with the highs. Piano notes sound excellent and airy. There is a good amount of detail and resolution. There is sufficient sparkle without the sound becoming bright or piercing.

    Mids – 8.25/10
    The mids of the Lagoon were good, but not as great as what I'm used to in my other Beyedynamic headphones and high-end IEMs. Drum hits are clear, well-defined and impactful. Vocals are upfront, if a little recessed, and I was able to detect a bit of sibilance and reverberation on some tracks. Some of the bass can bleed into the lower mids at times. Nevertheless, I believe that the Lagoon will still outperform other noise-cancelling headphones in this category, so I only took off 1.75 points.

    Lows (Bass) – 9.5/10
    I enjoyed the bass of the Lagoon. The quantity is definitely above neutral. It is boomy, but not out of control. The individual frequencies aren't muddied together as on lesser headphones. The sub-bass hits hard and goes low. Overall, I found the bass to be excellent, especially on EDM, rap and rock tracks. I will point out that I prefer bass north of neutral, so if you don't you may not like the Lagoon's bass as much as I did.

    It is important to note that when when I used outside and to commute, the sub-bass was the first to be drowned out by background noise, even if the background noises were being blocked by the passive noise isolation and ANC. So, expect bass to suffer if not used in a quiet listening environment. The same would be true for other headphones, so I am not taking off any points for this. It may be possible to use the Lagoon's Mosayc app to correct for this, but I did not attempt to do so.

    Value – 9/10
    Many manufacturers have come out with ANC headphones in the past few years. Flagship ANC headphones from a company like Bose or Sony range in price from $350-400. The Lagoon is priced at the very top of this range. None of these headphones are a good value based purely on sound alone. You’re paying extra and accepting other sacrifices in order to get that ANC. If you don’t need it, there are better options out there. That being said, I think the Lagoon offers a compelling value for the person looking for an ANC headphone with the best possible sound.

    Selected Comparison
    Bose QuietComfort 35 ($350)
    – I had the opportunity to try out the original Bose QC35s for a few hours while I was reviewing the Lagoon. To me, the Lagoon sounds better in almost every way. The Bose is much less detailed. Both have comparable ANC. I thought the Bose was slightly better at cancelling out the lower frequencies and the Lagoon the higher frequencies. The Lagoon has better passive noise isolation, which probably helps block out the higher frequencies that ANC is less effective against. The Bose is more comfortable, as its earcups are deeper and felt like they had more memory foam inside them. Lastly, I felt the Bose had better build quality, with a harder and more durable plastic construction.

    If I had to pick one of the two, I would pick the Lagoon. The sound is much better and the ANC is competitive. The Lagoon's build quality, while worse than the Bose, is not bad enough to be a dealbreaker. I do want to note that Bose just recently announced the successor to the QC35 series, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. This new headphone retails for the same $400 as the Lagoon, and it would be a better comparison than the slightly cheaper and much older QC35.

    Conclusion – 8.97/10
    If you are in the market for an ANC headphone with excellent sound quality and competitive noise cancelling, I strongly recommend checking out the Lagoon. I was surprised by how much Beyerdynamic got right considering this is its first ANC headphone. While the ANC market is crowded, I think the Lagoon represents a strong offering that will definitely appeal to audiophiles and consumers alike.

    Averaging out the scores for all seven categories results in a score of 8.97/10. This is almost exactly four and a half stars, which is the rating I will show on this review. However, you can change the weighting of the various categories to better reflect your own preferences and come up with your own rating.

    images

    1. Box Angle.JPG
    2. Box Front.JPG
    3. Box Back.JPG
    4. Product Description.JPG
    5. Package Contents.JPG
    6. Inside Box.JPG
    7. Case in Box.JPG
    8. Hardshell Case.JPG
    9. Other Contents.JPG
    10. Headphones in Case.JPG
    11. Headphones Stereo Lights.JPG
      Niyologist and St3ven like this.
    1. Niyologist
      I tried this out earlier this year. I'm glad someone else likes this too.
      Niyologist, Jul 24, 2019
      jeremy205100 likes this.