- Boltune BT-BH011 ANC Headphones
As mentioned in my last review, noise cancelling headphones are becoming very popular. Arguably, the undisputed kings in noise cancelling arena are the Sony MX-1000X3 and the Bose QC35II; both of which I am intimately familiar with. While I found the aforementioned models to have exceptional noise cancelling, the Sony's have a much more dynamic, foot taping sound, whereas the Bose sound balanced and flat; my preference leaned towards the Sony, which I own. Being a frugal shopper and wholeheartedly believing in the law of diminishing returns, I've purchase, sold, and borrowed many affordable noise cancelling headphones over the year. The list includes the Sony CH700, Meidong 7B, Meidong 7C, MPOW H10, Fogeek Apollo 1, Boltune BH010, and now the Boltune BT-BH011. With respect to more "high-end" cans, I have owned Senn 600s, 650s, a slew of AKG cans including the 501s, Beyer 880, and 990s; the latter of which are my current reference headphones.
- Ok, so it's no surprise that none of the wireless headphones mentioned hold a candle with respect to the sound quality of the previously mentioned wired cans. However, for most current music genres such as pop, hip hop, techno, and the like, cans like the Senns and Beyers sound too sterile and simply don't have that foot tapping dynamic sound. To the contrary, I have found most BT headphones to sound much for favorbly with such music, yielding a "fun" and dynamic sound presentation. My current favorites are the Sony MX-1000X3, Boltunes BH011, Boltune BH010 (w/ eq), and Meidong 7B/C (ANC off); the MPOW and Fogeeks were rather disappointing overall.
- Without getting into too much details with respect to sound quality my preferences are as follows: Sony 100MX3 > Boltune BH011 > Sony CH700 > Boltune BH010 > Meidong >> the rest. For a $89 can, the BH011 sounded incredible, very dynamic, punchy, zero harshness, very detailed; where it lacked compared to the Sony 1000MX3s was in sound-stage (note however, the Sony's are nearly 3 times as much). They didn't distort while in or out of ANC mode, rather w/ ANC on, they had a punchier presentation (flatter/balanced with ANC off)
- With respect to noise cancelling my preferences are as follows: Sony 1000MX3 >> Boltune BH011 > Boltune BH010 / Meidong 7 series (tie) >> Fogeeks > MPOW >> Sony CH700 (very poor). No headphone except the Bose come close to the Sony 1000MX3 in terms of noise cancelling
Construction and Fit
Excellent. While the previous Boltunes, the BH010, were rather sturdy and mimicked the QC35II's build quality and design, the BH011s are event better. The headband and ear cups have significantly more padding. Furthermore, the cups are now attached with metal rather then plastic, yielding a very satisfying and hefty feel when moving them into position. Overall they are sturdy, very comfortable, and cups can lay flat. The carrying case is also rather nice and rugged.
Music used: Mainly Pop and rock
Summary: Incredible for this price point; dynamic, punchy, clear mids, controlled highs; very impressed
Bass: Very punchy/tight without being over powering, on par with Sony 1000MX3's if not slightly better
Mids: Not recessed, not overly upfront, rather nicely balanced
Highs: Smooth and yet detailed, not sibilant, or harsh
Soundstage: Average but very acceptable, though the Sony 1000MX3 prevail
Summary: Very balanced, less punchy but still satisfying, mids and highs very clear and controlled
Bass: Less punchy than with ANC on, though extension and control still excellent
Mids: no change, very nice presentation; clear
Highs: no change, very smooth
Soundstage: no change
To EQ or Not:
Summary: Out of the box performance was stellar, no EQ was necessary
Sound Compared to the Sony 1000MX3:
I was honestly shocked how good these sounded, especially with ANC on. They have the same foot tapping punchy sound the Sony's have, same clarity, the only area they lacked was with respect to soundstage. For the money, nothing I have heard come close, significant improvement from even Boltunes last model BH010 (which needed EQ to sound it's best)
Summary: Respectable; better than all other sub $100 ANC headphones. Background noises were significantly reduced and cabin pressure was non-existant. There was a slight hiss when no music was playing, however. Clearly not in the league of the Sony 1000MX3's but again that's 3x the cost and utilizes a custom ASIC Sony created.
Summary: Out of the box performance was stellar, sersiously impressed at this price point. I've yet to hear anything in the sub $100 range that coome close (heck some sub $200 don't sound this good, i.e. Beats, some Jabras, etc)