Plantronics BackBeat PRO Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones


New Head-Fier
Pros: Great sound, nice range, awesome noise cancelling
Cons: comfortable for brief periods, big
I've had these for over a year now and use them primarily while traveling.  I've used Bose and lots of in-ear earphones before.  As far as sound goes, these are my favorite, but I don't have a lot of over-the-ear experience to compare with.  I like a nice rounded sound without a lot of bass and these do that well in my opinion.  They do a great job of subtracting out background airplane noise and because of their size, other random noise as well. These headphones have NFC, which I have used on a limited basis, but it works the way you expect it with audio cues telling you everything is connected. When you turn the set on, a voice tells you the battery level.  You can adjust the volume on the right side by turning a dial which is nice if your player is not easily accessible, but part of the reason behind the large size.  I use them on my Samsung Note 4 and 5 with great sound, but tend to be at the higher end of the volume for the phone.  Would like to try them with a headphone amp. The headphones turn off as soon as you take them off which has saved me several times because I forget to turn them off and I'm relieved to see that there is plenty of battery for noise-cancelling on my trip home.  
My main gripe is that the top of my head hurts after a long flight.  It's probably a combination of weight and the fact that I wear glasses.  They don't seem to compress against my head too hard and the padding is soft enough, so I think it is the weight pushing down on my head, that after a while begins to hurt after about 45 minutes to an hour.  The over-the-ear headphones I have used before have been smaller, so not much of an issue with comfort, but also much less sound. So, the little comfort issue is not major for me because they are a great all-around headphone.  Comes with a purple-lined case that is nice and purple cord with volume controls and a purple USB cord for charging / updating. 
If you need a utility headphone with bluetooth and noise canceling, these are definitely worth the money and provide awesome sound.  


New Head-Fier
Pros: Excellent sound, long battery life
Cons: ..well, big..? Works too well? Maybe too loud in the middle of the night?
I bought these to be able to listen to at least some music while still being able to answer my incoming calls (of which I get way too much). I ordered these without much planning, just thought I'd see what they are. I'm blown away by almost every single thing they do for me. 
The sound quality is out of this world. To give you some perspective my highest cost stereo set (2 main speakers, amp and sub) has been around 4ke so I'm not an audiophile. If you are, you probably want to stay as far away from bluetooth headphones as you can, though. Compared to that stereo set this one matches it easily. Bass goes low, it's responsive enough for me. Mids, highs, they're all there. The stereo imageworks  for me. 
I listen to all kinds of music from classical to pop to rock to heavy metal to rap to bachata/kizomba/etc. (of which most of my music consists of, kizomba being rather bass heavy, check Elizio - Make Love on Tempo to see what I mean, available on Spotify). Anything I listen to I've no complaints on the sound quality over bluetooth. It plays all effortlessly, loud enough (should I want it to) and everything just sounds wonderful to me.
There's plenty of buttons/dials on the headphones. Push left side to pause/play, roll left to next/prevous track, push at the bottom to enable "talk mode" to discuss with people while wearing phones, push right to answer/end a call, roll right to adjust volume, etc. Plenty of options available right from the phones. Negative: sometimes (with iphone 6+) next/prev and volume stop responding, all others work. 
The battery easily survives all through the day no matter how much music you listen to. There are leds to show the battery level should you need them. I've never been able to run it down during the day, my phone runs out of battery much sooner. I've charged the phones (using microusb) maybe once every 3 days and never had real issues. The headphones talk to you, tellling connections, battery level etc eery time you turn them on. 
Very useful feature - drop phones from head to your neck (you can turn the cups facing down, making it easier to keep there) and it stops a phone call or pauses music. Raise them up to your head, it answers an incoming call or resumes the music. Can't love that feature enough. 
If you want to listen to music, you want it to be wireless from you phone and you want quality, you don't really have other options. You WILL love this one.


500+ Head-Fier
Pros: CONVENIENCE, Exciting bass, mids, treble, ANC, BT, aptX, great quality carrying bag
Cons: Poor call quality, maybe a touch sibilant for sensitive ears who prefer a rolled off sound
When I think Plantronics I think, headsets, call centers, skype, perhaps some gaming. But generally: phone calls. Who knew this company can deliver an excellent sounding headphone for listening to music!
This is one of those headphones where everything sounds accentuated, the backbeat pro never sounds dull or boring, they are energetic, spicy-poised in the upper mids, treble has sparkle, it sounds detailed for a wireless noise canceler. Bass is punchy, extends down low, and has authority but never bleeds into the mids, for HiFi purists it might be a touch boomy and not super fast enough, but only on select tracks and only when it hits. Nevertheless this is a very CLEAR sounding headphone, nothing ever gets muffled, smokey or dark. Vocals are forward and rendered very naturally. However the treble can be a little splashy when the track gets busy, on those occasions it sounds a hair, and really just a hair artificial. Overall balance is excellent to my ears. Imaging is slightly above average for a closed headphone, at least compared to those I owned.
For 155€ from Amazon germany these are a real winner!
I can't say much about the active noise cancelling, the only comparison I have would be the Bose QC25 I had before, and I recall the QC25 being  better in that department. The Backbeat Pro does a good job with the lowest frequencies, but the Bose was able to cancel noise a touch higher up the spectrum as well as to a greater extent in general. HOWEVER the Backbeat Pro mops the floor with the QC25 in terms of sound quality!
the only real con I found is the call quality, for reasons I dont know the call quality with whatsapp is horrible, tinny, distorted. Didn't test other programs yet. It is listenable, but nothing for hour long conversattions.
another cool feature is that the music is muted if you put the headphones around your neck or take them off and put them on the desk, and then resumes playback when you put them back on your head.
There is some nice quality pleather on the earpads and headband, otherwise the plastic is okay, it doesn't scream high end but it also doesn't feel cheap. They do come with a serial number printed on the inner hinge as well as the box.
I think the carrying bag should get a special mention, it is no hardcase, but the outer material seems durable, and the inner material is a really soft velour type material.
Great review..i concur with the sound description....n i almossst bot it


Pros: Open mic, pausing when removed, callers can hear well, multi-device pairing.
Cons: NC hiss, clunky design, artificial sounding, bass heavy.
The source is the Samsung Note 4. The firmware was updated, but that didn't help these cans much. The bass is bloated, and they have an artificial, forward sound that I don’t like at all. No sense of airiness and the instruments are indistinct in space. I suspect long sessions would give me listening fatigue and even a headache, though I dare not try finding out. The worst sound I've tried so far. (Pendulumic Stance S1+, Jabra Revo Wireless, MEElectronics Air-Fi Matrix2 AF62). The Jabras were very lean sounding and quite boring; the Stance sounded good but no NC and quality issues; the Matrix2 had very poor noise isolation and lots of skipping.)
The NC was okay but not great, and they introduced an electronic hiss into the headphones. Not noticeable when listening to music, but very much so when not.
They do pause Netflix, Plex, or anything else my Note 4 is playing when they are removed, the restart when putting them back on. That’s a very nice feature, one that works surprisingly well.
I primarily listen to easy listening alternative music, such as Mackintosh Braun and Mimicking Birds. My ears are very sensitive, so much so that I once ran an experiment by flipping the three tip-toe cones upside down located underneath my Bel Canto amplifier and heard the difference in sound signature (made it more forward). My girlfriend heard it too, and asked me what I changed. (I didn't tell her until after; she was astonished.) Those looking for rock cans or something with a harder sound might actually like these BBP.
The BBP seem to be built reasonably well but they’re large, clunky, and the ear cups don’t rotate. My old Sennheiser MM 550s were very light and traveled well so perhaps this spoiled me. 
Of course they’re going back, but I made a phone call just to see how they perform in calling mode. The mic is open which is good so I can hear myself speak (unlike the Stance; a mind-numbing design choice). Callers claim they can hear me as well as if I was talking into the phone.
Alright, so I’m fickle and neurotic. When I go into Starbucks and order a hot chocolate, I say, “I’d like a neurotic hot chocolate.” When the barista looks at me quizzically, I follow up with, “That means get your pen ready.”


500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Great sound, nice features, comfortable, crazy battery life, can connect with 2 devices.
Cons: Not the best looking, treble slightly bright/hot, seebelow
I'm no audio expert by a long shot but I know what I like. For a long time I have been using the logitech ue 9000, I'm actually on my third pair. I kept trying to upgrade and failed each time,. The innerfidelty review was spot on, I just love those headphones so much. I just received the plantronics backbeat pro yesterday., they sound really good out of the box, they have a very clear energetic sound were the ue 9000 are more laid back, warmer sound. The backbeats bass is very, very good, she can go low no problem and sound strong, the ue 9000 can also go low easily and shows slightly more strength, and muscularity in this department. Mids are right up front and very clear on the backbeats. They are alot faster more energitec here compared to the ue 9000. The ue 9000 mids are more laid back but also sound very good, different flavor I guess. The treble is were these cans are very different, the backbeats have very good, very detailed highs, but to my ears are a slightly sharp/bright sounding, were the ue 9000 treble are nicely rolled off, and warmer, less bright but still very nice treble. They just don't have the same level of detail that the backbeats show in the highs which I like. When I say the highs sound sharp its mostly when the volume is higher or the track has alot of that treble frequency. Due to the treble difference I think I can wear the ue 9000 longer easily with less fatigue. I'm doing a burn in now, so I'm hoping the highs will soften up some. The sound stage is excellent, nice, wide and layered on both the ue 9000 and the backbeats, this is what was sorely missing on the sony MDRXB950BT when I had them, they sounded very closed in to me, I didn't like that. All the features work great on the backbeat, although the ue 9000 open mic feature sounds better, and louder compared to the backbeat that sounded a little low volume wise, I wonder if I can fix that with the plantronics updater software. The backbeats are heavier than the ue 9000 on the scale, but in your hands and on your head the backbeats felt alot lighter for some weird reason, maybe because the ue 9000 has more metal, denser plastic. Both are very comfortable and fit well but I prefer the ue 9000 oval shaped cans better than backbeats round cans they just feel better on my ears, the backbeats pads are noticeably softer. I noticed the ue 9000 block outside noise passively better because they have zero vents, the backbeats have small vents all around the cups so i can hear outside noises easily even someone speaking to me is clear. When turned on with music this was a none issue so its just an observation. Having vents they should leak noise but the backbeats do not. The ue 9000 also seal very well in this respect. Noise cancellation works great on both units when turned on, backbeat might be slightly better. The backbeats bluetooth range is about the same as the ue 9000 maybe even slightly shorter, I expected it to be alot longer but nope it is not! I think the ue 9000 signal passes through walls better it seems. This is the first head phone besides the ue 9000 that I really liked, I will be happier if I can get the treble to calm down a little we will see after some more burn in time. Overall I really like the backbeats alot, I think plantronics have a winner here, 2 thumbs up for sure! If you do buy these make sure you visit the plantronics Web site and download the updater, the firmware on my set was an older version, with the newer one improving sound quality and some other things. I hope in the future plantronics can provide different sound profiles through the updater, it would be a cool feature to have just like my gaming headset. The devices I use are samsung galaxy note 3 and samsung galaxy note 12.2 with neutron app and flac files or the milk music app. No equalizer were used, I don't like using them, they change the sound to much for me.
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A couple notes about the BackBeat Pro, for anyone who may run into these issues.
First, to address david8613's comment about the open mic not being very loud--I felt the same at first, until I watched a YouTube video which described that the volume dial can also be used to increase the sound entering through the mic. Seems fairly obvious now, but I never would have thought of that. Perhaps you already knew and are still unsatisfied with the mic, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to pass on the tip. I thought it made a dramatic difference.
BTW, I too am hoping the treble calms down over time. I'm not sure how long a burn-in period is supposed to take, on average. I've used these for four nights totalling about 15 hours I'd say (and the battery level is still at "high"!!), but do find the very bright treble to be fatiguing. I can usually find a nice EQ adjustment that will take care of that, but every record is different. What works for one playlist or artist might not work for another. And I do hate constantly adjusting EQ just to enjoy my music.
Second, I updated the firmware last night to the latest version. I was hoping it might fix the issue with what I consider to be slightly more than occasional dropouts and stuttering, but sadly, no. At least not that I've noticed yet. I can't say I hear any difference in the sound quality with the update, but it did create a couple short-lived issues.
After updating, the feature where the music stops playing when you take the cans off your head and then resumes when you put them back on stopped working. The music would still pause but would never resume. Had to hit the play/pause button. Also, the feature where you can click on the right ear piece and hear the battery status started working differently. Out of the box, this feature worked with a single click when the music was paused. After the update this was no longer the case. I figured out that I had to hold down the call button until it beeped a second time. Then I had to click it once more. At that point it would finally indicate the battery level. I tested both of these issues several times and it was always the same. 
I contacted Plantronics Live Chat support and was told the following:
1. Delete the headset from your cell phone's list of paired devices.
2. Once deleted, power your phone completely off, then power it back on. This resets the Bluetooth stack in the Bluetooth software on the phone.
3. Re-pair the headset with your phone.
If this does not fix your issue, we suggest pairing the headset to another cell phone as a test. If the issue is not present on the second phone, then the problem may be with the first phone, rather than the headset. If the issue exists on the second phone as well, you will need to replace the headset.
I was skeptical but lo and behold, it did work. Features are once again working as they are supposed to.
Hope someone may find this helpful.


Bluetooth Guru
Pros: Good detail, very good soundstage, good bass, very good highs, satisfying mids, decent ANC, lot of extras
Cons: Bass is boosted out of the box, but at same time lack aggressivity for some kind of music / bulky / could be cheaper
When I decided to give them a try I had no real expectations, I did not know this brand, and I didn't like the look.
I thought they would have sounded mediocre.
I was very wrong!
They are one of the very best sounding BT Headphones which I have tried. And I have tried almost 30, over the last months, as you can see in my thread "Huge Comparison of [almost] all the Best Bluetooth Headphones".
The Backbeat Pro are not my Favourite, but on some things they beat my Favourite. Which is normal, because there is no such a thing as ONE perfect Headphone for all people and all kind of music.
And the BBP are overall a real AMAZING pair of Headphones. At least using them with an Aptx enabled device (I could not test them without).
Their overall sound is at same time powerful enough for rock and other energetic music, clear and balanced for classical and jazz, soft and pleasant for chill out and soft pop.
More specifically:
Although those who want a totally balanced flat sound may feel that there is out of the box (= without applying any EQ) a little boost in the bass, I personally felt it well present without being too much, and of quite good quality, with enough punch and some gentle rumble, clean, controlled and detailed.
Some other BT Headphones offer more quantity but very few do it with this quality (apart for the Philips Fidelio M2BT, the Logitech UE9000, the Audio Technica ATH-WS99BT, and the Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H8. All of them being able to produce more bass than the BBP, with same or even superior quality).
Without EQ you can use them for almost any kind of music. For Techno and similar you definitely are gonna need some EQ.
And they actually respond quite good and bring out some serious bass.
They show anyway their limits at one point, and you are not going to see them bumping while listening to Dubstep, like the ATH-WS99BT can do.
They go gentle on Mids, but have enough to build a bridge along the sound, so that the listening experience is overall pleasant and harmonious.
I have liked their signature, with this soft mids, and they definitely do not sound cold or V-Shaped to me, but I personally would have liked them a bit warmer here, with a bit more presence.
For example the House of Marley Liberate XLBT or of the Samsung Level Over, or also the Bose Soundlink On Ear, have more warmth and presence in the mids. But the BBP beat them in all other frequencies. As said, there is no perfect headphone.
Even the ATH-WS99BT, which for my tastes outperform on sound any other BT Headphones (among those I have tried, of course) will surely not please some people, who may find them too bassy or too warm. And they lack most of the special functions of the BBP.
For my tastes, excellent. Clear, detailed, abundant. I really liked how they perform on the highs. So much that I was surprised to read that some people find the highs to be a bit too much or even sometimes a bit harsh. I personally did not feel any harshness, and I may understand that those who cannot use an EQ and are very sensitive to high frequencies may prefer headphones with a more flat sound signature, but I believe that most people today have smartphones with music players equipped with an EQ, and it is really easy to decrease a bit the highs if you find them too much, while the result is not always good when you have headphones which lack highs and you try to boost them up.
My opinion.
Very good, you just notice the difference with most other BT Headphones. Here is all more defined, precise, and well separated.
Very very good. Airy, fresh, spacious enough to make you feel that the sound does not come from "right near the ear". This is actually one of the features where the BBP really excel. To be honest I still did not find ANY other BT Headphone with a better Soundstage. Not even my favourite, the ATH-WS99BT, which do have a nice soundstage, lot of detail and well separated instrument, but not this spacious, wide, airy sound.
Now, I have read that the "coming soon" Definitive Tech Symphony 1" have a wonderful Soundstage, like being in the middle of a Concert Hall. I will surely try them when they are out, and I will update this review with my opinion on how they compare.
- Multipoint: can connect to two devices simultaneously. For example, your Phone and your Tablet/PC. So you can receive a call while watching a movie. The audio on the other device will be paused during the call, and resumed after the call ends, all automatically.
Be honest, this is just COOL, and extremely practical for daily travellers and business men or people working in a office, or when you are at home and want to listen to music on your computer without worrying that you may not hear your phone ringing.
- ANC: active noise cancelling. For quantity of noise filtered they are not on the level of the Samsung Level Over, but they are better than others (like the very mediocre Phiaton Chord MS530, and the even worse Beats Studio Wireless). For quality of the filter, they felt good to me, there was no audible hiss or any very noticeable alteration of the sound signature (which I cannot say of the Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H8, 500 Euro of headphone with an average ANC which produces a noticeable hiss and decreases the response on bass and low mids, and even causes a bump at every step you take).
A good thing is that it can be deactivated if you do not need it.
- Open Mic: with the click of one button the noises around you are increased while the music is decreased. So you can hear what people tell you, without having to wear the headphones out. You can even change the gain of the Mic with the Volume control. It works very well and on a out of topic note I had fun using it just to have a sort of bionic ears and be able to hear more and more far.
- Voice Prompts: a gentle female voice tells you the state of the battery, which device is connected, etc
- Head Sensor: pauses the music automatically when you wear the Headphones off or when you quickly make them around your neck. And when you wear them again, the music resumes. This is really cool.
- Low Latency Aptx. Yes, LOW LATENCY. Many Headphones now have the normal Aptx, but almost none has got Low Latency Aptx. If you do not know it, Aptx is a Codec which does not degrade the quality of music like the traditional SBC codec does. Of course it is needed that also your source (phone, PC) supports Aptx. And in this case if your source support Low Latency Aptx you have ZERO delay between audio and video, something which gamers and movie eaters will appreciate a lot. And there are indeed some adapters around which offer Low Latency Aptx, like the Avantree Saturn Pro or Avantree Priva.
- AAC: it is another good Audio Codec, which will mostly interest Apple users, because the iOS devices at the moment only support AAC, not Aptx.
- NFC: to pair with a device by just putting them close
- Class 1 bluetooth: so, before Low latency Aptx, now also Class 1. This is avant-garde. There is as far as I know no other BT headphone on the market which is equipped with Class 1. Class 1 can reach 100ft of distance! Now, you must be aware, you need that also your source is class 1. And in this case I am afraid that there is not yet any source with Class 1. Still, it is really a sign of leading attitude from Plantronics. And, btw, on my tests even when connected with a Class 2 source the BBP had a really good wireless range. I had zero blind spots at home even going in other rooms and having walls between me and the source. Something I cannot said of many other BT Headphones. For example, the 500 euro Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H8 have probably the very worse range of ALL what I have tested. And my ex favourite ones, the Fidelio M2BT, had also a rather average to poor range. While on the other hand my new favourite, the ATH-WS99BT have a wonderful range, more or less comparable with the BBP.
I liked them, the volume is a ring on the right speaker. To change track is a ring on the left speaker. To pause music you tap on the left speaker, etc. I kind of felt that they were very practical and effective, and in my thread I had similar feedbacks from other users.
This is a tricky point, because people have different heads and ears. I loved them, they did not felt heavy to me (like for example the UE9000 which after a while were too much), and my ears could fit perfectly in the pads.
But other people did complain about the pads being too small for their ears.
I can tell you this: if your ears are not longer than 5.5cm (the inner diameter of the earpads), than you should have no problem :wink:
- A very nice, nylon, semi rigid carrying bag on the style of the Sony MDR-1RBT.
You should NOT underestimate the importance of a semi rigid carrying bag! A rigid case means more protection but also more space taken, and a lost of time to take it out of the backpack, open it, etc.
A soft bag means a very low protection, and also a lost of time because trying to slip the headphones back in the bag while the bag is inside of the backpack is like trying to play Billiard with a cooked spaghetti.
While a semi rigid bag is the perfect solution, it does not take much space, it offer a good protection, and you can easily slip your headphone out and again in the bag while the bag is in the middle of a stuffed backpack. You do not need to take the bag out.
This makes a difference which you may not understand now but WILL understand in the daily use.
- an audio cable with Mic to answer calls and buttons to control the music. It comes also in a special version for Apple devices.
If 24 Hours are not enough for you, you should sleep more :)
Seriously, 24 Hours! I mean... Yes a very few other can last longer, but the most do not last the half of this.
So, I think there is no other Headphone at the moment, which offers all what the Backbeat Pro offer.
But if there is, please tell me in the comments, I will be pleased to try them out.
Of course, if you love very fat sounding headphones or very warm sounding ones, you may not like its sound signature (and for that there is Amazon, where you can return things).
But I am confident otherwise the chances that you will love this Headphone are very high.
And if you have an EQ in your music player, than even more, because you can "retune" the sound signature to your tastes.
Feel free to comment or visit my thread if you have questions!
Giogio, I'm really enjoying your reviews of BT headphones, and intend to read through all of them.  So far, you seem to cover everything I might possibly wonder about.
I do have 2 questions for you, though. You mention equalization in some of your reviews. I've been testing out various equalizers and music players with eq controls, and would like to know which EQ you use. My devices are a Samsung Galaxy S3 (which will probably be my primary music player) and an iPhone 4S.
The other question is where you might suggest I buy headphones with great return policies. I believe I'll have to try at least a few pair before I find just the right one. Of course, I'm in the US, so you might not be able to answer.
Anyway, thank you for all your research.
@Giogio thank you so much for this review. I have not measured my ear but I hope these fit over my ears. Thanks again. 
hi.thanks for your great review.
does this headphone sound better or even or worst in cable connection mode vs BT?
one of my friends says that it sounds better in bt mode and with direct cable connection,the quality is poor !!!
he uses iphone 6