ANC for the audiophile?
Nov 25, 2019 at 8:31 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 20


100+ Head-Fier
Dec 3, 2011
2019 is definitely the year for noise cancelling it would seem. You can't walk into an open plan office any more without half the people wearing them. And because I'm spending a lot of my time in an open office/hot desk environment I'm also interested.

So I borrowed some headphones from co workers.
1. the Sony XM3. Impressive noise cancelling! Sound wise.. not for me. Very little detail, muffled and bass heavy. Doesn't sound like a €300 headphone but more like a €50 jbl
2. Bose QC 35. Again, impressive noise cancelling and a little less tiring on the ears. Sound wise, it's fairly typical bose. It works well with pop/rock and is a train wreck with classical (which is about 80% of my music)
3. the bose nc700. Quite comfy to wear and surprising amount of detail for a bose but still not enjoyable for classical music.

None of these seem to be remotely enjoyable for me, especially cosnidering the hefty asking price. So, question for the group.. are there any headphones with ANC that you'd consider worth recommending for both ANC and musical qualities?
Nov 25, 2019 at 9:31 AM Post #2 of 20
I have the Sony xm2, did not like the sound out of the box as I thought it had too much bass as well. If you use the Sony headphone app you can change the sound significantly as it has a set of pre set modes or create your own. I went with increased treble and now for my tastes I like it. Just saying. If you are looking at other brands try B&O or Audio-technica as they for my taste are great .
Good luck
Avoid Bose at all cost,imho
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Nov 26, 2019 at 6:25 AM Post #3 of 20
Haven't tried it, but I've read good comments for sound on the B&W PX7 ANC.
Nov 26, 2019 at 8:19 AM Post #4 of 20
If classical is your gig then you should definitely check out the Dali io-6. It’s the most transparent and detail oriented noise canceller on the market.

M&W MW65 is similar but smoother. B&W PX7 if you want the best soundstage along with a v-shaped sound signature and the most well rounded feature set and the M3 if you want a more ‘fun’ (mid-bass boost) and dynamic audiophile sound.
Nov 26, 2019 at 3:38 PM Post #7 of 20
I had the same impression of that Sony model that you did. Touching Forget this device on my phone I thought, "my feelings exactly." Like you I thought Bose NC700 was better than expected.

From memory, I liked the AKG N700NC a little better. It sounded . . . like an AKG. A fairly proper one though certainly closed-sounding. If you like the AKG signature, they're worth finding and auditioning. I didn't buy because I found the clamping force a little tight, but YMMV. I didn't audition it with standard classical fare, but enjoyed it very much with some solo cello stuff I'm fond of.

There's a newer AKG N700NCM2, with USB-C charging, a somewhat more compact fold, and a darker color scheme, sold mainly through Samsung dealers. I haven't heard that one.
Feb 8, 2020 at 2:56 AM Post #10 of 20
Anyone of them are audiophile if you like the out-of-box sound. Or are willing to EQ them.

Seinhesser Momentum 3 and FiiO Eh3. Both are wireless with Aptx-LL for real-time applications.

But the future is Android 10, which will include lhdc, should theoretically be low latency with less audio sacrifices.
Feb 8, 2020 at 12:31 PM Post #12 of 20
The Sony XM3 indeed has a very impressive ANC and I tried it in a crowded electronic. But the sound quality is hideous, especially when using it wired. For me it sounds like Aliexpress $1.25 IEM.

Does it really have to be ANC? Have you tried passive noise canceling? I mean closed-back headphones that reduces/blocks the noise.
Feb 8, 2020 at 12:42 PM Post #13 of 20
Of all the features in a wireless bluetooth set, I'd rank the following in importance:

1. Sound quality (audiophile, to be specific, not basshead or clinical; think Senn HD650 or Grado RS1 quality)
2. Comfort, for long duration listening on flights or watching movies.
3. Low latency is a must have for movies.
4. ANC is necessary for flights, but less important than the above items. Note, closed cans are not enough, IMO.
5. Price is last. At this level, think $400 to $1500 to get all the features above. If all the above are done well, then one set of headphones
can replace several others, effectively saving you money.
Feb 8, 2020 at 1:09 PM Post #14 of 20
Do the Dali IO-6 have Aptx LL? On their website, it only mentions Aptx. Without low latency, these are a non-starter for watching video.
They have aptx and aptx hd, no aptx LL, but, I was watching some YouTube videos during the bus ride yesterday and everything was synchronized. I even watched some drumming videos trying to see is there any latency and everything seemed good.
Feb 8, 2020 at 2:22 PM Post #15 of 20
Apparently, there are some bluetooth implementations that can get down to 40ms latency, but I can't find any information about them. Aptx-LL is a sure thing to get to 32ms latency. Aptx-Adaptive is the future but has 50-80ms latency. Broadcast maximum tolerated latencies are 40-60ms. I'd insist on Aptx-LL to get the 32ms and not have to wonder if it's good enough for video.

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