Panda ManReviewer at Headphone.Guru
- Apr 9, 2011
It comes as no surprise, with the trend of the last decades, that the world’s audio giants are moving towards a more consumer-friendly space. Niche don’t sell and the 99% are what are truly out there. Build quality, feel, luxury, material design, ease of use trump raw sound quality and headphones are bought for use case rather than to collect; I’m guilty of this.
beyerdynamic is coming in strong with this trend by introducing the LAGOON ANC Explorer ($399) which is a wireless portable headphone with noise-canceling guts. It’s competing right at the very top of the consumer spectrum and bringing with it industry-leading materials, noise-canceling, custom hearing profiles, an RGB Light Guide system, internal sensors, and touch control. After bringing the LAGOON ANC Explorer with me on multiple trips, I am excited to share with you my thoughts on this headphone.
The materials used and general build of the beyerdynamic feel smooth and are preposterously comfortable. The rounding of the ear cups and finishing paint (silky space gray) backed by the light brown earcups scream professional and high-end. You know those Mercedes Benz commercials you see all the time? These beyers wouldn’t look out of place in one of those, they’d fit right in.
Multiple points of swivel and pivot allow the LAGOON ANC Explorer to fit just about anyone. The earcups pivot back and forth about 20 degrees and freely rotate about 10 degrees forward (your chest outwards) and then all the way flat 180 degrees back against you. The internal mechanism is buttery and seeks to accommodate, not fight against you. Equally, the metal-reinforced headband slides in and out of place with no trouble. You would think this seemingly innocuous but trust me, the number of headphones that can’t get this basic step of fitting properly and having the headphone mold TO the user is insane; on most high-end headphones, you have to fight the stiff points to get it to fit.
My favorite parts are definitely the light brown artificial leather headband cushion and earphone pads. (Note: Also available in black as the LAGOON ANC Traveler) My initial visual impression of them was met with “meh” as I quickly moved to look elsewhere. Now, 60+ hours into using the beyerdynamic LAGOON ANC Explorer, I have truly succumbed to this headphone. There is no more comfortable longer-lasting headphone I have used compared to these LAGOONs. As someone gifted with larger ears and a skin irritability to earpads, I typically can not wear over the ear headphones for more than 2 hours non-stop. I can proudly now claim that I have, and the LAGOONs are it. Their engineers and material scientists were hard at work with finding a pad that can look premium, not feel greasy or sweaty, be resistant to moisture, yet still be rigid and comfortable to wear; they’ve achieved it. I wore these round trip on a flight across the USA without taking them off, that’s how comfortable they are.
These headphones come with a suite of I/O on the right earcup. We have the ANC level switch (off, level 1, level 2), the power On/Off switch (which also functions as a manual pairing switch by sliding it upwards and keeping it in place), a manual 3.5mm bypass in case the batteries run out, and a USB-C port (oh thank you beyerdynamic). A monstrous 45-hour battery life keeps these headphones going….and going….and going. Sans my long trips, I use the LAGOONs 1-2 hours each day and trust me when I say, I have not charged it in close to a month and it’s still going at over 50%. This is causing some charge anxiety in me! Wanting your headphones battery to die so you can charge them and see that sweet triple-digit 100% is probably the most first-world problem I can think of.
Let’s talk MOSAYC and the fancy new touchpad on these headphones. Yep, you heard me right, the LAGOON ANC’s have a gesture touchpad on the right pad! My first thought when I saw it was that it was going to be funky and irritable to use; I think the 2008 era of initial touch-sensitive products have caused some deep emotional scars. I honestly don’t know what else to say but that beyerdynamic has made me a believer. The touchpad rocks hard and are my primary way of pausing music, changing the volume, and going to the next or previous tracks. They work as you would expect with close to no false positives and just keep going. The one thing you will have to get used to is people in public giving you a side glance as to why you are caressing and sliding your finger all over your headphones (golem anyone?).
MOSAYC is beyer’s new personalization app and comes by way of a smartphone app. You set it up and do a short test and it will create a personalized hearing profile for your LAGOON ANC. There’s no easy way to A/B test but it’s there as something to do. You can also use the app to configure minor settings on the device. Personally, I don’t see much need for the app, you can use the headphones out of the box without ever touching it.
You can connect to and use the LAGOON ANC in three ways. Over wireless Bluetooth, wired through a 3.5mm cable connection (no ANC), and wired through the USB-C cable. I would just recommend wireless, the others are more finicky and take away from the purpose of the LAGOON.
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