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Huge Comparison of [almost] all the Best Bluetooth Headphones - post your own comparisons here

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by giogio, Dec 15, 2014.
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  1. dgabe24
    I'm confident you will be pleasantly surprised. Let us know what you think.
  2. cehowardNote3
    Oh boy, another one discovers how good the MK2s are!!![​IMG]
    Also, at the PRICE point that we paid, IMO, they are unbeatable..I paid $309 + $25 for shipping.
    They are awesome, in every way..
    Only complaint I have for the MK2s, for me they are not a gym, workout, running headphone.  For the simple reason, everytime my torso/head goes horizontal or even straight vertical downward the MK2s will slip off. That is where my Harman Kardons came in to use.  
    Also, do you have a aptx source smartphone or music player, the MK2s, go up another level. Also, playing flac, and/or hi res audio, wired and a headphone amp, the MK2s go up another level.
    Congrats on getting what I think are the best Bluetooth headphones out there!! :wink:
  3. dgabe24
    Haha absolutely! They're incredible, worth every penny. I can probably use them for my powerlifting since bench, deadlift, squat aren't too much sudden movements but I can see what you mean that the clip strength isn't exactly workout-friendly. 
    My HTC DNA does have aptX and I'll make sure the next phone does as well. Most of the music I listen to is straight off of soundcloud or youtube. I've never tried a flac or hi res file, I will one day I'm sure. 
    Thanks again, really happy I pulled the trigger on the MK2s. 
  4. headcoatman
    I posted this query in the main forum for headphones, but have only gotten 1 response so far (which I think is for a wired headphone--the Blue Mo-Fi).
    So I thought I'd post the same question here, as I've really enjoyed your extensive BT reviews, and since you've tested and reviewed many of the headphones that I've been considering.
    Here it is:
    Best bluetooth headphones under $300? Help needed. (Lots of details and links inside.)
    The main consideration here is audio quality. Audiophile quality, if that can be obtained in this price range.
    The convenience of bluetooth is necessary for my music listening at work, but I know it doesn't compare to wired cans.
    1. I don't necessarily mind if they're bulky; "stylish" is not a concern.
    2. Comfort over long periods of time would be a plus. Also of concern is that the headband and ear cups will not easily slip or move around a lot. I'm doing physical labor at work, moving around a lot, sweating, lifting, bending, etc, which is why I'd previously gone with behind-the-neck style headphones, as they really stay in place. But I haven't seen any high-end BT headphones in that style.
    3. **The more I think about it, being able to keep these headphones securely on my head while moving about at work is really a very important consideration. And whichever headphones I end up buying will be used almost exclusively at work.
    4. Strong battery life of at least 10 hours (if I want to charge them every day), though a longer battery life allowing two or three days between charges would be ideal.
    5. "In-ear" is not an option for me. I have an inner ear condition which prohibits use of that style headphone. So I'm looking for on-ear or over-ear. In fact, if anyone can tell me the pros/cons of on-ear vs over-ear, I'd love to know more. Perhaps it will help me make a more informed decision. And maybe someone can tell me if one or the other styles would be less likely to slip around.
    6. I'm not looking for ridiculously and unnaturally emphasized bass. I certainly want well-represented bass, but hopefully with a more natural, tight delivery. Not booming or muddy, but definitely present.
    7. Powerful volume would also be a plus as I have to combat a fairly noisy work environment at times. But I understand I can also employ EQs for that (though I do tend to get lost when trying to use equalizers), and my current, cheap headphones do get loud enough via the on-ear volume controls.

    I wear BT headphones at work 5 or 6 nights a week for 4-6 hours at a stretch. It's mindless work so I'm immersed in the music. I've gotten to the point where I sorely need a true upgrade from my lousy Rocketfish and Motorola S305 headphones, which are now years old and employing outdated bluetooth technology. 

    With both headphones, when listening to loud or intense songs or passages, it seems like the bass just cannot be handled at all. And with a lot of current music (even the stuff that isn't mainstream), there seems to be a trend with really pumping the bass. So I end up hearing a lot of distortion, fuzziness, pops and crackling. I've looked at some of these "notorious" tracks with Audacity and, man, all red. So I don't even know if a good set of headphones can combat this inherent issue in the music. 

    (BTW, why the heck are they doing that? Is there any scenario/gear where that actually sounds good?)

    I will most likely be pairing these with my Samsung Galaxy S3 (new for me), which includes Apt-X technology. But I also have an iPhone 4S (no Apt-X with Apple products of course).

    I assume that Bluetooth 4.0 and Apt-X are what I'm looking for. I certainly want to take advantage of the advancements in sound quality (if Apt-X truly is an advancement).

    I've been researching headphones for about a month now and have come up with a rather short list of what I believe are the top contenders. However, I am COMPLETELY open to any and all recommendations. My primary source for searching has been Amazon, so I may be unaware of boutique companies offering something in my price range.

    If it's at all helpful in choosing the right pair of headphones, the types of music I primarily listen to are classic jazz, modern jazz, indie rock/folk, film music. In other words, a lot of acoustic instruments recorded well (or remastered well). Stuff like John Zorn, Tom Waits, John Lurie, Yo La Tengo, classic Blue Note jazz, an endless amount of jazz from the 50's and 60's, as well as some harder rock music like Pixies, Sleater-Kinney, Ramones, as well as lo-fi such as Billy Childish and Holly Golightly. Other artists include Sufjan Stevens, The Kinks, The Breeders, PJ Harvey, a lot of instrumental surf/rock music, a tiny bit of electronica.

    Here's what I've considered so far:

    Sennheiser Urbanite XL Wireless

    MEElectronics Air-Fi® Matrix2 AF62 Stereo Bluetooth Wireless

    Ausdom M05

    Plantronics BackBeat PRO

    Jabra REVO Wireless No apt-x?

    Creative Aurvana Gold Wired/Wireless No apt-x?

    JBL Synchros 400BT

    This is just what I've come up with so far in the under $300 price range. But as I said, I'm open to all suggestions.

    The music I listen to is either in FLAC format or lame-encoded mp3s at 320kbps, and maybe I'll get into AAC, as I see mention of Apt-X supporting it.
    I think I'd be happiest with a pair that doesn't rely on equalization apps to get the true benefit. But I won't entirely rule that out. I just feel that equalization is sort of a rabbit hole. There never seems to be one general configuration that applies to all types of music, so you end up spending (to me) an inordinate amount of time tweaking everything you listen to.

    I would greatly appreciate any insight and suggestions your forum members may offer.
    Thank you for your time!
  5. headcoatman
    What do you use for volume leveling? I've used mp3gain, but find the results very inconsistent. There will always be a handful of tracks that sound much softer or much louder than the rest. I've nearly given up on volume leveling.
  6. Kelleytoons
    MP3Gain works fine for me -- never found any music that is too loud or soft when using it at the default settings.
    Are you track leveling?  You need to do this (and not doing album analysis or leveling, which only works within a single album and not across more than one album).
  7. headcoatman
    Yep, track analysis/gain. When I became frustrated with that I tried album gain. Found very little difference and am back using track gain with the aforementioned mixed results. Oh well, not a big deal. Thanks.
  8. cehowardNote3
    True on all of that. Also, since my gym headphones have bit the dust(Harman Kardon BTs), and Harman Kardon is replacing them (2 pair)with Synchros S400BTs, I have been using my Sony Mk2s in the gym until I get the replacements.  When It comes time for me to do deep incline situps or any movement where my head is moving horizontal or vertical, I take them off.
     If you never tried flac or hi res, you are in for the treat..  :)  Flac and hi res files are stored on your source(smartphone/tablet) Flac files can be about 10 times bigger than a mp3 files. The flac files carries much more data hence the increase in SQ of the flac files. Not bragging, but my smartphone is packing 128gb sd card, and my  tablet is packing a 64gb sd card. I got TONS of flac files on both. I get a lot of my flac files from Hdtracks..
    Bottom line, we all happy campers with the MK2.. :wink:
  9. ruthieandjohn
    Golly!  I just stumbled upon this thread.  How wonderful.
    I had compared three wireless Bluetooth noise-cancelling headphones here:  http://www.head-fi.org/t/715959/comparing-wireless-noise-canceling-headphones-parrot-zik-beats-studio-2013-wireless-sennheiser-pxc-310-bt-quasi-objective-tests#post_10487062
    I concluded that the Beats Studio 2013 Wireless was the best of the three, as summarized by 10 listening tests here:
    TestParrot ZikBeats WirelessSennheiser PXC 310 BT
    Transparency123 (best)
    Width of sound st231
    Positional resolution231
    Drum "twang"132
    Bass pitch perception123
    Bass finger pluck213
    Shaker variation231
    "Ripping" of organ/brass321
    Discern added chord321

    (higher scores are better, and each headphone is ranked first place (3 points), second place (2 points) or last (1 point) in each of the 10 categories as explained in the post I pointed to).
    So the Beats Studio 2013 Wireless came out best, and it is fairly low in these rankings on this thread.
    I LOVED the convenience of the Parrot Zik 1.0, despite its lower quality here, to the point that I just bought another to replace the 2-1/2 year old one I have had.
    I read all 18 pages here expecting and hoping to find a comparison of the Parrot Zik 2.0, said to sound better than the Parrot Zik 1.0.
    Amazingly... still nothing!
    Will I have to buy my own and do my own comparison? (always looking for an excuse!). Unfortunately, I have sold the other two headphones in the table above... so I guess I'd have to get another well-regarded one here to do my comparison, such as the Backbeats PRO or Fidelio or Sony!  (Well, I DO have the JayBirds BlueBuds X coming, and they are mentioned here, so I guess there is a reference point!).
    I feel I am relegated to "no AptX," as I am an iPhone user.  Somewhere I read that the iPhone DOES transmit its AAC via (some most recent version of) Bluetooth losslessly (AAC is NOT lossless, but the statement suggests it is transmitted without further loss due to BT in certain situations). Anyone know when that holds true?  (I've found I cannot reliably distinguish the 256 kb/sec variable bit rate AAC from lossless, so it may be OK).
    Thanks for your help!
  10. h1a8
    I'm so happy this thread exists. I'm trying to buy some bluetooth headphones. Sound quality is most important, then long term comfort, then features.
    I narrowed it down to the Plantronics Backbeat Pro, Fidelio m2bt.
    I'm kinda open to the Samsung Lever Over, and the Sennheiser Urbanite XL wireless.
    I considered the Momentum wireless but they are too expensive at $500 (would have bought them for $350 or less though).
    I need bass and also clarity. I dislike bass light headphones (like the H8). I'm not a huge bass head but I have to feel it when it calls for it. I have the v-moda m100 and fidelio x1 and love their basses.
    Now these don't have to be on the m100s level but they have to be at least pretty close.
    My primary questions are :
    Which has the better sound quality (in terms of bass and midrange) and larger soundstage? I listen to Rap, Techno, R&B, some Rock, some Jazz, some Pop.
    Which one has the better long term comfort (2 hours or less)?
    Can all be used to answer calls?
    Is there a link to a bluetooth adapter that I can use with my own headphones (like my X1 or m100)?
  11. headcoatman
    Is anyone able to provide some suggestions re my question above?
  12. opihiman
    Becoming more and more happy with my Backbeat Pro. Still have no clue what the Level's sound like with ANC active. Those would probably be the only one's I'd consider leaving the BBP for (pending that ANC/sound test) but at the price point I think I'm happy enough. 
    For what it's worth I tried the MK2's in a store. The sound wasn't as impressive as the BBP in my opinion, and no Active Noise Cancelling made the $100 price gap a no brainer for me at least. I use a Galaxy Note 3 with Poweramp, and 2 different computers as my main sources.
    To touch up on my BBP ANC issues, I took them flying with me last week and I can say that it does dampen that engine noise and in general gets rid of the annoying low hums that exist in everyday life (engine noise, road noise, plane noise, air conditioning...etc). They do dampen other things, like my wife yelling at me or the kids screaming :wink:. While they aren't at the level of Bose Noise Cancelling headphones they actually put less "pressure" on your ears while the ANC is active (can barely notice any pressure in fact), something that really bothered me with the Bose on-ear/over-ear ANC headphones.
    I've had no issues with audio stuttering or connection drops on the BBP either. I'm still in disbelief that the audio quality of these headphones, which are produced from a cell phone accessory company, is this good.
    Yappadappadu likes this.
  13. ruthieandjohn
    My Bluetooth sources are all iPhone/iPods, which do not have Apt-X.  Furthermore, I'm entirely satisfied (well, almost) with AAC (iTunes native format), as I cannot tell the difference.
    So my question is... do all BT headphones that do Bluetooth 4.0 do AAC?  Do all headphones that do Apt-X also do AAC?
    So far I see only the Harman Kardan BT and the Parrot Zik 2.0 as actually stating that they can use an AAC codec, and even they don't say whether it is automatic with a iPod or if you have to fiddle something.
    But I have strong interest in such headphones as the Backbeat Pro, the Sony MK2's, and the Fidelio M2BT.  Will these all do AAC over BT?
  14. opihiman
    My brief understanding is yes...and no.
    Here is an excerpt from some brief research I had recently done...
    "At least in theory, Bluetooth transmitters automatically default to the “best” quality codec available. The default Bluetooth stereo audio codec, SBC, can sound quite good with the right implementation, especially for on-the-go use. However, it can also produce some horribly compressed-sounding audio at its worst. aptX takes out the guesswork, maintaining consistently high bitrates, but both the transmitter and receiver have to support it and it is not implemented in Apple devices. AAC is supported by Apple devices, but not many other transmitters, and has been picked up by few headphones. For those concerned with audio quality, at least for the time being, aptX seems to be the solution to beat."
    Source: Here
    So yes it will stream AAC files, but it may not stream in an AAC codec. The AD2P protocol will automatically select the "best" quality codec. So if a headset states AAC compatible it isn't referring to AAC files, just that it fully supports the AAC codec. If you have a set of Bluetooth headphones without AAC support it will probably default to SBC.
    AAC streaming codec is essentially Apples version of of AptX. If a headset does AAC it will more than likely do AptX, but an AptX device doesn't neccisarily do AAC and AAC is a bit more rare from a codec standpoint. 
    To answer the actual question (sorry for the long winded explanation of that stuff), the bluetooth headset/device automatically (in theory) negotiate the highest quality codec to use, there is nothing to fiddle with.
    I hope that helps.
  15. Soundofmusic
    I hope someone can give a review of the A-Audio Icon, only thing I can find is a puff-piece of the wired version on the head-fi frontpage.
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