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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. Giogio

    If you have an Atpx enabled device, why don't you give a try to the Stance S1+?
    The producer is nice, which I can't say of many producers, and the sound seems to please many people.
    I am planning to try them as soon as possible.
    If you have an iPhone, according to the guys above, the Parrot Zik 2 seem to be the best choice.
     
  2. headcoatman
    Thanks for the suggestions. My Galaxy S3 has Aptx, and the Pendulumics are on my short list of headphones to try. The Parrot Zik 2's look beautiful and have great reviews, but the price and the 6 hours of play time mean I won't be trying them.
     
  3. mackie8
    anybody tried bose soundlink on ear ? is it true that BT is unstable on Apple devices?  i read in the amazon review.... 
     
  4. Giogio
    The Parrot have removable battery, so you can buy a second one. I think the time is around 8 hours but you can ask the two guys who wrote about them a few posts ago.
    Anyway, the price will not change soon.
    Which music do you listen to, and how big are your ears and head, and how much portable must be this headphone, and what do you look for in the sound and functions?
     
    I would suggest you to do a search on the thread before asking things :)
    Even in my first post you can see that I have tested them. And @Kelleytoons said also something about them. He actually had to return them because of this problem (he wrote about it also in Amazon and in a thread on Apple Forum.
    For what I have understood, the problem does not affect all Apple devices but only the i ones (iPhone, iPad) and not even all users...
    So you may not have the problem at all.
    But if you have an iPhone I would suggest you to buy them only where you can return them in case of problems.
     
  5. dkstott
    I like my Bose on-ear headphones a lot!... I stay connected even while in the basement of my house and the phone is upstairs in the living room. But I only have Android...
     
     
    FWIW... After registering mine on the Bose website, I got an alert that there was a FREE firmware update available. It took about 10 minutes for it to download & install onto my headphones.
     
    I did some searching, but could not find a firmware change-log... So I'm not sure if the newest updates fixed the reported Apple issues.
     
  6. Kelleytoons
    No, the firmware update does NOT fix the iPhone/iPod issue (just FWI).
     
    I would not recommend the Bose if you are planning on using it with iOS.
     
  7. headcoatman
    Thank you, Giogio, for taking an interest.
    Big head, average ears.
    Mostly classic jazz, instrumental rock and surf, indie rock/folk/pop, some current jazz, film music.
    Portability is not hugely important, if you mean the ability to fold or lay the cups flat. 
    As for sound, I tried two pairs of Creative bt headphones and found the bass to be extremely exaggerated, which I did not care for. I like crisp highs (hopefully without sibilance or crackling), a strong vocal presence, and articulated and well represented but not exaggerated bass. 
    Functions...I appreciate the neat features the Plantronics Backbeat offers, such as auto-pause and adjustable microphone volume, but in the case of auto-pause, it has become hit or miss with the Backbeats. So it might be the type of feature that sounds cool, but is just something else that can go wrong.
    I like the ability to hear how much charge is left. 
    Full music control on the headphones is a plus. 
    I like the noise cancellation feature of the Backbeats, which comes in handy at work. So that would also be a plus.
     
    What I've discovered, having tried out 3 new pairs of headphones, is that comfort over a long period of time, and headphones that will stay put on my head are of the utmost importance. I use these headphones at work where I am doing light physical labor, indoors, so there are a lot of head movements and getting up and down. 
    The Backbeats are not quite comfortable enough over extended time, though they do basically stay in place. And they are quite heavy. Terrific sound though.
    I'm kind of doing what you've been doing: Ordering different pairs of headphones to try out, returning what I don't like, and ordering more once the money has been refunded.
    Today, the Bose Soundlink On-Ear headphones are arriving. I will be testing those out over the next several days.
     
    And in my Amazon saved cart I have the
     
    AKG K545
    House of Marley Liberate
    Sony MDR-1RBT
    Sol Republic Tracks Air
    Ausdom M05
    MeElectronics Air-Fi Matrix2
    Jabra Revo Wireless
    JLab Omni
    Pendulumic Stance S1+
    Sennheiser Urbanite XL
     
    which I may try out at some future date.
     
    Thanks!
     
  8. Giogio
    Is it a real deal? I have never heard of such a brand, and the thing cost a LOT, much much much more than what i would EVER spend on something which I have never heard about.
    They do not even mention Aptx support.
    What makes you be interested in them?
     
    Most precisely.
    The same applies to Aptx. Lot of Aptx headphones sound like s....
    And the Bose Soundlink On Ear (no Aptx) sound very well. This is anyway not only because of good components but also because there are many kind of SBC.
    I still, unfortunately, do not understand how does the AAC codec work.
    Supposing that I have an iPhone and an AAC headphone, and I play a MP3 file or a FLAC file. Will the iPhone convert on the fly my mp3 or flac in AAC so that this Codec will be used?
    Or will the iPhone use the AAC only when playing AAC files?
     
    The Fidelio which are most mentioned (by me) in this thread are the M2BT.
    They DO support AAC.
    And if you read my review of them you will know exactly why you should or should not buy them.
    My new love, the Audio Technica ATH-WS99BT also support both Aptx and AAC. They sound way better than the Fidelio and than any other BT headphone which I have tried, apart for the ffact that they (for my tastes) have too much low mids (more or less from 300 to 1200 hz), which I could easily compensate with some EQ. Their bass is simply amazing, although for some part of the bass I still prefer the Fidelio or the similar sounding UE9000. They are anyway semi closed (although sold as closed), so they leak some sound.
    The horrible horrible horrible Beats Studio Wireless do not support Aptx but support AAC.
    The House of Marley Liberate XLBT support both Aptx and AAC, and so does the MEElectronics Matrix2 AF62 which I did not try but are reviewed very well also by the famous Innerfidelity. I have tried their Air Fi Rumble and although the sound was nice and fresh, the detail was poor, and the supposed extra bass must have been forgotten during the production process :) The build was also ridiculously cheap. But well. The Matrix2 seem to be another story, according to many reviews.
    The Sony MDR10RBT suck. But support AAC.
    Excellent job. I have some problems believing that the same person can like the Parrot and the Beats Studio (besides the old even more bassy version) so much.
    But well. Mysteries.
    So, to understand us well, will the Parrot Zik 2 or not have outstanding Bass performance at least with the App used?
    And, what with Windows. If the 50% of what these Headphones are good for depends on the App, what when I use them with my PC?
    And, why are they not suggested for Android?
     
    Thank you for this. Could you also be a bit more specific in your comparison? What did you like more in the Parrot, what in the Phiaton, what in the Bose (Soundlink On Ear or Over Ear?) what in the Akg (K845BT?) and what in the MK2?
     
    Quote:
    Yes but not directly. It is, complicated. But in Amazon you find them and there is a thread, a very long thread about them, where you can ask more. I unfortunately do not remember anymore the name of the suggested seller. Many people made that name.
    But now everybody in that thread seem to be fanatic with the new coming Sony ABT. I even had some kind of discussion there because my opinion is that they are two different families, two different lines, the 1Rbt and the 1ABT. So I could not understand why was everybody so much repeating that the ABT were the successor of the RBT. But, whatever. I just wanted to say that if like everybody say they will be better, you may want to wait for them. THey will support Aptx, AAC, and another specific Codec from Sony.
     
  9. ruthieandjohn
    I had the new Beats Studio Wireless (came out in 2013), not the old ones that I agree were poor.  The 2013 vintage of both wired and wireless Beats are quite good and the wireless version was better, in my opinion, than the original Parrot Zik, though I don't still have them and so cannot compare either of my Ziks to the Beats (but I think that the Parrot Zik 2.0 is better based on recollection).  Those specific Beats have had several good reviews, including from the Parttime Audiophile.. http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=beats+studio+part+time+audiophile&FORM=HDRSC3#view=detail&mid=EE1287E88FB5D5E039CCEE1287E88FB5D5E039CC  The Beats are also more comfortable and less likely to fall off of your head during activity.
     
    Yes the Parrot Zik 2.0 has outstanding bass performance, for which you can have very clean bass with all harmonic content appearing naturally, as we expect in acoustically-produced music, or you can have palpably strong bass, which you feel, as we experience in electronically synthetic music, or anything in between, all while keeping mids and trebles clean.
     
    I don't think you can use the app with your PC... you have to run the app on an Android or iOS portable player or cell phone to set the Zik as you want it (equalizer, reverb, N/C on or off, etc). then you can run it via Bluetooth or wire from your PC.
     
    Only reason I didn't suggest for Android is that Android offers Apt-X Bluetooth, which the Parrot Zik do not use, so you are losing that capability.  The iPod/iPhones don't offer Apt-X, and the AAC that they use in place is one of the codecs used by the Zik Bluetooth, so you get the same AAC fidelity as you would with a wired headphone.
     
  10. Giogio

    Hmmm. Did you ask Plantronics to change the headphones with a new one? I have never heard of such problems as the ones you had. It is quite possible that it was a defected unit. I would have definitely tried at least a second one.
    I was about to suggest you the Bose, let me know how do you like them. I think the vocal are well present and the overall sound is fresh. Highs are not sibilant but crispy, especially admirable in a non Aptx headphone. I have loved them quite a lot. And they have a very clear battery LED indicator and also voice prompts to tell you about that. They have multipoint too.
    And are extremely comfortable.
    When you wrote about present vocals I wanted to suggest the Audio Technica ATh-WS99BT but the fact is, they have thin earpads and many people complain that their ears touch the drivers and this is not comfortable. My ears touch them to a bit and after a couple of hours this become not comfortable. I am still looking for a new set of earpads.
    Anyway I am in the process of returning them because I have discovered that they are semi closed and leak sound, and I use them mostly on the bus. People are not happy about it.
    If I find new earpads I may be tempted to order them again when they are cheaper, because the sound is just extremely good.
    The House of Marley have also a very strong presence in the mid region, vocals sound amazing. You need something with EQ anyway, because without EQ they severely lack highs. The bass is strong but not too much (for me). I liked them a lot. They have balls.
    The Akg (you probably mean K845) have wonderful wonderful highs. A really pristine sound with plenty of detail. But mids were not very warm, and bass was for me quite lacking (and no response to EQ, unfortunately). I have found them somehow boring.
    The 1RBT does not worth. Just, forget it. I would investigate on which seller is suggested for the MK2 and if they offer a return and refund policy which you like. If not, just leave Sony aside or wait till the ABT will be available.
    The Jabra Revo could be good for big head. On my head they were too lose. So, you can't move too much. At least, no fitness. But they sound nice. The bass is punchy and warm, the mids are also warm and present. The highs need for my tastes some eq, and if you can apply some kind of reverb to make them more open is also good. In my Xperia there is something like that, Studio, Hall, etc. Otherwise they sound a bit, too closed. I remember that the difference with the Sennheiser MM400X and the Bose Soundlink On Ear was clear. Bose and Sennheiser were much more crispy and fresh and open.
    I preferred the Jabra over the Sennheiser but not over the Bose.
    The urbanite XLBT are ok for Techno. I am not sure about all what you listen. Their bass is a bit dark and somehow muddy. The highs are excellent, there is lot of detail, and mids are present and strong. But there is this darkness which I could never completely take away with the EQ. Some tracks (as said, Tecno) sounded divine. Then Dos Aguas from paco De Lucia was horrible, really horrible on them.
    The Jlab Omni are cool. They have voice prompts. I do not like the design, a real imitation of the Momentum. Bad taste. But the sound was really good. Balanced, with good bass. A bit "turned off", not very lively. Like the Harman Kardon BT. But you can improve it with EQ. They are worth the price for sure. Even more.
    If you try the Matrix2 let me know. I wanted to give them a try at least for reference. They have so good reviews. I think that they may fit your musical tastes.
    I also think that the S1+ could be good. But I myself never tried them yet (this may change soon thanks to Mike of Pendulumic).
    Now, coming to my ex love, the Fidelio M2BT. Do not buy them at their price. They are not worth that money. EVER. But, they sound excellent. I still miss them. Compared side to side with the ATH-WS99BT they did not sound so lively anymore. The ATH are even more lively, present and detailed, sound much louder and have much better range. But the Fidelio are more balanced, especially if you cannot EQ (the ATH have too much low mid) and have still, for my tastes, the best bass ever. Although in some kind of bass the ATH are better. But there is something in the body and depth of the bass of the Fidelio, which I have only found in the UE9000.
    You may want to read my review of them to have more details.
    A guy posted a link a few posts ago. The starter of the Thread on High End Bluetooth Headphones. n00b2. Have a look. Those Definitive Technology seem to be promising, with that description of feeling like inside a hall. He anyway prefer, overall, the Momentum.
    I personally suspect that the Momentum will not have the quantity of Bass I need. And I am not ready to pay that much if I cannot have all what I need. This is why in the while I have ordered the Bang and Olufsen. I have the suspect that something described as with deep bass is what I look for. Besides, they are reviewed 4 and 5 stars. Costing 500 Euro, I would be extremely pissed off if they are not excellent, and I would review them 2 stars to include the terrible relation price/quality. So, they should be good.
    I will let you know soon.
     
  11. Giogio

    Well. I am one of those who think that the Beats Studio Wireless (yes, the new ones) suck, no matter what David of Cnet or other important reviewer say.
    But tastes are tastes.
    I have found them very muddy in the low region and harsh in the high region, with mediocre mids.
    Detail was also nothing special.
    Soundstage, ZERO.
    Range, fit and look, excellent.
    Price, a theft. Not worth that money EVER.
    I hope that the Zik 2 are better. They are on my list. I will try them sooner or later. just even to be able to say that I know how they sound.
    But, as said, I do not like the fact that they depend on the app. At home I use my PC to listen to music. So, till Parrot will not make a Window Server to give the Zik the functions they are given by the App, for me the Zik are a no go.
     
  12. ruthieandjohn
    I understand and respect your thoughts on the Beats Studio Wireless.
     
    Here are the 10 acoustic features that I used to compare them to the original Parrot Zik and the Sennheiser PXC 310BT, both Bluetooth wireless headphones.  This just compares how each headphone ranked on each of the 10 tests... if it was the best, it got a 3 (i.e., Sennheiser PCX 310 BT was the MOST transparent)... a 1 is worst.
     
     
    TestParrot ZikBeats WirelessSennheiser PXC 310 BT
    Transparency123 (best)
    Width of sound st231
    Positional resolution231
    Volume231
    Drum "twang"132
    Bass pitch perception123
    Bass finger pluck213
    Shaker variation231
    "Ripping" of organ/brass321
    Discern added chord321
    TOTAL192417

     
     
    So at 24 points, for me, the Beats Wireless came out on top.
     
    But when you compare its wired counterpart, the Beats Studio 2013, to other so-called "bassy" (wired) headphones, it comes out poorly...
     
    bassy.jpg
     
    Of course, as one owning many Beats products, I may be biased  ! [​IMG]  Here's a picture of my Beats collection before I sold off some of it...
     
    BeatsGalore.jpg

    Beats Automotive Premium Sound System, Beats Music (on iPad), Beats Studio 2013, Beats Studio 2013  Wireless, and Beat Pro (Heartbeats Lady Gaga IEMs not shown!).
     
  13. mackie8
    i heard beats solo 2 wireless is better than the studio wireless.... have you tried it?
     
  14. ruthieandjohn

    Yes I have heard that too, though I have never tried them out.  For example, innerfidelity.com likes the Beats Solo 2 Wireless, but not the Beats Studio 2013 Wireless.  I've been spending every available headphone penny on amassing a complete set of 12 Grado headphones (all current models plus Joe Grado HP-1000s and vintage RS-1s with wood buttons) and 2 Grado amps... but sometime would like to purchase the Solo2 (except with my Parrot Zik 2.0s, I'm completely satisfied, at least for now).
     
  15. headcoatman
    Lots of great information here, thank you very much.
    I think I will forget about the AKG, Urbanite, and Sony, but may revisit Sony if/when the MK2 and/or the ABT become widely available in the US, and are easy to return. On Amazon, there is a listing for the Sony MDR-1RBTMK2, but it is questionable. There are some comments doubting the fact that they are actually the MK2 (at only $299), and I have my suspicions that the listing is incorrect.
    The Definitive Technology Symphony 1 certainly caught my eye. No pricing yet, but they should be available this month according to the site. Sadly, I predict they will be at least $400.
     
    Polk Audio has also just come out with the Hinge Wireless. But it is so new that I haven't found any reviews yet, and they are only available at the Polk site so far. They look quite stylish but have only one "dial" which controls absolutely everything. Click to pair, click up to increase volume, click down to decrease volume, click twice to advance, click three times for previous track, etc. And the dial itself looks like cheap plastic. Anyway, I will have to wait for some reviews.
     
    I'm becoming more used to using EQ (I've been using Neutron and Poweramp), so that's not a deal breaker with the House of Marley. I'll keep them on my list. In fact, there are times when an adjustment to the highs is much needed with the Plantronics. They can be too aggressive, harsh and sibilant with some recordings. I find that an EQ setting which is great with instrumental music can create harshness with vocal music. So, it's trial and error. I think I've already made 15 presets in Poweramp. 
     
    The JLab Omni, Stance, and Matrix2 will also stay on my list.
    The Bose did arrive today and they will get their first test run at work tonight. I'll get back to you on those. I may miss the enveloping sound of over-the-ear style, as well as ANC, but only time and testing will tell. And this may just be a necessary trade-off for comfort.
     
    As for Plantronics...I spoke with customer service about the issues that occurred after updating the firmware. I think I posted about that in another thread, so I will copy it here:
     
    "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."
     
    Now, that was what I originally wrote. Since then, as I wrote previously in this thread, I've found that both features are still not working exactly as they should. Sometimes the music does not pause when I take the cans off my head, other times it somehow starts playing again while the cans are resting on my neck. And sometimes I need to press the call button twice in order to hear the battery life indicator.
    I could live with both of those issues, but most of the time I just can't keep a solid connection to my phone. So many dropouts! Almost endless. I try re-pairing, shutting off both the headphones and the phone, restarting, and also repeatedly following the tip provided by Plantronics customer support. Nothing seems to help. So, yes, they might be defective. I intend to return them to Amazon (which only offers refunds not exchanges), then perhaps order them again (money permitting). What won't change is the comfort of the headband. It's not terrible, but not super comfortable either. It does get painful after a while. So, all in all, I am undecided.
     
    Congratulations on your purchase of the BeoPlay (H8, I presume?). They look quite elegant and it's certainly a well-regarded company. I look forward to your future review.
     
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