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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. elektron
     
    Nothing to do with the year and everything to do with the Japanese philosophy of incremental improvement or kaizen.  In terms how this applies to recent and relevant Sony models, the MK2s are better than the 1RBTs and the 1As (using the same drivers as 1ABTs) are better than the 1Rs, and now we also have the first review of the 1ABT, so we don't have to completely guess about the possibilities.
     
    While the reviewer didn't directly compare them against the MK2s, which would be of limited benefit anyway since few people would be choosing between these two, he did compare them against the new Sennheisers - a product the 1ABTs are likely to be in direct competition with when they come out in May.
     
    In terms of them not being out yet, how long have you been searching for your 'ultimate' pair of bluetooth headphones?  Are you really suggesting that a few weeks is too long to wait when making a decision to spend $400 - $500?
     
     
    Forget LDAC, the verdict is still out on this codec.  I'm only interested in it because I'm planning to buy an LDAC-compatible Sony phone this year.  It's kind of irrelevant anyway since Sony also supports both AptX and AAC (take notice Parrot).
     
    The reviewer did qualify that these were the claims Sony was making about LDAC but was upfront about the fact that he was not able to test them with an LDAC compatible source.
     
    What matters is that he compared the 1ABT and the Momentum Wireless with two different sources (at least one of them being non-AptX compatible) and found that the Sony sounded better on both occasions (even without LDAC).
     
    When reviewing Symphony 1, the Bloomberg reviewer and even you both also sounded like Definitive Tech employees when talking about the sound stage.  However, that doesn't detract from the fact that these were valid opinions based of personal experience.  In fact, they made me want to try these headphones.
     
  2. n00b2
    I think you've misunderstood the context of that comment. I was trying to see what the poster thought between the two headphones not for myself but just to see a comparison. Haven't seen anyone comparing the MKII which was one of the better bluetooth headphones from last year with the Symphony 1. I've already tried the MKII myself and decided against it.
     
    I agree the review was decent overall. He gave good comments regarding the frequency response and sound that made me want to try them. I would have liked to known why he thought it sounded better than the Momentum Wireless though. He just stated that it did sound better without giving any reasons. He just sounds like an employee due to his constant mentioning of the LDAC and upscaling in pretty much the exact same words that Sony used in their statements including specifically quoting it near the end despite not having tried it at all.
     
    I don't know how you managed gather the impression of the Bloomberg reviewer being a Def Tech employee. He barely said 2 paragraphs on it. He said more about the Momentum Wireless and even rated it higher. The soundstage comments (including my own) were only a small part of what was said in the reviews.
     
  3. Deckardk
    ^ Not a very detailed review. And no NC on the 1ABT anyway, so no sale here.
     
  4. Sound Eq
    i think we are still far from audiophile bluetooth headphones
     
  5. timzigs
     
    My first impression with the Def Tech's was that they lacked clarity and were a bit light on the low end. I was expecting the wide soundstage as advertised, but just didn't sense it in the time I had. Admittedly, I was only able to test for a few minutes with two songs...and no chance to test ANC. What I did like about the phones was their design and being lighter than expected...they would actually fit inside my laptop case without the accompanying hard case.
     
  6. bleedinorange

    I thought the ANC made a huge difference in these phones...without the ANC i agree with you but it's more than a "bit light on the low end" for me...the low end was almost non existent without ANC. It's kinda like test driving a Ferrari and never getting it out of second gear and the having an impression that it was slow until someone came along and told you there are 3 more gears LOL...just wait till you hit that little ANC button.
     
  7. n00b2
    Well I got a chance to try the Momentum Wireless and now I'll put up a detailed comparison with the Def Tech Symphony 1. This post will be pretty long so bear with me. All my testing for the Momentum was done with my Note Edge and with Note Edge and a laptop for the Symphony so not sure how things sound if you don't have aptx or use an Apple device.
     
    Range: I wasn't able to test range that much as I was in a shop but line of sight they got to 10m without any hiccups. I couldn't test response when it comes to going through walls for the Momentum but there are quite a few reviews on it including many discussions about bluetooth dropouts which explain things better than I could. For the Def Tech it wasn't the greatest. If I'm walking straight i could get maybe 2-3 rooms (and walls) across before it starts cutting off. Go one more room and it its pretty much gone. If I'm walking sideways with the right ear cup (the one with the bluetooth chip) pointing towards the phone I could get 4 rooms across before it started cutting out. Dropouts seemed to occur when walking down stairs as if my right ear wasn't pointing to the phone. Sitting in the one spot and listening to songs with everyone moving around and trying other headphones out I had dropouts occur 3 times in half an hour with both sets. They occurred at different times though and I couldn't really spot a pattern as to why it was occurring.
     
    Connection: The Symphony seemed to do a better job when it came to reconnecting back with my phone. The Momentum did fail a couple of times and I had to turn it off and on again to reconnect. YMMV though for that one. Multi point also worked flawlessly on the Symphony. Interchanging between my phone and my laptop worked perfectly when both was connected switching back and forth between them without needing promting. I couldn't connect more than two devices to it as expected. I didn't get a chance to test out multi point on the Momentum Wireless however. Call quality seemed decent on the Symphony. Wasn't the clearest bluetooth headphones I have tried but no one complained that I was on a bluetooth headset or they couldn't hear me properly. Didn't get a chance to try it out with the Momentum but I think others did on the momentum thread. I also preferred the multiple buttons of the Symphony to the multi function button on the Momentum which I found very fiddly and very easy to push the wrong command. Would probably be alright once you get used to it though. Both headphones used a 2.5mm to 3.5mm cable for wired connection. The Symphony had a standard 2.5mm connection on the headphones while the Momentum used their trademark twist and lock connection. I much prefer the standard connection of the Symphony as you can pick any 2.5mm to 3.5mm cable and use it (I used my HK BT one as it was much longer) whereas with the Momentum you need to use the proprietry one. If you lose the cable you have to buy another one from Sennheiser and I don't know if they have a longer cable available or not. That said, the twist and lock mechanism is much more secure and is great if you intend to use them wired a lot and have a habit of tugging on the cable (or the dog does).
     
    Comfort: Neither are perfect when it comes to comfort and they each do a different thing better. The ear cups on the Momentum are small and not very deep and don't have an angled space inside for your ears. If you have small ears that fit inside they might be very comfortable unless you feel like your ears are pushed up against the drivers. The Symphony's cups are much larger with an angled space inside for your ears and will actually wrap around your ears much better. So for me the ear cups were much more comfortable on the Symphony. The ear cups were softer on the Momentum though so if your ears are extremely large (say longer than 7.5-8cm) and you can't fit them inside the Symphony cups you might find the softness of the Momentum cups better to sit on your ears. In some ways the Momentum pads felt too soft and seemed like they would wear out quicker as well.
     
    Headband: Neither headband was super comfortable but the Momentum with its leather one was better. It might give you some pain on the top of the head The Symphony headband looks good but there isn't enough curve on it and there is a serious lack of padding. Whoever they designed the headband for must have had a very flat head. I felt a lot of pressure on the top of my head and I could only get rid of the problem when I stuck a neoprene hard drive case on my head under the headband. Clearly that is not a viable long term option so you might need to buy extra headband padding if you have this issue. Extending the headband to maximum or tilting it forward slightly did help ease the pain but then you lose the clamping. The Momentum headband extends a lot longer and is more versatile in that regard. It will fit you if your head is super small or super large it will fit you and the headband stays in position until you move it. The Symphony however had a very small headband. In its maximum position it was still very small and I wouldn't be surprised if you will struggle to get it on properly if you are wearing glasses or a hat. It also had a tendency to try and retract back into the headband when you extended it though it happened less when it was on your head. The clamping was much better on the Symphony. The level of clamping increased if you shortened the headband though for me it never got to the point where it was uncomfortable other than on the top of my head. Adjusting the headband didn't seem to affect the clamping of the Momentum.
     
    ANC: Neither was great compared to top ones like the Bose or the Zik but the Momentum did a better job. Both seemed to do a much better job with lower frequenciues than higher ones, with the Symphony having a slight edge on the deep bass. In the shop I was testing them there were salespeople trying to sell headphones to other customers and one guy was on the phone the whole time talking to the a rep of some sort. Some dude was also blasting Meghan Trainor in the other room on a home theatre system which was driving me crazy. With no music on the Momentum seemed to kill more background noises and the voices were softer. That unfortunately made Meghan Trainor a lot more clear though. The Symphony also muffled background sounds and voices but not to the same extent. With music on at my listening volume both drowned everything out in noisy sections. In quiet sections though I could still hear the sales guy standing next to me and Meghan Trainor in the background. Once the level of detail increased everything was blocked out. This happened first on the Momentum. The music had to increase a bit more before everything was blocked out by the Symphony. Both did a much better job then with no ANC though. The Symphony seemed to have better isolation though that is probably because it actually fit around my ears.
     
    Bluetooth Sound Quality: The part most people are probably waiting for. I will start by saying that I preferred the Symphony but I suspect most people on this thread will prefer the Momentum given the fondness of bass. The Symphony sound was very neutral and balanced. Response seemed to be even across the board and there wasn't any boosting of any particular frequencies. At high volumes though the bass did tend to distort if you didn't get a good seal. The bass extension was deep and the response was good. A fair bit more body was present to the bass when you activated ANC. In both modes it was clear and tight but without ANC it was definitely lacking in bass. It was present in a way that you would not really notice it if you are looking for it but you will notice it missing if you EQ it down. It was only really noticeable where it needs to be noticed like in an explosion. Clarity seemed to be lacking at first but it got better as the headphones burned in.
     
    The Momentum was different. Many people will love this but there was far too much bass for my tastes. It was not too much bass in the Beats sense. Overall the bass was pretty deep and clear and only slightly muddy but it was definitely significantly boosted. There also appeared to be a boosting in the upper mids to keep the vocals present when the bass went up.  In bass heavy sections the bass appeared to be the only thing present and I really felt it on my head. Even in sections where bass is present but not meant to be the dominating force the big bass turned up and overpowered everything. It is not the most bass heavy cans around and true bassheads will probably feel that it is lacking in bass. It certainly won't shake your head as much as proper basshead cans will but the sound signature is definitely not balanced or neutral. The sound signature was definitely quite warm, almost dark. The clarity was good, better than the Symphony at first. Vocals were clear and crisp.
     
    Soundstage was great on both headphones but it was better on the Symphony. For their size the Momentum puts out a very impressive soundstage. Not something you would normally expect on a portable headphone. The soundstage of the Symphony however was wider and deeper and picking out the position of instruments was much easier with them. One of the best soundstages I have heard on closed headphones. The position of things moving across the soundstage was easier to pick with the Momentum when it was dead in the centre but overall the positioning was more accurate on the Symphony.
     
    Wired sound: Both improved a fair bit when connecting them wired but the improvement in the Symphony was larger. A lot more detail was present in the Symphony when wired when compared to bluetooth but that is to be expected. Bass response and clarity also improved wired but the boost was even across the whoels spectrum. Comparing them more detail was present in the Symphony wired over the Momentum wired and the clarity was roughly on par. The bass response was much higher with the Momentum, again too much for me. I didn't get a chance to test the Momentum through USB but that has been discussed already in the Momentum thread. I did get USB working on the Symphony and my impression was that it was the best connection option for sound. More detail was present over wired and the bass distortion I noticed earlier at loud volumes was also gone. Connecting them passively the Momentum was better. Not a lot of difference between passive and active for the Momentum. The Symphony passive wasn't great. Clarity was down a fair bit, sound was quite bright and the bass was sorely lacking and rolled off a fair bit. Using a good amp will probably improve things but I didn't get a chance to try one (someone was hogging the Hugo in the shop the whole time I was there).
     
    Verdict: Neither one is really the perfect bluetooth headphones but they both have their positives and negatives. The Symphony is more comfortarble around the ears while the Momentum is more comfortable on the head. From a purely sound quality aspect if you prefer a neutral, natural and more balanced sound get the Symphony. If you prefer a more warm, lively and bass heavy sound get the Momentum.
     
  8. ruthieandjohn
    @n00b2. How did you like the Momentum vs. the Zik's? We're these on ear or over ear Momentums? Thanks for your super detailed comparison.
     
  9. Soundofmusic
    Great comparative review n00b2, your thoughts on the SQ of these two cans seem to nicely sum up the average reviews I've read of these two cans, and you describe the bass in the Momentums in a much more articulate and precise way than I ever could when it comes to describing percieved sound in english :) You should link in the M2 thread aswell if you haven't already.
     
    Ideally, I would prefer the sound (and BT connection) of the Symphony combined with the other aspects of the Momentum :)
     
    Comfort is of course subjective, I have no issues with my oval, large head and average sized ears :)
     
  10. n00b2
    These were the over ear Momentums. I'm interested to see what the on ears sound like since they are supposed to be the more lively pair and the over ear more balanced. As you can see from the review I found the over ear pretty lively and unbalanced as well.
     
    I haven't tried the Zik 2.0, just the original one. The Zik had much better NC but the Momentum was more comfortable. It's hard to really compare the sound quality of the Zik due to its app dependence. When I customised it I could get a sound signature that I preferred much more over the Momentum though I'll admit I never really gave it much of a chance as I wanted something that works well on pc as well as phones. In terms of actual sound quality though I'd say the Momentum had a much better soundstage and more detail and warmth to the sound. There was more bass on the Zik out of the box but after tweaking it you could get it tighter and cleaner than the Momentum, or more boomy if you wished. Clarity was bette ron the Momentum.
     

    Yes we are all still waiting for the perfect headphones. One day it might arrive but it's not quite here yet. Yes comfort is subjective and I did mention that if you have a larger head and smaller ears the Momentum will be more comfortable. They are opposites in that regard. The Momentum has a big headband and small ear cups while the Symphony has a small headband and big ear cups.
     
  11. swanhnster7
    I've been reading this thread eagerly and the amount of knowledge here is amazing! I was wondering if anyone could offer a more succinct recommendation for my needs:
     
    Around or under $200
    Portable for travel
    Work well with smartphone & laptop for conference calls and so on (this is a priority)?
     
    Thanks!
     
  12. ruthieandjohn
    Good to hear that the original Zik compares well to the Momentum.  In my comparison earlier on this thread, the Zik 2.0 came out ahead of the Zik Original, making the Zik even better.  This was with the app on.
     
    Can you remember what EQ, soundstage, and room size settings you found best on the original Zik in your comparisons?  Thanks.
     
    (link to comparison of Zik Original with Zik 2.0):  http://www.head-fi.org/t/746519/huge-comparison-of-almost-all-the-best-bluetooth-headphones-post-your-own-comparisons-here/270#post_11365828
     
  13. n00b2

    Can't remember them sorry. I only tried it a couple of times with a friend's Zik just to see how it works and sounds. Didn't really try to remember the settings as I was never considering buying it,
     
  14. gr8soundz
    Obviously no impressions yet, but Denon is about to release their AH-GC20 wireless headphones to compete with Sennheiser and Definitive.
     
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/760389/denon-ah-gc20-headphone-discussion-thread
     
    Giogio likes this.
  15. Deckardk
    @noob2

    Thanks for the detailed review.

    Others say the bass is overblown on the M2. Some also say they're terrible for classical music, so I'm thinking they won't be good for easy listening alternative either.

    Looks like its DT or bust for me. Maybe the Denons if the NC is good.
     
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