BTNC Headphones


red dragon

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Want to take my mind off this damn virus and think of something else. I have a pair of Sennheiser PXC550 headphones whose battery is slowly dying. I used to charge it once a week/ 10 days. Now almost every day and lost the cable.
Have developed a bad insomnia, and listening to music for entire night with a pair of iem ( Sennheiser ie something)
Looking to buy a pair of either QC35 or 1000XM3. Only these 2 are available at a local electronic store ( the store is closed, but the manager is working as a volunteer, but I won't/ can't bother him for auditioning at this time of crisis)
My requirements are simple. Comfort, good battery life and decent sound (neither bass heavy or piercing highs) I've used QC35 before but don't remember much about the sound.
Both will be available for around 100 EUR.
Which one to get? I will probably use them wired for mixing also ( if the world doesn't end) while traveling.
Thank you.
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Anybody?
 
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red dragon

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Thanks, got a pair of QC35 for free along with a beautiful heartwarming handwritten note from the store owner.
 

blr_p

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Missed this post. For comfort the Bose are better. For replacement cushion pads the Bose are better. Considering the ones on my plantronics BB Pro's started to split after just one year. For voice clarity over a phone the Bose are better. 3 mics on the sony sounds impressive until tested and its only good in a quiet room, once there is noise the other party cannot hear you. Which is odd given Sony's experience and asking price. This bit tends to be glossed over by most reviewers.

The Sony are good just for audio quality and slightly better noise cancelling. Which going by some reviewers are the only things that matter (!)

I'd looked at these a year back and two things put me off, neither for the price can pair to two devices simultaneously which i consider unacceptable for the price. I mean how unlikely is it to listen to something with the laptop and have a phone call come in and expect to switch to the phone with a button press and when done switch back to the laptop to resume listening. Neither can do it.

There is no Aptx low latency with either so watching movies might show some lag between actions and sounds heard. Pay attention to sharp sounds like doors closing or hands clapping.

If these two use cases are not in your list then you're good.

100 EUR must be some special discount. NO way i'd get this for less than 4x that much which is the other point that gave me pause. So i went with the plantronics BB Pros at a third.

What does impress is the range you get with these headsets, they're bulkier so house a larger battery. Works through three 9 inch brick walls. Class A receiver paired with a Class A transmitter on the phone equals 30m range in free space as opposed to the 10m range that the portable BT headsets have. Can walk anywhere in the house with these on and not lose the signal.

And the battery is really good. You should get quite a lot of use with them. And holds the charge well too.
 

red dragon

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Already got the QC35 for free. It's ok, but pxc550 possibly sounded better ( but didn't A/B them), would happily bought the 550 again, but those are not available.
 

blr_p

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The sony lot think sound quality is the only thing that counts. It has better passive isolation because it has more clamping force and this is what makes it slightly less comfortable.

When you said comfort that was the end of the discussion. Good you made the right choice.

Sony had to release three generations, Bose is still only on the second one.

When you mentioned 100 eur it made me think this must be the wholesale price.

Very hefty markup if so at the consumer end.
 

red dragon

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I'm in this audio game long enough to understand BT headphones will never catch up with wired headphones and they can never be used for mixing/ mastering or even tracking properly.
Only the PXC550 has somewhat neutral sound in usb wired mode and used it to track drums.
These are just for travel, useless for anything else. If I had to pay the retail price, would have bought the HD 4.5 BTNC, blocks most of the airplane noise, slightly uncomfortable, but fairly balanced with reasonable battery and very very cheap.
I'm so used to Sennheiser ( home) and Beyerdynamic ( studio) sound signature, Bose sounds somewhat strange ( specially the treble) with classic rock and metal. Old man with poor taste in music.
AFAIK Bose has released the successor to QC35 II, possibly with a different name ( 700 or something)
 
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rdst_1

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The sony lot think sound quality is the only thing that counts.
If you want to listen to music, sound quality has to be a priority, if not the only thing that counts. I don't care how I look, so one can see me wearing HD650s even on flights.
I tested all Sennheisser offerings and all Sony offerings at the same store and all Senn offerings sounded bad. Only the Sony 1000XM3 sounded good and that too after I switched off the noise cancellation. In Amazons sale the Sony were available for around 18k,but decided not to buy them as my HD650 were still far superior.
Hence, I am looking to buy a nice Bluetooth DAC like the Earstudio ES100 instead and buy a smaller cable for my HD650 to turn it into a somewhat compact setup.
 

red dragon

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Absolutely, no amount of technology can beat a good old pair of wired cans. Heard polarising opinion about the sound quality of XM3.
Almost everyone unrelated to production says it's amazing, but producers/ sound engineers say it's unusable for mixing, but great for casual listening.
 
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rdst_1

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Most people prefer musical V-sounding headphones/IEMs whereas production guys will always prefer neutral, detailed sound signatures.
I, on the other hand preferred laid back sound with forward mids and big soundstage as I like to listen to music for hours at a time.
The 2 main listening devices I have had are the benchmark for that type of sound - The Senn HD650 and a long time ago, I had Head Direct RE1.
 
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red dragon

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I have the HD600 for years, but never had any opportunity to audition 650. Do they have similar sound signatures?
Never really understood the meaning of "Sennheiser veil", to my ears the 600 is fairly detailed, extremely comfortable for hours of mixing/ mastering.
Another pair of headphones that I've used for years are the HD25 mk II. Used them extensively for tracking in the studios and on the go. They are very aggressive with hot treble and tight bass ( very different from the 600) and extremely durable ( possibly the most durable of all the cans I've seen)
 

rdst_1

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Never heard the HD600 but have read reviews they sound similar to 650. If you want to try out the 650, you can get your hands on the Drop's HD6XX. They are usually available for $125/130 on their site.
The 'Senn Veil' refers to their laid back sound. More of a slightly inverted V sound rather than just flat. Most people want to have the slightly aggressive lows and highs and find the 'Senn Veil' to be a tad bland. With the right power and EQ, I just love my HD650 for hearing rock. The soundstage is exemplary and with the usual 'Rock' EQ, the drums just shine like nothing else. They are just so precise and fast, nothing like I have ever heard before.
Also, the Senn Veil is not common across their high end offerings. The HD700 and 800 and vastly contrasting sound signatures from the 650.
 
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booo

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if you have an iphone I highly recommend air pods pro. sound quality, noise isolation etc... are "resonable" but nothing can beat their comfort. I never had any other earphones feel so comfortable. been using them for couple of months and never thought about battery. especially when you combine the case's battery capacity.
 
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blr_p

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If you want to listen to music, sound quality has to be a priority, if not the only thing that counts. I don't care how I look, so one can see me wearing HD650s even on flights.
I tested all Sennheisser offerings and all Sony offerings at the same store and all Senn offerings sounded bad. Only the Sony 1000XM3 sounded good and that too after I switched off the noise cancellation. In Amazons sale the Sony were available for around 18k,but decided not to buy them as my HD650 were still far superior.
Hence, I am looking to buy a nice Bluetooth DAC like the Earstudio ES100 instead and buy a smaller cable for my HD650 to turn it into a somewhat compact setup.
Stick to regular ones then. NC are not going to compete for sound and if you throw BT in then its slightly less. People looking at NC aren't audiophile they want to relax to something pleasant and drown out sound. The major use will be in a relatively noisy environment which makes the whole audio quality point rather moot. You ain't going to enjoy audio to its best in a noisy environment anyway.

So you're listening in slightly noisier environment and you get a call. How well does the other side hear you. Not very well from specific reviews i've seen. This is with the hyped 3 mic system they have. This part in fact is close to a fail. Not spoken about much in the tons of reviews this product had.

The other point mentioned already of no dual pairing is again a limitation which quite frankly is just negligent if you ask me.

My point is the Sony fans & reviewers tend to overly biase towards sound quality at the expense of other factors.

There's build issues with the Son'y's as well. The second gen didn't seem to last the year which is bad given the nearly 30k asking price at the time of launch.

I started to explore passive options for sound isolation and the comply tips work well here. My daily senns are good enough for walking about without having to spend a premium just for noise cancelling. My main use is podcasts though so just voice needs to be intelligible.
 
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red dragon

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Just a small update, since I am having lot of spare time now, compared a lot of headphones, both on a fiio X5 and LG gram with dragonfly and a Focusrite interface and Bluetooth audio.
The BTNC cans ( ALL OF THE MAJOR ONES, EXCEPT PXC550 on usb audio mode) are absolutely garbage.
Special mention to the XM3 and QC35, they are the most overpriced piece of garbage audio products shoved down our throats.
The XM3s are even not suitable for podcasts, a 10 EUR koss sounds lot better.
If you care for your music, please take care of those invaluable Sennheiser HD 650/600/598 , Beyer DT 880/990/770s etc.
I don't understand how garbage like XM3 / QC35/ the new Bose 700s got such glowing reviews even by seasoned reviewers like Zeus ( Z reviews in YouTube, he's a mad guy, but he understands audio)
I'm really disappointed with XM3s, they distort at every frequency, I've access to original masters of some Blackfield records directly received from the man Wilson, these damn headphones distort everything absolutely EVERYTHING!!