DHRME Audio,Over-Ear Headphones [2022] 15 Best ANC Headphones Compared!

[2022] 15 Best ANC Headphones Compared!

Are there some active noise canceling headphones that you’re considering buying it’s been quite the year with so many good ones released we’ll talk about all the best headphones from the budget to the Ultra Premium each with its own pros and cons at the end we’ll give you our picks so strap in get the popcorn and let’s go!

1. 1More SonoFlow ($80)

Ok – you might want to sit down before we tell you the price on this one. It’s two digits. $80. Yeh, if you thought that SoundCore made cheap headphones then you ain’t seen nothing yet. These are the cheapest on the list, and you might be thinking: if you pay peanuts you get lemons. -blinks- Well then you’d be strongly mistaken. The 1More Sonoflow is a solid recommend for those on a brutally tight budget and here’s why. First off, they sound pretty damn good. You get a neutral sound signature out of the box. The bass and sub-bass are both solid! Ok, the treble isn’t sparkly and the soundstage is on the narrow end. But they truly deliver in the sound quality department. Rotating departments to active noise cancelling. 

We’ll break down noise cancelling and transparency either into excellent, good or bad. On the 1More SonoFlow we got good noise cancelling here guys. In good company with the SoundCore Space Q45, more on that one later. A decent suppression of the low and high frequencies, but not exactly Bose level yet. The 1More feels like a confident pair of headphones; a solid 50 hours of battery with ANC and 70 hours without. There’s support for multipoint connections and you can even turn on LDAC if you like, without any compromises. And they are comfortable to wear for longer periods of use with their plush ear cups and sufficient padding on the headband.

The 1More SonoFlow’s odd placement of its power button on the front side of the right earcup (when wearing) makes it a bit unintuitive to use especially it is also being used as a multifunction button.

We hear you thinking, it’s all good and well, but there must’ve been corners cut. Of course there are. But that kind of applies to all headphones, in one way or another. For the 1More that translated into, for example, the build and design. The SonoFlow feels cheap and you notice while pushing the buttons on the ear cups, the jerky hinges and very loud branding all across either side of the headband. Those buttons are spaced out well, so you can differentiate between them, but what we didn’t like is where the power button got placed. On the front side of the right ear cup. Very inconvenient to press and you’ll be using it a lot since it also doubles as the play-pause or answer-hangup button. And when you do use that button to answer a phone call, you’ll be fine until the wind starts to blow. Find shelter then.

(Microphones samples can be found in the video above)

While on calls you also cannot change the ANC mode, you’re stuck on transparency. The app is bare bones with no EQ or ANC adjustment. This can appeal to some of you minimalists out there. In that case, here’s another feature that’s missing: smart pause. 

the 1More SonoFlow’s app on Android highlighted by its ANC and Transparency mode controls, LDAC toggle & EQ.

By ranking these headphones overall relative to the others, these would be Tier B. 

Buy the 1More SonoFlow

2. SoundCore Space Q45 ($150)

The SoundCore Space Q45. What an incredible product Anker has brought out. Not going to lie, the price of 150 bucks made us quite sceptical. But hot damn did they fulfil their promise! They compete on sound quality with the best by performing on the highs, mids and treble. There are so many presets and a custom 8-band EQ in the app. You can use that to make them sound even better. The BassUp toggle also adds oomph to the bass. The ANC did not disappoint us and in our opinion is in the ‘excellent’ category. It’s able to cancel out low end noises very well and transparency is very good too. The noise cancelling is even adjustable in the app which you don’t see on all headphones.

Soundcore’s Exceptional and super intuitive app for Headphones, Truly Wireless Earbuds, and their Speakers

That app by the way, is quite extensive giving you adjustability in almost every aspect of the headphones. But pumping out all that great sound and cancelling out all those not so great sounds takes a lot of hard work. And – the battery life can handle it. 50 hours of juice in these bad boys. And the kicker: that number is with ANC on. Having high performance headphones is one thing, but if the experience isn’t up to the mark, you don’t pick them up to use them. The comfort on the Space Q45 is incredible, plush and spacious earpads. Let’s also quickly touch upon the controls side of things, there’s no touch. And we dig that. Good ole buttons all the way. A button for power, ANC, volume and play-pause. With those four buttons you can do everything for audio and even for phone calls. 

But on the topic of phone calls, the Space Q45 is average. They get the job done but the speaker’s voice is on the tinny side. 

(Microphones samples can be found in the video above)

Soundcore Space Q45’s Earcups with missing a wear sensor that enables auto play and pause when you put on or remove the headphones.

On the other side, we’ve got the design. It’s ok, but we do feel it’s a bit bulky looking with the earcups having earcups. The earcups tend to clamp on the heavier side and can get hot after long periods of use. They also don’t sport a wear sensor, so they won’t be pausing or resuming audio automatically based on whether you’re wearing them or not. The hard case you get will protect the headphones, no problem. But where we do have a slight problem is that there is absolutely no place to store cables. You just have to fling them in there and hope they don’t jump around scratching your headphones. 

Soundcore’s protective carrying case included in the box for the Q45’s

Buy the SoundCore Space Q45

Alright guys – these are Tier A in our opinion! But let’s up the ante and move into the next price segment.

3. Shure Aonic 40 ($180)

Overall the Shure Aonic 40 suffers from being in a very competitive space. But it’s still good for some things – the sound is quite good – not the best, but you can play these over USB C. Phone call controls are excellent and the voice quality itself is good – passable in noisy conditions.

(Microphones samples can be found in the video above)

It also has multipoint on board. And weirdly it has some of the best transparency on this list! Go figure! It’s also foldable and comes with a decent hard case.

Shure Aonic 40’s Sub-par head band and over-all build quality

So what sucks? Well – it has pretty ordinary build quality, the headband does press down on the crown and when it comes to sound we had a whole rant about how distorted guitars sounded in our full review. And the ANC is quite poor compared to the competition here. 

Overall we’d say this is a Tier B product..

Buy the Shure Aonic 40

4. Cleer Alpha ($200)

All right – the Alpha Dog! The Cleer Alpha. So we haven’t reviewed this on our channel yet, but – maybe we should have! The Cleer Alpha is Cleer’s flagship – and it does a couple of things really well. First off the sound – these have a cool trick – the Dirac virtuo soundstage gives you a very nice wide soundstage and is great for watching movies with a lot of sound effects. To be honest, we also enjoyed it for music. Their transparency mode is also pretty much top notch. And by top notch, we mean TOP notch! We’re talking about the same tier as the Airpods Max – excellent. Ok these aren’t quite Airpods Max because these have a certain level of white noise, but you get the picture.

Painting the picture for phone calls looks good! They hold their own in noisy conditions without the voice clarity being affected. You hear a bit of the background noise but quite usable nonetheless. In windy conditions, they’re not bad either! You hear the wind but you can still make out what’s being said.

Cleer Alpha’s neatly packaged Protective carrying case with compartment to store its 3.5mm & USB-C Cables

Cleer’s gone all out to make this a flagship. So you get 35 hours of battery life, 40 mm ironless drivers – that’s good because I never like iron in my drivers – multipoint, an in-ear sensor, a touch / button combination, active noise cancelling and it’s designed in California. 

So what’s not to like?

Cleer Alpha’s app highighted by its ANC mode toggles and ANC Strength slider

Well to start off with – price. These were priced at a steep $279 to start with. At the time of making this video, that number’s $200. But a lot of it has to do with things beneath the specs. That multipoint for example? It struggled while connected to just two devices. We experienced regular cut outs on audio, especially on iPhones while connected to two devices. The sound – these can do bass really well and while there was nothing incredibly bad about any of the other frequencies, we struggled with dialling it in to meet our taste. The tuning out of the box sounds a bit congested and seems to be tuned for bass heavy music. There is an EQ and presets in the app and that can help to an extent. On the comfort – the earpads were pretty good for us, but the headband for some reason didn’t feel very comfortable. Those touch controls are quite good, but you need to get used to the latency. And the Active Noise Cancelling – it’s probably the worst on this list. I mean – it does active noise cancelling, but that’s about all we can say about it. Don’t buy these only for ANC, but rather if you want ANC as a nice-to-have. The Cleer Alpha’s are a Tier B.

Buy the Cleer Alpha

5. Sony WH-1000 XM4 ($230)

Oh boy are the Sony WH1000XM4s popular – they’re probably the most spotted headphones. But it makes sense. It has excellent noise cancelling, but in 2022 it’s not the best of the best. It comes with an extravagant app with so many options. They’re foldable and portable. They sound… good. There’s a lot of bells and whistles and this was the generation where Sony finally added a wear sensor for pausing your music and bells and whistles like ‘speak to chat’ that automatically activate transparency mode when you’re talking. Oh – it’s also the last generation of Sony’s premium ANC headphones that are foldable. And finally the price swings so much that you’re bound to find a good deal on them. 

What makes them less of a good deal is the transparency mode. Bad – the bottom of the barrel. There’s just a lot of occlusion when you talk and people’s voices are not very clear. We would prefer to take the headphones off to talk to people. And that’s not the only reason why we would take them off, because we felt it got warm around the ears after wearing them for a while. And we don’t get a warm feeling when we’re on phone calls with the Sony XM4s. The microphones are just… fine. Sony just couldn’t crack that until the XM5. You’ll be fine in quiet environments and if you speak up, but don’t push your luck though. 

(Microphones samples can be found in the video above)

Sony’s WH-1000 XM5 is (SPOILER) the last of it’s headphone series to have a compact collapsible design for better portability

Overall, the Sony XM4 is Tier B. Let’s move on. 

Buy the Sony WH 1000 XM4

6. Bose QC45 ($250)

As the company that basically made this category of noise cancelling headphones, Bose went back to square one with its Bose QC45. The Q stands for Quiet and the C stands for Comfort and boy does it deliver! With very good ANC, it certainly lives up to its promise of quietude. The transparency is sub par, but man does Bose nail the comfort on this. We really don’t know how its possible, but Bose is the only one who comes close to half day or all day use for us. Not even the Bose 700 comes close. 

Bose’s QC 45 with physical buttons instead of touchpads and dials featuring the Bluetooth toggle on the right side of the headphone

There’s no nonsense with touch controls – good ol reliable buttons and the app is straightforward and usable. It has a three band EQ, but we found that the QC45 was excellently tuned out of the box. A much more open, clear sound and not veiled and uber bassy like Sony tends to do. If anything, on certain recordings they can be too bright. But for those of you in the audio space who think these are ‘bad’ because they’re ‘Bose’, that’s just not true. Bose has long held the title of best headphones for calling and even though the Sony XM5 has overtaken everyone else, we still think that the QC45 is a decent option for most of us.

(Microphones samples can be found in the video above)

Bose’s QC 45 also has a compact collapsible design for better portability

The foldable design and probably the most compact case on this list also gives it convenience points.

However for us there are just two main reasons you wouldn’t buy the QC 45 – number one: the battery. At just 24 hours with ANC on – it ain’t bad, but we’re now seeing numbers double that. And the second reason is the price. All that goodness you get which we just talked about comes at a very steep price. Right now these are $250, but that’s not always the case. For us these are a solid Tier A.

Buy the Bose QC45

Buy the Bose QC35ii

7. Technics EAH-A800 ($300)

The Technics A800 brings a lot to the table beginning with 50 hours of battery life with ANC on. The sound quality is good, especially for clarity in the mids and higher frequencies. Technics multipoint is also some of the best in the business. We tested it with many different combinations including Windows, Android and iPhone in our full comparison against the XM5 and we were super happy in every case. They’re also a good set of cans for phone calls and have some of the best vakman controls – including the ability to mute directly from the headphones while on a call.

(Microphones samples can be found in the video above)

So what’s not to like? Well – considering the competition, these aren’t the best sounding headphones on this list. And that build quality – it’s very creaky! On sound – we thought they were underwhelming when it came to one aspect only – and that’s the bass. We would have loved it if the bass, especially the sub-bass had a bit more oomph to it. It appears to be more of a driver limitation than anything else.

But you know what – the ANC and transparency are both good. So overall – these are a Tier A product and pretty easy to recommend at the price of about $300 if you don’t like any others around that range. But now, we’re moving up a range. 

Buy the Technics EAH 800

8. Sony WH-1000 XM5 ($350)

Sony’s flagship WH1000 XM5 might have seemed incremental to some people when it first came out, but we see that very differently. For example, Sony finally broke a track record of horrendous microphone quality on its headphones. It now consistently ranks high for us and we never hesitate to use them for our phone calls. This even includes noisy and especially windy conditions – which is the hardest environmental condition for headphones to pass. 

(Microphones samples can be found in the video above)

They perform for calls as well as for listening to music without interference from the wind. But in order to use headphones for long phone calls, you need them to be comfortable. It’s predecessor did ok, but Sony did better this time. The heat management is far better around your ears and they feel much lighter on your head. And boy do the XM5s like to be touched! 

Touch gestures can be hard to get right, but the latency and feedback on the earcups were done right on this one. Another huge step up is the transparency mode. The XM4 was bad and Sony has made the XM5 climb up all the way to very good. It suppresses the low ends more. The sounds and voices feel a bit masked compared to the AirPods Max. Still audible and clear, but they’re less natural sounding than the AirPods Max. But a huge improvement from the XM4 nonetheless. Now getting back to what might have been incremental. The active noise cancelling on the XM5 is excellent. Simply magnificent engineering and a joy to wear when you just want to exist in peace. Finally, a couple of things that have remained awesome on the Sony XM5 is the full fledged app. You can configure and customise to your heart’s content. We like Sony’s implementation of multipoint albeit at the cost of the LDAC codec. What we particularly like is that it supports pull connection. This means you don’t need to put the headphones into pairing mode, you simply select the headphones from your previously paired device and hit connect. Et voila! AND you can see all the connected devices in the app.

There are a few things that might hold us back from recommending these headphones. Sony feels the need to flex. A lot. That full fledged app we talked about, is a bit too fully fledged. It’s got 20 point sliders and a million ways to automatically pause your audio: ‘speak-to-chat’, wear sensor, ‘quick attention’. And we also found out that Sony uses AI to keep adjusting the level of noise cancelling and it doesn’t always do a great job. Unfortunately, Sony’s stock tuning out the box for sound isn’t great either. It’s not very neutral and the bass is YUGE! If you start using presets or the EQ you can make them sound better because the hardware is onboard to make a difference. And wrapping this section up we’ve got two gripes with the design. The black colour starts looking oily as soon as you touch them, luckily the lighter colour doesn’t have this problem. And finally the headphones don’t fold, so you are left with a slightly larger case footprint. But any way you slice it – the XM5 is Tier A.

Buy the Sony WH 1000 XM5

9. Sennheiser Momentum 4 ($350)

We really like the Sennheiser Momentum 4. Really really like them. They sound phat and nice and have the best battery life of all premium headphones we’ve seen on this channel. Of the ones that do noise cancelling anyway. When it comes to noise cancelling and transparency – the Momentum is real. These are pretty good – we rank them as good –  but we really think that Sennheiser has made strides in its noise cancelling. The transparency though is top tier stuff! Extremely loud, even though it’s not as clear as the Airpods Max. And although the build isn’t as stylish as its predecessor the Momentum 3, these are light and comfortable. There are no pinchy metal bits to cause discomfort. The plush padding on the earcups are just pillows for your pinnae. We also liked the microphone quality and that ANC has a wind noise cancellation mode, which means you can walk around in all your windy places while listening and talking. 

(Microphones samples can be found in the video above)

On the downside, these have just a couple. Number 1- Yes these sound good. But that stock tuning is just disappointing. If you plan to buy them though – that can be remedied. These have a SoundCheck feature to tune the music to your liking or just a 3-band EQ. And we’re pretty confident that you can find a good tuning using a combination of the two. Number 2 – these are sorta pricey. Yes, we know they’re new, so we’re fairly confident that these will be discounted in the near future. But till that future arrives – you’d probably be better with our next pick.

So overall – these are Tier A. 

Buy the Sennheiser Momentum 4

Buy the Sennheiser Momentum 3

10. Bose NCH 700 ($380)

The Bose 700 is a confident pair of headphones. It’s 3 years old already, but acts like it’s a 2022 flagship. And we get it! The build is still very modern with premium design elements and materials. But what’s most interesting is that the ANC is still incredible. It’s very good and in company with the likes of the younger Sony WH 1000 XM4. The Transparency mode on the other hand is good with the likes of its younger cousin, the Bose QC45. The sounds and voices are not as masked as the Sony XM4 and there’s also no occlusion. The effect is similar to the Sony XM5 actually in terms of clarity, but marginally worse in terms of the volume it lets in. And Bose does very well in quiet conditions, but because the mics are very strong, they pick up background noise in all conditions.

(Microphones samples can be found in the video above)

You do get the ability to mute the microphone straight from your headphones. 

Other than that, there are a few things that put us off on the Bose 700. The battery is definitely below average at 20 hours. And that premium design we started off talking about, well we started to see some wear and tear. Especially around the part where the headband slides across the earcups. And that brings us to another downside and that’s the unfoldability? Maybe Bose was the OG of this design before Sony and Apple started doing it. The Bose does have a more restrained and balanced sound signature, but what it lacks is the customization. The app has a mere 3 band EQ. And a mainstream feature that’s milked dry by Sony, but nowhere to be found on the Bose is smart pause. So it’s audio FOMO all the way! Despite those shortcomings, this one is still Tier A.

Buy the Bose 700 NC

11. Edifier Stax Spirit S3 ($400)

So – since sound is one of the main reasons to buy headphones, we thought we’d give a shout out to one of the best sounding wireless headphones we’ve heard – the Edifier Stax Spirit S3. Incredible detail, resolution and clarity for wireless headphones and it has Snapdragon Sound on board. And the bonus – it comes in at 400 dollars . Now that’s not cheap because there’s no ANC or transparency to be found anywhere, but when we interviewed Snapdragon Sound and asked them for their favourite headphones, these were on that list and we can totally see why. This is an exception for this list, since it doesn’t do noise cancelling, but the sound was so special, we thought you’d like to know. It’s not perfect though and we lay out the details in our full review, which you can find here.

Buy the Edifier Stax Spirit S3

12. Bowers and Wilkins PX7 S2 ($400)

Let’s talk about the Bowerses and Wilkinses. We did a full review on the PX7 S2, but we did have a defective unit, so it wasn’t a ‘full’ full review. So let’s start with the PX7 S2. We do like that Bowers and Wilkins try to give their headphones a distinct look. Not everyone likes the look, but at least you’re getting personality. And it’s the same with sound – you’re getting personality! It’s not a bland, boring set of cans. Bowers and WIlkins makes certain choices – which really works for certain kinds of music. The multipoint is reliable and you get a list of devices in the app too. The buttons are excellently designed and easy to hit. No touch controls to waste your time. They’re quite decent for transparency and the polymer headband seems quite tough and stiff. 

However, on the PX7 S2, the clamping force felt a bit hard even after adjusting the headband. The transparency mode is good, but the ANC is surprisingly bad and behind the competition. I mean if you want, you can play music at low volumes and avoid your fellow man. But that’s not the level of ANC we should expect at this price. So what are you paying for exactly? Battery life is middle of the road at 30 hours. Overall, we think that the S2 is a good product – Tier A even. But value for money? Not so much.

Buy the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2

13. AirPods Max ($450)

Ahh Apple! For those drowning in Apple sauce, is the Airpods Max an automatic choice? Well, we’re sorry to say, but… it kinda is. Of course, a lot of things are Apple exclusive. Like customising the Airpods Max, or getting that automatic ‘nearby’ notification or using find my, spatial audio etc. So yes – you can use these headphones with Android or other devices that support Bluetooth, but you’re not getting the best out of it. But other than that – the sound, build quality, ANC and transparency of the Max are just top notch. And literally in the top bracket for all of those things. There are of course complaints that Apple has nerfed the ANC with an over-the-ear update. So that’s something to watch out for – we didn’t really notice this, so we can’t comment on it. 

Apple’s AirPods Max featuring a digital crown (just like on their Apple Watches) for granular and precise volume control.

Also those delightful controls – the stepless volume control using the digital crown is just unmatched in its implementation. Apple has really nailed it with just two control elements that work with gloves or naked fingers.

Apple’s lingerie-like “Smart Case” for the AirPods Pro that barely protects the headphones

Speaking of naked, the Max is always pretty much naked because its leather lingerie of a case gives it next to no protection. Just a bizarre design choice from a company that prides itself on design. There’s also no EQ for the Max which makes fixing its deficiencies harder. The battery life is one of the lowest on this list and it’s rocking a nice USB C connection. Nah – just kidding, the next version probably will, but for now we’re stuck with Lightning. And if you wanna use these wired – you can! For a measly $35 more you can get a lightning to 3.5mm cable that you can’t use with any other headphones!  And if we’re being honest – we didn’t love its microphones for phone calls.

(Microphones samples can be found in the video above)

In addition, two other major reasons to not get the Max are the price and the comfort. The clamping force still is strong and yes – you can adjust the headband so it’s actually not too bad, even after months of use – these clamp very clampily. But the price is still one of the highest on this list – and while it’s a Tier A product that does a lot of things well to justify its price, it’s still not cheap. But if you think this isn’t cheap, then get a load of the next set of ultra premium headphones.

Buy the Airpods Max

14. Bang and Olufsen HX ($500)

Look – we’ll be honest. We like Bang and Olufsen. We’ve given their in-earbuds rave reviews. And these headphones aren’t new. And a couple of things about them have aged well and a couple of things haven’t. Their ‘cheaper’ BeoPlay HX is Bang and Olufsen’s attempt to make cans affordable. And by Bang and Olufsen standards – well yes it is affordable. The earcups are round and the sound is good, but not as polished as the next set of headphones. They sound just a little bit harsher on the treble. Not bad mind you, but not as sublime as the next set of headphones. Also the touch controls are very finicky and the ‘rotate your finger to increase volume’ feels like something from another time. It’s rather buggy and we found it difficult to use the touch control area. I’ve been trying to figure it out for a while man – but it ain’t great! In addition – the ANC is just OK and the transparency is good. The microphones try to aggressively cancel out noise and in our experience, these are just average for calls in noisy and windy conditions.

(Microphones samples can be found in the video above)

Overall – if these are on a very steep discount, sure – go ahead and get them. These are a Tier A product, but the price is totally wrong. We cannot in good conscience recommend these at full price. 

Buy the Bang and Olufsen BeoPlay HX

15. Bang and Olufsen H95 ($630)

And then we have the more expensive Bang and Olufsen – the Beoplay H95. First off, the sound – these sound phenomenal. These are the BEST sounding headphones on this list! The Bang and Olufsen H95. It’s not in the “I-put-them-on-and-I-was-blown-away’ kinda way. There’s no major bass bump or some crazy soundstage or something that wows you when you first put them on. But take some time – bring out some challenging music, or just regular old music and you’ll see how clearly and crisply music is represented. Bang and Olufsen’s earbuds often have the property of not overdoing anything – it’s like a perfectly executed fine dining dish for which you have to appreciate the nuance and subtle elements. Not like a spicy vada pav that makes your mornings-after fiery. Both of those kinds of food have their place and Bang and Olufsen executes that fine dining really well.

Three other things that the H95 scores excellently on are – comfort, controls and design. Those vegan-unfriendly sheepskin pads are very comfortable and they have reasonable clamp but not Airpods Max or Bowers and Wilkins levels. Their dials for volume and ANC are excellent – next only to the Airpods on this list for superb volume control. But the touch surface has some latency and feels a bit dated now. And of course, you get a SOLID metal case! The ONLY metal case on this list. It really feels luxurious and it can take a few scratches and dings! It does multipoint and has an incredible 38 hours of battery life!

But we don’t see ourselves recommending the H95 to anyone. So what’s not to like about them? Well let’s start with the mics

(Microphones samples can be found in the video above)

the Bang & Olufsen H95’s unrivaled Premium built and premium feeling protective carrying case

It’s very similar to the HX performance wise. Not just the mics, but also the ANC and transparency. Average ANC and good transparency. The multipoint can be buggy with sometimes music cutting out every couple of seconds randomly. Especially when you start playing something. And you know – at the original retail price of between 800 and 900 Euros, we think they may be 500 Euros too expensive. At the time of making this video, these are $630 and that’s pretty good considering what’s coming up. For sound there’s nothing better on this list. An excellent Tier A product from Bang and Olufsen in many ways.

Buy the Bang and Olufsen BeoPlay H95

16. Bowers and Wilkins PX8 ($700)

Ok if the Px7 S2 was not an easy recommendation, the Px8 should be an all out no-no right? Well – not quite. The materials have gotten an upgrade from plastic to aluminium and the ear cups are just much more comfortable. The sound is certainly better and if money were no object, the Px8 would be our choice between the two Bowerses and Wilkinses.

But when it comes to the subject of money – is the Px8 worth twice as much as the S2? Wow – where to begin! The ANC and transparency is almost exactly the same. We found the mics to be lacking for phone calls in windy and noisy conditions.

(Microphones samples can be found in the video above)

The battery life is still the same. I mean – seriously this product is for the kind of people who show up in a store look at the box and say – wow that looks good, Bowers and Wilkins is a premium brand, so I’m going to buy it. It’s an A-tier product, sure. Absolutely no doubt about it. But it doesn’t win a single category here except maybe the looks and we’d argue that the Bangin’ Olufsens make the Wilkins Bower.

Buy the Bowers and Wilkins Px8

Am I speaking French? Because…

17. Focal Bathys ($800)

These headphones from the French audio company were released just as we finished this list. The Focal Bathys.

Yes – these sound pretty good. But we’re probably gonna be killed in the comments here – they didn’t blow us away. And the thing is – I don’t think that Focal is going for mind blowing. To be clear – there’s nothing that’s really ‘wrong’ with these headphones. Focal is going for an accurate sound. But these can. GET. LOUD. Wow! And speaking of loud, they sound MUCH better at higher volumes than at lower volumes. They do have outstanding imaging and there’s no way for us to prove this, but we think these sound fairly different on iPhone than Android. They do have a 5 bnad EQ in the app though.

the Focal Bathys’ backlit logo on both earcups that can be thankfully turned off on Focal’s App

Their looks are also polarising – and you know what, we like the pattern, but are not crazy about having a lit up logo on both ear cups – which can luckily be turned off in the app. Also – we think these are on the bulky side, even though overall they were very comfortable and feel very premium. In terms of phone calls – not bad even with noise of cars and the wind in the background, these did a fairly decent job. 

(Microphones samples can be found in the video above)

These also come with multipoint on board, and it worked for the most part. It wasn’t as flawless as some others we’ve used. Good ANC and very good transparency round out the highlights for the Focal Bathys.

The Bathys is certainly A tier – no doubt about it. But is it worth the price? Well – we’ve said a lot about it. What do you think?

Buy the Focal Bathys

18. Rohan’s pick

Rohan’s Pick for his Best ANC Headphones (especially in the Walled garden by Apple 😁) is the AirPods Max

So which headphones would Rohan pick? Aww… you really do care! Thank you for reaching this part of the video. If he lived exclusively in the Apple-verse, it would mean that he’d be very rich and in that case, it’d be Airpods Max all the way for him. It does some things objectively well – sound, transparency, ANC and the controls. 

Rohan’s Second Pick for his Best ANC Headphones are between the Sony WH-1000 XM5 and the Sennheiser Momentum 4

But he’s not very rich and doesn’t live in the Apple-verse. In that case – it would have to be between the Sennheiser Momentum 4 and the Sony WH-1000 XM5. The Sony is already cheaper than it used to be. And although it’s not the best sounding headphones here, it’s extremely capable and all those improvements Sony has made and that unbelievable comfort and microphone performance – there’s a lot to love about it! Ditto for the Sennheiser – phat bass – beats the Sony for transparency, but loses to the Sony on ANC. Calls are good, battery life is better – what’s not to love here? If it was sound – and only sound. he’d pick the Bang and Olufsen Beoplay H95.

Rohan’s Pick for his Best BUDGET ANC Headphones is the Soundcore Space Q45

Oh he’s not done yet – what if he was on a budget? The SoundCore Space Q45 – it’s just incredible! Even at $100 more, we could see people getting it. So at the price it actually retails – it’s an absolute steal!

19. Kevin’s pick

Kevin’s Pick for his Best ANC Headphones is the Sony WH-1000 XM5

Now let Kevin steal the spotlight for a bit. He looks for a few things that make him want to pick up a pair of headphones. They need to be comfortable for long work-from-home days, usable microphones for all those video calls, multipoint support and excellent noise cancelling. His popular brand pick in that case would be the Sony WH-1000 XM5. 

Kevin’s Pick for his Best BUDGET ANC Headphones is the Soundcore Space Q45

But if he didn’t have the luxury of testing so many headphones or the luxury of having luxury then his recommendation to Kevin as the non-YouTuber would be the SoundCore Space Q45. For the price it ticks all his requirements despite the microphones and noise cancelling being slightly a tier lower than the Sony XM5. 


That’s it – you guys made it! All the headphones we talked about will be linked to at the top of this article. This video & article were a lot of work to put together, so we really hope it helps you make a purchase decision. Or that you at least enjoyed watching & reading it. If you did – consider becoming a patron of the channel or a Youtube member!

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