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Best Over the Ear Headphones

Wireless headphones let you listen to podcasts and music without the requirement to connect a wire to your audio device. They’re an excellent choice for public transport, at work or at home.

Wireless over-ear headphones may have an elegant design and superior noise cancellation. They are typically packaged in a sleek case.

Soundcore Q30

A major upgrade over the Soundcore Life 2 from late-2018 These earphones appear better, feel stronger and are generally more polished. The hinges are tighter and the soft leather cups are a bit larger. They’re still made of plastic, however they’re more polished. You can swap the beats studio 3 headphones wireless.5mm cord for a high quality USB-C cable and connect them to portable Hi-Res devices and stationary players. They also have dual built-in mics that worked well during our tests with FaceTime, Skype and Microsoft Teams calls.

The Soundcore app offers a vast variety of EQ presets that can be adjusted and saved to listen to music or podcasts in your preferred style. The Soundcore app makes it easy to use and makes these headphones stand out.

When ANC is on, the Q30’s 40mm drivers effectively cut out almost all ambient noise, and provide an extremely pleasant listening experience. The Q30’s sound is natural, however it lags a little on the treble. Some may be disappointed by the bass response (we had better results using the Bass Booster equalizer). But, you can solve this issue with the Soundcore app, as there’s an equalizer with 8 bands to allow you to tweak.

The headphones come with an power button and a pairing button on the left earcup as well as an USB-C port to charge. The right earcup has buttons for volume up/down, play/pause and volume up/down. Double-clicking these buttons lets you skip tracks or replay the previous one. They also support a voice command that allows you to request to change the mode or set an alarm. The right ear cup can also be covered by your hand to activate ambient mode, so that you can hear what is going on around you, without removing the headphones.

The battery life of these headphones is great and the battery life is also excellent. The Q30 lasts for an hour longer in our tests when ANC was turned on than its rivals. This allows you to enjoy an extended flight or a long day at work. They can be charged quickly by using the USB-C cable that comes with them and you’ll be able to see an alert when they’re getting empty.

Focal Bathys Wireless

Focal’s Bathys beats wireless noise cancelling Headphones are a set of high-quality headphones for over-ear use that feature active noise cancelling wireless headphones cancellation and Bluetooth playback. They’re made to be a pair of premium high-end headphones that are great for listening to music and podcasts on the go, but sound amazing when used for audiophile home use too. They’re a little more expensive than other similar headphones, but their exceptional sound quality is their main selling feature.

The Focal Bathys come in a compact, slim and attractive, white, fabric-finished box that includes everything you require inside. You can also get a fold-flat carry case for the headphones, a USB-C to USB C cable, 1.2mmSE cable and an audio converter.

The 600mAh battery can last for a full day of listening to music casually. They also come with an audio input that you can use wired. When used wirelessly they’re paired via Bluetooth and you’ll be able control their functions using an app (now named Focal and Naim likely in the same vein as their English sister brand Naim’s products for audio that are network-aware) or using the button that’s located on the left earcup that scrolls between ANC profiles like’soft’,’silent transparent’, and ‘full’.

The app lets you adjust various settings, such as the brightness of the LEDs and the EQ presets (including the music profile, that sounds more neutral and brighter than other profiles) and the battery life. You can also choose the ANC level and mode as well as setting an ‘acoustic settings’ to adjust the sensitivity in order to simulate the sound of the headphones in a different room.

The Focal Bathys feature an incredibly bass-rich sound that adds more punch and warmth to your favourite tracks. This means that instruments and vocals be muted, while other details such as cymbals may be less prominent than on other headphones. The headphones are also less effective at active noise cancellation compared to other over-ears with more advanced technology, such as the Sony WH1000XM5 and Apple AirPods Max.

Sony WH-1000XM5

Sony has a fine reputation for its headphones, and the WH-1000XM5 is no exception. It’s located at the top portion of the over-ear headphone market, edging into the ‘luxury lifestyle’ area where the likes of Bang & Olufsen, Apple and Montblanc are a common sight. The XM5s are costly however, if you can afford it, there aren’t many better wireless headphones.

The XM5s have a lot of features that make life easier for the listener, and also automate tasks that they’d otherwise need to perform manually. Sony’s DSEE Extreme engine (which upscales compressed music to near-high resolution) is available, as is support for Bluetooth’s LDAC technology. This allows for streaming of high-quality audio with rates that are higher than traditional Bluetooth. The built-in microphone is capable of making calls hands-free.

The XM5 headphones aren’t any different than the previous generation headphones from WH, in regards to noise cancellation. They’re among the best over the ear headphones wireless-performing cans for removing the constant drones heard in train and underground carriages. The XM5s also excel at isolating the listener from the noises of busy airports and streets.

The sound quality is very good. The XM5s may not be as clear in the low frequencies as the XM4, but there’s a more pronounced sense of clarity and transparency as well. The bass on Rage Against The Machine’s Bullet in the Head shows off the Sonys strength and clarity but without affecting the rest the music. Similar to Massive Attack’s brooding Angel showcases the XM5’s ability to create tight and precise bass notes.

Battery life is excellent with up to 30 hours listening time when ANC is active and up to 40 hours when it’s off. This is more than enough to last the weekend or a few days of heavy use.

The XM5s aren’t water resistant or dust resistant. In fact, Sony recommends that you avoid sweating on them or wear them out in the rain. This may not be a problem for Beats Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones many people, but it could cause a problem for anyone considering the XM5s who spend a lot of their time at the gym or lives in a city that is rainy.

Apple AirPods Max

Apple AirPods Max is a pair of wireless headphones over-ear that feature Bluetooth technology and noise cancellation. They feature 40mm dynamic drivers designed by Apple with a neutral audio profile that emphasizes the mids and highs while not going overboard at either end of the spectrum. They are ideal for movies and music. They also have better sound quality when compared with other headphones.

The headphones are light and feel comfortable on the head. The earcups are made from memory foam covered in a woven fabric. They fit comfortably on the ears without pressing on the sides of the face. The earcups can also tilt and rotate to accommodate various head shapes. The spring-loaded hinges offer an incredibly firm, yet not too strong clamping force that ensures the earcups remain in place throughout listening sessions.

A small button at the top of the right earcup lets you toggle noise cancelling modes. There’s also a button that can be pushed, jog-dial-like button, similar to the digital crown on the Apple Watch, that you can turn to control volume and press it once twice or three times for playback controls. Siri is activated by pressing and holding the button. The buttons are well-placed and simple to use, however I would have liked a power button to switch off the headphones when not in use. The headphones are put into standby when they are removed from your ears or when placed in their case. They come back to life when you place them on your head.

Spatial audio is a cool feature. It uses the accelerometers, gyroscopes, and iPhones and iPads to determine where you are moving. Then, it repositions the sound so that they seem to be coming from that location. This creates an immersive theater experience for videos and movies recorded in 5.1, 7.1 or Dolby Atmos. The only drawback is that spatial audio requires an iOS device to use it and you won’t be able experience it on other devices.

The AirPods Max are a decent pair of headphones, but I’d be somewhat smug going into an Apple Store and spending $549 on the headphones if I knew they’d be outdone next year by the second-generation model. The AirPods Pro have more advanced features and better battery life, making it difficult to justify the cost for most people.

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