Best Noise Cancelling Headphones

:wave: currently have the WF-1000XM3 wireless earbuds. Software is great but as these are earbuds the noise cancelling is average-poor.

Considering selling these and getting the Silver Bose 700; better noise cancelling and the mic quality is ridiculously good; but the battery life is average - anyone have any thoughts? What wireless headphones are you wearing and why?

I have both the Bose QC 35 II and the Sony WH-1000XM3, so I guess I have the current state of the art in the mid price range covered

I have had the former for about a year longer than the latter. I use both in turn (switching at the point of needing to recharge one of them)

It is possible that the Sony have the better noise cancelling and sound quality, but think that the Bose are more comfortable, especially on those days I am wearing glasses (glow in the dark or otherwise!)

I’ve only ever used the Bose QC 35’s (the original one, not the II), and they’re still working perfectly for me after almost 3 years of use.

Battery life is amazing, sound quality is very good (after I got used to it after a decade and a half of getting used to crappy audio from cheap earphones), and the Bluetooth connectivity never falters.

Expensive, though… very expensive. Oh, and the ear pads do wear out after a while, though I’ve only had to replace them once. I have also had to replace the carry case once as well, owing to a broken zipper. I don’t think these are getting software updates anymore, though.

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So far the ear pads on my QC 35 are wearing well and long may that continue!

I had a well loved pair of QC 15 (donated to family when I when wireless) and I went through loads of replacement ear pads, which were always really fiddly to replace.There seemed to be a really curious design choice/flaw in how the seam was glued together, which was the breaking point each time

I have a pair of the QC-35 at work, where there’s a lot of background noise. They’re great, though when some of my less considerate colleagues are being particularly noisy and I need to concentrate, i have been known to wear earplugs underneath as well. I’m trying to make the QC-35s last as long as possible, so never take them anywhere else. I suspect most wear and tear would actually happen in transit rather than when they’re sitting over my ears or in their case in my drawer.

For me, there’s only one downside to the QC-35s, which is that they pick up a lot of background noise if I’m on a phone call, and make it harder for others to hear. Headphones with a less sensitive boom microphone, like the Jabra Ellite, do this better.

I have a slight issue with the QC-35s, which is that they occasionally seem to beep repeatedly, as if they were pairing and unpairing. However, I have a suspicion that this may be because I’ve previously paired them to three of my phones and an iPad, and they keep switching secondary device (on which I’m not listening to music).

More general point on noise cancelling headphones: Absolutely smashing at cancelling out printers and air con and engine noise and the like, but do pretty much nothing (in an active sense) to cancel voices, the one thing I would like them to be able to more than anything…

PX by bowers and Wilkinson are good

It should be noted that most of the noise dampening comes from the seal of the actual ear cups… if I put them on properly, they do a damned good job of blocking out the surrounding world (sometimes to the extent of a headache, if I don’t have anything playing through them).

They don’t really like being paired to a load of devices… they can get quite confused easily, I’ve noticed. Maybe doing a bluetooth pairing reset might help with this (hold the power slider to the Bluetooth pairing position for 5 seconds until the headphones say ‘Bluetooth devices cleared’ or something like that).

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Thank you for the suggestion. Will give that a shot next time I get to work (in four days)

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Ive had original bose qc35s and now sony xm3. I much prefer the audio quality on the Sony. Much better bit rate from the sony ldac bluetooth audio codec than sbc my bose used. Apparently the new ones support aac which is an improvement but odd it doesn’t support aptx hd at least.

If getting the sony its worth checking if your phone supports ldac too. All android with pie or above should i think.

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I’m using Nuraphones at the moment, and I really love them!

The sound quality is great, and the immersion feature is insanely good - the bass really vibrates the earcups which does give a really cool experience.

Yep, had these last year whilst travelling and was constantly blown away by how loud the outside world is when you take them off…


Please don’t buy something that doesn’t have usb c, this day and age it’ll be stupid to buy something without it - I have the Sony wh-1000xm3 and are great, battery is one of the longest and sound is decent for noise cancelling. The Bose 700 would be the next best thing (if not best depending on what you want) and it finally has usb c - the mic isn’t as goof as the sony’s (but the mic on the boss range hasn’t been the best anyway).

Long story short - if you’re willing to spend the money for the Sony XM3 or the Bose 700. Then pick which ever you find suits you better (Sony imo are better battery and sound plus the fold better (more compact). Bose look more modern and sleeker but mic and sound quality isn’t as good imo and they don’t fold as well).
They’re by far the best for noise cancelling and have decent sound as well.


I second this.

I’d personally think very hard before buying any new tech that isn’t Type C.

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Another vote for Bose QC35 II.

Tried the Sony equivalent in a store, and while the sound quality and noise cancellation seemed better, they weren’t as comfortable and after comparing them from various sources on the internet (and talking to a colleague who owned them at the time), they were notoriously susceptible to damage on the headband. As someone with a bit of a large head, that was the deal-breaker.

Looking at the Bose 700, I might grab a pair when I replace my QC35 II but for now i’m content as I can’t really use them much in my current job compared to practically all the time in my last.

Think that was related to the earlier versions - it played a large part in updating my Bose to Bose - but it seems to be resolved with the III

Agree. They’re a bit more creaky than the Bose when I move about and seem to be a different shape

Is the WH-1000XM3 the newer Sony one? I can’t remember the ones I tried as it was a couple years ago. I just remember asking my colleague what he thought and he pulled a pair out of it’s case and it was hanging on by a thread (or at least looked like it).

I’d probably stick with Bose though even if Sony’s are technically better. Bose seem to have perfected comfort and if I switched I’d probably end up in the same scenario as when I switched my PC headset from the wired HyperX Cloud 2 to the wireless Arctis 7 and immediately regretted the decision as the HyperX felt far superior comfort-wise.

Yeah, the XM3 came out within the last year or so. Believe the 1s had a real issue with cracking plastic on sides, but was mostly resolved by redesign for 2s and not mentioned now