Headphones

In 2022, which Bluetooth (wireless) headphones will be the best option?

It is common knowledge that the jack plug is becoming less common on cellphones. It’s getting to the point where if you want to listen to your favourite music, you almost certainly need to invest in a Bluetooth headset (or wireless headphones). Fortunately, the benchmarks used today have some serious support behind them, such as aptX or LDAC codecs. This guide is for you if you are a significant consumer of music and are seeking for a new friend to share your passion with.

In our industry, the top brands only switch hands every so often. Apple is the company that poses the greatest threat to Sony and Bose in the luxury market. In contrast to other fields, improvements in this one are proceeding at a somewhat moderate pace, both in terms of the software (such as Google Assistant, Alexa, and improved noise reduction, etc.) and the hardware (USB-C, autonomy, etc.).

You will discover the finest Bluetooth headsets currently available in our collection, which are designed to provide comfort to your eardrums for an extended period of time.

The high-end and mid-range varieties of headsets have been the primary focus of this article. The greatest time to get a high-quality headset, which are often pricey, is without a doubt during promotional seasons, namely around Black Friday 2022, which is coming up very soon.

If you are working with a smaller budget, you will find our comparison of low-cost Bluetooth headsets to be interesting.

If you prefer headphones, you can check out our comparison of the best Bluetooth headphones or our comparison of the best cheap Bluetooth headphones if that is more your style.

Last but not least, are you familiar with the technology of bone conduction? Have a look at the variety of bone conduction headphones that we have available.

SONY WH-1000XM4

SONY WH-1000XM4

SONY WH-1000XM4

The WH-1000XM4 is Sony’s most recent offering in the premium audio headset market. It is a logical continuation of the 1000XM3 model. If it is similar to its predecessor in its fundamental capabilities, the only difference is that it can now connect to any Bluetooth device in addition to your smartphone and do so concurrently. As with the Bose QC 35 II and Headphones 700, it is also compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa.

Long at the top of our list of the finest wireless headphones, and in spite of the fact that he is now a little bit older, he continues to be on the top step of the podium, which he shares with Bose.

It has touch controls that let you to activate the headphones, regulate how much you listen, and adjust the level of active noise suppression. In addition to that, it has a feature called Quick Attention, which allows you to immediately lower the level of your music and continue listening to a conversation without taking the headphones off of your head. On paper, it is convenient; although, as is frequently the case with tactile surfaces, it may create some wandering.

Since the sound reproduction is so good and the headphones have a characteristic that places an emphasis on the low frequencies, people often refer to them as having “bassy” sound. This may be upsetting to you, but you have the option to tone down the intensity by selecting the “clear bass” mode. In contrast to the Headphones 700, the LDAC codec is included, and Sony is at last releasing multipoint Bluetooth technology. Depending on how important certain factors are to you, you could consider the 1000X4 to be an improvement above Bose’s work.

Even with the noise reduction feature turned on, the device can be used for up to 30 hours thanks to its battery. In addition to that, it is suitable for rapid charging. The Sony headphones are an evolutionary improvement; in comparison to the M3, they do not bring many significant advancements to the table. It is a really nice product, and it continues to be one of the tenors on the market, as we explain in our review of the 1000XM4, which can be found here. It’s a fantastic option to go with.

Bose Headphones 700

Bose Headphones 700

Bose Headphones 700

Audiophiles awaited with bated breath the newest release from Bose, which was a pair of headphones called the Headphones 700. And with good reason: following the flashy QC35 II, there were great expectations for the new flagship of the American company. Her efforts were rewarded. With its most recent pair of headphones, Bose has taken things up a notch and put itself on the same level as the shining beacon that is the WH-1000XM3, but with slightly different justifications.

The headphones from Bose shine with their outstanding active noise reduction, even going so far as to perform better than the QC35 II, which was not an easy challenge to do. Bose complies with the request. The so-called “W” audio characteristic of Bose emphasizes the midrange, as our tests have shown (where Sony prefers the bass). Despite this, the treble quality is substantially enhanced by the headset. The quality of the sound reproduction is quite high overall.

In addition to having a high-quality audio output, it also has strong compatibility for multipoint Bluetooth. Because of this, the Bluetooth headphones can simultaneously connect to many sources of sound, and as a result, they can transition from one source to another in the blink of an eye. You will be able to listen to music on your phone while riding public transportation, and then listen to music on your computer once you are at your place of employment in a seamless manner.

It is a true daily benefit that nearly makes you forget that the headphones do not support the aptX, aptX HD, or LDAC Bluetooth codecs. It is that kind of feature. Is there no other option besides AAC or SBC? What part of it didn’t make sense to you? Keep in mind that there are better codecs available, but that the difference is negligible, if not non-existent, for the vast majority of listeners. Eardrums with the greatest experience will be able to tell the difference. In a nutshell, we favour the more practical aspects of multipoint Bluetooth, which are far more beneficial for day-to-day applications.

The headset is also reasonably decent on battery life with roughly 20 hours of continuous usage with active noise suppression. A journey from Paris to Auckland could almost be accommodated with these seats. It charges through USB-C.

Be advised, though, that this helmet has the bothersome tendency of having its padding disintegrate after a few months of wear. It is to your detriment to be aware of this information before making a purchase, even if they can be readily modified. You may read our review of the Bose Headphones 700 if you want to learn all there is to know about these headphones.

Apple AirPods Max

Apple AirPods Max

Apple AirPods Max

Following the event, Apple comes to the conclusion that it will enter the market for wireless headphones with an ambitious model whose price will cause more than one eyebrow to be raised. Because of this, the AirPods Max, to give them their full name, are an enclosed circum-aural wireless headset that, as would be expected, has active noise suppression.

Apple was obligated to provide a design in addition to an excellent finish in order to justify charging this premium. The agreement has been fulfilled, with a helmet taking pride of place in front of the metal. Because of this, it is conceptually rather heavy, but the weight is spread in an extremely even manner. Be cautious however, since we are now in the presence of a helmet that was intended to be worn when sat in a chair rather than while participating in sports. The controls include a button for noise reduction and a crown in the form of an Apple Watch. The ergonomics of the device are excellent. Even if the crown is a little overly delicate, the end product is still extremely effective.

There is still one thing that cannot be overlooked, and that is the cover. In addition to having poor aesthetics, it is not very useful and even fails to perform its primary function of covering the helmet adequately. The headband and the delicate mesh fabric that it is made of are still exposed.

There is no way to dispute the fact that the performances are of the highest possible quality in terms of sound. The rendering is just amazing and incredibly enjoyable, despite the lack of any high-resolution codecs. Be cautious however, since the most important thing for Apple was not to provide high-fidelity sound but rather to provide a sound that is appealing. A significant distinction for audiophiles.

Nothing more to say about the active noise reduction, which is without a doubt the most effective solution currently available, and it comes with the extra benefit of a very effective transparency mode.

It should come as no surprise, though, that in order to get the most of this excellent headset, you will need to be part of the Apple ecosystem. Therefore, some functions, such as multipoint, do not function properly on either Windows nor Android.

In conclusion, the AirPods Max are relatively typical of Apple’s V1 headphones in that they have a great quality but are overpriced and suffer from a number of minor flaws that are not deserving of the amount that is being asked for them.

There is, thus, nothing that will prohibit affluent enthusiasts from jumping on it. We see it virtually always around 520 euros, which, if there is any proof at all that Apple has had a little bit of a strong hand on pricing, would indicate that. Find out everything we thought of the Apple AirPod Max in our review.

Yamaha YH-L700

Yamaha YH-L700

Yamaha YH-L700

Another significant participant in the audio industry is the Japanese company Yamaha, which was founded in 1887. The YH-L700 headphones are characterized first and foremost by their appearance, which has extremely exquisite finishes all over the headphones’ exterior. The memory foam on the headband makes it more comfortable to use for extended periods of time. Despite the fact that the product does not fit well on those with smaller skulls, it is nevertheless manufactured to a high standard.

The control controls on the Yamaha helmet are also conveniently located, making it a simple helmet to use. Even while the program has a limited number of applications for its owner, particularly considering that there is no sound equalization included, it is still feasible to attach the product to the application that is specifically designed for use with Yamaha headphones. One of the many features offered by the Yamaha YH-L700 is 3D spatialization, which is coupled with a Head Tracking mode that makes use of the gyroscope in the helmet.

Because it uses Listening Care technology, the sound adjusts to your preferences as you listen to it. We are also disappointed that an unacceptable amount of latency renders this headset incompatible with a quality gaming smartphone. It works well for viewing shows or listening to music for extended periods of time.

Audio Technica M50xBT2

Audio Technica M50xBT2

Audio Technica M50xBT2

If wireless headphones have reached new heights in popularity over the past few years, then we have to acknowledge that the majority of them take an approach to the sound that is suitable for a very large number of people, while still maintaining distinctive hues for each brand. Due to the fact that the M50XBT2 is, first and foremost, a wireless adaptation of a reference monitoring headset, a more nuanced approach has been taken in its design.

This descendant of the ATH-M50X maintains a design that is almost entirely identical to its predecessor. As a result, we find in this model one that is extremely practical, robust, and not particularly pretty. Despite this, there is nothing to comment on regarding the machine’s finish; it is exceptionally sturdy. A few buttons for the controls are displayed on the slices, but it is not possible to use these buttons in any meaningful way.

Although it has the same transducers as its predecessor, this model now comes equipped with a dedicated digital audio converter (DAC). The end result for the user is a sound that is crisp and exceptionally well-balanced. This latter aspect is not quite neutral, but it is markedly less noticeable than the norm. In addition to that, the dynamics are very well done. However, you should be aware that there is no active noise reduction taking place. On the other hand, this enables it to have an autonomy of fifty hours.

In this package, Audio Technica offers headphones that buck the industry’s dominant trends. In this case, there is no active noise reduction, and the manufacturer places a primary emphasis on sound quality. It will be discussed in greater depth in the accompanying section of our review of the Audio Technica M50XBT2 headphones.

Bose QuietComfort 45

One of Bose’s flagship models is getting an upgrade three years after the release of the excellent QC 35 II. The changes are hardly noticeable, if they can even be called that… It is not easy to tell the QC 45 apart from the firearms that came before it. Even during extended use, the headset doesn’t become uncomfortable to wear, so this certainly can’t be considered a limitation of the product. In addition, we value the fact that it can be folded up into a compact size and is consequently simple to transport.

The active noise reduction, which is a signature feature of the series, has undergone yet another round of refinement and has been shown to be very effective in all circumstances. However, we are sorry to inform you that the level of its intensity cannot be altered. It is also impossible to deactivate it without either entering a transparent mode (which is, by the way, very effective) or plugging it in with a cable… It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the sound is of good quality; however, compared to the earlier version, there has been no improvement. As a result, we will continue to use a very “flat” rendering, which some people may find unappealing.

It has a simple design, and its arch is able to withstand tensions and twists very well. In a nutshell, it is sturdy. Because it has an NFC chip and Bluetooth 5.1, it can establish connections with multiple devices at the same time. The quality of the multipoint management needs to be lauded, as it is significantly higher than, for example, what Sony provides. Strong autonomy, with 24 hours of effective use, and charging made easier by the use of a USB-C connector. Autonomy is measured in effective use hours.

Despite the fact that we are in the company of a very good helmet, the QC 45 is content to continue its development on the periphery. Most importantly, its price positioning is poorly controlled, especially in comparison to direct competitors such as the Sony WH-1000XM4 or the Bose Headphones 700, both of which are even more affordable. A point that is made all the more paradoxical by the fact that the QC 35 II was almost always significantly less expensive… Because of this, we are going to wait for potential promotions before we rush into it.

JBL Live 660NC

JBL Live 660NC

JBL Live 660NC

Although the higher-end models receive the majority of the attention, there are also good headphones in the mid-range price range. The circum-aural design of this JBL Live 660NC speaker, which is surprisingly compact considering its size, is the proof. Its relatively small size comes at the expense of comfort due to its rigid construction and a slight lack of space within the headphones. This is a trade-off for the product’s advantage in terms of portability.

Be wary if you have particularly large ears. Additionally, it has a tendency to press a little too firmly on the skull, which may be annoying if you plan to wear it for the full seven hours each day. The finishes are nice, with a standout feature being an exceptionally aesthetically pleasing fabric covering on the arch.

Regarding the quality of the sound, I would characterize it as pleasant overall, with headphones that place a heavy emphasis on the bass, which is then faithfully reproduced. A high level of quality can also be found in the spatialization, which features a large soundstage. The noise reduction feature, for its part, is adaptive, and the intensity of its effect is adjusted automatically. In actuality, the effectiveness is about the same as average, the helmet is more sensitive to noises of traffic than to conversations, and we are typically a long way off from what the industry leaders are achieving.

On the other hand, the headset is exceptional in terms of its longevity, as it can endure active noise reduction for up to 40 hours without experiencing significant issues. The USB-C port will allow for refuelling in 1 hour and 10 minutes, and the fast charging feature will provide 60% of the battery’s capacity in just 20 minutes.

The Live 660NC is a generally successful product that offers excellent value for money overall, despite having a design that isn’t going to appeal to everyone’s tastes.

After Aonic 40

After Aonic 40

After Aonic 40

When it comes to high-quality headphones that excel in all aspects of audio reproduction, the Shure Aonic 40 is a strong contender in our selection. The business is already well known in the audio market, and they provide a device that is really comprehensive called the Aonic 40.

It all begins with a design that features contemporary lines while still being comfortable enough to be worn on a daily basis. The headphones are of the circum-aural variety, which means that they completely enclose your ears in their design. The way the controls are laid up makes it possible for you to switch songs with a single motion.

The product provides a sound quality that is accurate and undistorted overall. The signature features a bass that is both deep and powerful. Additionally, the mids and highs have been improved. If you prefer listening to your sound without the ANC, then the differences between the categories will become more subtle. You will have understood that the Shure Aonic provides services that are very well balanced.

The headphones have a lifetime of about 38 hours, which is shown in the autonomy section. Bluetooth is one of the available connectors, but that’s not all that’s available. a line for USB, in addition to a jack port. In addition to that, we should highlight the active noise reduction, as well as the mobile application. After reading the results of our comprehensive test of the headphones, you will have more reasons to give in to its enticements.

Leave a Comment