Noise-cancelling headphones 2019 – there were more than usual as this Bluetooth, Noise Cancelling category bred like rabbits.
The main additions to Noise Cancelling Headphones 2019 were voice assistants (OK Google, Alexa and some Siri), move to USB-C and PD charging, better Adaptive (intelligent) noise cancelling, BT 5.0 and longer battery life.
Where to start with noise-cancelling headphones 2019? At the top of course.
Note that we are referring to consumer-grade headphones (over the ear) and earphones (in-ear) not studio monitor cans. We have put ‘street’ price guides (many online) rather than RRP.
What excited me in 2019 – noise-cancelling headphones 2019
And the winner for 2019 is the Sennheiser Momentum 3 $599 – outright class leader scoring 5/5.
- Perfect sound (no other headphones had such a flat response from mid-bass to mid-treble)
- Extraordinarily comfortable with sheepskin padded headband and deep ear cups
- Find my cans – Tile integration
Sure, they are a little heavier at 305g and don’t fold up like the Sennheiser PXC 550 II, but if you are buying only one, this is it.
Runner-up: Sennheiser PXC 550 II $449-549– best travel headphones scoring 4.9/5
- Similar ‘warm and sweet’ sound to the Momentum 3 with bass starting a little
- 20/30 hours BT/3/5mm ANC
- USB-DAC to allow it as a USB headphone on a computer (music/charge)
- 227g and fold flat/in makes it perfect as a travel companion
Honourable mention: Bose 700 $499–599 best noise cancelling and hands-free speakerphone use 4.8/5
- The noise cancelling is exceptional
- Bose sound is ‘synthetic’ and verges more on ‘bright-vocal.’
- Its four beamforming mics are amazingly clear for hands-free speakerphone use
- 260g and new style but it does not fold so its not perfect for travel
We also reviewed many other headphones
- Bowers and Wilkins PX7. $509-599. 4.7-out-of-5. Excellent effort, 30-hour BT/ANC but lacking an EQ for a custom sound.
- AKG N700 $220-250 – good adaptive noise cancelling but uses older BT 4.2 and SBC codec. Mid-centric sound signature makes these best for clear voice
- Microsoft Surface 4.2/5 $499 – without being unkind the kindest thing we could say is these are unique and the result of three years involving a large team of Microsoft engineers rather than re-brand someone else’s device. Surface lovers won’t regret the purchase, mid-centric, 290g, BT 4.2 and Cortana, Google and Siri support.
- Jabra Elite 85h $349, 4.5/5 were the most exciting and have the potential to take on the big guys. It has BT 5.0, adaptive noise cancelling and good all-rounders. The initial price of $499 made them uncompetitive.
- JBL Live 650 $199, 4.5/5 – great warm and sweet sound and a $249 price to blow you away
- Sony WH-1000XM3 $340-399, 4.9/5 reviewed in December 2018 and technology has passed it by. At the time it was a class leader and for many at under $380 it still is. It supports LDAC high res, AAC and SBC and was our reference headphone in 2019.
- Poly (Plantronics) Backbeat 810 $130 (also late 2018) 4.5/5 and still a top performer
- Ausdom ANC7S 4.5/5 4.5/5 and at $139 the cheapest we have tested
Earphones (noise-cancelling where indicated)
- Apple AirPod Pro 4.9/5 and for Apple only
- Beats Powerbeats Pro 4.7/5 for Apple
- Sony WF-1000XM3 – 4.6/5 noise-cancelling and probably deserve a re-grading as later firmware fixed all the issues we had. Fantastic sound and clear voice for handsfree.
- Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless, $312/424, 4.6/5 – accurate sound from low to high
- Sennheiser IE 80S 4.7/5, $360-399, first-class sound
- Jabra Elite 75t 4.6/5, $279 and up there with the best. Great for Apple, Android or Windows.
GadgetGuys take – all the noise-cancelling headphones 2019 were good in their own way
The 2019 tech was great but the 2018 tech still performed very well – especially as most music is lossy compressed MP3 sent via BT over a standard SBC codec.
Decide on your budget and don’t be a brand snob.