Per­for­mance

It’s not just sound qual­ity that counts

Mac Format - - KIT RATED -

The finest sound­ing (and best noise-can­celling) cans are the Par­rot Zik, closely fol­lowed by the Beo­Play H8. The Zik’s clean, bal­anced au­dio is tweak­able in-app, while B&O de­liv­ers sur­pris­ingly deep, rich sound for on-ear cans. Philips’ closed-back set of­fers good pas­sive sound iso­la­tion and a mea­sured sound­stage with dy­namic bass.

Sennheiser makes good on its prom­ise of a big, bassy club sound that isn’t over­pow­er­ing, while the Jabra set is punchy, but bass can drown out the mid range a lit­tle. The Plantron­ics cans of­fer great, mea­sured au­dio for most mu­sic styles; fan­tas­tic wire­less range, 25-hour (plus!) bat­tery life and voice no­ti­fi­ca­tions make up for their less im­pres­sive ANC. By con­trast, Par­rot’s Zik head­phones are let down by poor five-hour bat­tery life, weak range and ill-thought-out, app­based pair­ing/ANC con­trols. B&O’s and Philips’ cans were most likely to suf­fer dropouts and in­ter­fer­ence. Sennheiser’s bat­tery al­most matched Plantron­ics’, while Jabra’s and B&O’s cans man­aged 10-12 hours.

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