If your high-end hi-fi is be­ing drowned out by ex­ter­nal din, try a pair of noise-can­celling head­phones

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

If the pre­mium wire­less noise-can­celling head­phone cat­e­gory were a box­ing weight class, it would cer­tainly be the heavy­weight divi­sion. Here is where all the big­gest brands slug it out, us­ing some of the most in­no­va­tive, fea­ture-laden and sen­sa­tional-sound­ing over-ear de­signs you can buy, all around the £300 mark. And they don’t come much big­ger than AKG, Bose, Bow­ers & Wilkins and Sony.

If you’ve owned mul­ti­ple pairs of noisecancelling head­phones through the years, chances are that at least one of them was made by Bose. The man­u­fac­turer kick-started the noise-can­celling trend many moons ago and over the years, its tech has been con­sis­tently among the best, if not the best, in class. Its cur­rent flag­ship pair of Blue­tooth noise-cancellers are the Qui­et­com­fort QC35 IIS, com­plete with built-in Google As­sis­tant.

Bet­ter known for its loud­speak­ers, Bow­ers and Wilkins is a rel­a­tive new­comer to high-tech head­phones, but the PXS are tes­ta­ment to the brand’s abil­ity to diver­sify into new mar­kets. Still, it will be a big ask for the com­pany’s first pair of wire­less noise-cancellers to win this test.

Sony is no stranger to head­phones, but the Ja­panese gi­ant has made a con­certed ef­fort re­cently to try and knock Bose off its perch. On test here, Sony’s third gen­er­a­tion noise-can­celler, the WH-1000XM3, boasts some very clever noise-can­celling tech­nol­ogy.

AKG has built some out­stand­ing head­phones, run­ning from af­ford­able to ex­tremely ex­pen­sive, so how will its new pre­mium noise-cancellers, the N700NCS, fare against these il­lus­tri­ous ri­vals?

So those are the con­tenders. It’s now time to sit back, grab a box of pop­corn and see how this heavy­weight bat­tle un­folds.

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