Comparison Review: Affordable Noise-Canceling Headphones

Eliminate stress with noise-canceling headphones

Affordable noise-canceling headphones filter out unwanted interference and allow you to enjoy the silence.

Published 4 September 2020 - 12:50 pm
Affordable Noise-Canceling Headphones
Jonas Ekelund

Products in this test

As of now, we are at the height of the corona crisis, and a record number are forced to work from home. Many people have not tested it for more than a short time, and then it is actually good to get away with the laptop to write an email or similar. When you suddenly have the whole work week at home, you quickly discover several things. It is inconvenient to sit at the kitchen table in the long run. And it’s hard to concentrate when a hundred other everyday matters take up space in the conscience. Suddenly you miss the office.

In addition to creating a more ergonomic workplace, there are things you can do to be able to concentrate. Partly to have clear working hours when you do not want to be disturbed. Partly to be able to lock yourself in to get some peace and quiet. It is not always possible to close a physical door, but there are technical aids that last a long time.

Noise-Canceling Headphones, block out much of the disturbing sounds. Partly because they are physically sound-insulating and partly because they also work actively to remove even more. Microphones record what sounds in the environment, and then a negative sound signal is generated that simply eliminates the noises. In this test, we look at more affordable models that more people can afford to get in order to work more efficiently.

Different types of noise reduction

How is it that noise-canceling headphones can cost anywhere from a few hundred bucks up to four times as much? It depends on the technique they use.

Feed Forward uses an out-of-the-clock microphone to detect noise. Thus, it hears the sound before the ear, and has more time to generate the signal and becomes better at filtering out high-frequency sound. The downside is that it does not hear what you hear, which can result in it actually amplifying the noise. It also operates on a narrower frequency range and is sensitive to wind noise.

Feedback uses a microphone inside the watch that hears what you hear. This allows it to adjust the signal if necessary. On the other hand, it is not enough to adjust high-frequency sound. It also requires a little finesse so that it does not filter out parts of the music along with the noise.

Hybrid noise reduction combines the two techniques and has microphones both inside and outside the watch. This allows it to filter high frequency sound and adjust the signal. On the other hand, the solution costs twice as much, and better microphones are also required, which further increases the price tag.

Products in this test

Jays q-Seven Wireless

Best budget choice

Jays q-Seven Wireless: It is impressive that you can get both good sound and ok noise reduction at this price.

Comfortable thanks to generous upholstery. Clear buttons. Captivating sound.
Takes up space as they cannot be folded. Micro-USB charging. No app.
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JBL Live 650BTNC

Headphones full of contradictions

With as many disadvantages as advantages, it is difficult to recommend JBL Live 650BTNC.

Sound settings app. Fast charging. Tough design that stands out.
Not good enough padding in the hoop. Mediocre noise reduction and sound quality. Micro-USB connector.
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Philips PH805

Philips is back with affordable headphones

Philips PH805 sounds good for the price even if they didn't have noise reduction.

Very fast charging despite micro-USB. Good sound quality. Comfortable on the head.
Feels like plastic. Micro-USB charging. No app. Sensitive touch controls.
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Pioneer SE-S6BN

More for commuting than long flights

Pioneer headphones Pioneer SE-S6BN works well on the street, but are not the most effective at reducing noise.

Neat size makes them easy to carry. USB-C fast charging. Nice colors.
The on-ear design is not good for flights. Moderate noise reduction.
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Sennheiser HD 450BT

Reliable Sennheiser headphones

Sennheiser's most affordable NC headphones Sennheiser HD 450BT is a safe purchase.

Nice feeling of quality. Good sound and ok noise reduction. AAC and aptX support. USB-C charging.
Cannot be folded. A little uncomfortable. Too many confusing buttons.
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Sony WH-XB900N

Good noise-cancelling has become cheap

Sony's budget model Sony WH-XB900N borrows from the luxury model and thus becomes impossible to beat.

Good build quality and convenience. Easy handling. Feature-rich app. Excellent sound and noise reduction.
Well dominant bass if you do not adjust down EQ.
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Supra Nitro-X BT

Superb sound quality

Supra Nitro-X BT passes competitor after competitor, but unfortunately stumbles on the finish line.

Brilliant sound quality. Very fast charging. Comfortable comfort with ventilating pillows.
Moderate noise reduction. Micro-USB charging. No mobile app.
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ANC headphones with an added trick

Yamaha doesn't quite hit the mark

Buy the previous version instead

Lossless at last from Bose

Good news from Bose

Listen to your music for the first time

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