Whether you’re escaping on-flight infant cries or looking to focus with zero distractions, the best noise cancelling headphones can help you tune out after a long day! These headphones utilise Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology that reduces unwanted background sounds by adding sound waves that interfere with their audibility. The end result is a comfortable and silent audio experience. Keen on trying a pair? Read on for our handy tips to help you buy the best noise cancelling headphones to fit your needs!
Essential properties of the best noise cancelling headphones
Sound quality — frequency response range, soundstaging & drivers
Even if you’re able to block out all the noise, the last thing you’ll want are headphones with poor sound quality! Not sure how to gauge good sound quality though? Here are some tips! Firstly, check out the frequency response range, which refers to the full range of frequencies headphones can reproduce. The wider the range, the better! This allows tunes to layer itself and come alive instead of sounding hollow and flat.
Next, soundstaging refers to the headphones’ ability to let listeners perceive a song’s width and spaciousness. Solid soundstaging makes any song sound like a live performance.
Lastly, headphone drivers help convert electrical signals into pleasant and audible sound signals for our ears. Ranging from dynamic drivers to balanced armature drivers, manufacturers include a mix to produce sounds with high fidelity and low distortion.
The best noise cancelling headphones don’t just have to sound great, they have to feel great too! Always avoid those that cup your ears too tightly or squeeze your head. Ideally, you should be looking out for headphones with cushioned headbands and snug ear pads that provide the necessary isolation without heating up your ears.
Now that you’re aware of what to look out for, check out our rundown of the best noise cancelling headphones money can buy!
Best noise cancelling headphones for shoppers on a budget
1. Avantree ANC032
Keen on trying out the best noise cancelling headphones but short on budget? Avantree ANC032 (available on Avantree Official Singapore Store) is a fantastic option that gives users a taste of how ANC can improve your overall audio experience! Playing a quiet static sound, the filter effectively cancels out ambient noises and allows you to tune out. While it might not provide a comprehensive noise cancelling experience, the combination of static and music helps to make most low frequency sounds inaudible.
Don’t let its price fool you — Avantree has done a terrific job of constructing their headphones with a durable build! The headphones adopt a matte black finish and emphasise on portability with a useful headphone cups swivel and fold feature.
Best noise cancelling headphones for no-frills headphone users
2. Anker Soundcore Space NC
The Anker Soundcore Space NC (available on Anker Official Store Singapore) is lauded as one of the best noise cancelling headphones at its price point. At a fraction of what premium noise cancelling over-ear headphones cost, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of quality packed into these headphones! The sublime sound quality is nothing to scoff at as its noise cancellation complements the decent mix of highs and lows. This ensures you’re separated from surrounding noises while enjoying the increased musical depth.
Durability-wise, Anker has introduced a lightweight build that includes a metal headband and memory foam ear cups. Although they may look flimsy, the Space NC headphones prove sturdy and can definitely take a few punches. Overall, this adds to the affordable, no frills package that Anker uses to win over audiophiles!
Best noise cancelling headphones for treble heads
3. Audio-Technica ATH-ANC700BT QuietPoint
If you’re keen on getting the best noise cancelling headphones optimised for treble notes, Audio-Technica’s ATH-ANC700BT QuietPoint (available on Audio Technica S.E.A. Pte Ltd) is your best bet! Utilising isolation effects from the memory foam ear pads with a four-microphone multi-feedback system, Audio-Technica has placed great emphasis on silencing ambient chatter once and for all. For audio purists who crave the highest fidelity in their music, plug in the 3.5mm cable included to enjoy Hi-Res Audio! This function guarantees crystal clear music as you fully embrace its mid-heavy tones.
Although ANC functions can be battery consuming, using it concurrently with the wireless Bluetooth allows for 25 hours of continuous use. Checking all the boxes when it comes to battery life, sound quality and comfort, it’s no wonder many choose to go with Audio-Technica’s offering when considering the best noise cancelling headphones.
Best noise cancelling headphones for quality music on-the-go
4. Sony WH-1000XM3
Tired of headphones that hype up their sound quality but fail to deliver? Praised by fans and critics as the best noise cancelling headphones for travelling, Sony WH-1000XM3 (available on 4P Store) offers performance that rivals the best in the market with its clear sonics and booming bass! Mashing stellar audio performance with a clean design, Sony has effectively established the M3’s dominance in the ANC market.
Besides its snug fit and terrific 30-hour battery life, look out for its Adaptive Sound Control. The much-hyped feature works by switching between ambient noise mode to full-on noise cancelling mode according to your surroundings. Whether you’re waiting at a crowded interchange or strolling home, this pair can intelligently adapt to suit any situation!
Best noise cancelling headphones for maximum comfort
5. Bose QuietComfort 35 II
Need a pair of reliable headphones for that long flight? Building upon its predecessor’s legendary status, Bose’s QuietComfort 35 II (available on Bose Official Store) has plenty to live up to when it comes to claiming the title of best noise cancelling headphones. Retaining its sublime audio quality and battery life, the QuietComfort 35 II effectively combines a light mass synthetic protein leather and soft grip to allow for longwear use!
If you’re wondering what Bose introduced to further increase comfort levels, it’s the headphones’ Google Assistant button. Utilising the built-in microphone, you’re able to easily swap songs and receive emails without ever whipping your phone out! This combination of features makes the QuietComfort 35 II favoured among frequent travellers.
Best noise cancelling headphones for full-bodied sonics
6. Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless
Keen on buying a pair of the best noise cancelling headphones for everyday use? You can’t go wrong with Sennheiser’s PXC 550 Wireless (available on Sennheiser Singapore Official Store)! Achieving that satisfying sound quality Sennheiser is renowned for, the PXC 550 Wireless stands out from the competition with its multi-layered sound quality. From crisp highs to pulse-pounding lows, the balance here is on point and capable of fine tuning with its four equaliser modes.
As for usability, Sennheiser has done away with traditional buttons and switches in favour of an intuitive earcup-mounted touch control panel. To begin your scintillating audio experience, simply twist the headphone’s hinges and tap the cup once! Need to engage in a brief conversation? Double tap to activate Talk Through mode so you can hear others without ever needing to remove your headphones. Ultimately, these smart features contribute to the overall premium headphone experience.
Best noise cancelling headphones for audiophiliac fashionistas
7. Bowers & Wilkins PX
Topping off our list as the most extravagant pair of noise cancelling headphones, Bowers & Wilkins’ PX headphones (available on bowers.wilkins.sg) guarantee that you can look great while rocking out to your favourite tunes. The PX headphones floored us with its luxe Soft Gold and futuristic Space Grey options! Visually, you’ll be pleased with the sturdy but lightweight construction boasting supple leather, ballistic nylon and memory foam ear cups. We also loved the soft, quilted protective pouch that comes with purchase!
Far from being just a good-looker, the PX headphones sound phenomenal — both with and without ANC! These headphones provide a punchy and intense bass with defined and prominent mids and highs ensuring owners are in for an aural treat.
It’s music to your ears with the best noise cancelling headphones
With these recommendations for the best noise cancelling headphones, you’ll never have to suffer through headache-inducing noise again. Looking to give your new accessory a test run? Kick back and chill with our guide to relaxing music. If you’re an analogue music purist, why not stock up on that record collection by checking out these shops selling vinyl records in Singapore. Happy listening!
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