Initially I was pondering between these and the Sony XM3''s and decided to pull the trigger on this instead. Now I''ve been using these for a couple of weeks with my iPhone and honestly? I don''t regret it. I very much enjoyed these cans and I think you will too. Of...
Initially I was pondering between these and the Sony XM3''s and decided to pull the trigger on this instead. Now I''ve been using these for a couple of weeks with my iPhone and honestly? I don''t regret it. I very much enjoyed these cans and I think you will too.
Of course, since all phone manufacturers got smooth brain and thought it was the move to imitate Apple''s ditching of the 3.5 mm headphone jack, it seems that getting Bluetooth was basically a requirement. Unless somehow you actually like dealing with weird adapters. Also, I was personally sick and tired of burning through Apple earbuds because of constant cases of me snagging the wire and proceeding to drop my phone or break the earbuds.
Coming into these cans after research, I knew right off the bat the noise cancelling properties weren''t all that great, but personally I didn''t mind. I use my own car for transportation and don''t live in a bustling urban city, so to me, something that can at least drown out low drones of airplanes and AC is fine. After all, they call it noise REDUCTION for a reason. It doesn''t totally cancel things out, just reduces them. Also includes a hear-through mode!
I know lots of people will be put off by the lack of USB-C on a modern product like this, but personally I don''t mind. I''m very vigilant about charging my devices overnight while I sleep so it''s not a problem. Plus, this thing has great battery life anyways so I rarely find myself running out of juice.
But that''s enough about features, what about sound? Honestly, these are great. They provide a more neutral sound signature compared to the Sony''s. I know for some it''s a bit boring, however it didn''t hamper my enjoyment at all. What''s more, as a requirement, I prefer neutral headphones to actually have good sound quality to back up the normally boring signature, and these very much deliver, as expected of Audio Technica.
In even better news, the drivers are actually good, even when turned off and using the included cable. In testing, I didn''t really notice a difference between being turned on and off in sound quality and staging, which is great! Do note however that if you do decide to use the cable while it''s turned on that it becomes much harder to drive than when it''s off.
The last thing to note about sound quality is that it has surprisingly good sound stage for Bluetooth headphones. I was kind of shocked to be honest that it was actually equal to open-backs at the same or lesser price.
As for comfort, these are very good. The larger drivers means more room inside the ear cups which is good for those with bigger ears as portable headphones like these tend to turn them into on-ears instead of their intended over-ears. The pads are a soft, smooth pleather with a cushy memory foam. There is padding on the headband but not as much as the Sony''s. It''s Audio Technica''s signature of minimal foam on the headband, but it''s not uncomfortable even after long periods. However, do note that these things will make your ears hot especially after turning on noise reduction for a while.
Let''s top this off with the nitpicks I had. First, let me start by saying the combination of touch controls and buttons and switches annoys me. You have this nice, satisfying clicky button for the quick hear-through mode, but then reserve everything else for a touch pad on the left ear cup. The touch sensor also is annoying in that you''ll activate it even when just grabbing the headphones sometimes. It''s a bit irksome and personally I would''ve preferred if they went all in for either touch or buttons.
Also, when turning them on, it defaults to noise reduction. It''s irritating to put these on and be immediately confronted with the head pressure created by this mode. And there''s no way to change the default in the app, so you have to cycle back through hear-through to the standard mode via placing all your fingers on the cup, which sometimes isn''t detected.
I''m a bit miffed at the lack of including any sort of notch notation system for the headband adjustment. I''m a bit OCD and like my headphones on both ends set completely even, and the lack of any sort of marking on the headband bothers me. It''s a minor complaint though.
Last but not least, I don''t have a problem with it but Audio Technica''s app doesn''t offer EQ for these. Fine by me, I wouldn''t want to ruin the great sound signature.
Overall, great headphones and I think they were well worth the price of $200. However, I do wish I would''ve bought these during the Christmas season when they were on sale for $120, as this price point does have some pretty tough competitors including Sennheiser with their PXC cans. I can definitely recommend these, however.