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Over ear wireless headphone recommendations for many hours of coding?
17 points by travisgriggs 2 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 40 comments
The freebie Beats headphones that Apple threw in with my daughter's MacBookAir when she went to college are on the fritz. Looking for a replacement so I can jam and tune out coworker noise for long hours of coding. Something wireless, ANC, and works well with the 16" MBP (and affordable).

If you want an excellent wireless ANC experience for long periods of coding (or for travel or entertainment), I strongly recommend Sony's wireless noise cancelling headphones:

Sony WH-1000XM4 (or the slightly older WH-1000XM3)

Many of my friends and colleagues have bought them after my recommendation (my colleagues and I use the 16" MBP) and all have had a fantastic experience

The top alternative that I'm aware of is Bose's noise cancelling headphones but I haven't tried them myself

Edit: this is the video that sold me on the Sony headphones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bInJjmH31Hk

Just picked up some XM3s last week. It’s the most I’ve ever spent on headphones, but as soon as I tried them on and the noise cancelling kicked in I knew it was money well spent. A little bit of high frequency still comes through but it works so well that the initial experience is a little eerie. I’m prone to finding many headphones apply too much pressure to the top and sides very quickly, these I can happily use for a few hours at a time. I’m not an audiophile by any stretch but I have found other Bluetooth headphones I’ve tried pretty lacking, and streaming with LDAC on these sounds really great to me, if a touch cool/clinical. Bass is well handled as long as you’re not producing, it isn’t monitor level flat, nor Beats muddy. Touch interface takes some getting used to, I’d probably prefer buttons, but it does avoid applying lateral pressure so it’s a win on the comfort front. I haven’t tried competing high end ACN products from Bose and Shure (wasn’t possible do to Covid restrictions here), but you won’t be disappointed with these… or the XM4 presumably, the 100€ premium was hard to justify for me.

The XM4 has superior ANC to the Bose QC-35, but the Bose has a much more comfortable headband. Almost loose enough to feel like it’s going to fall off my head, but not quite.

I find that comfort is most definitely my biggest consideration, when we talk about the best headphones with ANC. Nothing else really matters too much if the thing hurts your head so much that you can’t wear them for long.

Confirm. Tried the Bose against a lot of others last week, and the Bose was by far the best. But €300 is a lot.

You can get them used for 100-130

I have the 3’s and adore them. Can’t imagine life without them. I got my dad a set for his birthday and he also feels the same.

Only gripe is that if they are Bluetooth connected they will remain on forever. So it’s easy to forget they are on and they stay on all night and then are dead or low battery.

Another vote for Sony noise cancelling headphones from me. I have the WH-1000XM3, and they're fantastic. I easily wear them for 3-6 hours at a time.

The only thing I dislike is the lack of multiple device support, but that was added in the XM4, so yeah. Basically perfect.

I Have Sony's WHCH700N Bluetooth/NFC/Wired Noise Cancelling Over-Ear headphones, and I wear them for 3, 4, or more hours per day most days. Edit: Good for voice calls as well.

Agreed. I had a friend get these and they spread through our friend group. Absolutely amazing for flights too. I’ve had mine for 5 year I think. (This is one of two products that I happily advocate for, the other being the philips norelco oneblade)

If you take a lot of calls, the on-the-ear version is great too.

yep i agree. Got the XM4's in sept 2020 for £350 used them everyday until the dog got them. I immediately ordered another pair on amazon, and at £250 now i couldn't recommend them enough. - Sound is great for this type/price of headphone. - ANC is great and the wind noise-cancelling option is incredible. - comfort is great - battery is good recharge speed is great. - multi-device support is meh, airpods are better at this. - dog proofing sucks.

This is my go-to pair as well.

Strongly recommend ditching the wireless requirement (during long periods they will be plugged in anyway) and checking out a pair of Beyerdynamic DT770 80 Ohm.

These are the most comfortable headphones I’ve used by far, and have excellent sound. They are a standard in studios because they are comfortable, sound great, isolate well and are quite rugged as well.

They are also much less expensive than most “audiophile” headphones.

I use Beyerdynamic DT-880 for music production. They're the only headphones I can wear from morning until night without a headache or ear pain. If you're okay with paying $200 and have an audio interface or amp, it's a great option.

The only downside is that they're intended for studio purposes and have very accurate sound, so the listening experience for bass-heavy music is less "fun" than consumer headphones. For mix testing and casual listening, I sometimes switch to the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X, which is the standard for EDM kids.

>and have very accurate sound, so the listening experience for bass-heavy music is less "fun" than consumer headphones

That's just a case of adjusting the frequency response to something less flat with a custom EQ on your music app.

Seconding this recommendation,my DT990s are the most comfortable headphones I have ever owned. They are the only pair I can wear for most of the day and feel no fatigue.

DT770 80 Ohm is fantastic. Although I wonder if 32 Ohm would be a better option since 80 Ohm needs an amp to boost the volume. It was just not loud enough for me when connected to my Mac.

Hi. I recommend you get comfortable studio monitors. I have Sony WH-1000M3s, and after 4 hours they hurt my ears due to the pressure. However, my "cheaper" over ear studio monitors have far lower pressure. In fact, many studio monitors specify how many newtons of force they apply the the ears.

Sennheiser PXC 550-II. It is comfortable to wear, has good sound and noise cancellation - and void through. Connection is possible with Bluetooth, USB and classic jack plug.

Seconding the PXC-550 (I have the older version), which I am wearing as I write this. They're very comfortable, and pair well with my macbook, phone, etc. They cancel most noise enough not to be bothersome (_except my Roomba_), and last long enough between charges. I wear them pretty much my entire work day.

One thing I'll caution is, don't use their microphone for anything. Sennheiser decided to _amplify_ all the outside sounds that it normally cancels whenever you are using it as a voice input (e.g. phone calls, or zoom), and you can't disable it (at least, not in mine). It's infuriating, and presumably for safety in a situation (driving) where I'll never be using these. In practice, this isn't a big deal -- I use the macbook speaker for zoom calls, and never use my phone w/ the headphones for calls.

I meant "voice through", of course.

I'm going to also say Bose QC series. I'd say the Bose QC 35 II is perfect for you. It was the king for a long time and it's probably gone down considerably in price now since the newer version came out.

Bose QC35 mk2 is a good bet, they’re good all purpose headphones, they’re super comfortable, have a conventional sound profile, fold up for convenience and have good battery life. Downside of having micro USB to charge with.

If you have wired headphones already that you like, you can use them with something like Fiio’s BTR3, a Bluetooth amp with microphone that has great battery life.

If you’re in the Apple ecosystem their AirPods Pro are a good alternative for a true wireless in ear, very convenient, but will require time in their case during the day to charge up.

I have the Flagship ANC headset from Status Audio and it's absolutely amazing for the <$200 range. Great sound for listening to music and comfortable enough to listen for the full length of the battery life (35 hours). I have fallen asleep with them on many a time. https://www.status.co/products/flagshipanc For a wired cheap alternate, the closed back studio monitors are fantastic. https://www.status.co/products/cb1 I've had most of their headphones/headsets over the years and while it's not Bose/Sennheiser in terms of super high end, they are well worth their price points and can hold up to long term use and abuse. Just keep in mind since they aren't a name brand, some software needs convincing to have them sync properly. I have had no issues with a variety of OS but sometimes stuff like web-browser Zoom has a meltdown over it both being a headset and headphones. I don't have any issues with the full apps with sound/mic recognition, and there's a good chance those issues are due to the aggressive privacy settings I have on my browsers.

Bose 700 are pretty comfortable. The noise cancellation is remarkable, but if you don't need it, you can reduce it. They're pretty nice on plane rides too if you don't need headphones you can sleep on. The only cons I've found are the bose apps are not super respectful of privacy and the cost - but I just found a pair for $250 on prime day so I imagine they'll be a good price come black friday too.

I bought a pair of these to replace my old Bose Quiet Comfort II headphones and love them. They are also USB C which is nice. I highly recommend them. They're a bit pricey, but I hear the Sony ones mentioned in this thread are pretty good too. I haven't used those though.

I had my old Bose headphones for several years and wore them all the time while working remote in lots of cafes and kitchen tables. The only thing I ever had to replace were the ear cups.

I don't like the NCH 700s because your ears will get hot (good for reducing outside sounds, bad if you're not in an air conditioned environment). Additionally my ears hurt after several (6+) hours of use (if you're sleeping on a plane you won't notice, but at your desk you might).

I think they're great for the 30+ flights I've been on, but I wish I got the QC 35 IIs instead for everyday activities.

Beoplay H9 gen 3. Good ANC, good sound quality, good multi device pairing, very durable, I wear them 5-9 hours a day and I find them extremely comfortable. I lugged the first gen around on planes and traveling for nearly 3 years and hundreds of flights without a case and just looped over my laptop bags handle, they are built to last and are sound great with anc on and off, I just wish they hadn't gotten rid of the replaceable battery. I know a lot of people like the sony and bose anc headphones but I personally found the fit for both to not be as comfortable for my head shape/size.

Use the equalizer app to lower bass just slightly, they upped default bass from gen 1 and ear fatigue is real if you leave it at the default.

I love my Bose QC35 headphones. I purchased mine in summer of 2016 and they’re still working great. Battery life is still more than enough to get through a full day. I’ve had to replace the ear pads twice now, but otherwise they’ve been flawless.

Sony WH-1000XM4. Works great for cancelling out the dog yipping during multi-hour zoom meetings.

Edit: bluetooth works great with macOS and does not have the audio sync issues that Bose 700have even though the XM4 do not have bluteooth low latency chip.

I bet you can find this at a better price


but it is worth it. The sound quality is excellent for music and calls, and it never lets you down the way many headsets do because of attention to detail.

For instance, it has a charging stand so it is not fighting for a slot at a USB charger. It also has a dongle to attach to a computer which means you never struggle to pair it and if you want to switch to another computer it is instant.

Not sure if poster meant it specifically, but these are ON ear headphones and can cause a lot of fatigue and hot spots for people, depending on clamp strength.

I only use over ear, and have found that of the popular brands, Bose have the most comfort for me.

Follow up question. Do any of the recommendations have an option to allow voices through? My galaxy buds have an option called "Ambient sound" which basically acts kind of like a hearing aid, piping sound from the mic through to the speaker. It is useful when someone comes and wants to ask a quick question. I know that is somewhat the opposite of "noise cancelling" but I would think they could coexist in some way (i.e. cancel fan noise and hums, but pipe though voice).

Voice passthrough would be really useful

My Sony WH-1000XM3s have the "ambient sound" option too. It's good for hearing voices, but it also pipes through background noises like fan noise

When I need a mix of noise cancelling and hearing, I usually just turn ANC off. The headphones' physical design already blocks out a lot of background noises without blocking out voices much

PXC-550 series has this feature. I can turn it on by tapping one earcup a certain way. It's also _always on_ when using the headset for phone calls or as a microphone input, which infuriates me, but YMMV.

Would you buy them again? Or would you rather have something else?

It looks like the WH-1000XM4s have something like this. Would love anyone's personal experience with these kind of features.

I swear by Bose QC.

I still am using QC I years later so don't feel like you need the newest ones! I use them for all my flying trips and wear them all day long at work (after a few years i personally changed the pads on the ears in 15 minutes for $15, good as new!).

If you pair the noise cancellation with earplugs, with music, you'll be in a world of your own no matter the outside noise.

I like the wireless, but has the option to wire in.

I was like, wait I'm gonna go look better on wirecutter for recommendations, when the NYT logo throw me off..

Then I realised...

I bought wireless beats in Costco recently for like $40-$50. They are amazing for working out and coding.

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