The Beats Studio Buds are some of the best Beats buds you can buy
The Beats Studio Buds are easily the best-sounding earbuds Beats has ever made. They’re comfortable to wear and they sound great, plus they support active noise cancellation. Unfortunately, their call quality isn’t great and they’re missing Apple’s H1 Wireless Chip.
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The Beats Studio Buds were one of Apple’s worst-kept secrets before they launched in mid 2021. Star athletes wore them around town, while photos and technical documents about them leaked months in advance. Pretty much everyone knew about these earbuds well before they were even announced. Yet, when they arrived, we were still shocked by how good they were.
The Beats Studio Buds are a pair of rock solid true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation and support for Apple’s Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos format. Audio is great, with a lively sound quality that elevates the highs and lows of your music, and they feel supremely comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
An update from Apple after they launched made the Beats Studio Buds available in three new color options – gray, pink and blue – and added the Locate My Beats feature for Android devices.
Weight: 5G (buds) 48g (case) Acoustic design: Closed Drivers: 8.2mm Battery life: 8 hours (24 hours with charging case) Extra features: Active noise cancellation, spatial audio support.
Despite being some of the best true wireless earbuds, they’re not perfect. Chief among their faults is their lackluster call quality and lack of an H1 Wireless Chip. Battery life with either ANC or Transparency mode turned on is also a little short at only five hours (15 hours with the case), and their noise cancellation isn’t exactly class-leading, either.
However, these are some of the best Beats headphones you can buy today. They offer a decent alternative to the current king of true wireless earbuds, which you can find out more about in our Sony WF-1000XM4 review. Ot take a look at similar high-end buds in our Sennheiser CX True Wireless review.
These were our favorite Beats wireless earbuds for some time, but read our Beats Fit Pro review for another pair of Beats buds that are marginally better in terms of fit and sound. They also have the H1 chip the Studio Buds are, unfortunately, lacking.
In the Beats Studio Buds review below, we share everything you need to know about these great true wireless earbuds after spending time testing them, including their design, performance and who they’re best suited for.
Beats Studio Buds: price and availability
The Beats Studio Buds dropped on June 24, 2021 for 149.99 / £129.99 / AU199.95. That puts them well below the price of Apple’s latest Airpods, which you can find out more about in our Apple Airpods review. As well as the Apple Airpods Pro with active noise cancellation that will set you back 249 / £249 / AU399 – and we like them more than the standard issue Airpods.
You might want to pay more for Apple’s flagship earbuds, find out more about them in our Apple Airpods Pro review. These might make more sense, especially if you’re using a lot of Apple products and not tied to a budget. You should also consider the Beats Fit Pro, a similar pair of true wireless earbuds with a better fit for working out and Apple’s latest H1 chip inside.
Alternatively, there are similar true wireless earbuds available that are much cheaper. Take a look at our Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 review or Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus review to see other cheaper options. But if you’re looking to use the buds with an Apple device, the Beats Studio Buds are surprisingly good value for their price.
Beats Studio Buds: design
Unlike the last true wireless earbuds from Beats, which you can read about in our Beats Powerbeats Pro review, the Beats Studio Buds come in a case that’s almost as sleek and small as the earbuds themselves. The case is egg-shaped, not unlike that of the new Google Pixel Buds Series-A, and features a single USB-C port on the bottom and a status LED on the front.
Pop it open and you’ll find the earbuds. To pull them out, you pinch on the outer control panel and pull them up. The control panel is raised, and that helps the buds slip firmly into the ear without any over-ear hooks or a fin that pushes against the outer ear. The buds then sit almost flush with the ear, and while you won’t be able to wear them to sleep (they stick out a bit too far for that), they’re still supremely comfortable.
In terms of water-resistance, the Beats Studio Buds are rated IPX4, making them sweat-resistant but not waterproof. That means you certainly can take them to the gym for a quick workout, however, without the earhooks they’re a little less secure and the lack of outright waterproofing means that they’re certainly not something you should be bringing out to the beach with you.
Inside the box you’ll find a USB-C to USB-C charging cable and additional eartips. Disappointingly, all of the included eartips are silicone instead of foam – and they only come in two extra sizes – but most people should have everything they need to get a proper seal and a good fit.
Beats Studio Buds: audio performance and noise cancellation
Once you’ve got the right fit, it’s time to turn the earbuds on and give them a listen. For our testing, we paired them with an iPhone 11 Pro and turned on Apple Music, which now supports Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio.
While you won’t be able to get the full effect of Lossless Audio with the Beats Studio Buds (Bluetooth compression ruins the lossless nature of the music), you can still use them to play songs with Spatial Audio, and it sounds great.
Unlike previous Beats earbuds and headphones that blasted you with thumping bass, the Studio Buds have a lively sound quality that elevates both the high and low end of the mix. The result is toe-tapping, head-bobbing music that doesn’t fatigue you, but engages you for long periods at a time.
As for the noise-cancelling aspect of the earbuds, it’s a great inclusion, and performs moderately well, although Beats still has some work to do to catch up with the likes of Sony and Bose, each of which has years of experience tinkering with the design, processor and noise cancellation algorithm, to make its Buds keep the maximum amount of noise out of your ears.
To that end, it feels like the Beats Studio Buds will be a great office companion – keeping the dull roar of office conversation to a minimum, but likely struggling to be heard over the jet engine on an airplane or the ear-shaking rattles of a subway car. Of course, thanks to lockdown restrictions it’s been a while since we’ve been on either, so that’s something we’ll have to put to the test in the future.
Unfortunately, the call quality leaves something to be desired. It’s good enough when you’ve got them on walking around the house, but take them outside where you’ve got wind, traffic and other background noise and you’ll quickly wish you were wearing another pair of earbuds.
Beats Studio Buds: battery life and connectivity
Beats designed the Studio Buds to work with both Apple and Android phones with just a tap. All you need to do is open the case near either device and you’ll see them pop up on your screen, ready to pair.
Now, that’s because the Studio Buds are running a proprietary wireless chip that’s not exactly the W1 or H1 Chip we’ve seen in other Apple earbuds. That’s both refreshing for Android owners who haven’t been catered to as well in recent years by the Beats brand since its acquisition by Apple and a bit of a disappointment for some Apple users who enjoy features like multipoint pairing with other Apple devices and hands-free Siri.
While that last bit is pretty disappointing, the benefit of the Buds’ wireless chip is that it enables Bluetooth 5.2, and support both Find My in iOS and Find My Device in Android. That’s good, because the earbuds themselves are pretty small and, if you get the all-black color, can be pretty easy to misplace if they accidentally drop behind the bed… not that we’re speaking from experience.
The battery life on offer in the Beats Studio Buds is fine but not great. They’re only good for five hours per charge, or 15 hours with the case, when you have either ANC or Transparency mode turned on, which isn’t awful and certainly falls in line with other noise-cancelling earbuds, but it falls short of class-leaders like the WF-1000XM4 that offer eight hours per charge and another 12 in the case for a total of 20 hours before you need to go back on the charger.
What’s more, the Beats Studio Buds don’t support wireless charging, which isn’t a deal-breaker, but can be a minor inconvenience if you already have a charging pad setup for your other devices. The good news is that the Studio Buds do support fast-charging, and can get one hour of playback time from just five minutes on the charger.
Buy them if.
You miss Beats’ audio quality Look, audio purists have always taken issue with Beats’ audio quality, but its fun, lively sound is really a blast to listen to. Its accentuated highs and lows will make your music radiate energy, and will have you bobbing your head along with the beat.
You want something that’s comfortable and stylish We really like the Powerbeats Pro and the Sony WF-1000XM4, but they’re not the most stylish. The Beats Studio Buds are both pretty stylish and supremely comfortable. We could wear them for hours and still want to listen more.
You want affordable noise cancelling true wireless earbuds The Beats Studio Buds aren’t the best noise cancelling earbuds out there, but they are on the more affordable side compared to the Airpods Pro and WF-1000XM4. If you don’t have 300/£300 to shell out on earbuds, the Beats Studio Buds offer a good mix of price and performance.
Don’t buy them if.
You need top-tier noise cancellation The Beats Studio Buds aren’t the best noise-cancelling earbuds – we found the Sony WF-1000XM4 to be a bit better in that area, and would likely pick those instead if we were about to jump on a transatlantic flight.
You’re buying a pair of earbuds for the gym The Powerbeats Pro are still our go-to gym earbuds and the Beats Fit Pro are also worth considering. With over-ear hooks these styles stay locked in place a little better.
You are an Apple aficionado If you own an iPad, an iPhone, a Mac computer and a MacBook, you’ll probably want a pair of earbuds that plays nicely with all of them without needing to re-sync them every time you use a new device. If you’re in that camp, pick up the Apple Airpods Pro instead or the Beats Fit Pro with Apple’s newest H1 chip.
If our Beats Studio Buds review has you considering a new pair of true wireless earbuds then
Apple Airpods Pro 2 The new Airpods Pro are more expensive than the originals and considerable more expensive than the Beats Studio Buds, but they boast a new H2 chip and even better ANC. So if you have a higher budget, you’ll be impressed. Check out our Apple Airpods Pro 2 review
Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW If you’re looking for a much more affordable true wireless earbuds option, we recommend the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW. They look unusual and there’s no ANC here, but for the price the performance is excellent. Check out our Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW review
Beats Fit Pro The Beats Fit Pro are similar to the Beats Studio Buds, but they have Apple’s latest H1 chip and offer greater comfort if you plan on using them while working out. The H1 chip is totally worth it if you have an iPhone, if you’re on Android, it’s not going to matter. Check out our Beats Fit Pro review
First reviewed September 2021.
How to Connect Any Bluetooth Headphones to Xbox One
Tired of wires? Here are the best ways to connect your Bluetooth headphones to Xbox One.
The Xbox One remains one of the most popular gaming consoles today, with over 50 million units sold globally in the first half of 2022 alone.
Sadly, it still doesn’t have built-in support for the world’s most widely-used wireless technology—Bluetooth. This means that not all Bluetooth headphones can connect seamlessly on Xbox One, an unresolved issue that has frustrated users for years.
Don’t worry—you can still use your favorite headphones with your Xbox One via a Bluetooth transmitter, a PC connection, a Smart TV, or the Xbox mobile app. So, read on while we show you exactly how!
How to Connect Compatible Xbox One Wireless Headsets
While Xbox doesn’t natively support Bluetooth Audio, they have created and partnered with different manufacturers to create Xbox-compatible wireless headsets.
These headsets use the Xbox Wireless protocol, which is a less familiar technology than Bluetooth. That’s why first-time users may have trouble utilizing it.
To help with this, we’ve laid out the steps for properly connecting compatible wireless headphones to Xbox One.
We used the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 gaming headset for this tutorial as an example. But the same steps also apply to other Xbox-friendly wireless headsets.
The steps for this depend on the headphone model, but it usually involves holding the power button down until the LED light turns on.
This is found on the console’s left side, near the disk drive, for older Xbox models that came before Xbox One S and X.
Other headphone models may require different ways of doing this. It’s best to consult your headphones’ user manual to be sure.
Connecting compatible headphones is an easy task. But for non-compatible headphones, establishing a wireless connection via Bluetooth is a different process altogether. The subsequent sections will guide you through the steps necessary to work around this.
How to Connect Non-Compatible Bluetooth Headphones to Xbox One
It may initially be disappointing to learn that Xbox doesn’t support Bluetooth headphones. But as mentioned earlier, connecting these devices is possible with a few tools and some ingenuity.
Read on to find out the different methods for connecting non-compatible headphones to Xbox One.
Use Bluetooth transmitters
Bluetooth transmitters are one way of beating Xbox One’s Bluetooth restriction. This device allows you to use your Bluetooth headphones on the console.
However, be aware that Bluetooth transmitters only transmit audio. Hence, you won’t be able to use your headphones’ microphone.
Here’s how to connect a wireless headset to Xbox One with a USB Bluetooth transmitter:
Switch the Bluetooth transmitter on by pressing the Power Button for about 3 seconds. You could also wait until flashing Blue or Red LEDs appear. This will depend on the transmitter you use, so make sure to consult the product manual for guidance.
In case you’re wondering, we used the Uberwith Bluetooth transmitter for this tutorial. This transmitter also works when connecting your Bluetooth headphones to Nintendo Switch and follows the same pairing steps as other transmitters.
Frustrated with your headset mic not working on PC, Xbox, Mac, or PlayStation 4? Here’s a detailed guide on how to fix this issue.
Utilize a PC connection
If you’re not keen on spending extra dollars on an adapter, the following sections will explain how to connect your headset to your Xbox One via a Windows PC or Mac. However, you’ll have to follow different steps depending on your device:
For Windows PC
There are three conditions to keep in mind when connecting your Xbox One to a Windows PC:
- Both devices need to be on the same network (preferably an ethernet connection for streaming).
- You must use the Xbox Console Companion app.
- Your PC needs to have Bluetooth support.
Remember that this method comes with its own limitations, such as audio lags. To counter this issue, Microsoft recommends updating your PC and performing a clean boot. But prior to this, ensure you have at least a Windows 10 OS version on your PC.
That said, here’s how to connect your headset to your Xbox One via a Windows PC without using an adapter:
- Access the Xbox Console Companion app by creating a new Microsoft account or signing into an existing one.
- Enable the Xbox One app on your PC by clicking the Connection icon located near the bottom of the Xbox app’s sidebar menu.
- In the Connect to your Xbox One window, click on the Add a device icon in the top-right.
- Windows will automatically search for your Xbox One console. Once the console is detected, click the Connect button.
- If it’s taking a long time to search, do it manually by typing your Xbox’s IP address in the box and then press Connect.
- If you’re having a hard time connecting, simply go to your Xbox settings, choose Devices Streaming, then go to Device connections. From there, enable Allow Play To streaming,Allow game streaming to other devices, and Only from profiles signed in on this Xbox. Then check if your Xbox is listed in the Connections tab.
- Once it is connected, you can then start controlling the Xbox functions via your PC.
With a computer as the end-user device, you should be able to enjoy all Bluetooth audio functions, including in-game audio and party chat. You can check out our complete guide on how to connect Bluetooth headphones to PC to learn more about this method.
If you’re a Mac user, you can use OneCast to connect your Bluetooth headset to Xbox One via Mac. This app allows you to stream Xbox One games on your device. It also lets you listen to in-game audio through your Bluetooth headphones while they’re connected to your Mac.
Unfortunately, one drawback to this method is that Microsoft doesn’t officially support OneCast. As such, it doesn’t support headset mic audio, so you won’t be able to chat while gaming.
You can download OneCast for a two-week free trial. After 14 days, you’ll need to pay 9.99 to continue using the full version.
Here’s how to connect your Bluetooth headphones to the Xbox One via your Mac:
- After downloading OneCast, click on the DMG folder to fully install it.
- Drag the OneCast app to your Applications folder.
- With your Xbox turned on, click on the OneCast icon to launch the app. It should automatically detect your Xbox and prompt you to log into the console with your Microsoft username and password.
- Once OneCast is connected to your Xbox, connect your headphones to your Mac.
Connect via TV
You can bridge the gap between your Bluetooth headphones and Xbox One with a TV. To do this, we’ll follow the same steps as the Xbox-PC hack. This means first connecting the Xbox to the TV, then connecting the Bluetooth headphones to the TV.
Keep in mind that you won’t be able to use the headset mic when using your Bluetooth headphones with Xbox via your TV.
Here’s how to connect your Xbox to your TV:
- Plug your Xbox One’s included HDMI cord into the port at the back of your console.
- Locate the HDMI port at the back of your TV and plug in the other end of the cord.
- Using your remote, set the TV’s Input Source to the HDMI port you’ve plugged in.
Then, proceed with connecting your Bluetooth headphones to your TV. If you’re not sure how, feel free to check out our guide on how to connect wireless headphones to TV. over, if your TV doesn’t naturally support Bluetooth, you may also use Bluetooth audio transmitters for TV.
Use the Xbox Mobile App
If you don’t find any of the above hacks convenient for you, you can use the Xbox One mobile app to connect your Bluetooth headset.
This option is only ideal for those who only use their headset for party chat, as it doesn’t let you hear the in-game audio while gaming.
Here’s how to connect your Bluetooth headphones to Xbox One via the Xbox One mobile app:
- Connect your Bluetooth headset to your mobile phone.
- Go to the Xbox One app and click on the social icon – the icon with two people.
- Click on the headset icon to start a party.
- Accept the permissions.
- This will open the party chat screen where you can start inviting your teammates.
Recommended Adapters for Wireless Headphones in Xbox One
If your device lacks the utilities to establish a flawless connection between Bluetooth headphones and Xbox One, then you might need the help of Bluetooth-enabling accessories.
Below are some highly-recommended third-party accessories to connect Bluetooth headphones to Xbox.
Skull Co. AudioBox
The Skull Co. AudioBox adapter is an excellent Bluetooth transmitter for Xbox that works with all Bluetooth headsets. And it even lets you listen to your gaming audio with your Airpods.
This transmitter uses Bluetooth 5.0 and supports high fidelity, low latency codecs like aptX-LL and LDAC. This means you can enjoy your games without worrying about your audio going out of sync.
Furthermore, the Skull Co. Bluetooth transmitter has built-in mic support that allows you to chat with your team without having to connect headphones with a mic.
It’s also powered directly through your controller and consumes less than 1W of battery power. So, there’s no need to worry about interrupted gaming sessions due to recharging or fast-draining batteries.
Friencity Bluetooth 5.0 Transmitter Receiver
The Friencity Bluetooth Transmitter not only connects your Bluetooth headphones to your Xbox, but also acts as a receiver. This two-way functionality means it can receive audio from your TV, tablet, smartphone, and laptop from other devices, not just your Xbox.
You also get the benefit of dual streaming with this transmitter. It can pair two sets of headphones, so you and a friend can listen to the same audio while gaming.
Additionally, it has an “always-on” feature that lets you use it while it’s charging, so you never have to worry about your in-game audio being interrupted. And even when you turn it off, it auto-reconnects to the last paired device, allowing you to quickly resume where you left off.
SCOSCHE BTT-SP FlyTunes
The SCOSCHE BTT-SP FlyTunes is a universal Bluetooth transmitter that you can use the same way as the Uberwith Bluetooth transmitter featured in the previous section.
It uses Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity and boasts 180 hours of standby time. This transmitter also features bendable 3.5mm prongs that you fold away for better storage. This also makes it compatible not only for Xbox but other devices as well, regardless of whether they have one or two AUX ports.
FAQs for Connecting Bluetooth Headphones to Xbox One
Why doesn’t the Xbox One support Bluetooth Audio?
The lack of built-in support isn’t due to device inferiority. Rather, it’s because Microsoft – the company behind Xbox – decided to go down a different route with wireless connectivity.
Instead of Bluetooth, all Xbox consoles use a unique in-house wireless protocol called Xbox Wireless.
This particular technology connects headphones to Xbox One without pesky cables. But, unlike Bluetooth, Xbox Wireless uses a higher wireless frequency to connect. This unique proprietary wireless frequency results in lower latency and better sound quality.
To compare, Bluetooth technology is standardized to use a 2.4GHz frequency. On the other hand, Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless uses a higher 5GHz frequency, making it incompatible with Bluetooth.
So, to use your Bluetooth headphones on Xbox One, you’ll have to use a third-party device, like a PC, Smart TV, mobile phone, or Bluetooth transmitter.
Using wired headphones? You’re in luck! These don’t rely on Bluetooth, so you can plug them into your controller via the 3.5 mm jack without additional steps.
Which headphones use Xbox Wireless?
To make connecting to Xbox consoles easier, Microsoft launched Xbox Wireless-compatible peripherals. These include two different types of headsets:
- The first uses a wireless dongle, which users insert into one of the Xbox controller’s USB ports to connect the headphones.
- The other connects directly to the console instead of going through the controller, eliminating the need for dongles. These wireless headphones are a bit more expensive but highly efficient on their own.
Because of its proprietary wireless technology, most Xbox headsets may not work on other gaming consoles like the PS5.
Here’s a list of Xbox-compatible headphones you can choose from:
- Xbox One Chat Headset
- Xbox One Stereo Headset
- Xbox Series X Headset
- Corsair HS75 XB Wireless Gaming Headset
- LVL40 Wired Gaming Headset
- LucidSound LS50X
- HyperX CloudX Flight Wireless Gaming Headset
- Audeze Penrose X
- Astro A40 TR Headset MixAmp M80
- Lucid Sound LS35X Wireless Surround Sound Gaming Headset
- Victrix Pro AF Wired Gaming Headset
- Turtle Beach Elite Pro 2 Headset SuperAmp
- Astro A50 Wireless Headset Base Station
- Kingston HyperX Cloud II Headset
- Razer Thresher Ultimate
- Razer Thresher
- Razer Kaira Pro
- Razer Nari Ultimate
- SteelSeries Arctis 9X Gaming Headset
- Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 Wireless Gaming Headset
- Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 Wireless Gaming Headset
Using Xbox X or S instead? If you are having issues connecting your headphones, check out our guide on common Xbox X headset issues and how to quickly fix them.
As you now know, you can definitely enjoy gaming on Xbox One even without Microsoft’s wireless headsets. With these methods, you should be able to use your existing Bluetooth headphones with your Xbox console, while eliminating the hassle of buying a new device. Not to mention that it helps you save a few bucks, too.
Should you encounter any connection issues, resetting your Bluetooth headphones will usually fix the problem. If not, you can check out our other guides on fixing Bluetooth audio problems like audio stutters, sound delays, or zero sound.
How did you find our recommendations? Do you know of other tips or fixes that we haven’t covered here? Let us know in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев, we’d love to hear them!
Is There a Mic on the Beats Solo3 Headphones (and All Your Other Questions Answered)?
Like all modern headphones you can find on the market, the Beats Solo3 Wireless also possesses built-in microphones. To be specific, it has dual beamforming mics embedded on its right earcup. Thanks to these, you get to do a lot of other things with the Apple headset aside from all-day music streaming.
For instance, you’re capable of answering calls, hosting video conferences, and talking to Siri with no trouble. You can even use the Beats Solo3 as a gaming accessory and speak to your teammates through it. However, some restrictions still exist, like the lack of a noise-cancelation feature.
Does the Beats Solo3 Have a Good Microphone?
While it’s not the best out there, the Beats Solo3’s microphones perform their job just fine. They’re good enough for calls of every kind, including conference sessions that involve video outputs. The headphones’ mics are even Smart enough to pick up voice instructions, allowing your Smart assistant to do basic tasks. However, when compared to other Beats models like the PowerBeats Pro, you’ll find the Solo3 lacking. Its microphones do not have Active Noise Cancelation nor can they block out background noise digitally. This particular headset model also does not sport a speech accelerometer, unlike Apple’s Airpods Max. You’re not entirely losing out with the Beats Solo3 Wireless, though. While they may be subpar compared to other modern Apple models, the mics used on them are dual beamforming microphones. If you’re clueless about how good they are, know that beamforming mics have plenty of upsides. Indeed, the Beats Solo3 does not have any noise-cancelation feature. However, with beamforming mics built-in, you can still separate noise from audio within limits. Aside from this, you can listen to stable media all throughout your listening session. This applies even when you’re moving from one area to the next. Note that this is only possible if you’re within range.
Do Beats Solo3 Have Noise-Canceling Microphones?
Unlike other more recent Beats models, the Solo3 Wireless does not have a noise-canceling microphone. It also does not possess Active Noise Cancelation, which you can find on other Apple headphones like the Airpods Max. This means that the headset cannot block out ambient sounds and surrounding noise digitally. However, the Beats Solo3 is not entirely susceptible to unwelcome audio. It is an on-ear headset so it can still block out external sounds to a limited degree. This passive isolation is thanks to the leather earcups sitting right above your pinna. The earcups are capable of blocking out specific audio, specifically the high-frequency varieties. You won’t be protected from low frequencies, like motor and engine sounds. Noise cancelation may be out of the equation, but the Beats Solo3 can still soften external rackets.
Do Beats Solo3 Have a Wireless Mic?
Even without the use of an external cable, the Beats Solo3 can still receive calls on its own. The reason for this is that it has built-in wireless mics capable of processing the sound vibrations you’re giving off. Through this, you can use the Apple headphones for gaming, communication, or even giving Siri commands. Since this is the norm for stereo Bluetooth audio accessories, you may find the Beats Solo3 a bit on the expensive side. However, the major perk with these particular headphones lies not in their microphone quality. What makes them worthy of their 200 price tag is mainly the battery life and standout connectivity.
Where Is Beats Solo3’s Microphone?
If you’re looking for the Beats Solo3 Wireless’ built-in microphones, they’re located exactly in the right earcup. With them, you won’t need extra accessories for both conference and hands-free calls. You’re even capable of bossing Siri around so long as you clearly say the words of activation. True, the microphones do not possess any kind of noise-cancelation feature. However, they more than suffice if you’re not looking for total background isolation. They make the Beats Solo3 an ideal headset for travel as they won’t completely block surrounding sounds. Note that these microphones won’t work if you’re using the Apple headphones the wired way. In this case, your only choice is to get a cable that sports a compatible mic with your Beats Solo3. The RemoteTalk cable worth 30 will do the job well, but you can find other alternatives in the market.
How Many Microphones Does Beats Solo3 Have?
The Beats Solo3 Wireless has two built-in microphones embedded in its right earcup. To be specific, it has dual beamforming mics capable of tracking down simultaneous talkers accurately. This means that you’ll have no trouble deciphering who the speaker is when in an audio or video conference. It has been established that the Beats Solo3 model does not possess noise-cancelation technology. However, thanks to its beamforming microphones, you can still differentiate the noise up to a certain degree. This is because these mics are designed to listen to audio from a particular direction. In addition to this, you also get stable audio streaming with these mics even when you’re pacing a lot. This means that the audio quality will stay the same even though you’re likely to move around the room. Of course, this is applicable only if you stay within your headphones’ Bluetooth range.
How Do You Use the Beats Solo3 Microphone?
To use the Beats Solo3’s microphones, you should figure out how to pair the headset to source device. You’re free to use any gadget to link with the headphones, be it Apple or non-Apple products. Of course, there are still some things you should take note of, including Bluetooth compatibility. If you need help in wirelessly pairing your Beats Solo3 to your source device, locate the Power button first. This is situated discretely on the right earcup, above the Fuel Gauge indicator. Press and hold for a few seconds to activate Bluetooth pairing mode on your Apple headphones. Once open for connections, pair your chosen gadget with the Beats Solo3 by configuring its own Bluetooth settings. Wait for a few moments and linkage will occur. With this, you can use the headset and its microphones with your source device. The Beats Solo3’s mics function like normal Bluetooth accessories. You can use them to receive calls, communicate with your team in-game, and receive voice control commands. The headset can even function well in conference communications so long as it is connected properly.
How Do I Turn On the Microphone on My Beats Solo3?
Turning on the microphones on your Beats Solo3 Wireless is simple. All you have to do is power on the headphones and put them into pairing mode. After doing so, the mics will automatically function and jive well with your source device. With your source gadget, you’re free to control the Apple headset’s beamforming mics. You can answer calls by simply pressing the Beats symbol on the left earcup. Muting or unmuting these mics is as easy as tapping the Mute button on your source device’s screen. Similarly, you can also access the voice command perk with the Beats Solo3 Wireless. Say the magic words to wake Siri up, or hold the ‘b’ icon on the left earcup to prompt your mics to receive commands. Note that you should start speaking after the chime to ensure that what you’re saying is getting picked up by the headphones.
How Do I Use Beats Solo3 Mic on a PC?
On the other hand, using the Beats Solo3’s mic the wired way is more of a straightforward process. All you have to do is plug a compatible 3.5 mm cable that has a built-in mic into the device’s audio port. Remember to double-check whether you’ve inserted the other end of the line into your PC’s output port.
This is because plugging the 3.5 mm cable on the input port won’t make the connection functional. If you’re confident that you’ve plugged both of the wires’ ends but still face mic problems, check out some tips below:
- Check whether your cable is fully plugged into the audio jack. Note that the straight input should be inserted on the Beats Solo3’s port, and the L-shaped end goes into your PC.
- Ensure that your PC has the right configuration settings that match the Apple headphones.
- Examine whether your PC’s audio socket is blocked by debris and accumulated dirt.
How Do I Use Beats Solo3 Mic on a MacBook?
Since the Beats Solo3 Wireless and your MacBook are both Apple products, you have an easier time pairing them together. Doing so will give you access to the headphones’ dual beamforming microphones. Thanks to these, the headset can act as an external mic to help you maximize the MacBook’s capabilities.
There are two ways to approach this, either by making the most of the Beats Solo3’s Bluetooth or by using a compatible cable. Whatever route you choose, one thing’s for sure – the Apple headphones will perform remarkably so long as you connect them properly. However, note that its mics do not come with any noise-canceling abilities.
If you’re still eager to use the Beats Solo3’s mics on your MacBook despite this, get a 3.5 mm cable. This wire should be connected to the laptop’s Line-In port for the headset’s microphones to work. For reference, the Audio Line-In on your MacBook is marked by two triangles linked to a circle.
To make this route work, select the Apple icon on the upper left corner of your Mac. Tap on System Preferences and select Sound. Click on the Input tab above the Sounds option and choose Line-In under Select a Device for Sound Output.
Once done, you can use the Beats Solo3 Wireless’ mic with your MacBook. Be it answering calls or recording audio; the headphones will work with your source device just fine.
On the other hand, you can also pair the Apple headphones with your MacBook via Bluetooth. This is a useful alternative if you’re not an avid fan of cables that restrict your movements. Kickstart the process by holding the Power button on your Beats Solo3 Wireless.
When the Fuel Gauge shows some flashing lights, the headset is discoverable and on pairing mode. Navigate to the Bluetooth menu on your source device and ensure its Bluetooth function is activated. Once it is, your gadget will begin scanning for compatible devices for connection.
Note that it’s advisable to turn off other unrelated devices during this process to avoid signal interference. Among the list of discoverable tech, select the Beats Solo3 Wireless and wait for a few seconds. The Fuel Gauge indicator will flash once more if the connection has been established.
You don’t have to do anything afterward once the Beats headset has wirelessly linked to your MacBook. The headphones have built-in microphones on the right earcup, which work by default after pairing. However, on the chance that the mics aren’t working as intended, do the following tips below:
- Exit all programs that use the Beats Solo3 Wireless’ built-in microphones. Try out your audio once more to pinpoint whether the problem lies in the headphones or the apps themselves.
- Ensure that your MacBook and headphones are within range of each other. If the devices are too far away from each other, the mics won’t pick up your voice. Similarly, the connection will fluctuate and may be cut off abruptly due to distance.
- Check whether the Sound panel on your MacBook’s System Preferences is not open. If it is, close and exit the window immediately.
- If the mics on your Beats Solo3 are still not working properly, reselect your headphones as the MacBook’s output device. Go to the Apple Menu, select System Preferences, and tap on Sound. Click on Output and select the Beats headphones on the Internal Speakers option.
How Do I Use My Beats Solo3 Mic on PlayStation 4?
The only foolproof way you can use the Beats Solo3 Wireless’ microphones on your PlayStation 4 is through the wired route. To be exact, you’ll have to get yourself a 3.5 mm cable compatible with both the headphones and the video game console. With it, you won’t have to bypass Sony’s system and risk the connection not working well.
If you’re looking for the right wire to start with, you may want to consider the RemoteTalk cable. It’s Beats’ own audio wire worth 30 which you can use seamlessly with the Solo3 Wireless. There are also plenty of alternatives in the market if it’s not your cup of tea.
All you have to do is insert one end of the cable to your Apple headphones’ jack. The other end of the wire goes to the audio port of your PlayStation 4 controller. Once you’ve hardwired the devices together, go to Settings and scroll down until you find Devices.
Under this category, tap Audio Devices and click on Output Devices. After doing so, look over if the Headset Connected to Controller option is turned on. If it is, promptly return to the Output Devices page, select Output to Headphones and tap All Audio.
Once you’re finished with the given steps, you’re free to use the Beats Solo3 with your Playstation model. This includes using the headphones’ microphones to communicate with your team during a raid or during a game meeting. Wired connections like this offer a more stable linkage so that you won’t have much trouble with audio input and output.
However, if you’re not a fan of cables, you can gamble on a third-party Bluetooth dongle to attempt a wireless connection. There’s no guarantee this will work, though, considering Sony’s stand towards third-party accessories. In fact, the electronics company made their Playstation models a bit on the exclusive side.
This means that they do not cater to just any kind of Bluetooth headphones. Instead, the PlayStation 4 and its counterparts work the best with headphones of the same brand. If you’re still eager to use the mics on the Beats Solo3 with your PlayStation 4 despite these restrictions, check out the steps using an adapter below:
- Start by plugging the Bluetooth adapter into your Playstation 4 through one of the USB ports. If the adapter is up and working, the LED indicator will light up.
- Remember to connect the 3.5 mm AUX adapter to your console’s controller too. After doing so, tap the Pairing mode button on your Bluetooth adapter.
- Once the Bluetooth adapter is ready for connection, it’s time to activate Pairing mode on your Beats Solo3 as well. To do so, press and hold the Power button for a few seconds until the Fuel Gauge blinks.
- Wait for a moment until the Bluetooth adapter’s LED indicator light stops flashing. This means that the wireless connection with the Apple headphones has been established.
- Go to Settings and click on the Devices submenu. Tap on Audio Devices and choose the Go to Input Device category.
- Under this panel, check whether the Headset Connected to Controller option is selected. Note that if it isn’t, the AUX mic adapter on your connection is not working as intended.
- To remedy this, navigate to Output Device and click on USB Headphones (USB Audio Device). Doing so will change the game audio route into the Bluetooth dongle instead. Your Beats Solo3 Wireless will then be able to output the sounds playing through your game. You can also input your audio through the headphones’ built-in dual microphones.
Can You Use Beats Solo3 as a Mic for Xbox?
Although of different brands, the Beats Solo3 works as a phenomenal gaming accessory for your Xbox. Not only can you enjoy superior audio quality, but you also get access to the headphones’ dual beamforming microphones. It’s an impressive combination that can elevate your gaming experience to the next level.
However, you should be aware of the catch when attempting to pair the Solo3 with your Xbox. To elaborate, Microsoft’s Xbox is not created to connect with Apple-made headphones. Generally, the gaming console cannot link up wirelessly with the Beats Solo3 or any of its model variations.
This is especially the case if you’re aiming to use the Apple headset as a mic for your Xbox. True, you’re free to use a Bluetooth dongle to pair the two devices wirelessly. However, this cable-free connection will only yield audio outputs from the game.
You won’t have any chance to use the Solo3’s beamforming microphones in this setup. As such, your only option is to use a compatible wire to link up the headphones to your Xbox console. Note that this is not a straightforward process and will require you to buy a supporting third-party accessory.
Specifically, get your hands on a 2.5 mm male to 3.5 mm female audio adapter. If you’re wondering why you need to do so, check out the ports of both your Xbox and Beats headphones. You’ll see that your console has a 2.5 mm audio port while the Apple headset sports a 3.5 mm jack.
Only after using a compatible cable and the right audio adapter can you use the Solo3’s mic with your Xbox. This is well worth it, though, especially since the Beats Solo3 Wireless is known for its phenomenal audio quality. As a bonus, you can play and communicate with your teammates in style.
Can You Use Beats Solo3 as a Mic for Nintendo Switch?
Using the Beats Solo3 as a mic for your Nintendo Switch is easier than ever, thanks to a 2021 software update. The upgrade in firmware provided you with a total of three connection routes to consider. You can use the Apple headphones as an accessory for the Switch via Bluetooth, a dongle, or an audio cable.
First off, you have the traditional hardwiring method. This is by far the easiest route to take as you only need to plug the Solo3 into your Nintendo Switch. For reference, you’re required to use a 3.5 mm audio cable when doing so.
However, the downside of this particular connection method is the restriction it brings. You’re required to keep the Apple headphones near your console since there is a wire. This may be a hassle in the long run, especially if you’re one to move around when playing.
If this is the case, Nintendo opened up a new path for you on their 13.0 software update. The company decided to add Bluetooth support on their gaming consoles, allowing wireless pairing. The connection process is a lot like your typical Bluetooth linkages requiring you to activate Bluetooth on both gadgets.
For the Beats Solo3 Wireless, simply press the Power button for a few seconds. Once the Fuel Gauge indicator flashes, it means that your headphones have entered Pairing mode. On the other hand, go to the System Settings page on your Nintendo Switch Home menu to activate the feature on your console.
Once your Beats Solo3 appears on the list of available devices, tap on it to trigger the connection process. Wait for a few moments to solidify the linkage of both technologies. Afterward, you’re free to use the headphones and the microphones with the Nintendo Switch.
The third connection method is a lot like the Bluetooth route. However, it will require you to use a third-party Bluetooth dongle instead. You may find this unnecessary, especially since Nintendo already allows the use of the protocol in its system.
Still, the use of a Bluetooth dongle will ensure a more stable connection. With it, you won’t experience many limitations when using the Solo3 with your Nintendo Switch. You’re free to use any kind of Bluetooth adapter, so long as it is compatible with the console’s jack.
The Best Wireless Headphones, Based On Rigorous Testing
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
If you want to tune out the noisy world around you, a pair of wireless headphones can help you FOCUS on listening to music uninterrupted. They’re also useful for making hands-free phone calls as well as listening to audio from TV shows and movies. After much testing and research, I chose the Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2 as my pick for best overall wireless headphones.
I tested more than a dozen of the most popular wireless headphones—all of which ended up in the 300 to 800 price range–with the goal of discovering which truly offer the best comfort, noise cancelling, overall sound quality and features.
If the Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2s aren’t to your liking, I can recommend several other fantastic headphones. For a slightly less expensive option that serves as wireless headphones and as a wireless Bluetooth speaker, there’s the V-Moda S-80s, my choice for the best value wireless headphones. I awarded three other notable winners as well—one for Apple users, one for casual listeners and a pair of premium headphones for audiophiles. After spending weeks using each of these headphones in a wide range of listening situations, here are my picks for the best wireless headphones:
- Best Wireless Headphones Overall: Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2
- Best Value Wireless Headphones: V-Moda S-80
- Best Wireless Headphones For Apple Users: Apple Airpods Max
- Best Wireless Headphones For Everyday Use: Sony WH-1000XM5
- Best Wireless Headphones For Audiophiles: Bowers Wilkins Px8
Best Wireless Headphones Overall
Audio Quality, Comfort And Style Combined
Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2
Battery life: Up to 30 hours | Drivers: 40mm | Weight: 0.8 pounds | Storage: Hardshell case
- Listening to music and hands-free phone calls
- Looking good in a professional work environment
- Extended listening sessions
The Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2 impressed me through their performance and elegant design. These headphones produced rich, clear sound across all audio types—a quality which helped these headphones best the competition, including the similarly high-end Sony WH-1000XM5 and Apple Airpods Max. The one drawback to these otherwise outstanding headphones? They lack spatial audio, which makes a huge difference when listening to audio from TV shows, movies and games. (For more details, read my full review of the Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2.)
These headphones are very lightweight compared to many others; after just a few minutes, I nearly forgot I was wearing them. The earcups use memory foam padding and apply just enough pressure to block ambient sound passively, but they’re still comfortable and breathable. Even better: the active noise cancellation works whenever you turn on the headphones, so you can relish the silence even without audio playing.
The noise cancellation let me FOCUS on the audio the headphones produced. I heard no noticeable distortion, even at louder volumes. The headphones use 40mm drivers and support high-quality 24-bit sound, perfect for hearing detail in audio tracks. These Bowers Wilkins headphones seemed to always keep the audio authentic to what the musician or producers intended.
Thanks to six built-in microphones, these headphones do a great job monitoring and adapting to the ambient noise around you, removing unwanted sound from your ears. They also do an excellent job making audio from phone calls sound clear indoors and out, with exceptional wind reduction.
Even without tinkering with the equalizer, the Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2 headphones produced audio that sounded rich and clear, with enough bass and treble to make me feel the lifelike audio in my head–not just hear it. The headphones provided full-bodied audio that was superior to most of the other headphones I tested—the exception being those that support spatial audio, like the Apple Airpods Max and Bang Olufsen Beoplay Portal headphones. However, since you don’t always need spatial audio, I found sacrificing this feature was an acceptable trade-off given the Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2 headphones’ otherwise-outstanding audio, in all situations.
The one thing I wished these headphones had: touch-sensitive controls. Instead, these headphones have several tiny, hard-to-reach buttons around the edge of the earcups. But unlike many other headphones, the left and right earcups have clear labels, so there’s no confusion about how to put them on.
These headphones come with a zippered hard shell case. It includes a separate internal compartment (that stays closed with magnets) to store the supplied charging and audio cable. Because the earcups fold flat, the case is thinner than most, making it easier to stash in a backpack or briefcase.
The Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2s offer superior overall quality, with an impressive design, excellent sound quality and good noise cancellation. These headphones were my clear pick for best overall wireless headphones.
Best Value Wireless Headphones
Headphone And Bluetooth Speaker Functionality In One Device
V-Moda S-80 Wireless Headphones
Battery life: Up to 20 hours (headphones), 10 hours (speaker) | Drivers: 40mm | Mobile app: Yes | Weight: 0.8 pounds
- Using as headphones or as a Bluetooth speaker
- On-ear (not over-the-ear) comfort
- Having manual control over audio
The most interesting thing about the V-Moda S-80 headphones is that when you rotate the earcups 90-degrees—so they’re pointing outwards—the headphones transform into a wireless Bluetooth speaker you can wear around your neck (or place on any surface). These headphones uniquely handle two audio listening tasks in one device.
And I found these headphones sounded great, in either playback mode. As a Bluetooth speaker, it doesn’t output a tremendous amount of volume, but it produces true stereo audio, a feature most wireless Bluetooth speakers don’t offer. The speaker option is great for enjoying audio at your desk or sharing audio with a few people in close proximity.
The V-Moda S-80 headphones have a sleek, sophisticated design that fits well in the office or while at play. It comes in three colors: black, white and black and rose gold. The earcups, for example, use a generous amount of comfortable memory foam covered by soft PU (artificial) leather. They’re also removable and interchangeable thanks to integrated magnets; unfortunately, this flexibility means the earcups can fall off easily during transport, especially since they don’t come with a protective case.
On the right ear cup sits a power, volume up, volume down and play/pause button. While I found these easy enough to reach while wearing the headphones, the buttons’ small size meant my fingers often fumbled before finding their target.
It took about 10 minutes for me to acclimate to the feeling of the on-ear earcups. After that, the headphones felt comfortable on my head. The headphones’ design does an excellent job passively blocking out ambient sound when playing audio at over 50% volume, but it does not offer any active or adaptive noise cancellation. I could not achieve a secure fit, though. When I moved my head around—even with subtle movements—the headphones wobbled, which made them unusable during physical activity like jogging or running.
When used as traditional headphones, audio sounded exceptional, and it was both loud and vibrant across all music, soundtracks and podcasts. When I listened to Left and Right (Galantis Remix) by Charlie Puth and Jung Kook via Apple Music, the audio bounced around between the left and right audio channels, making me feel as if I were in the middle of a club’s dance floor.
Even at high volumes, I noticed no distortion. At the default settings, I heard just enough bass and treble, mixed with powerful mids and highs, to the make audio sound superior to many other headphones I tested—including those that are more expensive and that offer active or passive noise cancellation. I could make further adjustments to the equalizer using the mobile app.
These headphones’ battery life of 20 hours (when used as headphones) or 10 hours (when used as a Bluetooth speaker) is plenty adequate. The headphones come with a flat USB Type-C to USB Type-A charging cable. There’s no 3.5mm audio cable option.
Ultimately, the comfort and audio quality of the V-Moda S-80 headphones impressed me. I also loved the fact that they can also serve as a Bluetooth speaker—an extra benefit to headphones that already deliver excellent value and style.
Best Wireless Headphones For Apple Users
Spatial Audio With Dynamic Head Tracking
Apple Airpods Max
Battery life: Up to 20 hours | Drivers: 40mm | Weight: 0.9 pounds | Storage: Minimalist silicon cover just for the earcups
- Watching TV shows and movies using spatial audio
- Automatic pairing and switching between Apple devices
- Comfort during long listening sessions
There are many things to love about the Apple Airpods Max, but their high price tag is not one of them (so keep an eye out for when these go on sale). That said, if you’re a dedicated Apple user, these are the headphones for you.
The Apple Airpods Max headphones have the best spatial audio of any model I’ve tested. The spatial audio includes dynamic head tracking, which only a few of the other headphones offer. If you’re watching a movie that uses surround sound, the direction of the audio can actually change in real time as you move your head. This makes you feel as if you’re in the middle of an action sequence, as opposed to passively watching it. Spatial audio also works well for music–especially tunes that support the Apple Digital Master and lossless audio protocols available via Apple Music.
The earcups are coated with a breathable fabric that quickly molded around my ears, but not enough so to provide passive noise cancellation. With adaptive noise cancellation on, the headphones can almost fully eliminate outside noise.
Unlike most other headphones I tested, the Apple Airpods Max use a stainless steel and mesh-covered headband that’s designed to reduce clamping pressure on your head. I found this very comfortable, with the telescoping arms allowing for a perfect fit. The earcups are made from anodized aluminum, combined with memory foam and a breathable textile covering. I discovered that this allowed for airflow that kept my ears comfortably cool without compromising sound quality during longer listening sessions.
The digital crown dial on top of the right earcup is a clever feature that let me control volume precisely, skip tracks, answer incoming calls and activate Siri. Another button enabled the noise canceling feature, even when audio wasn’t playing. I found these controls easier to use than on other headphones I tested. I also liked that the headphones let me adjust the volume directly, as opposed to via an app.
If you’re already an Apple user, the Apple Airpods Max are an ideal companion: They pair automatically with your Apple devices and automatically adapt the audio and noise cancellation to your environment. They work seamlessly with an iPhone for phone calls, with six outward-facing and two beamforming microphones that virtually eliminate ambient sounds–even when you’re outside on a windy day. My hands-free calls had crystal clear audio, and I found calls easy to manage from the headphones or the iPhone.
Unlike other wireless headphones, the Apple Airpods Max lacks a power button, mobile app and manual equalizer adjustment. Uniquely, the headphones instead automatically power on when you place them on your ears, and power off when you take them off. Siri can announce some of your notifications automatically via the headphones. And if you misplace the headphones, you can locate them using the Find My app. These points all contribute to why the Apple Airpods Max provides a premium experience for Apple users over the competition.
Finer design points aside, I love the Apple Airpods Max for its audio and aesthetics. Yes, you’re paying an “Apple tax,” but it’s worth it: I’ve had a fantastic experience using these headphones with my Apple devices. The sound quality and comfort, not to mention the extra features, make them well worth the investment–but only if you’re an Apple user.
Best Wireless Headphones For Everyday Use
Cutting-Edge Noise Cancellation
Battery life: Up to 30 hours (40 hours with ANC turned off) | Drivers: 30mm | Weight: 0.7 pounds | Mobile app: Yes | Storage: Hardshell case
- Listening to just about any type of audio
- Eliminating ambient sound using superior noise cancellation
The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones delivered the best overall audio quality out of the collection of sub-600 “mainstream” headphones tested. So why aren’t they the best overall winner? While these headphones can generate spatial audio, it only does so if you pay for a subscription to 360 by Deezer, Artist Connection, nugs.net, PeerTracks or Tidal. A subscription sets you back around 10 per month just to hear spatial audio with the Sony headphones.
That said, when using the Sony WH-1000XM5 with a Tidal subscription, the music quality improved dramatically compared to the same tracks on Apple Music or Spotify. I could hear every nuance with incredible clarity and fullness–it felt like the music surrounded me.
When I streamed music without spatial audio on other services, the music still sounded good, competitive with other headphones I tested. These headphones also support hi-resolution audio files, a boon if you play songs encoded that way. Spatial audio doesn’t work at all when watching TV shows or movies, which is extremely disappointing for a pair of 400 headphones. The only way to enjoy spatial audio with entertainment is to pair the headphones with a Sony Bravia XR television, which allows the headphones to play Dolby Atmos audio.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones feature a simple design, with adjustable telescoping arms and earcups that can rotate 90-degrees to lie flat. The left earcup has two small buttons (one for power), but otherwise you can control these headphones via the touch sensitive areas on the outer side of the earcups. I liked the soft coating on the earcups’ memory foam padding, but since the coating isn’t a breathable material, after an extended listening period, my ears felt warm.
These headphones stand out for their excellent noise cancellation. Sony combines its hi-res audio with two separate processors and eight microphones to remove unwanted ambient noise in a better way than the competition. The result is near silence with noise cancellation on, and exceptional call quality, where my voice had unmatched clarity and the audio volume stayed stable regardless of the noise around you. Although I’ve reviewed plenty of other headphones with extremely impressive noise cancellation, Sony’s implementation stands out from the crowd.
When listening to music, these headphones use Sony’s LDAC audio coding to transmit three times more data than conventional Bluetooth headphones. The result, especially when listening to music from a supported service with spatial audio, is impressive high-resolution audio that uses artificial intelligence to upscale compressed digital music files in real time. This approach restores the high audio range that’s otherwise lost in compression. I found this technology works very well to enhance the overall listening experience.
When I was out and about, Sony’s unique Speak-to-Chat feature proved especially convenient. While wearing the headphones, when I started speaking, the headphones automatically paused the audio I was listening to and let in ambient sound so I could carry on a conversation. Meanwhile, if you remove the headphones from one or both ears, the audio automatically pauses and resumes when you put your headphones back on your head.
With the mobile app, I liked the complete control I had over the audio equalizer, although I found it much easier to select one of the presets, like Bass Boost (which I found ideal for pop music) than it was to make manual adjustments.
These are superb general-purpose headphones with excellent noise cancellation. But to truly experience what they’re capable of, you need to shell out some additional cash and subscribe to Tidal or another supported streaming music service.
Best Wireless Headphones For Audiophiles
Great Sound, If You’re Willing To Pay The Price
Bowers Wilkins Px8
Battery life: Up to 30 hours | Drivers: 40mm | Weight: 0.7 pounds | Mobile app: Yes | Storage: Hardshell case
- Hearing high-fidelity audio from TV shows and movies
- Enjoying the fine nuances of music
- Feeling extra comfort around your ears
- You’re on a budget
- You use your headphones in harsh conditions
- 360-degree or spatial audio matters
The Bowers Wilkins Px8 headphones exude elegance and scream premium design. Everything about these headphones is a step better than their sibling, the Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2. These are not a next-generation replacement for the Px7 S2, but rather a higher-grade tier that targets audiophiles.
These headphones have a single die-cast aluminum arm that adjusts to fit your head size, a notable upgrade over the polymer design of our best headphones overall pick, Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2. These headphones provided me with a snug fit around my ears and over my head. They have comfortably cushioned earcups, and a headband finished with ultra-soft Nappa leather.
I found the controls convenient to use. On the right earcup are the volume up and down buttons, with a programmable multi-function button in between and a power slider (which also depresses to toggle Bluetooth on and off) at the top of the stack. On the left is the Quick Action button, which you can set to handle several actions, including toggling noise-cancellation and pass-through so you can talk to someone and activating your phone’s voice assistant.
The premium fit-and-finish only addresses the outside upgrades. Inside, the Bowers Wilkins Px8 headphones have a 40mm driver, same size as on the Px7 S2. However, the Px8 has a carbon fiber tweeter that helps lower distortion and improve the high end.
When I listened to Left and Right (Galantis Remix) by Charlie Puth, it sounded the best out of all the headphones I tested (with no spatial audio). The vocals and instrumentals bounced between the left and right channels in a way that sounded immersive—as if being in a dance club. And the virtual soundstage was satisfying and vast. I found audio exceptionally clear and vibrant, noticeably better than the already-great Px7 S2. It was easy for my ears to discern between the vocal and instrumental tracks. I noticed, however, that without manually adjusting the bass level in the mobile app, certain pop songs sounded slightly distorted with the volume turned was up. The app also allowed me to adjust treble and bass using sliders, but I usually found my music tracks didn’t require any adjustments at all.
Conveniently, these headphones can detect when you remove them from your head. Audio paused automatically when I took them off and resumed play when I placed them back on my head. The noise cancellation uses six microphones to effectively reduce or eliminate unwanted ambient sounds. This worked well when I engaged in hands-free phone calls. However, in my experience, the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones’ noise cancellation performed a little better.
When I needed to interact with someone else or hear what was happening around me, I simply pushed the multi-function button to switch to Ambient mode (its default setting). I could program the button to do something else via the Bowers Wilkins app, which also handles adjusting the audio equalizer manually.
I liked how the noise cancellation worked to mitigate ambient noise, even in the absence of audio. However, they weren’t quite as good as some other models: I could still hear the muffled noise from my keyboard while typing.
For everyday headphones, I was hard pressed to notice a tremendous difference between the Bowers Wilkins Px8 and Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2 headphones (that are less expensive). However, for me, the Bowers Wilkins Px8 headphones’ outstanding audio output, comfort and luxurious design make them stand out among the competition.
Other Wireless Headphones I Tested
While these five winners easily stood out as the best of the best, I weeded out more than a dozen other wireless headphones that simply didn’t make the cut. However, I chose nine other models that are worth consideration if one of my top picks doesn’t meet your needs. These are the runners-up for the best wireless headphones:
- Bose QuietComfort 45 (278 at Best Buy): You can’t get on a plane or train without seeing dozens of Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones. They’re relatively affordable, offer excellent battery life (up to 24 hours) and they’re very comfortable. What sets them apart, though, is their superior noise cancellation and easy-to-transport folding design. The reason they aren’t a top pick is because they use older technology that isn’t as advanced. Nonetheless, the QuietComfort 45 are an excellent choice for frequent travelers and commuters.
- Master Dynamic MW65 (299 at Amazon): These headphones deliver superior audio, two excellent noise cancellation modes, up to 24 hours of listening time and 40mm Beryllium drivers. But what really sets these headphones apart is their distinctive design. They have a very elegant but retro appearance that’s created using anodized aluminum and premium leather, with ultra-soft lambskin around the earpads. These headphones also offer a Bluetooth range up to 65 feet (double the usual). Their regular price (499) is steep compared with the competition, especially since it only includes a cloth travel pouch which offers no protection. That said, I really love the design and quality of the Master Dynamic MW65 headphones—and if you can grab them on sale, they’re a great deal.
- Bang Olufsen Beoplay Portal (358 at Amazon): These headphones target gamers as a gaming headset, but they’re so much more. I love the large, touch-sensitive controls on both earcups. The design features a lot of plastic, which keeps them lightweight, but that makes them less durable and elegant. Another thing that sets these normally pricey (MSRP: 500) headphones apart is their high-fidelity, three-dimensional sound. The audio surrounds you, especially when playing Dolby Atmos content. The 40mm drivers can run for 19 hours on a single charge and you get a wide range of EQ presets. There’s no case, but the earcups fold flat for transport and you get a cloth pouch for storage. These are amazing headphones, but they didn’t get a nod as a top choice mainly because of its price and lack of a carrying case. This is another model that makes a strong choice when on sale.
- Beats Studio 3 (234 at Amazon): Apple and Dr. Dre teamed up to create a pair of well-designed, foldable headphones that are easily transportable and offer outstanding sound. If you can’t afford the Apple Airpods Max, but want its close cousin, the Beats Studio 3 headphones are a terrific alternative—especially when on sale (MSRP: 350). My chief complaint is that they don’t offer the high-quality feel or appearance you get from other headphones. The padding is thin, and the earcups are coated with a rubber-like substance and lack memory foam. These headphones have been around for a few years now (since September 2017), so they lack the latest audio and wireless technologies.
- Sennheiser Momentum 4 (289 at Amazon): While the audio sounds great, these headphones use a lot of plastic and what appears to be only the most basic of padding. But the moment you pick them up, they turn on and pair with the device you typically use them with. Even without playing audio, the adaptive noise cancellation kicks in, so you can use the headphones to tune out the world around you and simply enjoy the silence. You don’t get spatial audio, but you do get high-quality stereo sound, which Sennheiser refers to as its “signature sound” (forward mids, relaxed treble and an overall warm sound).
- BeyerDynamic Amiron Wireless (549 at BeyerDynamic): My first impression was that these headphones are simply too large and bulky. They also don’t fold flat for transport, so the hardshell case is large and thick. But as I used the headphones, I appreciated their extreme comfort—they have thick padding that covers the underside of the headband, and thick memory foam that surrounds the earcups. While they lack spatial audio, they have large 45mm drivers that produce deep bass and rich, full-bodied sound. The noise cancellation works very well, too. The headphones lack physical buttons, with controls handled instead by convenient touch-sensitive earcups. At their regular price (MSRP of 799), they’re priced higher than most competitors, even when on sale.
- Yamaha YH-L700A (400 at Amazon): These headphones have a plastic and cloth design, which makes them feel lighter and more inexpensive than they look. While they’re adjustable, I was unable to acquire a snug fit, so any slight movement of my head caused them to wobble and made them feel uncomfortable compared with other headphones. I liked the 3D spatial audio with head tracking; it worked well with compatible devices. The Yamaha YH-L700A produced crisp, immersive sound, and they had effective noise cancellation during use. The audio automatically adjusted to my surroundings, so once I set the volume I liked, it remained constant regardless of the ambient audio in the area where I was using them. This was also handy during phone calls. The mobile app has tons of settings to choose among, and when enabled, these settings dramatically improved sound quality across all audio types.
- Shure Aonic 50 (299 at Amazon): My first impression of these bulky headphones was that their plastic outer design made them feel cheaply made. However, when I placed them on my head, I quickly achieved a comfortable and fairly snug fit, but the headphones wobbled with sudden and strong head movements. The headphones have small button controls on the earcups, for controlling key functions like volume control. The mobile app makes it easy to adjust the headphones’ noise cancellation level, select among seven audio presets and manually adjust the audio equalizer. Overall, I liked the balanced audio from the Shure Aonic 50 headphones, but I noticed that even with the Bass Boost preset enabled, highly produced pop music sounded a little tinny (albeit not annoyingly so). Rated for 20-hours, the battery life is typical. While I’d expect more features from headphones at this price, the Shure Aonic 50 can produce satisfying audio that won’t disappoint.
- Bose Noise Cancelling 700 (379 at Amazon): These headphones have a simple, modern-looking design that tilts the earcups by 15 degrees to mirror the shape of a human head. The earcups are coated with a soft artificial leather, with buttons on each as well as a touch sensitive area on the right earcup for onboard controls. They stayed firmly in place during testing, without applying too much clamping pressure on my head. The Bose Noise Cancelling 700s offer 11 levels of noise cancellation you can adjust manually. I could switch from noise cancellation to Conversation Mode with a tap; this automatically paused the audio so I could converse with someone nearby. These headphones use eight microphones (compared to six in the QuietComfort 45) to manage its adaptive and adjustable noise cancellation. I found Bose’s implementation ensured hands-free phone calls sounded crisp and clear, even when outdoors in the wind. The mobile app made it easy to adjust the audio equalizer settings to match my tastes. In my opinion, the Bose Noise Cancelling 700s performed as well as headphones that cost significantly more. Read my full review, and watch for sales; when the price dropped, these headphones were my pick for best value wireless headphones.
- Cleer Alpha (200 at Amazon): At first glance, the Cleer Alphas look and feel like headphones that should cost 350 or more. They sound like it, too: At the default settings, these headphones’ sound impressed me. I heard plenty of bass when listening to music or audio from TV shows and movies, and I appreciated how audio sounded extra immersive with spatial audio enabled. Its integrated noise cancellation was highly effective, too, and it has with wind reduction to allow clear hands-free phone calls. The headphones’ design includes touch controls on the outside of the earcups that made it simple to adjust volume, play/pause audio or skip tracks. As for comfort, the earcups are covered in soft leather, with a generous amount of memory foam padding. I found it easy to create a snug fit, without putting too much pressure over my ears. From the Cleer mobile app, I found it easy to pair the headphones with two devices, turn on spatial audio and adjust the noise cancellation level or audio equalizer manually. While the terrific audio is a draw, I also liked these headphones’ convenient 35-hour battery life. For the price, these headphones are an excellent value. They provide great performance as general purpose, everyday use headphones.
- Treblab Z7 Pro (127 at Amazon): These headphones were among the few that felt light on my head; its chassis is plastic, with memory foam earcups and soft leather coverings. The right earcup has touch-sensitive and responsive controls that were easy to use. Unlike most other headphones I tested, the Treblab Z7 Pro have an IPX4 water resistance rating, so sweat and a bit of rain won’t damage them. Another distinction: These headphones last up to 45-hours on battery power. The sound quality of the Treblab Z7 Pro is merely average, even though it has 40mm drivers. It has four microphones to assist with noise cancellation and make hands-free phone calls sound clear. But this model lacks a mobile app, so you can’t adjust any settings or the audio equalizer. From the headphones, though, it’s easy to switching between noise cancellation and transparency mode. Their folding design and hardshell case make the headphones easy to transport. But in the end, I found the Treblab Z7s’ sound quality was not as robust or immersive as I wanted. For not much more, you can get better sounding headphones.
I rigorously tested more than a dozen popular and best-selling wireless headphones, from a variety of manufacturers and in a wide range of settings and situations. I’m not new to testing audio gear: I’ve been covering consumer technology for over 25 years, for publications like AARP the Magazine. Recently, for Forbes Vetted, I also tested dozens of the best wireless earbuds and best Bluetooth speakers. I have seen firsthand the dramatic evolution of wireless headphones technology.
During my testing, I consulted with three experienced music producers, including Michael Orland, (Associate Musical Director for American Idol); Drew Ryan Scott (singer, songwriter and multi-platinum music producer); and Gabe Lopes (singer, songwriter and producer for dozens of well-known artists). We discussed what key features they look for when choosing headphones. These three experts provided guidance about what functionality is most important to hearing music the way it was meant to be heard using wireless headphones designed for everyday use.
How I Tested The Best Wireless Headphones
To test the listening experience for each of the headphones, I paired them with an Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max and evaluated music from Apple Music, Tidal and Spotify–particularly tunes from Katy Perry and Harry Styles. These are pop artists who release sonically complex music. I also spent some time listening to Left and Right by Charlie Puth and Jung Kook, a song that purposely bounces between the left and right audio channels. When you’re listening on any of the best wireless headphones, the music should sound like it’s literally moving around in your head.
I tested the hands-free phone call capabilities of each pair of headphones and listened for clarity, volume consistency and how well the noise cancellation feature eliminated ambient noise. When outside, I tested the wind reduction and noise cancellation features too.
Paired with an Apple iPad Pro, I also tested each headphone by watching the first 15 minutes of the same episode of two popular TV series—Star Trek: Discovery and Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power. These high-budget series are a perfect storm of dialogue mixed with sound effects and swelling background music. I paid attention to clarity and whether the end result sounded muddled or flat, as opposed to immersive (as if sitting in a movie theater with a state-of-the-art surround sound system).
It was also important to evaluate comfort and craftsmanship, as well as portability, customization and other special features. For example, I found spatial audio made a huge difference in creating a truly immersive listening experience, especially when listening to audio from a TV show or movie. And there’s a significant difference between passive noise cancellation, active noise cancellation and adaptive noise cancellation in how well these headphones reduced or eliminated ambient sounds.
Along with sound quality and comfort, overall design is also an important consideration. I took all this into consideration when making my picks. In fact, all of these tests helped narrow the field down to 10 models. Here are the winners.
How To Pick Wireless Headphones
Many modern wireless headphones include audio-enhancing features, like noise cancellation, wind reduction, transparency modes and spatial audio. But you don’t have to become an audio engineer to choose the right pair of headphones as long as you know what to look for.
Michael Orland has been the pianist, arranger, vocal coach and associate musical director for the TV show American Idol for 16 seasons. Plus, for their live and televised performances, he regularly plays and conducts for music superstars like Kristen Bell, Erich Bergen, Sabrina Carpenter, Lynda Carter, Kristin Chenoweth, Ariana Grande, Tony-Winner Debbie Gravitte, Jennifer Holliday, Roslyn Kind, Barry Manilow, Maureen McGovern, Katharine McPhee and Idina Menzel.
According to Orland, “The number one priority when choosing wireless headphones is physical comfort. Even if a wireless headphone sounds fantastic, it won’t matter if they aren’t comfortable after an extended listening period. Other features, such as price, support for spatial audio/Dolby Atmos and noise cancellation, are entirely personal decisions. Not all streaming services support spatial audio or Dolby Atmos, not everyone needs or wants noise cancellation, and the importance of price is different for everyone.”
Drew Ryan Scott is a successful recording artist, songwriter and music producer who has worked with more than a dozen U.S. based pop artists. He’s also responsible for writing and producing more than 100 chart-topping K-Pop and J-Pop hits. He provides the singing voice to many Disney and Nickelodeon animated characters, was a vocalist on the TV show Glee, and is the singing voice of Cat Noir in the upcoming Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug Cat Noir animated movie.
“I am someone who focuses on sound quality as well as comfort, since I typically wear headphones for 10 to 15 hours each day when I’m working. I also like it when I’m able to manually control the sound using a mobile app, as opposed to relying on pre-sets,” says Scott.
As for equalization, just because headphones let you manually adjust bass, treble and mid-tones, that doesn’t mean you should. Scott explained, “It all depends on what you’re listening to and your personal preferences. Some people really like extra bass when listening to pop or rock music, for example. A headphone’s presets are designed to appeal to the average listener and are typically more than adequate if you’re streaming your favorite songs or albums.”
If you’re wondering if headphones are better than earbuds, Scott added, “I have been equally impressed by the audio quality of many higher-end earbuds and headphones, so which you choose is a matter of personal preference.”
Gabe Lopez is a chart-topping music producer, singer and songwriter working in Hollywood. He produces music for RuPaul’s Drag Race and Queen of the Universe and has written and produced music for Belinda Carlisle, New Kids On The Block, The Go Gos and other pop and rock artists.
He stated, “I think sound quality is the most important feature to look for in headphones. Ideally, the headphones should be true to the recording that was intended, with present and clear frequencies. Comfort for long-duration listening is ideal, as well. A true reflection of the recording is the most important to me. Most wireless headphones have apps that allow you to choose from a handful of presets. I like to go through presets like pop, rock, and so on, because I know that listeners often opt to use those settings. I think this is a personal preference. I know some people really love to feel the bass so they turn it up. Some like to hear more high-end.”
When asked how he can tell if a pair of headphones is any good, Lopez explained, “I simply play a few of my favorite songs. If the songs sound as good or better than I’ve heard with other equipment, then it’s a good set of headphones. If the songs sound thin or tinny, I’d look for another pair.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Wireless Headphones Okay For Gaming?
While you can use wireless headphones for gaming, the wireless headphones on our list are more suited for listening to music. You may not get much-needed gaming features like spatial audio, extra isolation and more. Our recommendation for gamers is to invest in a dedicated gaming headset so you can enjoy audio that will give you an improved gaming experience.
Do All Wireless Headphones Have Noise Canceling?
Not all wireless headphones opt to include noise canceling features. The wireless headphones that come with noise canceling will say under product features or specs descriptions. If you want this feature, you’ll want to check the fine print to make sure your choice comes with it.
Are Wireless Headphones Better Than Earbuds?
When it comes to comfort, whether you choose wireless headphones or earbuds really comes down to a matter of personal choice. But for your ear health, headphones typically offer better overall ear health. After all, when you’re using headphones, you’re not sticking something into your ear.
That being said, watch the volume. No matter whether you’re wearing wireless headphones or earbuds, you can damage your ears by listening to music too loudly. You’ll want to keep your volume levels low.
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