Combining noise cancellation and wi-fi audio in a pair of headphones sometimes means creating a reasonably costly product—however that hasn’t stopped corporations like Jabra and Plantronics from giving it their finest shot. And it is onerous to beat the worth of Plantronics’ $149.99 BackBeat Go 810 headphones, which ship surprisingly stable noise cancellation for the worth. As for audio, these are bass-forward headphones that may irk purists and entice lovers of the mega-bass sound signature. So should you’re in search of wi-fi ANC (lively noise cancellation) on a funds, the BackBeat Go 810 be part of the small group of choices we suggest.
Available in black, darkish blue, or white, the circumaural BackBeat Go 810 headphones use matte plastic and smooth earpads to create a spare, easy, fashionable look. The earpads are closely cushioned, as is the underside of the headscarf. The match, even over lengthy listening periods, is comfy, light-weight, and safe, because of a headscarf that makes use of detents for exact and balanced ear-to-ear becoming. Internally, the headphones make use of a 40mm dynamic driver in every earcup, delivering a frequency vary of 50Hz to 20kHz.
The left earcup’s outer panel homes the play/pause management, in addition to devoted observe ahead/backward buttons. Along the aspect panel, there are quantity up/down buttons that additionally activate the ANC when pressed for 2 seconds on the identical time. A change on the aspect panel of the suitable earcup handles energy and Bluetooth pairing, whereas a button on the decrease finish of the earcup controls EQ modes and mutes the mic. (This button truly gave us some bother in observe—it was extra dependable to change EQ modes within the app.) Generally talking, the controls are straightforward to function; it helps that just about each operate will get a devoted button.
The mic presents common intelligibility. Using the Voice Memos app on an iPhone 6s, we might perceive each phrase we recorded, however the audio was fuzzy and the mic sounded distant—widespread complaints for built-in Bluetooth mics.
The headphones ship with a mesh drawstring pouch that they flatten to suit into, and an audio cable that connects to the left earcup. The cable lacks any inline controls, which is a slight letdown, however its inclusion nonetheless permits for passive wired listening when the battery is kicked. Plugging within the cable mechanically powers down the headphones. A brief micro USB charging cable is included, and it connects to a port subsequent to the headphone jack.
A free, non-compulsory BackBeat app detects your headphone mannequin and unlocks added controls. For the BackBeat Go 810, these options embody a Find My Headset operate for finding misplaced headphones, in addition to a timer for the ANC to close off when the headphones are idle. It’s additionally attainable to make use of the app to change between EQ and ANC.
Plantronics estimates battery life to be 22 hours, however your outcomes will rely in your quantity ranges, and your mixture of function utilization.
The ANC has two modes, high and low. Our expertise was higher with excessive, which is designed to sort out the extraordinary rumble of an airplane or a whirring AC unit, but in addition appears applicable for much less noisy workplace settings. While the low setting is meant for these quieter environments, it appears much less efficient usually.
In testing, the ANC provides some audible high-frequency hiss, which is not disagreeable (suppose tape hiss or white noise, at a low quantity), however is normally an indication of considerably subpar noise cancellation. Then once more, these headphones are $150—a low value for any ANC pair, notably wi-fi. What the ANC will get proper—tamping down loud low-frequency rumble—is spectacular for this value vary, and the hiss is forgivable. The circuitry fortunately does not have a notable affect on audio efficiency, both, which is not all the time a given.
The EQ modes of Balanced and Bright provide respectable listening experiences, however it’s odd that Plantronics does not assist you to create your personal customized EQ. In Balanced mode, the audio packs a sound that’s extra lows- and mids-focused, whereas Bright mode is extra about treble. Generally talking, we want Balanced mode, however a refined combo of the 2 modes would’ve been a extra rewarding listening expertise.
On tracks with intense sub-bass content material, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the headphones ship highly effective low-frequency depth that may enchantment to mega-bass lovers and does not distort at high volumes. At extra reasonable volumes, the lows are nonetheless fairly intense—this can be a bass-forward sound signature, for sure, even in Bright mode (no less than for tracks with this a lot bass presence).
Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” a observe with far much less deep bass within the combine, provides us a greater sense of the BackBeat Go 810’s basic sound signature. The drums get some additional bass thunder right here, and whereas issues do not veer into unnatural territory, they arrive shut—they sound far heavier than they’d with out such intense low-frequency boosting. Thankfully the highs are nonetheless comparatively balanced right here, permitting the acoustic guitar strums to steadiness issues out a bit. Callahan’s wealthy baritone vocals additionally get a measure of treble edge to maintain issues crisp sufficient that they by no means sound muddy.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop receives much less high-mid presence than you may want—its assault loses a little bit of its punch, whereas its maintain will get extra thump to it. The vinyl crackle and hum within the background pushes to the forefront right here, and the sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat are delivered with some actual energy. So we’ve got boosting in highs, boosting within the lows, and sculpting all the way in which throughout the frequency vary.
For orchestral tracks, just like the opening scene from John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary, the decrease register instrumentation will get some critical added heft. It sounds borderline unnatural in Balanced mode and extra pure in Bright mode, which permits the upper register brass, strings, and vocals to retain their crisp presence.
When you think about the surprisingly above-average noise cancellation, the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 headphones are a stable worth for $150. If you need the very best in ANC, nevertheless, you may must spend fairly a bit extra. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones stay our Editors’ Choice, and we’re additionally followers of the Marshall Mid ANC. If in-ear ANC is one thing you are enthusiastic about, the Bose QuietControl 30 and Plantronics BackBeat Go 410 are additionally robust choices. If you need noise cancellation on a strict funds and you want a bass-forward sound signature, nevertheless, you may’t do significantly better than the BackBeat Go 810.