Headphones with lively noise cancellation (ANC) will let you retreat from the din of contemporary life. And who doesn’t wish to try this from time to time? Even higher, you possibly can take heed to your favourite tunes at decrease ranges, thus defending your listening to. After completely testing Edifier’s W860NB ANC headphones, I can say they’re higher for the previous than the latter.
The Edifier W860NB is an over-ear (circumaural) Bluetooth headphone with artificial-leather earpads and headband, weighing in at simply over 10 ounces. It makes use of 40mm drivers with neodymium magnets to realize a specified frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz (no tolerance given).
As talked about on the high, the W860NB affords lively noise cancellation. Four microphones, two in every earcup, pattern ambient noise, which is then phase-inverted and blended with the unique sign to scale back the perceived stage due to section cancellation. (There’s additionally a fifth mic for cellphone calls.) Unfortunately, the W860NB has no transparency mode, which might briefly disable ANC so you possibly can hear issues in your atmosphere, resembling security directions in an airplane.
The W860NB helps Bluetooth 4.1 with the HSP, HFP, A2DP, and AVRCP profiles, and it helps the high-quality aptX codec. In addition to traditional pairing with Bluetooth sources, it may be paired with units that assist NFC (Near-Field Communication). In that case, all you need to do is maintain the W860NB near the supply machine and settle for the connection.
Interestingly, you possibly can pair as much as two Bluetooth supply units to the W860NB and play audio from both one. According to the handbook, “When two Bluetooth devices have different operating systems (e.g., one has Android and the other is iOS), some cross-system operations (e.g., pause music in Android and play music in iOS) may experience delays. Please be aware that this is normal.”
The solely different audio enter is a 3.5mm two-channel analog-audio jack on the backside of the left earcup. When you connect with a supply utilizing such a cable (which is included with the W860NB), the headphone powers off, turning into a passive headphone with an impedance of 32 ohms. This is nice information if the battery is lifeless however you continue to wish to pay attention.
You cost the interior battery by connecting any USB energy supply (5V, 500 mA) to the microUSB connector close to the underside of the left earcup. An acceptable cable is included with the headphone, however the connector is hidden behind a small plastic cowl that appears sure to interrupt off and get misplaced briefly order. Charging takes about 4 hours, after which the battery will final about 25 hours with ANC engaged or 45 hours with out ANC. That’s a really lengthy battery life!
Like most such headphones, the W860MB helps you to reply cellphone calls whereas listening to music. In that case, the music pauses through the name, after which resumes while you dangle up.
The solely buttons on the W860NB are discovered close to the underside of the correct earcup. They embrace the ability button—which is definitely a multifunction button—and a sliding toggle to show ANC on or off. Aside from turning the ability on and off, the multifunction button may also be used to reply, reject, and dangle up cellphone calls in addition to allow and disable the supply machine’s voice-assistant perform (e.g., Siri in iOS units).
All different capabilities—play/pause, quantity up/down, and skip ahead/again—are managed with the touch-sensitive floor of the correct earcup. To play or pause music, double faucet within the middle of the earcup. Slowly slide your finger up or down alongside the floor of the earcup to extend or lower the quantity, and slide your finger ahead or backward to skip to the following or earlier monitor.
If you get a name whereas listening, you possibly can double faucet the middle space to reply the decision and dangle up while you’re achieved. Hold your finger in that space for about two seconds to reject the decision.
Pairing the W860NB with my iPad was no drawback. I began my listening with “Blue Skies” from the album Cassandra Wilson Sings Standards; this tune contains solely acoustic bass and drums accompanying Wilson’s voice. Overall, the sound was a bit thick, and the bass was considerably bloated, however the voice was wealthy and fulsome.
Next up was “Chicha” from the album Tales From Home by acoustic guitarist Ciro Hurtado. This monitor contains electrical bass, drums, flute, and synthesizers along with guitar. The devices have been effectively balanced with full-sounding guitar, and the bass wasn’t as boomy. The total sound, nevertheless, was considerably congested and closed in.
Remaining south of the border, I performed “Los Laureles” from Linda Ronstadt’s Canciones de Mi Padre. The instrumentation features a full Mariachi band with violins, trumpets, guitarron, and harp. Ronstadt’s attractive voice was good and ahead, however the total sound was considerably veiled with barely boated bass.
“Wooden Ships” by Crosby, Stills & Nash is an odd combine for headphones, with the 2 solo voices hard-panned proper and left. As rendered by the W860NB, the sound appeared fairly veiled, particularly the vocals, and the bass was a bit vague and boomy.
One of my favourite world-music artists is Jai Uttal and the Pagan Love Orchestra. “Guru Brahma” on the album Shiva Station contains sitar, electrical bass, drums, tablas, guitar, organ, synths, and muted trumpet supporting Uttal’s vocals. The bass was method overblown, whereas the voice and sitar have been wealthy and in your face.
I additionally listened to “Croque Monsieur” from the album French Cafe: A Parisian Gypsy Jazz Swing Experience by Paris Cafe Society. This monitor contains clarinet, violin, guitar, acoustic bass, and percussion, all of which sounded wealthy and full. The bass was a bit boomy, however not as dangerous as a few of the different tracks I listened to, and the clarinet and violin have been effectively outlined. The total sound, nevertheless, was nonetheless considerably thick and congested.
Turning to classical music, I listened to “Wie Lieblich Sind Deine Wohnungen” from Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem as carried out by Collegium Vocale Gent and the Orchestre des Champs-Elysees beneath Philippe Herreweghe. The sound right here was effectively balanced between the orchestra and choir, however it sounded a bit congested and veiled total.
Joshua Bell is among the many world’s preeminent violinists, as he aptly demonstrates taking part in Tchaikovsky’s Meditation in D Minor with the Berlin Philharmonic beneath Michael Tilson Thomas on the album Tchaikovsky. The orchestra sounded full and effectively balanced, however the violin was considerably recessed, which might have been the combo of that exact monitor.
For some chamber music, I listened to the primary motion of Brahms’ “Trio in A minor, Op. 114” as carried out by Yo-Yo Ma on cello, Emanuel Ax on piano, and Richard Stoltzman on clarinet from the album Brahms; Beethoven; Mozart Piano Trios. Each instrument was effectively outlined, however the total sound was considerably veiled, and the bass was boomy.
Controls, consolation, and noise cancellation
During my listening, I performed with the touch-sensitive controls of the W860NB. Double-tapping the correct earcup begins and pauses playback as anticipated. There’s an extended delay, nevertheless, between sliding your finger up and down on the correct earcup and a change in quantity; I discovered it almost unattainable to set the quantity I wished utilizing that management.
Sliding my finger ahead and backward throughout the correct earcup is meant to skip to the following or earlier monitor. But this was very unreliable; it will typically skip two or three tracks. The touch-sensitive controls are a good suggestion, however this implementation wants work.
I listened to every choice twice—as soon as on the W860NB and once more on the PSB M4U 8 that I just lately reviewed. The boomy low finish and veiled, closed-in sound high quality of the W860NB was all of the extra apparent when in comparison with the M4U 8, which invariably sounded a lot clearer and extra open with no bass bloat. Also, the M4U 8 was louder at a given quantity setting. Granted, the M4U 8 prices greater than twice as a lot because the W860NB, however nonetheless….
In addition, I discovered the W860NB to be lower than completely snug to put on. It didn’t simply conform to my head; I needed to manually rotate the earcups for seal. In addition, the construct high quality feels fairly low-cost, and after some time, I began sweating beneath the artificial-leather earpads.
Regarding lively noise cancellation, the W860NB really exhibited much less hiss than the M4U 8 once I engaged ANC in a quiet room. Taking them each driving round my neighborhood, I began with evaluating the ANC of every unit with none music. I discovered that the noise cancellation is not less than pretty much as good within the W860NB—and maybe a smidge higher than the M4U 8.
Even extra fascinating, I found that the W860NB really sounds higher with ANC on! Whereas the M4U 8 sounds a bit bloated with ANC on, the alternative is true of the W860NB. In truth, it sounded only a bit anemic, with a lot much less low finish than with out ANC. I checked this once I acquired residence in a quiet room, confirming my observations within the automobile.
Just earlier than I completed my analysis, I had my spouse name my cell whereas I used to be listening on the W860NB. Double-tapping the correct earcup answered the decision, and her voice sounded good and clear. (She stated the identical about my voice.) I double-tapped the earcup once more to hold up and resume listening.
As I listened to the Edifier W860NB with ANC off, I used to be getting ready to not advocate it; the sound high quality is considerably veiled and congested with boomy bass. Also, the construct high quality feels low-cost, it’s not as snug as I would love, and the touch-sensitive controls don’t work very effectively.
But then I attempted it with ANC on, and the sound improved considerably—although in that case, it’s a bit lean, which I want over boomy. Even higher, the battery is spec’d to last as long as 25 hours with ANC on, which is for much longer than most. By distinction, the M4U 8 specifies a battery lifetime of round 15 hours, however its batteries might be changed with two common AAs in a pinch. And just like the M4U 8, with the ability off (say, as a consequence of a lifeless battery), the W860NB can act as a passive headphone utilizing a 3.5mm audio cable, although with no ANC, the sound is again to being bloated.
I nonetheless want the sound of the PSB M4U 8, not less than with its ANC off. Plus, it has a lot better construct high quality, absolutely practical controls, and it’s extra snug to put on for prolonged intervals. But it’s greater than twice as costly because the W860NB.
Speaking of the value, $169.99 is kind of good for Bluetooth headphones with ANC. And till March 23, you possibly can snag the W860NB for less than $129.99 on the Edifier web site. If cash is tight however you need over-ear headphones with ANC, the W860NB is price a critical pay attention—so long as you accomplish that with ANC on.