Wireless headphones, Yay or Nay?



Hahaha most of the times “convenience” rattles the house of pure sound fidelity.


I think it comes down to what you’re using them for. I use AirPods on the go, Beats Solo3’s at the office, Sony MDR-100ABN’s on the plane, and Sennheiser HD500A’s for more critical listening at home. So wireless is my predominant method, but wired is what I go to when convenience isn’t a factor.


I’m surprised that the Bose QC 35s are only just coming up in conversation. Is there a strong reason to stay away from them?


Regarding lack of interest in the QC35s:

  1. Bose as a terrible reputation (incites avoidance) among many quality-inclined folks.
  2. Competing products are now in the same ballpark for noise cancellation effectiveness.

Overall there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with Bose, you are just paying for their heavy marketing budget rather than much investment in sound and product quality.


@Generic, thanks for clarifying. I had a feeling that that was the case. My friend’s Dad still talks about the days when Bose was a good company, so I guess that would suggest how far they’ve fallen since then . . .


I comparison to others in the same price range, i found the QC 35 to be particularly lacking, especially in the sound department.

Their ANC is better than Sennheiser’s PXC 550s or B&O’s models but they lose hard in sound quality. With B&O you’re paying a little more for fashion headphines but I’d still rank them above the QC 35.

That being said thiugh, I’d have no problem working out with the QC 35s while with the others I would as I feel their pads and design are a little more premium.


They have their purpose. It may not be critical listening but I still like having them around.

Last year the second hand market was saturated with AKG Y50BT headsets. Samsung, who had just purchased Harmon Int. was giving them away to anybody who purchased the Galaxy S8. I bought a pair last spring and they accompanied me through an entire solo remodel of a 450sqft loft. I could listen to music and podcasts and not have to worry about cables getting in the way of the power tools I was dicking around with.

Earlier this year I bought Beats Studio 3s. I had tried over headsets and ended up returning them ( I really, really liked the JBL Everest 700 Elite for it’s sine sweep/calibration to your ear shape and the fact that it’s spot on to the Harmon curve) however latency with video kept killing it. I use an iPhone and iPad and the Studio 3 have little to no perceptible latency when watching Youtube/Hulu/HBO.

While my wired headphones are tools for listening to music, my bluetooth headphones are convenience tools for when I’m doing other things, and just want to listen to a podcast, or I want to watch my shows every week when the wife is hogging the TV.


Ahaha, I definitely see the QC 35s in airports more often than in gyms. At my gym, I’ve noticed the presence of a lot of Beats headphones, but I cannot be sure that that is the result of Beats’ marketing working its magic on me or something else.


Stepping in here to remind everyone that this forum is about tone in more ways that one. We’re all new here, but let’s try to avoid conversation ending declaratives. :slightly_smiling_face:


I think Beats translate to the gym crowd because if you’re athletic, you’ve more than likely seen your favourite athlete wearing Beats in some sort of advertisement or behind the scenes. They are super popular in schools for the same reason.

The majority of people also legitimately don’t know that there is better out there because companies put so much money into R&D that they don’t have the spend to put into advertising whereas Beats is vice versa. Lots of AD spend, not a ton of R&D.

I think Bose and Beats both have their place and they won’t be going anywhere anytime soon but with them you’re paying more so for the marketing hype than the actual product themselves.


aargh Umm. No. Your friend’s Dad is sort of like one of those nutty relatives you see at the table on Thanksgiving, :clown_face:

Bose made its reputation on the 901 speakers, which had a unique sound. They called it “direct reflecting” which meant that there was no soundstage. They bounced stuff off of walls and ceilings, so that a violin might come not from a point, but an L shaped space 10 feet long. They claimed good bass, but this was because of an array of 5 inch speakers that were overdriven. Reputable testing showed bass distortion significantly more than a traditional speaker.

Later, Bose made one very very good product, the Wave Radio. When you had a hard time getting a good compact sound and decent reception, the $300 Wave Radio was just about the only game in town.

They next went into sound systems to be installed in rooms, again typically where you weren’t doing critical listening. About the same time, they came out with their noise canceling headphones. I agree with the earlier posts about the headphones (andrew?) that they were not bad phones, just expensive because of Bose marketing.


I have also tried the Westone BT adapter on W-10s: I use it almost daily as my hearing protection while motorcycle commuting. It works. Pretty great battery life ( >6 hours ) and the sound is okay. But I never use BT for critical listening.


My thoughts on wireless headphones “Yay! or Nay!:” The are only ‘okay.’

Transducer tech has a longer timeline than wireless transmission tech. I am still using HD 580s because they still work the trick. Bluetooth updates almost every 24 months with a promise that Intel got it right this time. It isn’t right yet but that is another discussion. Tying the two together make sense in the same way as giving a puppy to my 95 year old mother.

On my motorcycle (Westone W-10 with BT adapter) or in the car BT is pretty great. But I have a pair of HD 4.50 BTNC that stay wired because they are fair on a wire and lifeless on BT. I’m not going to spend more money trying other wireless solutions. I’d rather get a small personal digital player and plug in a good set of IEM or cans.

Wireless might be the solution if the problem is only mobility and not sound; as in, the AirPods look pretty spiffy if I wanted a BT headset for an Apple Watch 3 (LTE). But when I want mobile+audio, I’ll grab the phone and Dragonfly.


Definite Yay for me.

For travel, I had Bose QC 35 (I and II) for some time, but recently switched over to the Sony WH-1000XM2 headphones due to better comfort, noise cancellation, and sonics. Of course, YMMV. I also enjoy the iOS app they have developed and the many features available through that app to tweak my listening experience.

At home, I enjoy using my Bose Soundwear speaker. Very cool device with great sonics and is very comfortable and useful when moving about the house.

For exercise and phone calls, I use my Apple Airpods. Sound isn’t half bad for a pair of earbuds, really, and they are light, comfortable, and just work 100% of the time with any of my Apple devices. No fuss.


I still haven’t tried these. Thanks for reminding me!

Have you tried the PXC 550s by any chance? If so, I’m wondering how they compare to the Sony’s.


I haven’t personally auditioned the PXC 550s, though reviews I read for them were overall very positive.

This particular review was one of my references when deciding on my wireless headphone purchase: http://majorhifi.com/sony-mdr-1000x-vs-sennheiser-pxc-550-review/

Mind, this article was for the Sony 1000x (version 1) and not the 1000XM2 (version 2). From the reviews I read, the 1000XM2 made improvements in sound, noise cancelling, and overall user friendliness, at least from an app perspective.


For me it’s clear NAY. Added complexity, PCBs designed for size instead of best audio parameters, need extra power supply and transport stream is of lossy nature.
Uneven impedance curve due to active circuity.

There are uses for wireless for sure - such as recording sessions with 20+ musicians.
For home use though, nothing quite beats such a simple and elegant solution as a wired connection.


Yay but only really for travel or exercise for me personally.

I was fortunate enough to have been gifted a set of Sennheiser Momentum Wireless over ears and the ANC when on flights is wonderful. At the gym or running I just use a cheap set of Skullcandy Method Wireless which do the job well enough.


Between the decreased sound quality and the battery life issue, I’m a solid nay. If those things can be dealt with (and I expect they will in the next 5-7 years), then I’d be in. But we are nowhere near that yet.


Mr. Natural to Flakey Foont: “Use the right tool for the job” (R. Crumb)

While traveling, particularly on a plane, I need noise cancellation. That can be done passively (IEM) or actively, which is where wireless headphones come in for me. I’m not really worried about hearing the best audio possible, which isn’t going to happen until somebody invents a really quiet airplane. I don’t like wearing IEMs for six hours straight. Right now, the Sony WH-1000rmk2 may be as good as it gets in that situation The sonic advantages of a wired headphone are lost in the sound of jet engines.

Would I use that headphone at home, where I’ve got plenty of wired headphones, and a quiet environment to listen in? Heck no. Wireless isn’t there yet. But it doesn’t have to be.