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The 5 best wireless ANC headphones to buy now

By Liu Hongzuo - 25 Dec 2022

The 5 best wireless ANC headphones to buy now

Note: This feature was first published on 1 December 2022.

Active Noise Cancellation? Over-ears? We got them here. Photo by Minh Pham on Unsplash.

The sound of music is just as valuable as the sound of silence. But with how inconsiderate and noisy our island’s denizens can be, both are scarce luxuries in Singapore. 

That is, until you invest in a pair of headphones capable of Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). 

ANC headphones are for users who want minimal compromise, where they accept bulk and heft in favour of shutting out even more noise, having a more robust audio profile, and longer battery lives than their true wireless earbuds counterparts. 

With so many options to choose from, which are the ones that are truly worth your money? That’s what this buying guide is for. 

That’s enough noise; let’s see what’s on the shopping list.

 

1. Sony WH-1000XM5

Sony WH-1000XM5.

Questionable design aside, the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones are almost perfect after we had our run with them. It comes with a slight price increase next to its predecessor, but you get so much more in return.

WH-1000XM5 packs two noise-cancellation processors (where rivals normally offer only one), and its NC is automatically available at all times. The additional chip not only improves its overall cancellation abilities but also improves ambient sound handling. In the real world, it's eerily good. You will be shocked at how much noise it can cancel out.

There are eight microphones (double from before) for better noise and voice pickup, and the 30mm drivers are made to reduce distortion in music. Sony has made it very easy for you to pick its XM5 if you’re somebody who can’t compromise on ANC or sound quality.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 has a list price of S$569, and you can find them at Sony’s official web-store, Amazon Singapore, iShopChangi, Lazada, and Shopee.

Check out our full review here

 

2. Bose QuietComfort 45

Bose QuietComfort 45.

The Bose QuietComfort 45 follows its predecessor’s success as the poster child for air-travel headphones, and does just a little more to make it one of the best of its class.

It offers Acoustic Noise Cancelling technology, which is a play on traditional naming conventions of ANC itself. But it’s much more than a cute name inside the QuietComfort 45. The headphones offer two audio modes: Quiet Mode, which activates full noise cancellation, and Aware Mode, which grants you ambient awareness. Crucially, the QuietComfort 45's ANC function is one of the best in the game. 

QuietComfort 45 also didn’t lose its roots in air-travel competency, thanks to its lightweight build, minimal clamping force, and plush synthetic leather cups – all important factors for long-lasting wear on flights. It also has 24 hours of uptime on a single charge (ANC powered on) to meet those needs. 

Bose QuietComfort 45 retails at S$499, which can be found at Amazon Singapore, Lazada, and Shopee.

To know why it won Editor’s Choice at our Tech Awards 2022, read here.

 

3. Technics EAH-A800

Technics EAH-A800.

Technics, the hi-fi brand of Panasonic, has ANC headphones tuned for audiophiles in the form of Technics EAH-A800. In our findings, the drivers are capable, with balanced tuning, and support for higher-res wireless codecs like LDAC.

It also helps that it comes with functional ANC capabilities and a class-leading battery life of up to 50 hours – and that’s with ANC powered on. What makes it even more palatable for audiophiles is the amount of sound customisation you get from its accompanying app, and its audible voice prompts that add to its overall user experience. 

Technics EAH-A800 retails at S$499, and you can find them at Lazada and Shopee

Read our full review here

 

4. Apple AirPods Max

Apple AirPods Max.

Despite being older than most alternatives on this list, the Apple AirPods Max are still one of the most competent wireless ANC headphones you can find – and that rings more true if you’re a native of Apple’s ecosystem.

From a components perspective, AirPods Max headphones are fully kitted out with 40mm drivers, nine microphones and nine sensors, and two H1 audio processing chips. It’s also stylish and touts a high-quality construction, unlike many alternatives that fall back on lighter, but cheaper plastics. 

Where the headphones excel is what made users tolerate its brassiere-shaped carrying case: even today, its ANC function is still one of the best in the market, and it brought forth Spatial Audio with Dynamic Head Tracking to the masses. It even offers three ANC modes (On, Off, and Transparency) if you value ambient awareness, too.

Initially at S$849, its age has brought the Apple AirPods Max’s asking price down to S$799 on the official Apple Store. But old is gold, as they say. 

Read our Apple AirPods Max review here

 

5. Focal Bathys

Focal Bathys.

Focal’s very first wireless ANC headphones are the Focal Bathys. What’s not a first, is the brand's focus on high-quality, high-end audio products. 

The 40mm headphones’ construct is a blend of an aluminium frame, magnesium yokes, and genuine leather for its earpads and headband. It offers wired listening befitting of its audiophile-grade branding (at 24-bits/192kHz), and support for high-quality audio codecs like AptX and AptX Adaptive.

With Bluetooth and ANC enabled, this heavy-duty pair still offers 30 hours of music playback. All in all, it’s made to impress you. Maybe your friends, but you first and foremost.

The Focal Bathys retail at S$1,199 via its official Singapore retailer, Zeppelin & Co.

Read our coverage here.

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