The Roskachestvo experts in cooperation with their colleagues from the International Assembly of Consumer Research and Testing ICRT – International Consumer Research and Testing have conducted a research of headphones of different types and price categories: the experts present the results of 177 pairs of wired headphones 93 and wireless Bluetooth headphones 84 . Professional studio headphones that require fixed amplifiers and are most often not intended for portable
uses, the study did not include.
According to the test results, the best wireless headphones were:
* 1st place: Sony WH-1000XM2
* 2nd place: Sony WH-H900N ear on 2 Wireless NC
* 3rd place: Sony MDR-100ABN.
The 4th and 5th places were taken by the models from Sennheiser: RS 175 and RS 165 respectively. A little lower, but still in the first half of the list are the models from Bang and Olufsen Beoplay H4, Beoplay H7 , JBL T450BT , Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless and Urbanears Plattan 2 Bluetooth, Plattan ADV . AKG, Bose, Beats, Audio-Technica, Apple and Samsung headphones are in the top 20.
The best wired headphones were:
* 1st place: Sennheiser HD 630VB these are the only headphones that scored the maximum in sound quality
* 2nd place: Bose SoundSport iOs
* 3rd place: Sennheiser Urbanite I XL.
The rating also includes products from Monster, Jabra, Jaybird, Skullcandy, Plantronics, Motorola, Google, Marshall, AfterShokz and others.
According to the totality of all parameters the best were:
1st place: Sennheiser HD 630VB wired ,
2nd place: Sony WH-1000XM2 wireless ,
3 place: Bose SoundSport iOs wired .
Leaders in sound quality: Sennheiser HD 630VB wired , Sony WH-1000XM2 and Sennheiser RS 175 both wireless models .
Leaders in convenience: Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H7 wireless , Sony WHH900N h.ear on 2 Wireless NC wireless Sennheiser Urbanite XL wired .
What and how we investigated?
Testing conducted by a leading international laboratory, working in accordance with ISO 19025 the quality standard adopted by the International Organization for Standardization .
To assess the quality of the sound transmission system, the durability of headphones and their functionality special equipment was used. And the sound quality and comfort of the device was tested directly by the experts – because the technique is simply not capable of such an assessment.
Here is what the chief sound engineer of radio station “New York Says” Daniel Meerzon says: “The human ear is designed so that it perceives sounds with frequencies from about 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Everything below 20Hz infrasound and everything above 20,000Hz ultrasound is not perceived by the human ear. So it is not very understandable when a manufacturer of household non-professional headphones writes in the technical description that they play frequencies in the range of 10 – 30000Hz. Perhaps it’s counting on buyers of more than just earthly descent. In fact, very often it turns out that the claimed performance is very far from reality.
Sound Quality Score
Sound quality in a special isolated room was evaluated by five leading experts: music creators, performers, music educators , all of different ages and with different musical preferences. They tested the headphones by listening to seven sets of music in each pair: classical, jazz, pop, rock, electronic music as well as speech and pink noise the spectral density of this signal is inversely proportional to frequency, it can be found, for example, in heartbeats, in almost any electronic device, as well as in most genres of music . Such an intensive testing program was conducted to determine the headphones, which are able to sound different types of music with the same quality. And the experts found these headphones.
The absolute leader in sound quality of wired models was Sennheiser HD 630VB. The best wireless models were: Sony WH-1000XM2, Sennheiser RS175, Sennheiser RS 165.
According to Daniil Meerzon, when choosing headphones, first of all we have to check the sound quality of the music we like in a certain model: “Some people like more “bass” sound, while others find it hard to hear music and get real pleasure from it. It’s all very individual, and different people will sound differently with the same headphones.
Evaluation of comfort and durability of headphones
Here experts tested whether they are easy to put on and take off, and whether they lock on well.
“When it comes to comfort of use, it all depends on personal preferences: some people, for example, find it strange when people listen to music in bulky overhead headphones on subway rides or just walking down the street. Many people choose in-ear or earbuds for this reason,” says Daniel Meerzon.
The leaders in convenience from wired models: Sennheiser Urbanite I XL, Bose QuietComfort 25, Grado SR60e. The quality of fit and materials were also tested, including a specially designed stress test. The leaders in durability among wireless models are Beats Solo3 Wireless and Apple AirPods.
Assessing the quality of sound transmission
To determine the quality of the sound transmission system, we used a special device to measure the amplitude-frequency response and sensitivity in electroacoustics, audiometry and other similar fields – the artificial ear. With it, experts evaluated the level of acoustic leakage: that is, whether the headphones “hold” sound well.
So if you have a lot of leakage, you can usually hear the music around you, but the bass sound is distorted. The least acoustic leakage of wired model showed Sony MDR-ZX110NA – these headphones will not allow others whether they are near the subway or in the office to hear the music played in the headphones.
As for the same parameter regarding wireless headphones, the leader in the test were several models: Audio-Technica ATH-SR5BT , Marshall Major II , Sennheiser Urbanite XL Wireless, Momentum Free, Momentum In-ear Wireless , Sony MDR-XB50BS, MDR-XB70BT, MDR-XB80BS .
The artificial ear also tested the noise cancelling feature of the headphones. As the extraneous noise was used subway sounds – the leaders in this index will not hear extraneous noises and allow you to focus on the music.
The best noise reduction of the wired ones is in Bose QuietComfort 25. Of the wireless ones, Sony WH-1000XM2, Sony WI-1000X, Sennheiser PXC 550 Beoplay and B&O H8i.
In addition, the experts considered the presence of noise in the sound transmission, as well as loss of functionality with low battery power.
Leaders in signal quality of wireless models: Sennheiser Urbanite XL Wireless , Audio-Technica ATH-SR5BT , Marshall Major II , B&O Beoplay H8i and Sony MDR-EX750BT .
Evaluating the functionality of headphones
Can they be stacked? Is it easy to tell which earphone is for the right ear and which is for the left ear?? Does it come with a case or pouch?? Do the headphones have built-in buttons for receiving calls and controlling music playback? As part of the functionality evaluation, experts answered these and other questions.
The leaders in functionality of wireless models are Beats Studio 2 and 3 Wireless and Sennheiser Urbanite XL Wireless and PXC 550 Travel , and some models of AKG N 60 NC Wireless , Motorola VerveOnes+ , Jabra Sport Coach Wireless and Elite Sport .
And of the two eternal competitors – Samsung Gear IconX 18th place and Apple Airpods 22nd place – in terms of functionality, quality and sound reproduction were better than Samsung, but Apple won in comfort and durability.
Wired or wireless?
Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Wired headphones restrict movement, but do not need charging and fit all devices with a standard audio jack. With wireless headphones you are less cramped for movement and can control playback more comfortably – especially handy in cold weather and during sports. They can also pair with any Bluetooth-enabled device.
And in the overall rating by various parameters, both the former and the latter are equally represented. So you should be guided by your own comfort, the way you feel about music, and Roskachestvo research data.
Safety of use
It is important to remember that, regardless of the characteristics of headphones, if used improperly, they can cause damage to your health. Senior Researcher at the NIKIO named after V.I. Vernadsky, a leading researcher in the American Academy of Sciences. l. i. Sverzhevsky, otosurgeon Valery Mishchenko, warns:
“The number of people suffering from so-called sensorineural hearing loss has increased dramatically. One of the reasons for this violation is listening to loud music with headphones. After brief exposure to sound over 80 dB, the inner ear cells regenerate without difficulty. When repeatedly exposed to noise, hearing sensory cells are more severely damaged. And with prolonged, repetitive exposure to intense sounds – such as listening to music through headphones – their recovery becomes impossible. Neurosensory hearing loss is developing.
To minimise the risk of damage to your hearing, your doctor recommends that you listen to music on headphones for no more than three hours a day, and for no more than two hours at a time, with the volume at its highest setting.