It is pretty amazing how far headphones have come in terms of technological advancements within the past couple of years. For example, if you compare noise-canceling headphones of today to previous iterations you would be amazed how well it has managed to improve its capabilities in leaps and bounds.
Noise-canceling headphones are essential for individuals who work in the music industry but they are also great for people who travel a lot or simply wants to tune everything out and just bask in their favorite tunes. Now, don’t mistake noise-cancellation headphones to noise-isolation headphones. These 2 are vastly different and most people make the mistake of thinking these two are one and the same.
To keep it short, noise-isolation headphones focus on minimizing ambient noise via specific design choices on the headphone while noise-cancellation uses digital signal processing (DSP) technology to actively cancel ambient noise by playing the opposite sound to cancel the ambient noise. This process is called destructive interference, which honestly sounds pretty cool, right?
Naturally, if you prefer premium noise-cancellation quality you will need to drop premium cash. That is not to say that there is no chance for budget buyers to find a solid ANC headphone. Depending on what you need it for and where you will be using it, you can find one that suits your needs without burning a hole in your pocket.
Now then, let’s take a look at two highly rated and popular wireless ANC headphones and see which one is better by comparing their strengths and their weaknesses.
AKG N60NC vs. Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC
AKG N60 Wireless Noise Cancellation On-Ear Headphone Review
The AKG N60 might not be the most stylish looking headphone around but it more than makes up for it with performance. The unassuming design of the AKG N60 is practical. It uses aluminum accents that helps break the all-black color scheme which is always a great combination, in my opinion.
Control configurations are located on the right earcup and use an easy to navigate layout. On the left earcup is where you will find the micro-USB charging port. The AKG N60 can deliver up to 15 hours of play time in wireless mode and 30 hours if in wired mode. Take note that the ANC feature is always and automatically turned on in wireless mode.
The AKG N60 ANC wireless headphone comes in at a weight of 200 g which is incredibly lightweight for headphones of this variety. It also comes with a carry case made from lightweight neoprene material and comes with an airplane adapter.
In terms of audio quality, the AKG manages to find that perfect balance. The mid-range is only slightly ahead of other frequencies which help in delivering crystal clear sound. The AKG N60 manages to tie every element of the music together quite nicely without one range overtaking the others.
Bass is intense but not overwhelming. The low-end rumblings are rich and are unexpectedly light on its feet, as they say. I would say that the AKG N60 finds that right balance between accuracy and being plain fun, which is difficult to accomplish, to say the least. As for the noise-canceling capability, the N60 manages to block out almost all ambient noise in a standard commute in your public transportation as well as dashing out office noise completely.
- aptX Bluetooth support
- Passive operation feature
- Active noise canceling capability
- Foldable design
- 15 hours battery life (wireless mode), 30 hours battery life (wired mode)
- Sound Quality: 9.5/10
- Bass: 9.5/10
- Build Quality/Design: 9/10
- Fit/Comfort: 9.5/10
- Battery Life: 9.5/10
- Connectivity (Bluetooth stability): 9/10
Who would this be good for?
The AKG N60 is a safe choice for people looking for a balance between noise-canceling capability and audio quality. While it may not match up to some high-end wireless ANC headphones, it manages to hold its own when it comes to how impeccably balanced it delivers the audio. It is also quite lightweight and compact when compared to its competition which is a plus for people who are always on the go.
- Amazing sound quality.
- Lightweight and compact.
- Solid noise cancellation capability.
Does not come with NFC.
Additional padding on the headband would have been nice.
Sennheiser HD 4.50 Bluetooth Wireless ANC Headphone Review
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 comes with an understated design and might not blow everyone’s mind at first glance. However, the mere fact that this is made by Sennheiser should help ease the minds of everyone. The overall feel of the HD 4.50 feels quite lightweight or even, dare I say, delicate.
While it is still quite a durable wireless headphone, there is a good reason Sennheiser decided to opt for this design approach.ANC wireless headphones are mostly used by individuals who travel often. Why would you design your headphone to look and feel like a bulky and beefy monster if that is the case?
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 ANC Headphones weigh in at only 238 g making it an ideal companion for travelers. Control configuration is handled nicely although I do have a nitpick with its decision of making the volume control the same as the button for activating its ANC capability.
Sound quality is well-rounded even when used in wireless mode, which is thank to its aptX Bluetooth technology. Bass quality does not match to the AKG N60 in my opinion and sound quality takes a mild hit when ANC is activated. Again, it is not a deal breaker but for individuals who have a knack for distinguishing the little nuances in audio quality, this can be a factor.
The noise canceling capability is actually quite good which is surprising due to the HD 4.50’s price tag, which by the way is the Sennheiser HD 4.50’s biggest advantage. The price tag is more affordable than most of its competition which makes this quite a nice option for people who are on a tight budget.
However, the affordable price tag does come with a compromise and that is its battery life. While it still manages to last for around 20 hours, when compared to other ANC wireless headphones it is a bit underwhelming. I also found the lack of ventilation in the earcups to be a bit distracting during long periods of wearing the headband.
- aptX Bluetooth 4.0 technology
- Patented active noise cancellation technology
- Up to 20 hours of battery life
- Sound Quality: 9/10
- Bass: 8.5/10
- Build Quality/Design: 9/10
- Fit/Comfort: 9/10
- Battery Life: 9/10
- Connectivity (Bluetooth stability): 9.5/10
Who would this be good for?
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 is a pretty good choice for people looking for ANC wireless headphones at a reasonable price range. While it is rough around the edges in certain aspects, it is still a pretty decent headphone from a well-known brand.
- Portable design.
- Affordable price tag when compared to its competition.
- Great noise-canceling capability.
- Earcups do not offer good enough ventilation. It might feel uncomfortable during long commutes during a hot day.
- The noise-cancellation feature is a little tricky to activate.
Overall, the AKG N60 ANC Wireless Headphones manage to edge out the Sennheiser HD 4.50. The tipping point here was the overall audio performance which the AKG N60 passes with flying colors.
However, this is quite a close fight and the Sennheiser HD 4.50 is significantly more affordable than the AKG N60. In terms of noise-cancellation, both offer almost identical results.
The decisive factor boils down to whether you want an extremely well-balanced sound quality that the AKG N60 can offer or something that compromises a slight dip in sound quality to be a little more budget-friendly like the Sennheiser HD 4.50.