Best Noise-Canceling Headphones1

Best Noise-Canceling Headphones: Sony WH-1000XM3 vs. Bose QC35 II vs. Sennheiser Momentum

To Bluetooth, or not to Bluetooth. That is the Question...

By Ricky Kovacs

 



In the world of audiophilia, "Bluetooth" and "Wireless" seem like dirty words. Why would you get a wireless headphone when wired sounds better? In a society of noise, is it okay to drown out the world with a technology that allows you to hear your music unhindered by the world around you? Is noise-canceling a necessary evil that audiophiles need to embrace? This review seeks to answer these questions.

Im a researcher. If Im looking to buy a high-end product, Ill research comparisons and reviews for months before coming to a conclusion. I need stats, specs, general impressions, comparisons, usage scenarios, and more. I like being comprehensive.

Coming from a pro-audio background, a lot of this manifested in my music gear and technology in general. 10 years ago, when I was traveling overseas a lot for my previous job, I wanted to get a pair of noise canceling headphones. Well back then there was really only one game in town: Bose QuietComfort (QC). Fast forward to a few years ago when I wanted to upgrade, I actually looked at these very headphones in this review. I read, researched, looked at comparisons and ultimately came to the conclusion that Bose was the best.

I was wrong.

Now at Moon Audio, I have the special privilege of hands-on time with each of these headphones; a luxury I didnt have before. Let me do all the work for you so you dont have to. Coming from a fellow researcher, lets see who the real winner is.


What started out as a simple review for the Sony WH-1000XM3 wireless noise-canceling headphones has turned into a trip down the rabbit hole of the latest technology and sound design. Sony does so many things, and very well for the most part. So, it isn't surprising that they would take on the leader in active noise-canceling headphone technology sooner or later. Sennheiser has followed suit with their latest version of the Momentum's (3rd generation).

Sony Noise Canceling HeadphoneSony Noise Canceling Headphone

Comparisons

In this review, we'll be comparing the Sony WH-1000XM3 to the Bose QC35 II - the main competitor to the Sony headphones. We'll also be comparing the Sennheiser Momentum, another wireless noise-canceling headphone in the same vein but priced a little higher at $400. If you are considering the top of the line wireless noise-canceling headphones, these are the ones to pick from.

 

Three headphones: Sony, Bose and SennheiserThree headphones: Sony, Bose and Sennheiser

 

All three headphones are superb; great companies and great products. However, it can be difficult trying to pick the best one, or rather the best one for you, since each headphone shines in different applications.

*Note: Although Bose does have a newer noise-canceling headphone on the market now (700), we are using the QC35 II model as a closer comparison to the Sony WH-1000XM3 model due to its form factor and similarity in features. The WH-1000XM3 was Sony's answer to the QC series and are thus priced the same also.


What's In the Box

Sony WH-1000XM3 package contentsSony WH-1000XM3 package contents

Sony WH-1000XM3: