Portrait of Tammy Strobel

To test the noise-cancelling capabilities of these headphones, we ran a recording with a mixture of train noise, cabin noise and traffic noise via speaker on loop and switched out headphones in random order. The process was repeated till we had a good idea of how each headphone performed relative to each other. Here’s how the headphones ranked.

As you can see, the WH-1000XM3 still takes the noisecancelling crown, with the QuietComfort 35 II close behind. Both of these headphones will significantly reduce background noise once ANC is activated so loud engine roars become nothing more than a whisper, and background chatter literally fades away.

The JBL Live 650 BT does fairly good job too, but not to the extent where engine noise fades away completely. With the Jabra Elite 85h and the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810, you’ll hear even more cabin noise, and probably be able to still have a conversation with the cabin crew if they raise their voices. The Master & Dynamic MW65 truthfully isn’t that far off from the Jabra and the Plantronics, but you’ll probably still raise the volume of what you’re listening to a little.

My Reading Room



The competition has gotten tighter with the QuietComfort 35 II improving its audio quality, but the engineers at Sony seem to have worked their magic again, getting even better noisecancelling thanks to the use of the new HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1. Battery life remains stellar, and the improved quick charge feature certainly gives more value out of a short 10 minute charge. While the headphones aren’t the most acoustically accurate, they are certainly very fun, which is really what you want when you’re travelling. So, the WH-1000XM3 is easily the noise-cancelling headphone to beat.