My search for the very best pair of wireless bluetooth noise-canceling headphones came to and end today. (Clyde is relieved.)
This particular search has gone on for a loooong time. Three years ago, on a trip to Bangkok, I became obsessed with finding wireless bluetooth noise-canceling headphones. At the time, because everyone had on a pair of Beats, I obsessed on the Beats wireless on-ear headphones.
They had two problems, though. First, they didn’t have noise cancelation (a must-have on long, trans-Pacific flights). And, worse, they sound terrible: no highs, muddled mid-range, and thudding, pounding bass. Frankly, all Beats headphones make all your music sound like you’re listening to a really loud band that’s playing at a neighbor’s house while you’re underwater in your backyard pool. There’s a reason you see more people wearing these around their necks as a fashion statement than actually listening to them.
The Bose people pretty much own noise-cancellation (and, if that’s all you want, you should order the Quiet Comfort 25 and be done). But none of their noise-canceling headphones incorporate bluetooth wireless technology. And while you can get noise-cancellation and bluetooth from the Logitech UE 9000 headphones, they weigh something like 27,500 metric tons.
So, about two years ago, after buying a number of crappy knock-offs and interim solutions, I settled on two different headsets:
1) The Bowers & Wilkins P5 headphones, which are neither wired nor noise-canceling, but which have the warm, true, comforting sound I adore, and
2) The Logitech LG Tone bluetooth wireless earbuds, which also lack noise-canceling, but which plug my ears so firmly, they pretty much do the trick. They’re light-weight, they sound reasonably good, and they’re perfect for my walk to work, whether I’m using them as headphones or a phone.
Even back then, though, what I really wanted was a pair of Parrot Ziks. The sound processing magic they perform gives them a warmer, more vibrant sound than virtually any other bluetooth headset. Their noise-cancellation is second only to Bose. They’re comfortable and portable (well, portable enough, especially when paired with the travel case designed for them).
I loved the Parrot Ziks so much that, when my friend J.H. asked, “What wireless noise-canceling headphones should I buy?” I steered her toward the Parrot Zik. And she loves them. She loves them so much, in fact, that my evil plan (to buy them off her at a steep discount when she tired of them) failed terribly.
So, given that I loved them so much, why didn’t I just buy my own Parrot Zik headphones and be done with it? (Clyde’s been asking that, too, for more than two years). Well, first, I let myself be spooked by the one big complaint every reviewer mentions: the Zik headphones sound *amazing* when used wirelessly … but when unpowered and wired, they sound as crappy as a pair of Beats. And, second, there’s that price tag: $369.00.
So I ignored my best instincts … until today.
There’s another trip to Bangkok coming up, and for this one, I want the comfort of noise cancellation and the freedom of a wireless solution. And rather than worry about the battery wearing down (and having to switch to the wired mode, which sounds crappy), I just bought an additional battery and an external charger.
And here’s what sealed the deal: while shopping in my pajamas on Amazon.com at 8:00 on a Sunday morning, I discovered that I could buy my Parrot Zik headphones and my hardshell case … and have them in my hot little hands by 9:00 PM the same day.
If you’re in the market for wireless noise-canceling headphones that will sound amazing, save yourself time and effort … benefit from all my research, field trips, and hand-wringing … and order the Parrot Zik headphones today.