As we enter a golden era of wireless technology, some audiophiles are staying true to the corded models on the market, while many have opted to ditch the cables and go wireless.
So what exactly makes some studio wireless headphones better than others?
One of the critical factors when choosing a set of wireless headphones for your studio is latency. To put it simply, latency is the amount of time (delay) it takes for the signal to be transmitted to a destination.
When recording or mixing your tracks, you’re going to want the closest thing to no latency. While it’s pretty hard to find a pair of wireless cans that offer the same studio quality you would get with corded models, there are some great options available on the market.
We have managed to sift out the best from the hopefuls—with a good ear and eye for value—and have picked out certain tonal characteristics that make some cans better than others.
Note: Before you sift through the list below, we'd strongly recommend choosing a pair of corded headphones over wireless, if possible. The corded options offer much better quality, especially for critical listening, which is the ultimate purpose for studio headphones. Here's some articles to get you started:
- The 5 Best Studio Headphones Under $100
- 5 Best Recording Studio Headphones Under $50
- The 5 Best Headphones for Music Production
If you absolutely HAVE TO go the wireless route, then the options below are some of the best wireless headphones for studios and should serve you well.
Our Top Choice!
First on our list is everyone’s favorite headphone brand, Bose. With the QuietComfort 35 II (QC35II), Bose managed to make an identical copy of the original (QC 35) and upgrade it with Google Assistant. This means you still get all the perks of the QC35 in this model, including superior noise cancellation, incredible comfort, and great sound quality.
These wireless studio headphones come in both black and silver. While they do serve the desire for lighter weighing cans, they also are made of plastic, which can look a bit on the cheap side compared to other premium headphones. This, however, does not affect the overall build of the cans, which looks quite solid. The earpads of the QC35II are impeccable in terms of comfort and functionality, and they manage to block out a ton of external sounds and noises, even when you have the noise cancellation switched off. The back of the earcups feature a few functions of their own with a power and pairing slider as well as playback and volume up/down buttons on the right and the Google Assistant button on the left.
As for the sound, Bose’s signature noise cancellation feature removes all possible leakages of ambient noises, ensuring a full listening experience. The tonal balance is moderately neutral; however, the sound is noticeably softer than other models like the Sony WH-1000X M2 (which we will introduce later on). This means that the dynamic range is relatively limited and comes off as rather dull.
As for the battery life, even with the longest of flights or commutes, you’ll find that the QC35II will still be alive and kicking as Bose has packed a generous 20 hours of play-time into these cans. Like other Bose models, it comes with a hard case for portability, which is more convenient than the pouches that other headphone brands offer.
- Very comfortable and lightweight
- Exceptional noise cancellation
- Broad and clear soundstage
- Lows become heavy at high volumes
- High latency
Bottom Line: Bose has managed to pack these headphones with superior comfort and a good balance of features that will satisfy most listeners. While they’re not incredibly studio-friendly, Bose lends itself to being a great companion for on-the-goers.
When Sony introduced the WH 1000M2’s into the market, there were a few things that they wanted to make a point of. One was that this model was going to be the brand's flagship headphones. The second was that it was going to outperform the Bose QuietComfort in all ways.
At first glance the WH 1000M2’s look like an updated version of the MDR-1000X. These cans are exceptionally well-built with a metal arch padded with plush cushioning that sits on the head. Latched to the headband are the earcups, which feature faux leather padding that is both aesthetically appealing and extremely comfortable. On the back of the earcups the Sony logo is engraved. There are several additional features on the earcups with the left featuring a Power/Bluetooth button as well as controls for noise cancellation, which comes with three settings: On, Ambient Mode, and Off.
While the overall design of the WH 1000M2 is both beautifully minimalistic and modern, there is one downside. The hinges and arms are made of plastic, which can easily be prone to wear and tear with heavy usage. We found the touch controls on the earcups a little inconvenient with the settings being controlled solely through double taps and sliding motions.
In terms of sound, these headphones have a good amount of thump and punch in the low-end with a consistent and deep bass. The mid-range is clean and crisp with a relatively neutral and flat treble range, which lends itself well to producing a balanced replication of recorded instruments or vocals. With a frequency range of 4Hz-40 kHz, the frequency response consistency they offer is decent. As for the noise cancellation feature, Sony has managed to break the curse of stuffy, bad sounding audio that most sound isolating headphones would normally have.
When it comes to the battery life, Sony has provided a substantial amount of playback time, packing 30 hours of power into these cans.
- Excellent noise cancellation
- Great sound - especially in bass and midrange
- Attractive minimalistic design
- Long battery life
- Hinges and arms on the headphones are plastic and a bit fragile
- Innovative yet inconvenient touch sensitive controls
- High latency
Bottom Line: Sony’s WH 1000M2 do a great job at keeping noise out with their sound cancellation feature. With a beautiful minimalistic design, these cans also present clear and consistent sound.
Our Runner Up - The Budget Option
Even though the company’s name is relatively unknown throughout the music community, according to many responses and reviews to the cans, these are some of the best budget wireless headphones on the market. Thanks to their active noise canceling technology, you can mix, listen to music, or take calls, in the noisiest of environments. The noise canceling also works in wired mode too, as the headphones come with an included audio cable.
For the low price, the sound exceeded our expectations. The 40mm stereo drivers and the powerful V4.2 Bluetooth chipset deliver a sound that is natural, punchy, and noiseless. There seems to be a strong correlation between cheap Bluetooth headphones and noise, so to find headphones without it is pretty awesome. With that being said, the ANC does introduce a slight, digital distortion.
Beyond the great sound, these babies are extremely comfortable. They come with 90-degree swiveling earcups and an easily adjustable headband for versatility and portability, as well as soft protein earmuffs for comfort over hours of listening. Thanks to the lightweight plastic and foam, they won’t weigh you down either.
- Active Noise Cancelling is High-Quality for Price
- Very comfortable and lightweight
- Low latency connection
- Weak Bass Response Without ANC
- ANC does introduce a slight digital distortion
Bottom Line: The Mijiaer Active Noise Cancelling Headphones offer excellent noise cancellation and supreme comfort at an incredibly low cost. They’re perfect for amateur mixers or on-the-go listeners who don’t have hundreds to spend on top name brands.
One of the most important (if not the most important) features in wireless headphones for studio usage is the sound quality. This is exactly what Bang & Olufsen’s headphones are all about, and the Beoplay H4 is no exception.
At first glance, the Beoplay H4 presents itself as an attractive pair of headphones with a sleek and robust design. The headband is made of metal with premium lambskin leather on the padding. The earcups feature memory foam earpads covered in leather, which offer supreme comfort. Along the underside of the right earcup, you’ll find the H4’s controls. B & O’s decision to make a single button handle the on/off controls as well as track control and paring may seem confusing for some. There isn’t any noise cancellation in these either.
In terms of sound, B & O have backed the H4s with 40mm electro-dynamic drivers that produce profoundly balanced and rich audio. With a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, these headphones bring clarity in the highs, and the midrange is crisp and accurate. The H4 also has a rather bassy character with a tight and refined low-end response. The overall sound quality of the headphones is pretty good, and the nifty Beoplay app helps adjust and customize the frequency response as you please.
While they do have the option of transforming into wired headphones, the Bluetooth mode surprisingly maintains a good quality of sound. Additionally, the wireless mode provides a generous and respectable 19 hours of playback time per charge.
- Sleek and stylish design
- Tight and refined low-end
- Extremely comfortable
- A little too bassy for referencing
- Single button control is a bit confusing
- No sound isolation
Bottom Line: The overall look and sound of the H4 is surprisingly good. The Beoplay app is a handy addition for adjusting the frequency response to your taste. B & O have managed to make a great set of studio headphones with impressive value.
Plantronics’ original BackBeat Pro model was a popular choice on the market due to its substantial variety of features, good noise cancellation abilities, and great sound quality. The BackBeat Pro 2 has eliminated a lot of its predecessor’s flaws while keeping all the things audiophiles loved the most about this product.
Aesthetically, the BackBeat Pro 2 sports a design which is somewhat subjective - some love it, and some don't. Unlike the traditional all-black look that most brands opt for, in headphones, Plantronics has taken a different direction by featuring a dark brown color palette. To some, they may come off as cheap, but they do have a more striking look than the universal norm of an all-black pair. The earcups feature silver mesh rings where the noise canceling mics are located. The headphone controls are all located on the left earcup, and these include a playback button, a volume wheel, and a noise cancellation toggle. The right earcup features the on/off switch and a pairing slider as well as a button for answering Bluetooth calls.
Both the headband and the earcups are lined with leather padding, making them extremely comfortable for long periods of listening.
As for the sound performance of these headphones, Plantronics has offered a lively yet slightly bass heavy sound signature to the BackBeat Pro 2. While they can appear to have an overbearing bass, audiophiles can breathe easy knowing that the wired mode suppresses the bass rather well. Even though the highs seem a bit rolled off, it isn’t a problem, particularly in long critical-listening sessions as the highs won’t be wearing. The midrange is also good, along with a decent soundstage. While Bose remains the pioneer in noise isolation, these cans do a pretty good job of blocking out ambient noises.
The battery life in the BackBeat Pro 2 is a killer feature with a generous 24 hours of playback time per charge.
The headphones come with a soft zipper pouch that includes a small compartment for the micro USB charger. These cans also come with a 3.5mm cable, so you can have the option of using them as wired headphones. However, the Bluetooth option works just as well with latency much lower than most wireless headphones on the market.
- Fantastic battery life
- Great active noise cancellation
- Good sound quality
- Bass heavy sound
- The design is a little eccentric
Bottom Line: The BackBeat Pro 2 brings a lot to the table with substantial battery life, fantastic sound quality, and excellent noise cancellation. While they may not be as effective as the other noise canceling models on this list, they still manage to block out a good amount of ambient noise.
While the wide selection of wireless headphones on the market have yet to surpass corded models regarding quality and zero latency, this list offers several wireless models that do a pretty good job.
When looking at sound quality and overall comfort, each pair was relatively subjective; where they lacked in some areas, they made up for in others. Ultimately, we favored the Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) as they delivered the optimum quality in terms of sound, comfort, and noise cancellation.
The downsides are the high latency and the heavy bass at higher volumes. Luckily, the noise cancellation allows you to monitor at lower volumes, even in loud places, so the second downside is almost forgivable.