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Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones: 7 of the best right now

Andrew Williams


Sony MDR-1000X

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Reviewed by Ced Yuen

10 May 2016

Sony MDR-1000X

Read full Sony MDR-1000X review

Key features:

  • Over-ear design
  • Active, adjustable noise-cancelling
  • aptX Bluetooth

The Sony MDR-1000X are the best noise-cancelling headphones on the market. Not only do they block out a tremendous amount of noise, they're also wireless, with aptX Bluetooth. They're also very clever, with modes that let you choose how much sound to let in, in case you want to listen out for airport announcements. A particular highlight is the Quick Listen mode, which mutes your music briefly, so you don't need to remove your headphones for a quick chat. All that, and they have touch-sensitive swipe controls, they're comfortable, the battery life is long – and they sound lovely too.

At the time of review the Sony MDR-1000X was available for £330.

Our Score:


Nick Jones

March 23, 2013, 6:19 am

I've used Bose headphones for over 10 years. I upgraded to the 15s as soon as they were available & Bose gave me a 50% price reduction for trading in my old 3s. They really are the very best when flying long haul which I often do. They provide a world of quiet solitude in which to work & sleep & are incredibly comfortable. The customer support is absolutely top notch. Highly recommended.

Person chap

October 11, 2015, 2:13 pm

really? My bose headband starting flaking and looks messy after 2 years of light use.
Also the noise cancel can't be turned off.
Also the headphones don't standby if u forget it switched on. Flat AAA battery has happened a few times.

Aaron Pritchett

December 11, 2015, 7:17 pm

IMO the NoiseHush i9's are the best bang for your buck. Comparable to my Bose Headphones but wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy cheaper.

Tomi Stallard

March 5, 2016, 5:51 pm

Hello Aaron. Any idea where I can get the NoiseHush i9's in the UK online? They look awesome. Cheers.

william smith

May 6, 2016, 11:49 pm

My Audio Technica ANC9's (not reviewed) are excellent, and I believe level with the Boses's. I have used them for a 75 minute train commute for over a year (so probably worn them for 600+ hours), they still and work like new, and I would buy another pair tomorrow if they broke. If you can, buy them in America, where they are greatly cheaper than in the UK.

Mark Stanbrook

August 2, 2016, 8:22 pm

Not sure how you can rate the QC35's over the QC25's. The 25's sound better and can be used to view video. Even with Apt-X (and even the low latency version which the 35's do NOT have) the latency is too much for video, games etc. The lack of a cable isn't worth the extra money, worse sound and other limitations.

I love the 25's so much I even bought a second pair when I found I hadn't packed them for a flight earlier in the year!

And they can be found for £230 from mainstream retailers while the 35's hold firm at £290.

I note all these sets apart from the Plantronics are in the same price range. Have you had a chance to test the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 on-ear cans? They're also around £250 (with the over-ear version rather more expensive). I think I've seen them on this site. Don't they make the top 5?

Mark Stanbrook

August 20, 2016, 3:30 pm

I just noticed that the preamble says the QC25's won't output unless cancellation is turned on. That's straight up wrong. With or without battery they work with it turned off as a normal pair of phones.

Also worth diverting the battery scare tactics... I haven't changed the AAA battery in mine in over a year and I've had them on for 30+ hours in cancelling mode on flights and several hundred hours of non-cancelling listening.


September 26, 2016, 2:41 pm

Can't say the music is very good on them though.

if you're going to spam, please at least post relevant spam!

Shamoy Rahman

October 12, 2016, 2:38 am

I was almost about to get the Bose QC35 but now its time to get the Sony MDR-1000X :D


January 3, 2017, 10:43 am

can anyone suggest me which one is better in SONY MDR-100ABN H.EAR and Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 . which will give good noise Cancellation without compromising sound quality.

Steven Paterson

January 12, 2017, 5:47 pm

They both sound awful. Bit of a null argument to be fair.

Steven Paterson

January 12, 2017, 5:57 pm

Comments on sound quality conspicuously absent. I'll help out by confirming that they sound awful: reproduced, all-over-the-place, patch-up-job audio.

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