TaoTronics' SoundSurge 46 are a comfortable pair of headphones that sound great. They come with impressive ANC performance for their price, and the inclusion of fast-charging tech is a nice bonus.
- Good ANC
- Fast charging
- Battery can drain fast with ANC
- A bit bass-heavy
- Can lack dynamics
- Review Price: £69.99
- Active noise cancellation
- 30-hour battery
- Hyper-Speed Charging
- Travel case/airplane adapter
While not the cheapest noise-cancelling headphones on the market, these over-ears appear to be a commuter’s dream for a fraction of the price of premium efforts.
TaoTronics SoundSurge 46 design – A sturdy, comfortable pair of headphones
The SoundSurge 46 are, generally speaking, a very well built set of headphones.
They sport a classic look. The matte-black frame is sleek, and the silver accents on the ear cups elevate these headphones above your basic set of cans without veering into being tacky.
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The headband is sturdy without feeling too heavy on the head, and the extendable frame is easy to adjust for a good fit. The sliding headband isn’t always the smoothest mechanism to use when the headphones are on, but it’s nevertheless a quick process to get them perching on the ears.
The SoundSurge 46 headphones are also incredibly comfortable to wear. The cushioning over the headband and on the ear cups has plenty of give, allowing for a snug fit on the head. In comparison to the Mixcder E9 – a slightly more affordable competitor – the protein cushions on the SoundSurge 46 felt noticeably softer; although the the E9s weren’t by any means uncomfortable.
The only big design flaw is that the padding on the ear cups has a tendency to become loose. Twice while strolling around a busy London street with the headphones around my neck, I looked down to find the right ear cup on the street and a small square of protective sponge fluttering after it.
Thankfully, the ear cups are stuck to a piece of plastic that can easily be twisted to lock back into place (presumably so that the ear cups can be replaced if they suffer much wear and tear). However, if I’d been in a rush or hadn’t noticed that it fell to the ground, it definitely would have put the headphones out of commission.
TaoTronics SoundSurge 46 features – A decent noise-cancelling performer
The biggest selling point for the SoundSurge 46 is the Hybrid ANC – and it’s decent for a budget set of headphones. TaoTronics’ claims that its headphones can cancel out low-frequency sound by up to 96% and, whether or not the numbers truly add up, there is a noticeable difference to cancelling out ambient sound.
The noise-cancellation nearly erased the background noises on my commute including traffic, low conversation and the low rumble of the Underground and felt more impressive than the performance showcased the Mixcder E9.
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Perhaps the best aspect of the SoundSurge 46 is its Hyper-Speed Charging feature. TaoTronics says it takes only five minutes of charge time for two hours of playback and a solid 45 minutes to reach the full 30-hour battery life.
It’s difficult to express what a relief it is to wake up in the morning with 0% charge and know you’ll be able to charge your headphones five minutes before you leave and still get on the train confident you’ll have enough power for the entire journey.
The only notable issue I ran into with the battery was that the 30-hour promise can greatly decrease whenever the ANC is switched on.
TaoTronics warns users that the ANC function will continue to drain the battery even if the headphones are off, but it’s easy to forget to hit that little switch when you take them off your head, especially if you’re reluctant to use the headphones with ANC off in general.
While this issue isn’t particularly unique to TaoTronics, it’s easy to be left with a battery that seems to hold about a tenth of its actual capacity.
TaoTronics SoundSurge 46 performance – A warm performer that lacks a degree of balance
The SoundSurge 46’s have a full, warm sound with a decent soundstage, but the headphones are lacking in terms of balance. The bass can feel heavy at times, but by no means overpowering a track. Post Malone’s Sunflower booms with bass, but the leap to treble at the chorus isn’t completely lost in the mix.
That said, the dynamism of the mid-range and treble can fall behind when the ANC is switched off; the same applies to volume. Lizzo’s Truth Hurts sounded fantastic with ANC turned on, but there was still room for more punch at the chorus where the SoundSurge 46’s just weren’t able to soar in the way I wanted.
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The stereo imaging isn’t bad, but like all qualities on these headphones, hitting that ANC button brings forward more clarity and dynamism — and volume. In fact, I barely found myself using the headphones with the ANC switched off; even alone in my flat with no distractions, everything just sounded better with it on.
Of course, keeping the ANC on taxes the battery life, but the sound quality is better.
Should I buy the TaoTronics SoundSurge 46?
If you’re looking for a solid pair of noise-cancelling headphones that offer great sound and a simplistic but sleek design at a budget price, the SoundSurge 46’s are certainly a set to consider.
They’re big and sturdy, but soft on the ears, and the black and silver design feels classic. If you’re looking for a good-sounding pair of headphones at an affordable price, you’d be hard-pressed to find a pair as likeable as the SoundSurge 46.
|Type||On Ear (Supra-aural)|