What Hi-Fi?

WHY I WON’T BE WEARING NOISE-CANCELLING HEADPHONES

When the What Hi-Fi? team receives a shiny new pair of wireless headphones for review, if noise-cancelling isn’t on the feature list, the product may as well go home and come back only when it has tried harder – unless it atones for this glaring omission with supreme sonic capabilities or a particularly striking USP.

Just as wireless headphones have replaced wired for many of us in recent years, so noise-cancelling has become an essential feature on the checklist. All of which makes the following admission somewhat problematic – noise-cancelling is just not for me.

As sure as I stick a set of cans over my ears every morning, this sordid little secret has felt akin to saying I don’t think Dolby Atmos has done much for home cinema, or that I don’t rate high-resolution audio (I do, and I do).

So why won’t I be putting on the latest pair of noise-cancelling cans? It’s a three-pronged issue. And, admittedly, one of those issues is pretty niche.

Noise-cancelling nauseation

First and foremost, I

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