Maxell HP/NC-V Noise Redux Headphones
The very first pair of active noise cancelling (ANC) headphones that I had ever bought was a pair of Maxell headphones. They were decent headphones, got the job done for the most part, and lasted me for many years. That’s why I was happy to test out another pair of Maxell ANC headphones. This latest model keeps to the straightforward no-nonsense design, with several improvements that bring these headphones up-to-date with the latest technology and standards.
The headphones fit fairly comfortably and securely on my head, and seem to be capable of giving a good fit for most head sizes. The headband spring mechanism is not as finely balanced as some other “double-headband” designs that I’ve seen, and hence they feel a bit tight. The headphones are well-padded and soft on the ears. They are comfortable enough for several hours worth of music listening, although all over-the-ear headphones that I had ever tested felt uncomfortably hot on my ears after two to three hours. I think this is one of the few advantages that in-ear headphones still have.
I found the sound quality of these headphones to be very pleasing and well balanced. The low notes were rich and filling, while the high ones were pretty crisp and clear sounding. I listened to classical, pop, and some techno music on Pandora with my iPhone, as well as to several iTunes songs that I had. All of them sounded very good. The sound quality is a noticeable, albeit not a dramatic, improvement over the previous generation Maxell headphones I’ve had. It’s still not as impressive as some other high-end headphones that I had tested, but it’s more than satisfying for my listening needs. I consider myself a casual music listener, and don’t spend an inordinate amount of time listening to music during my day. Nonetheless, I do appreciate high quality sound, and these headphones satisfy my need.
These headphones claim 85% noise reduction. I am not sure about how that percentage gets calculated, but you definitely still hear a lot of the surrounding noise while you have the ANC turned on. It’s definitely an improvement over just having the thick headphones cover you ears (i.e., “passive noise cancelling”), but you still hear a faint hiss of the surrounding sound. This is more than adequate for my needs, as I am not frequently in situations where there is really a lot of surrounding noise, but if you for instance travel by plane a lot, and are interested in blocking as much of the noise around you as possible, then you might want to invest into a higher end noise cancelling headphones.
These headphones have a removable cord, which is definitely handy when you travel. The same goes for the hard carrying case. Both are well designed and useful.
Maxell has made a reputation for itself with quality budget ANC headphones. This latest model goes very much in line with what I had come to expect from them. There aren’t many better options at this price point out there.