Bose and Sony are undoubtedly the leaders in the noise-cancelling headphones market, however, their flagships are out of reach of many average customers. The Strauss & Wagner SW-ANCBT501 is a more affordable product, let’s see if it’s a good one.
Design & Features
The ANCBT501 headphones come in a tough carrying case along with a USB-C cable and an audio jack. The earcups are foldable for easier storage. The exterior is made of plastic with an aluminum frame and leather earpads. The aluminum pieces attached to the outside of the earcups make the design less boring.
There is nothing special about the design of the headphones since they look similar to other budget products on the market. However, I really love the comfort wearing the headphones. The earcups are spacious enough, so my ears don’t feel hot after wearing the headphones for 30-60 minutes.
The USB-C charging port, playback controls, and power buttons are placed on the right earcup while the noise-cancellation button is on the left. The ANCBT501 offers 3 noise-cancellation settings, which are passive, active, and environmental. When you turn off the noise cancellation feature and use the headphones in passive mode, the battery life could reach up to 40 hours. However, when I turn on the feature and use Bluetooth connection, the battery life is just around 30 hours. The connection is quite consistent with no dropouts.
As soon as I put the headphones on my head, I can tell how well they block noises from outside. They’ve done a great job even in the passive mode. Unfortunately, I don’t really the sound signature of the headphones. It sounds too dark and bassy for my taste. This is a very common sound found in budget headphones, so you shouldn’t expect a high-fidelity sound here.
The headphones emphasize the low frequencies but the bass is not tight or punchy at all. Instead, it is a thick bass with no presence of sub-bass, this leads to a muddy sound that makes my ears fatigued in less than 30 minutes. Since the bass is significantly boosted, it is overwhelming the whole frequency ranges and weaken the mids and highs. The vocals are subdued while treble is not bright enough to make an open and airy sound. Therefore, the headphones are not a good choice for audiophiles who are looking for a natural or well-balanced sound.
Overall, I don’t really like the Strauss & Wagner SW-ANCBT501 because there are better choices at a lower cost. For instance, the refurbished Sony WH-H900N h.Ear on 2 wireless headphones are way cheaper and sound much better than the ANCBT501.
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