Sweet headphones to rock, run, and chill out with

New audio options that you’ll want to hear about.

A pair of headphones with stellar audio quality is nothing new, but there have been major improvements to battery life, wireless connectivity, and noise-cancelation. If you want to upgrade your older pair, here’s a list of some options to fit your ears and your life.

Have one of the more classic and recognizable designs of any company on the market. Amazon

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I recently tested out their new wireless MW65 Active Noise-Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones. The headphone frame is made of anodized aluminum with heavy grain leather detailing and lambskin-wrapped memory foam ear pads. Compared to the wired MW40s pair—featured in my favorite office headphones article—the cups fit much more comfortably. The MW65 are sturdier, but also actually much lighter. They weigh a little over half a pound.

The MW65 headphones are M&D’s first headphones with active noise-cancellation. They refer to it as a “Hybrid” ANC. It uses two microphones to achieve its noise-cancelation. The first picks up the outside ambient noise from outside, while the second microphone monitors noise from within the earcup.

According to M&D, the first cancellation takes care of the mid-high frequency noise and the second takes care of the mid-low frequency noise. These two microphones help create a non-distorted listening experience that doesn’t sacrifice sound quality. The headphones feature high and low ANC modes so you can choose if you prefer less of the effect. A single button on the left ear allows you to switch between these ANC modes. You can also control the volume and whether to play/pause a song or pick up/hang up a phone call using controls on the right ear.

The second new feature is their inclusion of Google Assistant in the headphones. If you hold down the play/pause button on the right ear, you can ask Google for information on the weather, for directions, or to make a phone call. If you don’t use Google Assistant, you can initiate “Hand Free Mode” which mutes Google Assistant and lets you use your device’s native voice assistant.

This model includes 40mm Beryllium drivers, can pair up to 65 feet away, and a battery that will power them for a full 24 hours. They also charge quickly via USB-C and can reach up to 50 percent in only 15 minutes. The headphones come in two color options Brown Leather with Silver Metal and Black. They come with a zippered-traveling case, USB-C charger, USB adapter, aux cable, and a flight adapter.

30 hours of battery life. Amazon

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Sony’s noise-canceling WH-1000xM3 headphones are not only lightweight and incredibly comfortable during long listening periods, but they also have the most advanced and customizable noise-cancellation features to better suit your personal listening experience. When you’re setting up the headphones, you can choose to turn on features like Adaptive Sound Control that listens to your environment and automatically adjusts how you’ll hear ambient sound. It also lets you adjust the settings in the app depending on if you are sitting, walking, running, or in transit on a bus for noisier places.

Within the app, you can manually change EQ settings or use their presets for boosted bass tones or to enhance speech. Ambient Sound Mode brings in outside noise and mixes it in with the music so you don’t get hit by a bus you never hear coming. Instead of using physical buttons, the right cup features swipe gestures to adjust volume or switch tracks. They hold a 30-hour charge and connect via Bluetooth 4.2.

The Automatic Power Off setting is particularly helpful. You can choose how long your headphones will stay on when you aren’t playing music. The impressive quick-charge will give you up to five hours of listening time in just 10 minutes thanks to the included USB-C port. With the headphones you’ll receive a case, charging cable, and 3.5m aux cable.

Lightweight choice that is perfect for grab-and-go listening. Amazon

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Jabra’s Elite Active 45e headphones are a tight—fitting—option for running. The short cord connecting the two earbuds isn’t heavy, so they almost feel like totally independent earbuds. Dual Earhooks and Earwings keep the earbuds securely in your ears while you workout. They have an IP67-waterproof rating and can hold up to nine hours of charge. The two onboard microphones also make your phone calls super-clear. They come with a sweat and dust warranty that lasts for two years. Also, without fully covering your ears, runners can still hear the environment around them and stay safe. Through the Jabra Sound+ app, you can also use the headphones with Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa.

Billy Cadden
Billy Cadden

Billy Cadden is the Director of Commerce for the Camden Media tech group. He was part of NYC indie rock band The Postelles, and currently releases solo music under his name. His latest work is available on all streaming platforms. Contact the author here.