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The earcup base also includes a jack for the cable that runs to the Worlds best noise cancelling headphones reviews under £100, a micro-USB port for recharging, a power button, and a three-way switch that toggles between the A50's three audio presets. The A50 maintained a strong connection at sizable distances, operating at peak performance even when standing 40 feet away base station and even when separated by several dividing walls. Battery life is also remarkably good, with the A50 achieving roughly 11 hours of use on a single charge during our testing. A full recharge takes about two hours, though the battery can also be replenished during use by connecting the headset to a console, PC, or other powered USB port.

Astro's headset range has been praised for its sound quality, but the A50 may be the company's most versatile and best-sounding product yet. With beefy 40mm stereo drivers that deliver tight low-end response and crisp highs without crushing mid-range frequencies, the A50 delivers tremendous detail and depth. But given the A50's wide array of connectivity options, it's also great for other multimedia applications, like watching Blu-rays late at night without disturbing the neighbors. While I'd be reluctant to consider the A50 a replacement for a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound system, it's a more than capable substitute for times when a full speaker setup would be unruly. The A50 delivers clear, discernable dialog amongst the sonic chaos of movies like The Dark Knight or Mission Impossible 4. Performance for music playback is equally satisfying. As a fan of electronic music, I loved being able to catch otherwise subdued synth lines in songs by Skrillex, The Glitch Mob, and others. The same could be said for more traditional fare, like the rich, diverse tones in uncompressed tracks from Revolver and Led Zeppelin IV.

As far as noise pollution goes, the A50 lacks active noise cancellation and subsequently isn't quite as adept at blocking outside noise as other headphones. Still, its thick padded earcups isolate the user pretty well, especially when the volume is set to a decent level. When higher volumes are reached, the A50 also struggles to contain audio. At 60 percent volume or more, the A50 can be heard by others nearby, though it's still considerably less intrusive than a full speaker setup.

Of course, the A50 isn't the only surround sound headset on the market. In fact, there's plenty and many that can be acquired for far less cash. But while many brandish advanced wireless features and sound processing modes, few seem to grasp the fundamental basis for a good pair of headphones — quality drivers and well-designed enclosures. Astro has always built their products on that solid foundation, and the A50 is no exception.

The Astro A50 is, without question, one of the best gaming headsets on the market. It offers rich, immersive Dolby 7.1 simulated surround sound audio that adds incredible levels of detail to games like Mass Effect 3 and a competitive edge for shooters. With integrated 5.8GHz wireless connectivity and a simplified control scheme, it is effortless to set up and operate. Though the bulky design leaves something to be desired, it reamins one of the better looking headsets in its class.
 

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It's impossible to keep up with all of the new headphones crowding the market, but great-sounding headphones are still pretty rare. The Noontec Zoro is the rarest of the rare, an audiophile-oriented design that's affordably priced.

The headband and earcups' high gloss finish conform to the fashion of our times, and the headphone's build quality is good for the money. The hinged steel headband allows the headphone to fold up and fit inside the included soft carry case, and the user-replaceable headphone cable is tangle-free and plugs into the left earcup. Both ends of the 48-inch long, flat cable are fitted with 3.5mm connectors, but alas the Zoro lacks a remote and microphone. While the headband and earcups are nicely padded, and comfort levels are good, the cushions put a bit more pressure against the tops of my ears than the bottoms. The earcups' limited pivot angle was the source of that minor irritation, but everyone's head shape is different, so the Zoro might be perfectly comfortable on your noggin. Isolation from external noise was about average for a headphone of this type. The Zoro comes in three colors, red, white, and black.

The sound is neutral, so the Zoro doesn't boost some frequencies or roll-off others. No, the Zoro tells it like it is, with high-quality recordings vocals sound natural and treble detailing is very good.

To put the sound in context I compared the Zoro with another small, closed-back headphone, the V-Moda M-80 ($230). The Zoros dynamics rocked harder, and the sound was more alive; the M-80 sounded like it was working harder, with the Zoro cymbals were cleaner and less "fuzzy." Bass definition and lowest bass frequencies are very decent on both headphones, there's no flab or mud down there! Jazz piano CDs were a delight with the Zoro; you can really hear the player's touch. Are they caressing the keys? Or leaning in a little harder, it's easy to tell with the Zoros, and they outpaced the M-80s in that regard. The Zoro's soft ear pads were also more comfortable than the M-80's.

Next, I compared the Zoro with the go over here now, and the WS55's were more open and airy, and the treble was softer and sweeter. I like both headphones, for different reasons. All of my listening up to this point was with my iPod Classic.

The Zoro sounded strong with the Classic, so I wondered if my little FiiO E10 USB desktop headphone amplifier ($69) would take the sound to the next level. The difference wasn't huge, but DJ Krush's "Jaku" album's stereo soundstage was bigger, more open with the E10. Returning to the Classic the space collapsed a bit. The amp's bass had somewhat more weight and power, but not enough to justify spending the extra money for the amp.

The Noontec Zoro sells for $99.99 on Amazon. It's one of the best-sounding on-ear headphones I've heard for audiophiles at the price.
 

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Creative has, according to our count, at least four wireless Bluetooth headphones in its current product lineup. The two top models, the WP-450 and WP-350, have very similar specs on paper but have different designs and prices.

I reviewed the WP-350 earlier this year and gave it a positive review, highlighting the fact that it delivers a lot of bang for the buck. That model can be found online for just less than $70 while the swankier WP-450 headphones (Best noise cancelling headset ).

The first thing you notice when you compare the two models is that the WP-450 seems to have the better design. Its earcups appear to be better padded and the headband also appears sturdier. The WP-350 folds flat while the WP-450 folds up. Neither ends up being all that compact in the folded state. Both come with simple protective carrying bags.

The WP-450 folds up but not flat.

After trying each one on, I was surprised to find that I thought the WP-350 was the slightly more comfortable headset. For starters, it's a bit lighter and its headband has some padding on the top while the WP-450's doesn't. I suspect the WP-450 will hold up better over time, but it just felt like it was clamped a little too tightly to my head and it was a bit uncomfortable after about 20 minutes. Of course, people's heads and ears vary in size, as does comfort level from person to person. I did test the models out on a couple of other CNET editors; one found the WP-450 more comfortable while the other gave the slight nod to the WP-350.

Both models are on-ear (meaning they sit on your ear, instead of surrounding the ear). They're not as comfortable as competing on-ear wired headphones like the Bose OE2i or the Sennheiser HD 238i models, and my ears did get a little steamy on warmer days.

I was able to achieve a tight seal on my ears, and the WP-450 earcups do a decent job of shutting out the outside world (depending on your ear, you will probably get a tighter seal with the WP-450s than the WP-350s, but that's partially because they simply fit tighter on your head). I can't say I felt all that stylish wearing them, but they're attractive enough and are a notch up in the style department from the WP-350s. That said, they do extend out more from your ears.

While they offer a bit more flair than the WP-350s and look a little pricier, there's nothing terribly fancy about the WP-450 headphones.

The buttons are well placed and easy to operate blindly.

The WP-450 headset has a slightly different button scheme than the WP-350 model has, but both are pretty well thought out. The volume button is conveniently placed on the inner lip of the right earcup along with the track forward/back button, so they're easily found by touch. You shouldn't have to fumble around or remove the headphones to raise and lower volume or answer and end calls, and, yes, there's a built-in microphone.