Yamaha YH-E700A ANC headphone review: Excellent noise cancelling

Yamaha YH-E700A ANC headphone review: Excellent noise cancelling

Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) headphones are a modern marvel with one major drawback: Many will unintentionally wipe out some of the frequencies present in the music you’re listening to. Yamaha says its $299 YH-E700A ANC headphone delivers nearly identical sound whether its active noise cancellation is on, off, or in transparency mode.

I’d say Yamaha has at least come closer to that goal than any other headphone I’ve reviewed, and that should make an extremely appealing set of cans for those who eschew active noise cancellation because they feel the technology has an adverse impact on musical recordings. That said, the YH-E700A aren’t without a few other wrinkles that Yamaha will hopefully iron out via future firmware updates.

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best noise-cancelling headphones, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.

Feature set

The Yamaha YH-E700A adds several features you won’t find in its less-expensive noise-cancelling stablemate, the YH-E500 ($179.95): Advanced ANC that Yamaha says “cuts the noise not the music,” a Listening Optmizer, support for Hi-Res audio (when connected with a cable), and support for Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive codec in addition to SBC and AAC (the less-expensive cans support those codecs plus aptX HD). I successfully paired the Yamaha headphones with my Astell&Kern Kann with the aptX HD codec.

Yamaha says says its Listening Optimizer measures factors such as headphone seal and air leakage every 20 seconds and analyzes that information to customize the headphone’s audio performance fore each listener. Both headphones are outfitted with Bluetooth 5 radios, and I found YH-700A’s wireless range to be outstanding. I easily got to the promised 30-foot range even when going between floors, across rooms, and having the YH-E700A pass signals through different building materials.

If you’re using these headphones with your smartphone, you’ll be happy to know that both Apple Siri and Google Assistant are supported.

The YH-E700A are travel-friendly, weighing in at 11.46 ounces, and they fold flat into a hardshell case for easy storage and travel. Speaking of travel, you’ll get up to 35 hours of playback with ANC active—that’s enough for several transatlantic flights. A full recharge takes only about 3.5 hours.

Yamaha YH-E700A ANC headphone review: Excellent noise cancelling Theo Nicolakis/IDG

The right ear cup has all the primary controls, plus a USB-C charging port.

In addition to the aforementioned kidney-shaped, hard carrying case, you’ll also find a USB-C charging cable, a 3.5mm cable analog audio cable, and an airline adapter. The carrying case has a pocket to hold cables and adapters.

Build quality

The YH-E700A’s fit-and-finish is consistent with headphones in the $300 price range, but it won’t garner any industrial design awards. The headband is decently padded and covered in a high-quality imitation leather.

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