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Costco SYNC-ANC Amazing sound from Bluetooth headphones, not so great ANC

Monoprice’s SYNC-ANC Bluetooth headphones claim to offer active noise cancellation at a price that’s well below competition from Sony and Bose. These unusual headphones are nevertheless well worth a look, even though the ANC quality suffers as a result of the reduction.

 

Active noise cancellation (ANC) full-size Bluetooth headphones have been a popular purchase for many years. Models like Sony’s recently announced WH-1000XM5 or the older WH-1000XM4 design, as well as newcomers like Bose’s Quiet Comfort series, predominate the market. Unfortunately, the majority of those fantastic pairs go for more over $300.

 

Therefore, it could seem a little bit too good to be true when Monoprice releases Bluetooth headphones for under $60 that have ANC. Even while my testing revealed that my mistrust was well-founded, I still thought the Monoprice SYNC-ANC Bluetooth headphones had a lot going for them, especially when the unstable ANC was switched off.

 

I won’t miss the big point. These headphones’ ANC simply isn’t up to par. When used to listen to audio, it lowers the loudness and produces a muffled sound that, if you’re old enough to catch the reference, sounds like a scratched-up cassette tape. The near-silence produced by the functioning ANC I’ve tried sounds more like a quiet white noise machine, even if you only wanted to use it to block out background noise for a quieter setting. Simply put, don’t purchase these for their ANC.

 

Moreover, here are the top 5 noise-cancelling earbuds: Turn off the world.

 

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about how these headphones still convinced me they were well worth the $60 they cost.

 

First off, for the price, the build is pretty sturdy. Several folded configurations make fitting them into your bag simpler, and the metal hinges pivot and extend to allow a wide range of fits.

 

The Monoprice SYNC-ANC headphones are among the more pleasant on-ear types I’ve tested, despite the earcups being too small to be classified as over-the-ear. Moreover, I was taken aback by how effectively the leatherette earpads sealed when worn. In fact, I discovered that their passive seal was much more successful than the problematic ANC at reducing outside noise.

 

The headphones’ sound quality was shockingly good for $60 and far superior than other similarly priced Bluetooth headphones without ANC. Both bass and treble retained exceptional clarity even at greater volume levels, and soundstaging, instrument, and vocal separation were far above average for Bluetooth. Speaking of which, if you’re coming from in-ear headphones, these become more louder than you’re probably accustomed to. That may not be the best thing for long-term ear health, but it’s excellent for folks who like to blast their music.

 

Without a doubt, you cannot have everything, especially not with this meagre budget. Therefore, Monoprice had to make a compromise. The choice to employ an outdated Micro-USB charging port and the extremely simple buttons and switches that give the gadget an almost archaic vibe were two examples of what appeared to be cost-cutting tactics. Nevertheless, the controls are easy to use and have a great tactile feel, and the supplied battery offers 20 hours of playback (which, according to my testing, is generally accurate) per charge. Therefore, you might be able to go a few days without a top-up.

 

Testing revealed good connection stability, with just the extremely odd drop-outs of a second or two that even the priciest Bluetooth headphones I’ve ever tested occasionally experience.

 

It was also a lovely addition to have a 3.5mm aux connection so that older devices and anything with a 3.5mm jack could connect and benefit from the surprisingly good sound, even without Bluetooth capability.

 

The fact that the SYNC-ANC headphones also function well as a headset might not be immediately obvious. The callers I spoke with over the phone couldn’t tell that I was using an external mic, and the people I used them with in video chat said they could clearly hear me.

 

Also: Were the AirPods Pro 2 and AirPods Pro worth the wait?

I almost wish Monoprice would just drop the “ANC” from the name and take the ANC switch out of the actual product. I would be happy if I could get these as fully passive headphones for $60 with these features and sound. In their current state, the subpar ANC performance is sure to create a sour impression on any buyer who bought them for that feature.

 

The $60 price in Monoprice’s online store will get you a great first pair of Bluetooth headphones for a younger user, or a less expensive secondary pair you won’t be afraid to have rattling around in your bag on long commutes, if you can overlook that shortcoming or never cared about ANC to begin with.

 

 

Himanshu Mahawar

Himanshu Mahawar is the Editor and Founder at Flaunt Weekly.

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