Here at Highsnobiety HQ, audio is a pretty big deal. Whether we’re buckling down with our workload to the tune of the latest hyped album drop, actively reviewing said drop, or tweaking tunes to go with our own original content, having the right tools for the job is a priority.

Wireless headphones are fast rendering annoying cables of older listening devices obsolete, more so than ever now considering the varying input sockets of our many devices. This being the case, we took it upon ourselves to test the leaders of the pack. With every major brand trying their hand at a quality pair, we called in five industry-leading wireless headphones and circulated them around a dedicated Highsnobiety review squad for their opinions, also compiling a combined average score for audio quality, usability, comfort, and style.

Each of our five guinea pigs tried the latest wireless offerings of Bang & Olufsen, Master & Dynamic, Marshall, Beats, and AIAIAI for a grand total of five days each, putting them to good use in their daily Highsnobiety to-do lists. Here’s what they reported back…

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i — $500

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Highsnobiety / Julien Tell

Aaron Toumazou, E-Commerce Editor

“For daily use, these B&Os felt super premium. I made a few calls home wearing these and was told how clear the audio was on several occasions, while the noise canceling functionality was absolutely game-changing — especially when it came to getting in the zone at work and silencing the screaming babies of budget airlines.”

Bianca Giulione, Associate Music Editor

“Overall, the Bang & Olufsen headphones were a dream. Stylish and functional, they sound absolutely incredible and the noise canceling function was almost too good. These are the headphones I really appreciated when I needed to zone out from all the hustle and bustle at Highsnob HQ and buckle down to edit some music features. I love the detail of the left and right ear labeling on the inside of the earpads — you can’t miss them!”

Highsnobiety / Julien Tell

Thomas Jamison, Director of Video

“The feel of these headphones is expensive and the audio quality was great when listening to anything that was packing a lot of bass. Some of the upper frequencies get lost within the headphone, but unless you’re using them for DJing this isn’t really an issue whatsoever. They came into their own when listening to podcasts — perfect for a Radiolab episode.”

Jake Woodhouse, IT Support

“The sound on these was nice, but I found some of what was supposed to be very intuitive tech quite fiddly to use at times which could often make connectivity or an unbroken listening session a bit of a mission at times. There’s no taking away from this pair’s design, they’re super comfortable and look the business.”

Feleg Tesema, Shopping Writer

“You get what you pay for, and when it comes to these B&Os that means advanced tech features like a dedicated app and touch functions, a really impressive battery life and a very premium finish. Audio quality was pretty good too, but I think there’s always room for these consumer-friendly sets to be a bit louder!”

Master & Dynamic MW50+ — $399

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Highsnobiety / Julien Tell

Aaron Toumazou, E-Commerce Editor

“The M&D’s are a slick pair that boast cowhide and lambskin among their comfy materials — I even had a couple of strangers come up to me asking about the model while out and about in London. Aside from looking and feeling great, I loved this pair’s versatility — having the option to change between on-ear and over-ear pads is such a nice touch.”

Bianca Giulione, Associate Music Editor

“I listened to A$AP Rocky’s ‘TESTING’ with the Master & Dynamics and the sound was pretty good, but could have been more bass-y. They were pretty user-friendly and I liked that there were two magnetic earpad options that were super easy to swap.”

Thomas Jamison, Director of Video

“The comfort of these headphones is second to none, and the build quality and materials make for a very luxe feel. This was matched when it came to audio quality — listening to edits of material and the final product gives me a really clear impression that time has been spent tweaking the sound for multipurpose use. I really enjoyed the immersive sound that was amplified when watching 360 videos.”

Highsnobiety / Julien Tell

Jake Woodhouse, IT Support

“These were a great all-round pair of headphones; simple to use and the changeable ear bits are a nice touch (although being magnetic I was a bit on edge about losing them). Not quite sure how they’d fare on the DJ front, but when it comes to day-to-day sound, comfort, and usability I have no complaints.”

Feleg Tesema, Shopping Writer

“A definite favorite of mine, the MW50+ were super comfortable — which is a priority when you’re plugged in as much as I am. The soft leather made them look and feel so good!”

Marshall MID A.N.C. — $277

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Highsnobiety / Julien Tell

Aaron Toumazou, E-Commerce Editor

“You get quite a lot for your buck with these ‘Active Noise Cancelling’ Marshall headphones. The sound quality took me by surprise, and noise canceling comes as such a bonus for the days I set out to power through my workload uninterrupted. Most of the headphones tested had features I’d consider a touch more quality, but as an all-rounder I can’t really fault them.”

Bianca Giulione, Associate Music Editor

“The Marshall MID A.N.C.s sounded great when I was listening through all of our picks for best tracks of the week. Design-wise, they manage to retain the classic Marshall guitar amp style (the gold details are a nice touch, and I’m really into the premium black leather) while still being completely functional as Bluetooth headphones. I got into a routine listening to podcasts while running around my apartment getting ready in the morning before heading to the office — saying goodbye was hard.”

Thomas Jamison, Director of Video

“These make me look like I’m in an early noughties indie band, which I kind of dug to start with but when you compare them side-by-side to the others in this selection the novelty grows old. While they were easy to use, there are no real frills to the audio quality, and you find yourself missing both high and low frequencies.”

Highsnobiety / Julien Tell

Jake Woodhouse, IT Support

“A good set of headphones all-in-all. The case is nice; they’re pretty easy to use; the sound canceling is a small bonus. They can feel a bit tight around your ears if you wear them for a long time, but overall the good outweighs the bad and I’d be happy to have these again.”

Feleg Tesema, Shopping Writer

“Compared to other models, I had a few teething issues getting these to connect and they were a little uncomfortable. That said, if you’re looking for a more affordable pair with good audio quality, these are a solid bet. I think they’d make a cool Christmas gift for pops, hailing back to Marshall’s golden era in their design.”

Beats Studio 3 — $229

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Highsnobiety / Julien Tell

Aaron Toumazou, E-Commerce Editor

“Of all the headphones, the Beats naturally connected with the Apple products I depend on the easiest. Being able to clearly see the battery life when you connect to your devices is a nice touch that other models leave you guessing until their dying moments. I found the audio quality decent when making calls, even if they did leave a bit to be desired when it comes to music.”

Bianca Giulione, Associate Music Editor

“I’ve never been much of a Beats fan, but the Beats Studio 3 headphones managed to shift my perception a bit. I jammed out to Lana Del Rey’s “Venice Bitch” on them and the sound was clear.”

Thomas Jamison, Director of Video

“Being the defacto headphone, I was expecting these to be outstanding. Sadly the hype was the best bit about them. Not only did the material feel inexpensive, so did the sound. It lacked the richness that came from many of the other models — jumping from the high quality of B&O into this was similar to listening to a song on YouTube in low definition. I did enjoy getting to look like I was in a Bieber video, though.”

Jake Woodhouse, IT Support

“I don’t wanna be a hater but these sucked in comparison to their premium counterparts. They were uncomfortable, the sound canceling barely did anything and the audio quality was some of the worst I’ve heard on a pair of headphones for this price.”

Feleg Tesema, Shopping Writer

“Even a three-year-old would be able to connect these Beats. Turn the Bluetooth on and like magic your phone is asking to connect, which really stood out when compared to the slightly longer process of other headphones. The fact that they’re foldable also makes them one of the more convenient options to carry around with you, but there’s a catch! The sound quality is subpar for a headphone at this price point.”

AIAIAI TMA 2 — From $220

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Highsnobiety / Julien Tell

Aaron Toumazou, E-Commerce Editor

“I’d never really thought of myself as someone who could fully differentiate the nuances of audio qualities until I put these on for the first time. AIAIAI is a brand beloved by the DJ community and it’s so easy to see why — the bass on these is insane. Granted, I felt like pretty much everyone on my morning commute could hear what I was listening to (and I’m partial to some guilty pleasures best kept secret), but that’s my only gripe. I even found myself loving the utilitarian, no-frills design over premium leather offerings.”

Bianca Giulione, Associate Music Editor

“I was already very familiar with AIAIAI when I tried the TMA 2 Bluetooth set, so I was excited to test them out. The sound is unparalleled — you can tell they’ve really taken care to fine-tune the audio quality. They give you just the right amount of bass (which is a lot, just the way I like it). I listened to a ton of Lil Uzi Vert with them, as I was working on a list of his best tracks, and he has never sounded better to me! Once you get a hang of the three buttons on the headband, they become even breezier to use. I’m absolutely obsessed with these; they’re hands down the best of the bunch for me.”

Thomas Jamison, Director of Video

“The website doesn’t really do these headphones justice. On first inspection, it seemed like there were too many connections and areas in which the headphone could prove flimsy. I couldn’t have been more wrong! AIAIAI’s are designed to work and fit perfectly, and the audio quality is just unbelievable — rich and smooth sounds on every frequency. I found myself going back and listening to my favorite songs just so I could hear what they were really meant to sound like.”

Jake Woodhouse, IT Support

“My favorites by far, super comfortable; really easy to use; no dropouts with connection and the sound quality was amazing. I wore these out and about as well and the connection never dropped. I want a pair!”

Feleg Tesema, Shopping Writer

“These were my absolute favorite! They may not be as sleek as the leather Master & Dynamic, but the audio quality is out of this world and you kind of just forget about everything else. Can I keep them?”

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