How well does the Edifier WH950NB stack up in a price bracket filled with such a wide array of choice? Does the active noise cancellation hold up? Is the sound profile what you’d expect for a sub-$200 set of cans? Find out everything you need to know as we go hands-on with the Edifier WH950NB headphones.
The Edifier WH950NB isn’t trying to be a King at one thing. Rather than focusing on pounding bass or hi-pitch treble, the Edifier WH950NB aims to showcase a sense of balance, with no single audio entity overriding its surrounding.
Pick an element – be it vocals, drums, or coursing guitar riffs – and you’ll be able to identify each without needing to search. There’s enough room in these cans to let each element bloom without any overpowering.
Rap, in general, performs exceptionally well on the Edifier WH950NB headphones. The growly bass of an Ashnikko track manages to hit like a truck without vocals becoming lost in the shuffle, and the subtle nuances of a Kendrick Lemar track have room to breathe and be felt.
It’s the same for rock music. The high pang of an AC/DC song reverberates in the compelling way it should.
The only genre that doesn’t quite have the same oomph is electronic, but that’s to be expected when the main audio quality focuses on balance. And even then, it’s still perfectly enjoyable without feeling like you need a second pair of headphones.
Look and Feel
Design-wise, Edifier has played it safe: A metal headband sits atop two sliding matte sides before reaching into the cup swivels. The gold-on-black embellishes look classy, but again, it’s a fairly expected design.
Along the lower back side of the right earcup is where the volume up and down, power, and ANC buttons reside. What’s interesting here is Edifier has decided the power button should actually go in between the plus and minus of the volume button.
This won’t be for everyone and does take some getting used to. Once you have, though, you’ll never go back to a separate power button. It feels intuitive, and the ridged stripe can be felt independently of the other buttons.
As for the feel of the Edifier WH950NB, expect a tight fit at first. When I first plonked them on, they felt like a clamp. But over time, the headband has relaxed and now feels as natural as my personal fave the Soul Emotion Max.
The ear cushions could be a little more padded, but at no point did they feel overly uncomfortable. They’re just there.
The Edifier WH950NB comes with three different listening modes: Music mode, game mode, and theatre mode. Though it’s worth mentioning, the Edifier app lets owners customize the headphones even further.
Music mode is your standard default equalizer, while game mode puts more emphasis on the highs. Theatre mode, as you can probably guess, adds a grand hall effect to sound.
It’s nice to be able to switch between the three at the press of a button, but the audiophiles among us will no doubt head straight to the app.
Moving on to the active noise-cancellation (ANC) tech, I was surprised by how well this works. Two modes lead the charge – high noise-cancellation and ambient – but it’s the high noise-cancellation that’s the most impressive.
The Edifier WH950NB didn’t have an easy task either. During the review period I was having my kitchen renovated. That meant the Edifier WH950NB had to go up against drilling, plastering, and workmen being insufferably loud.
At multiple points throughout this, the workmen had to actually enter my living room to get my attention. I honestly couldn’t offer a better example of how well the ANC tech works.
The ANC does use more battery, but the Edifier WH950NB has that covered, too.
With ANC on, the Edifier WH950NB offers 34 hours (33 in my testing) of uptime. With the ANC turned off, the battery life reaches a monstrous 55 hours before needing to charge. If you’re in a hurry, a 10-minute charge provides another seven hours of listening time. It also only takes 90 minutes to charge the thing fully.
To put it bluntly, these are some mind-melting numbers. The Edifier WH950NB is a hi-res set of headphones as well, so how Edifier has managed to cram all of the above into a single set of cans is quite extraordinary. For commuters especially, the Edifier WH950NB comes easy to recommend.
Specifications Worth Knowing
- LDAC codec with Hi-Res Audio Wireless certification
- Active noise cancellation/ambient sound modes
- Advanced four-mic ENC
- Supports for Google Fast Pair
- 40mm dynamic driver
- Safe Hearing: Volume is lower than 85dB and features a cutoff timer
- Fully charged in 90 minutes
- Active Noise Cancellation + Ambient Sound
The Edifier WH950NB comes in at $179.99. That puts it in a similar price bracket to the Soul Emotion Max and Skullcandy’s range of headphones and is a much more affordable alternative to the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones that come in at double the price at $398.
The Bottom Line
The Edifier WH950NB is a no-nonsense set of cans that offers up a level of balance that would make Yoda happy. Audio is clear and concise, and while they may lack any sense of personality visually, they make up for it in clever button placement, killer noise cancellation, and a battery that literally lasts for days.
The pricing structure puts the Edifier WH950NB series in the mid-range, which is becoming more and more saturated by the day. For the price, though, the Edifier WH950NB stands head and shoulders above the competition, and could easily be considered one of the best high-end headphones.
Sure, it’ll take you a few days to get used to the feel, but after that, all that’s left is hi-res bliss.