I’ll cut to the chase: these $60 wireless headphones with ANC, multipoint connectivity, and aptX are unbelievable. On paper at least, Monoprice just released wireless headphones for 2022 and we can all go home. Our work here is done – especially mine, as an audio specialist.
The headphones in question are Monoprice’s SYNC-ANC Bluetooth Headphones with Active Noise Canceling and aptX Low Latency. And just look at them!
Where have we seen this new hook accent on some of the best headphones before? Oh I know, the Sony WH-1000XM5 ($399 / £380 / AU$649), the new Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless (accidentally released and then unreleased at a price of $449.95 CAD which is $350 / £290 / AU$500) or the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 ($399 / £379 / approximately AU$575).
You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that the models listed above are all premium, (almost, in the case of B&W) iconic over-ear designs. And yet, here’s Monoprice, a company founded in 2002 and operating in Rancho Cucamonga, about 37 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, casually releasing a competing set for one-sixth the price!
In Holmes’ inimitable style, let’s examine the evidence: Monoprice’s SYNC-ANC features a Qualcomm QCC3005 Bluetooth 5.0 chipset with support for Qualcomm aptX and Qualcomm aptX Low Latency audio codecs (to clarify: aptX enables high-quality Bluetooth streaming; aptX Low Latency ensures more synced, lag-free audio for video streams), hybrid active noise cancellation plus Qualcomm cVc echo cancellation, and noise-cancelling microphones for noise-free voice on phone calls. Multipoint pairing, meanwhile, should allow you to pair two source devices to switch between sources. This is nothing short of exceptional at this level.
And Monoprice isn’t lagging behind when it comes to connectivity and toughness claims either. The promise is about 20 hours at 50% volume with ANC off and Bluetooth on (you can turn off Bluetooth and listen using the included 3.5mm unbalanced headphone jack too, and it sounds like the USB-C cables and USB-A are also provided), or about 10 hours at 50% volume with ANC on. Go wired and the battery life should be around 14 hours with ANC enabled.
Opinion: however Monoprice has reached its singular price, I am interested
As I see it, the only major omission you’ll have to deal with here is the Auracast audio sharing potential, which we’ve been told will require the latest Bluetooth 5.2. Other than that, there’s very little to complain about – and really, for $60, it would be rude to complain anyway.
At 269g, they’re actually 19g heavier than the Sony XM5s, but the difference is negligible, and the Monoprice cans feel nicely padded in the headband and earcups.
Anyone who has used it knows that multipoint connectivity is a game-changer, allowing you to watch Netflix on your laptop through your headphones and then make a call, all without having to worry about missing a thing. And while the Sony WH-1000XM5 claims a slight improvement in terms of endurance – 40 hours with noise canceling off – otherwise known as a two-hour improvement over the WH-1000XM4s – our tests failed. quite reach the advertised 30 hours with the ANC on.
I don’t see the user detection auto-off listed on the spec sheet, but I don’t often miss it when it’s not there. which could be a game changer when I hear them (which I really hope will happen soon) is the sound quality. Monoprice did not list the driver type or size, but given that Sony actually reduced from the 40mm drivers found in the XM4 to the 30mm speakers in the XM5, it’s important to remember that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better.
Go Monoprice’s SYNC-ANC (opens in new tab) reveal themselves to be some of the best noise-canceling headphones on the market and thus completely change the game – in the same way that JLab’s Go Air Pop did for the best true wireless headphone designs? Time will tell.
Ultimately, when audio experts with 20 years of experience can deliver this level of finish and high-res codec support, all for the price of a good lunch, it’s a great time to be alive.