Edifier’s new high-end headphones bring top quality at low price [Review]


The headphones' folding design helps them fit nicely in the high-quality carrying case.★★★★
The headphones' folding design helps them fit nicely in the high-quality carrying case.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

Edifier has produced quality speakers, headphones and earbuds at affordable prices for more than 25 years. And once again I’m impressed with the value it offers, this time regarding the recently released, high-end Edifier WH950NB Wireless Noise Cancellation Over-Ear Headphones.

You can find fancier, better-sounding cans for considerably more money. But at $180, this set punches well above its weight, competing with $250 to $350 contenders.

Edifier sent me a pair to try out. I’ll get into the pluses and minuses below.

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Edifier WH950NB Wireless Noise Cancellation Over-Ear Headphones

Edifier’s WH950NB headphones, which the company released in early February, have a nice presentation out of the box, but nothing too fancy. The company appears to put its money into sound quality. Nevertheless, the presentation is on the fancy side for Edifier.

Unlike Edifier’s less-expensive-but-still-good W820NB ANC headphones, which I reviewed recently, the 950NBs come with a carrying case and an audio cable for wired listening (complete with an alternative two-pronged jack).

The case is nice and stiff, with a fabric covering and a soft interior with a pocket. In addition to that, you get a standard USB-C charging cable and a manual.

And the headphones themselves are made of quality materials. The brushed-steel headband is a nice touch, as are the memory-foam ear pads covered in soft leather. The control buttons are silicone rather than plastic.

High-quality sound

The headset's 40mm dynamic drivers should provide primo sound quality.
The headset’s 40mm dynamic drivers provide primo sound quality.
Photo: Edifier

And because I mentioned the audio cable — not every set of wireless ANC headphones even includes one — I should specify that the sound quality via that wire climbed higher even than that of the excellent wireless signal.

That’s not a criticism. Wireless sound has been striving to catch up to wired audio quality for a long time. Many audiophiles look down on Bluetooth to this day.

And I’ll add it bugs me when high-quality wireless cans don’t come with a good audio cable because I can’t readily compare the wired and wireless audio. In this case, I got a little more oomph out of the wire plugged into my M1 MacBook Pro, and it works even without battery power in the cans.

Strong Bluetooth but limited codec support

But the wireless sound quality via the LDAC/SBC codecs and Bluetooth 5.3 (the latest version) is nothing to scoff at. The sound, issued through dynamic 40mm composite titanium film drivers, is balanced and natural from low end to high.

And that’s despite the headphones’ lack of support for Apple’s favored AAC codec, which would make these headphones a potential AirPods Max challenger. As they stand, these excellent headphones are an especially good choice for Android users.

If you’re hesitating to plunk down a stack of cash on Bose or Sony (the latter is behind the LDAC codec), these could be your option. And in that case, it would be even better if Edifier’s cans supported aptX, which is more widely supported than LDAC.

The audio quality compares favorably to a $250 pair of ANC wireless headphones I have. The pricier set gives you a broader, more reverb-rich soundstage, whereas the Edifiers give you somewhat more focused clarity with plenty of detail. It’s kind of an apples and oranges thing — it just depends on which sweet, tasty fruit you prefer.

I should add that the Edifiers don’t match the other set’s overall volume. That’s in part by design because of a decibel-limiting safety feature (<85dB). While comparing the two, I tended to nudge the Edifiers up a bit.

Easy controls via app

As with many headphones, you can use buttons for some control. For example, the power button answers a call with one tap, or it starts Bluetooth pairing if you hold it down for 6 seconds, and the up-volume button advances tracks with two taps.

But for some controls, it’s convenient to have a capable app. The Edifier Connect app gets the job done.

For audio control via the app, you can try “classic” and “dynamic” mode presets, or manipulate a simple, four-band EQ. I liked dynamic mode for most music.

You can also choose among music, game and theater modes. Music mode is self-explanatory. Gaming mode offers lower latency to keep up with frenetic gameplay. And theater mode promises surround-sound and custom EQ settings for movies.

Theater mode appears to focus voices even as it slightly jacks up the soundtrack, giving you fuller sound all-around for TV and movies compared to simply leaving the headphones in music mode while you watch.

And you can also use the app to set a timer that turns the headphones off, like when you want to listen to a podcast at bedtime knowing you might just drift off.

Robust ANC and clear calls

The quality sound also extends to call quality. The four microphones in the headphones work with an environmental noise control (ENC) system as well as a voice-directing audio signal processor for call clarity.

As for ANC overall, it works well. You get a few choices via the Edifier Connect app. High noise cancellation blocks the most sound. You can also step down incrementally to low noise cancellation or wind reduction, or select ambient sound or “off.”

Ambient sound, if you need to hear what’s going on around you, lets in more sound than having ANC off because it opens filters to let a little more sound through the headphones’ natural seal.

Long battery life

You can get an audio cable with an alternative two-prong jack so you can enjoy some very high quality wired listening.
You get an audio cable with an alternative two-prong jack so you can enjoy high-quality wired listening.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

Battery life keeps getting longer with new wireless headphones and earbuds, and Edifier is keeping up. The WH950NB have charged past the 50-hour mark reached recently by the likes of Soundcore, claiming 55 hours with ANC on and 34 hours with it off.

In addition, you can get an extra 7 hours of battery life with a 10-minute fast charge, Edifier said. It also noted playback time may vary depending on surroundings, volume level and audio sources.


  • Active noise cancellation and ambient sound mode
  • LDAC codec with Hi-Res Audio and Hi-Res Wireless certification
  • Advanced 4-mic ENC for voice clarity
  • Personalize EQ and select music modes in Edifier Connect app
  • Supports Google Fast Pair for Android users
  • Long battery life (up to 55 hours with ANC off, 34 hours with it on)
  • Fast charging: 7 hours of playback in 10 minutes
  • Hearing protection: volume control <85dB and cut-off timer
  • Foldable and lightweight


  • Bluetooth V5.3
  • Bluetooth protocol: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP
  • Audio coding: LDAC, SBC
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 40kHz
  • Driver: 40mm dynamic
  • Output sound pressure level: 91dB ± 3dBSPL(A)
  • Playtime: 34 hours (ANC on), 55 hours (ANC off)
  • Charging time: 1.5 hours
  • Charging port: USB-C
  • Input: 5V ⎓ 1A
  • Weight: 296 ± 1g
  • Dimensions: 193mm long x 169mm wide x 82mm high

Edifier’s excellent WH950NB headphones, priced at $179.99, are available in matte black (with glossy finishes in places). A white version with gold trim will be available soon, the company said.

Where to buy: Amazon

Edifier provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out other in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.



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