Edifier WH950NB: Best Cheaper Alternative for Sony XM5S

Today we’re going to review the Edifier’s brand-new noise-canceling pair of headphones, the Edifier WH950NB. It’s already confusing that they have the 950 in the name because a few years back, Sony had the XB950. I don’t know the similarities because of that number in the title.

Introduction to Edifier WH950NB

Edifier WH950NB is a premium pair of noise-canceling headphones. So it’s more made to compete with the Sony WH1000 XM5, the Bose 700S, and the Bowes QC45S. The vast difference is the price. Edifier WH950NB retails at $179, although on AliExpress, I’ve found them for $169, which means they’re almost half of what Bowes and Sony are charging for their headphones.

That already intrigued me because this pair is high-res audio wireless certified, LDOC supported and has noise canceling at a different level, so there’s a lot to look at with this pair. So we’ll talk about Edifier WH950NB features, sound quality, and what comes inside the box, and see if these can compete with the Sony and Bose at half the price.

What Comes Inside the Box of Edifier WH950NB

Let’s jump in with what comes inside the box. It comes with a hard case; on the outside, it has a fabric feel, and it’s a nice hard case. Inside, it has a pouch that holds the other accessories. Included is an airline adapter if you’re going to use these plugged into an airplane while traveling.

Design of Edifier WH950NB

It also comes with a three-and-a-half-millimeter headphone cable, and it also comes with a USB-C to charge these. If you look closely at the headphones, this is similar to the Sonys, the headband has a metal or aluminum material right up top, but luckily there is some excellent pleather padding underneath that.

They use that same pleather material on the ear pads, which again feels like Sony’s XM5S and XM4S ear pads. So there’s memory foam, and it’s just comfortable. There’s only a little weight with these headphones. The ear pads swivel, and the headphones fold flat. You can get these to be compact and fit them in a bag or case easily.

I do like that on the outside, although they also have vents that look like Sony headphones. The ear cup texture gives it a premium look, and on the left side, you have your 3.5-millimeter headphone jack input. You have the USB-C input on the right side, and all of your buttons are also on the right side.

There are a few buttons, but I wish they had different materials. This is the one thing that pulls from the looks, but I am glad they did not go with the touch or swipe gestures. I’m just not the biggest fan of those. But the buttons, what they do is you have a mode button which you can switch between different modes, which we’ll discuss later. You have a multipurpose button in the middle, which allows you to play pause, skip your tracks, forward, go backward, and then you have your volume up and down.

So you have all of your controls on the right ear cup, and overall, they feel and look like a premium pair of headphones. Next, I will discuss the features that Edifier WH950NB offers.

Features of Edifier WH950NB

As I mentioned at the beginning of the review, Edifier WH950NB is high-res wireless certified, and they have LDAC support, which I’m a massive fan of. I’ve been using LDAC in many earbuds and headphones for testing, so I’ve gotten used to getting the most out of what I’m listening to. It also has Bluetooth 5.3, and it has Google’s fast pair. So if you’re using an Android device, you will see the popup on the screen come up as soon as you turn the headphones on.

You can also download the Edifier app, which I highly recommend. The app gives you a lot of different controls, and it allows you to keep the headphones constantly updated. You also have a multi-point connection if you want to be connected to more than one device at a time, and you also have to go into the app to turn the LDAC mode on.

If you have LDAC on, it turns your multi-point connection off, as you cannot do both simultaneously. Then it also allows you to go between your different noise canceling levels. You have a high level and a low level, and it also has a wind reduction mode. If you switch it into transparency mode within the app, you can turn the adjuster up or down, depending on how much you want your surroundings to be picked up by the microphones.

Some other things are it can switch from a music mode to a gaming mode to a movie mode. The mode slightly adjusts the EQ depending on which mode you select, but it also cuts down latency if you’re going to be gaming on your mobile device or you’re going to be watching a movie or a video.

So I also like the fact that you have these different options to switch between, and then also, in the app, you can go in and customize the mode button. So if you don’t want it to go from one mode to the other, or you want it to do more than go from noise canceling to transparency, you can go to the other noise canceling modes, whatever you have this custom within the app.

The only other thing is you do have the ability to set a safe volume. So it keeps it under 85 decibels and keeps you from just blaring the headphones and blasting your eardrums. So if you have a kid using these and want to limit them, it’s nice that you also have this control.

Noise Canceling & Transparency Mode

Edifier WH950NB offers three noise-canceling modes: high noise canceling, low noise canceling, and wind reduction. So if you use these outdoors, they will keep the wind from affecting your audio like in other headphones.

I noticed the high and low noise canceling are very similar, so I might need it to test it further. The noise-canceling performance is excellent in this pair, but it’s not on the level of Sony or Bose, and it is also not half as good considering where it’s priced. It is much better than that.

It does a very good blocking out all of the usual AC units, engine noises like refrigerator, and those low rumble sounds around you, but it also takes it a step up and starts blocking out a decent amount of people talking. So if you use these like in a restaurant or a coffee shop, you won’t hear much dialogue going on around you.

Regarding the transparency mode, it was also very impressive. If I left it in the middle mode, I could hear my surroundings very well. I could carry on a conversation without taking the headphones off, which is essential because I don’t like taking them on or off if people are trying to talk to me.

One feature that I wish these had that they don’t is that there are no smart sensors. So if you take your headphones off, they do not pause, and they don’t just go back to what you’re listening to when you put them back on. You are going to have to pause your headphones if you want them to stop where you’re listening to them if you’re going to take them off. So again, that’s something that the higher-end headphones have that I wish were in these.

Battery Life for Edifier WH950NB

So far, the batter for Edifier WH950NB is very good. If you use them with the noise canceling off, you can squeeze about 55 hours out of these. But if you use them with the noise canceling, it will bring them down to 34 hours, which, you know, will quickly get people through a week.

If you listen to them 24 hours a day, you’ll still have some juice at the end of the day, but if you pick your headphones up and they’re dead, it also has one of the best fast charge features I’ve seen. On a 10-minute charge, you can get seven hours of use. If you’re about to walk out the door and they’re dead, if you can wait 10 minutes, you can almost get an entire workday’s worth of battery life, and honestly, that was impressive to see on Edifier WH950NB.

Mic Performance for Edifier WH950NB

If you are going to have these headphones on and take phone calls, it is using four microphones total. It’s also using environmental noise canceling to try to block out a lot of your surroundings, and this is another feature that I was also very impressed with.

I have several tests on the mic on Edifier WH950NB, and overall it does a decent job of picking up my voice. I notice some digital noise or disturbance here and there, but you can hear the voice. It could be better, but it will get the job done.

Sound Quality on Edifier WH950NB

So, let’s talk about the sound quality of these headphones. The sound on Edifier WH950NB is fantastic, but I must tell you how I had these set up. I always listened to them in LDAC mode, and I noticed that if I had the noise canceling on, I needed to have the EQ set to Classic.

If I had the noise canceling off, I needed to have the EQ setting to Dynamic. The reason for this is if the noise canceling is on, it closes it in a little bit, but it adds some warmth to the sound and some boominess to the base. And I think it takes away from the brightness of the treble.

But if you have it in classic mode, that offsets that, but if you listen to them with the noise canceling off and listen to them in dynamic mode, my personal preferences seemed to hit the sweet spot. It has a really nice bass that can compete with the Sony and Bose.

It also had some really clean and bright trebles. It’s not treble that gets harsh or not one of those that gets ear fatiguing or anything like that. It just balances out very well. The low end makes it comparable to the Sony and Bose regarding audio, but the mids I felt on these were better than the Sony and Bose.

Vocalists just stood out more as there were a lot more precise characteristics in male and female vocalists being brought out, and no matter what genre I was listening to, I never felt like the mids took a step back. So I was impressed with how Edifier WH950NB was tuned but different from how they were tuned out of the box.

You must go in and mess around with it a little bit, so keep that in mind. These headphones also surprised me when it came to the sound stage and the sound imaging because they did sound very open as long as it was not in noise-canceling mode. With noise-canceling on, it seems to close it in a little bit.

I know that’s to isolate you from everything else, but it did not sound as open when I had the noise-canceling turned on. So overall, I was very impressed with the sound quality.

My Verdict on Edifier WH950NB

The look, the feel, and the sound are all very premium except for the buttons. I wish they went with a different texture or just went with the swipe controls, even though I’m not a massive fan of that. But if you are just locked in on wanting really good sound and excellent noise canceling but don’t want to dump $300 or $400 into a pair of headphones, Edifier WH950NB matches everything else.

The sound on these is excellent, as having LDAC and high-res audio ensures you get the most out of what you’re listening to. I’ve had a wonderful time while testing these, and at the price point, it’s going to be hard to find anything that compares to these.

Even one of Moore’s headphones doesn’t match up with these, which I’ve been impressed with, but the Edifier takes it a notch further and makes it comparable to the more expensive headphones.

That wraps up my review of the Edifier WH950NB. Thank you so much for reading until the end.