Reviewed: Edifier WH950NB Noise-Canceling Wireless Headphones

Reviewed: Edifier WH950NB Noise-Canceling Wireless Headphones

Edifier is an audio brand that’s been making a name for itself lately with an excellent range of wireless speakers and even a pair of planar magnetic wireless headphones. Now the company has launched these affordable noise-canceling headphones that are likely to compete with similar models from Bose and Sony, who currently lead in this sector of the headphone market.

The Edifier WH950NB are a smart-looking pair of over-the-ear wireless headphones with ANC (active noise canceling), making them ideal for long-haul flights, commuting and even a workout in the gym. The headphones are supplied with a rigid zippered case that’s perfect for protecting the headphones when traveling. A widespread use of noise-canceling headphones is on aircraft, where the ANC technology filters out the roar of jet engines while you’re busy relaxing to a favorite playlist or a movie playing on your tablet or smartphone.

With a price of just $180, the Edifier WH950NBs headphones undercut similar offerings such as the Bose QC45 or Sony’s phenomenally popular WH-1000XM4, both of which are the benchmarks for noise-canceling headphones. The Edifier WH950NBs may not be in quite the same league as those two, but they offer quite a bit for the money.

The finish on the WH950NB is stylish and the generously stuffed leatherette ear pads and a padded headband make wearing the headphones comfortable, even on relatively long flights or commutes on a train. The headphones sport a discreet look with only a classy copper-colored Edifier logo for branding.

On the right earcup is a cluster of three buttons for all the usual functions like volume control, skipping and repeating tracks, pausing and stopping the music, and accepting and rejecting incoming phone calls. There isn’t a touchpad on the earcup surface like some more expensive models offer with swiping gestures for controlling the music, but that’s no significant loss. I find swiping gestures to be more bother than they are worth.

In addition to the cluster of controls, there’s also a separate button for cycling through the headphones’ three noise-cancellation modes. Firstly, there’s an Off mode, an Ambient mode, and an ANC mode. If you’re at home and it’s quiet, you probably won’t need the ANC mode so you can turn that off. Suppose you’re at an airport or a railway station and want to listen out for announcements; then you can press the button to turn on Transparent mode which feeds a certain amount of outside sound into the music mix, keeping you connected to the outside world and what is going on around you. The ANC function does what it says and blocks out unwanted external sounds.

The Edifier WH950NB are a little short on fancy features, such as an auto-pause function when you take the headphones off. These are affordable ANC wireless headphones, but the build quality and fit are excellent and will be more than acceptable for most people. A quick word of warning at this point, there’s no support for the AAC codec used by every Apple iOS device.

The absence of AAC means that when the WH950NB is used with an Apple iOS device, it will default to the SBC audio codec. That basic codec can be good, but its performance depends on the spectrum congestion, not hi-res. The only high-quality codec offered is LDAC, which isn’t widely supported. It seems like a missed opportunity to me. If there were support for AAC and aptX HD, these would be great headphones.


The sound quality produced by the 40mm dynamic drivers in each earcup is good, considering the codec limitations of the WH950NB. There’s plenty of bass on offer, but the midrange feels a little recessed. I also detected a slight lack of focus in the treble when used with the SBC codec, although that was remedied by switching to LDAC using a different streaming device.

These headphones also have a Dynamic EQ mode which can shape the sound to give a spatial soundstage. A low-latency mode can also be used for gaming or watching a movie. In addition, a Classic mode defaults to the native EQ of the headphones, which I quite like.

After a full charge, the battery life on these headphones can deliver up to 55 hours of playing time before the headphones need recharging. It takes around 1.5 hours to recharge the battery using the supplied USB-C cable. With ANC turned on, the battery life dips to 34 hours. It’s a reasonable figure and more than enough for most users.

The WH950NB can also be used with the supplied auxiliary cable, enabling the headphones to be used even if there’s no juice left in the battery. With the full battery life, these headphones are perfect for a couple of return transatlantic flights, three weeks of commuting or even a month two at the gym.

Finally, the ANC function of the WH950NB is excellent; while not quite up to the standards offered by Bose or Sony, there’s not much in it. ANC technology has improved dramatically in recent years, especially with innovations like hybrid noise canceling using feed forward or feed backward ANC with multiple mics to pick up unwanted sounds and subtract them from the music. The ANC works best on continuous noises such as a jet engine, a train running over tracks or road noise when traveling in a car.

Verdict: The Edifier WH950NB are a comfortable and good-looking pair of headphones. They offer excellent noise cancelation and despite being heavy, they feel light because of the generously padded headband. The sound quality is acceptable but the lack of support for a broader range of audio codecs means they have limited appeal. Not all smartphones support the excellent hi-res LDAC codec and it would have been better if Edifier had included AAC and aptX codecs. If you’re on a budget and want a pair of ANC headphones for flying or commuting and you have a device that supports LDAC, the Edifier WH950NB are a good choice. However, it may be worth shopping around for something that supports a broader range of codecs, especially if you use an iPhone.

Pricing & Availability: The Edifier WH950NB noise-canceling wireless headphones are available now and cost $179.99 / £179.99 / €179.99.

More info:

Tech Specs:

  • Drivers: 40mm dynamic.
  • Bluetooth version: 5.3.
  • Audio codecs: LDAC, SBC.
  • Playing time: 34 hours (ANC On) 55 hours (ANC Off).
  • Charging port: USB-C.
  • Charging time: 1.5 hours.
  • Bluetooth protocol: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP.
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 40kHz.
  • Output sound pressure level: 91dB ± 3dB SPL(A).
  • Dimension (L x W x H): 193 x 169 x 82mm.
  • Weight: 296g.

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