Wireless headphone and adapter recs please
February 19, 2017 9:24 PM   Subscribe

I would like recommendations for (a) a high-quality set of wireless headphones to listen to jazz and classical music with (mostly in CD format), and (b) an adapter that will connect them to the headphone jacks on my devices. Under $500 total.

This is a follow-up to this question, which I was not tech savvy enough to ask properly (apparently Bluetooth phones are actually not what I'm looking for). Let's try again:

My music collection is on CDs. I mostly listen to jazz (mostly 50s-60s Blue Note-style stuff) and classical music. I want a set of wireless headphones for high-quality immersive listening. I'll be using them mostly at home, but possibly also on public transport and flights; for the latter, good noise reduction would be nice but I realize this will drive the price up and it's not a high priority; audio quality is my main priority. I think I want over-ear headphones rather than IEMs/earbuds, both because of audio quality and because I find the latter less comfortable.

I also need an adapter which I can plug into the headphone jack of my devices to transmit wirelessly. The devices I'll be using are (a) a Denon receiver, (b) a Toshiba laptop, and (c) an MP3 player. They all seem to have the same type of headphone jack.

Recs? Please assume complete ignorance of all things technical (e.g., an answer to my previous question mentioned "DAC", but I don't know what that is; I also don't know if any adapter will work with any headset or if they need to match in some way).
posted by hoist with his own pet aardvark to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Re terminology: You are looking for a "Bluetooth audio transmitter" with a 3.5mm jack, to plug into your existing devices so you can use wireless (bluetooth headphones) headphones with them. One of these will transmit the audio signal from your devices so you can use Bluetooth headphones.

Here is an example.

Re over ear Bluetooth headphones, I would recommend the Bose QC35s. I have the wired version, and the sound quality and noise cancelling is brilliant.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:24 PM on February 19, 2017

If you don't need noise cancelling you can save a lot of money on the headphones. I've auditioned a lot of high end bluetooth headphones and I haven't heard one that sounds as good for jazz as the (currently) $69 Mee Audio Matrix 2. The caveat is that the earpads that come with them suck and make the sound muddy. I've found that the Brainwavz Hybrid pads make them insanely comfortable and improve the sound so that they become quite neutral with enough treble energy to make jazz sound great.

In terms of bluetooth transmitters, I like the Avantree Saturn transmitter/receiver. There's a toggle that lets you switch between transmitting bluetooth (which is what you want) and receiving. That receiving option is helpful because you could essentially make any pair of headphones bluetooth by plugging the cord into the device and putting it into your pocket.\

If you don't mind just plugging your existing headphones into the Saturn you might be able to avoid buying wireless headphones entirely by buying a pre-paired set of them, plug one into the device you want to listen to and the other into your headphones and you're good to go.
posted by mattholomew at 5:09 AM on February 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Your previous question was before I got my hands on a pair of the Sony MDR-1000X Bluetooth headphones, which some reviewers are calling the new standard for noise-canceling (over the Bose QC35). A couple annoyances: noise-canceling is on by default, blinking lights that are visible while wearing if it's dark, easy to press the hidden controls on the right ear pad accidentally. I'm really happy with them, though, but I haven't tried them on non-native Bluetooth devices like my AV receiver.
posted by supercres at 6:33 AM on February 20, 2017

I purchased this bluetooth transmitter recently after seeing this Kevin Kelly Cool Tools post about them. Allows me to use my existing headphones that I love but in a more untethered manner, and can also convert a system with an aux input to a bluetooth system. Some drawbacks for sure, but very easy to set up and use. $15!
posted by belau at 6:33 AM on February 20, 2017

Are people recommending Bluetooth phones because Bluetooth is the best option for audio, or because of my previous question where I mistakenly said I specifically wanted Bluetooth? I don't specifically want Bluetooth.
posted by hoist with his own pet aardvark at 3:35 PM on February 20, 2017

I don't specifically want Bluetooth.

If you want wireless headphones with your MP3 player and laptop for listening on the go, you don't really have a much of a choice. Bluetooth is the connection standard for wireless headphones.

For your Denon, I suppose you could use radio frequency wireless headphones. These generally have a largish transmitter/charging base that you can plug into the 3.5mm jack, and will allow you to listen to music on headphones around the house as long as there are no thick walls in the way. I've personally never been too impressed with the sound quality on these kinds of headphones though.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:59 PM on February 20, 2017

Thanks, His thoughts were red thoughts. Are walls a problem for Bluetooth too? My Denon is in the living room and I want to be able to listen in my bedroom.
posted by hoist with his own pet aardvark at 10:45 AM on February 21, 2017

Are walls a problem for Bluetooth too? My Denon is in the living room and I want to be able to listen in my bedroom.

Less of a problem, but may still be an issue. Distance is generally a bigger factor with Bluetooth. But I note that the $15 transmitter recommended above is supposed to have a 10m range.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:46 PM on February 21, 2017

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