Home / Reviews / Zvox AV50 wireless noise-cancelling headphone review: There’s a lot to like about this headphone

Zvox AV50 wireless noise-cancelling headphone review: There’s a lot to like about this headphone

Zvox, finest identified for soundbars and soundbases, has expanded its product lineup to incorporate Bluetooth headphones with energetic noise cancellation (ANC) and even listening to aids. So, I made a decision to take a look at the AV50 headphones, that are touted because the world’s first headphone designed for customers aged 55 and older.

The function aimed particularly at that demographic is far more refined than I anticipated, however the general sound is great in any case.


The AV50 is comparatively small and light-weight at solely 8.1 ounces, and it may be folded right into a small hard-shell case for travelling. Single dynamic drivers make the most of neodymium magnets and obtain a specified frequency vary from 15Hz to 23kHz (±4dB).

zvox av50 lifestyle1 Zvox Audio

The AccuVoice function is designed for older people who might need hassle with vocal intelligibility.

Bluetooth 4.1 gives wi-fi connectivity utilizing the aptX, AAC, and SBC codecs in addition to A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, and HSP profiles. It additionally comes with a 3.5mm cable for a wired connection.

Energetic noise cancellation (ANC) generates sound that’s 180 levels out of part with ambient sound picked up by two onboard microphones, mixing each alerts to scale back the extent of the ambient sound by the use of phase-inverted cancellation. Not like different ANC headphones, the AV50 should be totally powered on to activate its noise cancellation. I favor having the choice to have interaction ANC with out powering Bluetooth to get pleasure from some peace and quiet with out audio whereas drawing much less energy from the battery. To increase the battery life, you’ll be able to hearken to audio with out ANC.

This overview is a part of TechHive’s protection of the perfect headphones, the place you’ll discover evaluations of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options you must contemplate when buying.

The function aimed particularly at older customers is known as AccuVoice, which works together with ANC. It purports to reinforce voices whereas decreasing undesirable noise, so that you perceive dialog higher with out having to show up the amount. Particularly, it gently raises the extent and compresses the dynamics of frequencies from 500- to three,000Hz. That is the frequency vary of speech consonants, that are crucial for intelligibility. Sadly, you’ll be able to’t interact ANC with out AccuVoice; I want that was an possibility.

zvox av50 case Zvox Audio

The AV50 folds as much as sit in a case that’s sufficiently small to slot in nearly any carry-on bag.

[ Further reading: The best high-res digital audio players ]

Like nearly all Bluetooth headphones, the AV50 can be utilized with a cell phone to reply calls and converse with callers utilizing an onboard microphone in the best earcup. That mic is impartial from the 2 microphones utilized by the ANC system.

The rechargeable battery lasts as much as 12 hours with Bluetooth and ANC engaged; in case you flip off ANC, the battery life extends as much as 18 hours. With a wired connection and ANC, the battery lasts as much as 15 hours, however with out ANC, a wired connection doesn’t drain the battery in any respect. It takes about two hours to recharge a completely depleted battery.

Person interface

4 buttons on the decrease rear of the best earcup present all of the controls. A multifunction button is flanked by + and – buttons, that are taller than the multifunction button, making them straightforward to seek out by really feel. The multifunction button turns the ability on and off, initiates Bluetooth pairing, and solutions and disconnects cellphone calls. The + and – buttons management the amount and skip to the subsequent or earlier monitor.

The fourth button is separate from the opposite three. It turns ANC/AccuVoice on and off.

On the backside of the best earcup is a 3.5mm jack for a wired connection to the supply machine. A mini USB port on the backside of the left earcup helps you to cost the battery. Lastly, a multicolored LED between the ANC and different buttons signifies the standing of pairing, ANC, and Bluetooth. A blue LED subsequent to the USB port signifies charging standing.

zvox av50 controls Zvox Audio

The controls are discovered on the again of the best earcup close to the underside. The ability on/pairing/answer-call button is flanked by the amount up/down buttons, that are raised above the central button, making them straightforward to seek out by really feel. The ANC button is separated from the opposite three by the indicator LED. A 3.5mm jack on the backside helps you to join a cable to a sound supply, and a mini-USB port on the underside of the left earcup helps you to cost the battery.


The AV50 feels considerably flimsy, and the earcups are comparatively small, however I bought them to seat properly over my ears after some fussing. Oddly, adjusting the place of the earcups on my head whereas enjoying music with ANC on triggered some crackling and distortion, however not with ANC off.

Since AccuVoice is meant to make voices clearer, I centered on music with vocals. Listening to Tidal Grasp tracks (uncompressed or losslessly compressed high-res audio), I began with “I Received Rhythm” from Love is Right here to Keep, by Diana Krall and Tony Bennett. I couldn’t hear a lot distinction in any respect between ANC/AccuVoice on and off. The vocals had been clear and well-defined, the piano was clear and pure, and the drum brushes had been crisp.

The identical was true on “Inexperienced Flower Road” from Donald Fagen’s album Nightfly. The vocals had been barely extra current with ANC/AccuVoice on, and the general sound was a bit hotter and better in degree, however the distinction was refined.

Marvin Gaye’s traditional “What’s Going On” from the album of the identical identify sounded nice. With ANC/AccuVoice on, the lead vocal was a bit extra current and up-front, and the general sound was a bit richer with beefier bass.

zvox av50 lifestyle2 Zvox Audio

The energetic noise cancelling works very properly in environments with ambient noise.

“Free Man in Paris” from Joni Mitchell’s album Courtroom and Sparok was a lot the identical. With ANC/AccuVoice on, the general sound was richer, the bass was larger, and the vocal was barely extra current. On or off, the monitor sounded wonderful.

Shifting on to classical music, I listened to Cecelia Bartoli sing Nell’ attendere mio bene from Nicola Porpora’s opera Polifemo on the album Farinelli with Il Giardino Armonico beneath the path of Giovanni Antonini. With ANC/AccuVoice on, the general sound was a contact hotter and richer, and the vocal was a bit extra ahead, however the distinction between ANC/AccuVoice on and off was very refined.

Lastly, I took the AV50 on a drive round my neighborhood to check its noise cancelling in a considerably noisy surroundings. The acoustic isolation of the earpads is sort of good, and ANC is great, decreasing the extent of ambient noise considerably. As earlier than, with ANC on, vocals had been a bit extra current and ahead, and the general degree appeared a bit increased, nevertheless it wasn’t a dramatic distinction.

Aggressive comparability

I in contrast the efficiency of the AV50 with the Edifier W860NB, which I reviewed right here, as a result of it’s in the identical value vary. I additionally in contrast it with the Sony WH-1000XM3, reviewed right here, although Sony’s headphone is twice the value of the AV50. For this comparability, ANC was on the whole time, and I matched the extent in every headphone as finest I may by ear.

zvox av50 opener Zvox Audio

The Zvox AV50 can be found in quite a lot of colours.

Listening to “Time Out of Thoughts” from Steely Dan’s album Gaucho, the Edifier sounded leaner and extra restrained, and the bass was barely subdued. The Zvox sounded richer and hotter, and the bass was maybe only a tad overbalanced. The Sony was even richer, with the bass drum extra pronounced than with the opposite two headphones.

The WH-1000XM3 was essentially the most snug headphone to put on by far. Additionally, the Edifier and Sony didn’t crackle when the earcups had been jiggled. One other comparative issue is the scale of the case; the Zvox case is the smallest, making it simpler to pack in your carry-on bag. The Edifier case is the most important, with the Sony within the center.

Which mannequin you would like is determined by your style in audio replica. In case you like a leaner sound, I like to recommend the Edifier W860NB (with ANC on; turning it off degrades the sound high quality considerably, as I talk about in my overview). However in case you gravitate towards a richer sound, the Zvox and Sony match that invoice properly.

Backside line

The Zvox AV50 is a superb wi-fi ANC headphone. The sound high quality is wealthy and clear, and the noise cancellation could be very efficient. I discovered the AccuVoice function to supply very refined enchancment in vocal presence and general richness, however not almost as a lot as I anticipated. It sounds simply wonderful with ANC/AccuVoice off, which I can’t say about many ANC headphones.

On the draw back, the construct high quality feels considerably flimsy, and the sound crackles with ANC on when shifting the earcups to get a very good match. Earlier, I stated that I’d favor the AccuVoice function to be impartial of ANC, however since its impact is so refined, that’s not likely a priority for me anymore.

At a penny lower than $150, the AV50 is a good worth. In case you’re out there for over-ear ANC headphones, this one is price a severe pay attention.

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About Scott Wilkinson

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