Libratone Q Adapt Wireless On-Ear Headphones REVIEW

4 min readFeb 21, 2017


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It can be very difficult to filter out the world sometimes. Through the hustle and bustle of daily life, we constantly have interruptions and distractions that can in effect throw us off our game. When I write, I tend to want to immerse myself in the world I’m working in. If I’m reviewing a product, I like to focus on that product and let the rest of the world fade away. If I’m drafting pages for my second novel, I like to see where the characters lead me without hearing ambient noises. While noise-canceling headphones can be a very helpful tool for this sort of environment, I have found that many of them are bulky and not very stylish. So, when I learned about the Q Adapt Wireless On-Ear Headphones and their unique CityMix feature, I couldn’t wait to try them out.

Getting Started
The first thing you will notice with the Q Adapt Wireless headphones is the unique packaging. It’s a circular box that opens to reveal an inner neoprene sleeve. On the inside top of the box, you will find a small package containing some paperwork including a how-to guide for connecting the headphones via Bluetooth and a quick start guide that has simple instructions for use. Inside the neoprene sleeve (you will find the headphones, a Micro USB cable for charging, and a 3.5mm stereo cable (for direct wired connection to devices). One note — these are high-quality cables. I’m used to seeing wimpy cables that you can buy from any big-box retailer. These are reinforced corded cables and they are built to last.

Once you have everything out of the box and you have a chance to examine the headphones, you will find out just how remarkable they are. They feel heavy. They truly only weigh 198 grams (an iPhone 7 Plus weighs 188 grams). The headphones are built from quality materials and have a very hefty metal adjustment mechanism for the earpieces’ length. The earcups are padded with a leather wrap and the headband is wrapped in CoolWeave mesh fabric for comfort. The outside of the earpiece is a smooth surface and although the material is not specified from the manufacturer, it’s very solid.

Pairing the headphones to a device is very easy. One of my favorite things about these headphones is that you can be paired to more than one device and switch back and forth between them without having to go through some rigmarole to get the headphones to work again. To pair, you simply press and hold the function button on the right earpiece. When the lights on the outside of the earpiece begin to blink, the headphones have entered ‘pairing mode’. Then you just visit your device’s Bluetooth menu to choose the Libratone Q Adapt On-Ear to pair. You can immediately start using them. I paired them with my iPhone 7 and MacBook Pro (Mid-2014 model) with no problems. I haven’t experienced any dropouts or connection problems since I paired them for the first time.

Testing the CityMix Feature
Besides being incredibly premium in touch and sight, the Q Adapt headphones have one fantastic, stand-out feature — CityMix. CityMix is an adjustable noise canceling technology that has four different levels. Each one allows a certain amount of background noise in so the Q Adapt are not 100% noise canceling, but they come really close. Here is a description of each level:

  • CityMixTM Level 1: Pass through — Talk to people around you without taking off the headphones — 80% Outside Noise
  • CityMixTM Level 2: Passive ANC — Enjoy music with maximum awareness and safety — 60% Outside Noise
  • CityMixTM Level 3: 50% ANC — Enjoy music with awareness in noisy environment — 30% Outside Noise
  • CityMixTM Level 4: 100% ANC — Immerse yourself in music with minimal background noise — <10% Outside Noise

I had a lot of fun testing this feature out. Any given day, I have a wide variety of distractions and ambient noises. When I am trying to immerse myself in work or other activities, these additional noises can make it hard for me to concentrate. And sometimes, there are just some noises that I’d rather tune out to de-stress. So, having noise canceling headphones — especially one that is adjustable — is ideal for me. I had several different environments to test CityMix out in. Here are the notes I made while testing in two separate environments.

  • Home Office — In my home office, I have standard noises to deal with — air handling system, TV in another room, other people in the house — and the CityMix Level 4 dulled the entire house full of sound. There were times I had to turn down the canceling option because people were trying to talk with me and I found that Level 2 was still appropriate to tune out the noise, but also hear some ambient noise in the room.
  • McDonald’s — This was probably the best test of these amazing headphones. McDonald’s is a noisy restaurant. Parents and kids are running around, there is overhead music piped into the building, and of course, the employees are prepping various types of food. It’s quite possibly the hardest place to concentrate in the world. One day, I was there for an extended period of time and I needed to get some work done. So, I put the Q Adapt headphones on and set it to Level 4 on the CityMix. It was incredible. As soon as I switched on the CityMix option, the rest of the noisy, busy restaurant faded away.

The Q Adapt headphones are quite remarkable. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got them, but I really can’t imagine working without them now. They have become an invaluable tool for me to make sure I can concentrate wherever I go.

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Originally published at on February 21, 2017.




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