Mixcdr Wireless Headphone REVIEW Inexpensive ANC Wireless Headphones
When I examine a pair of headphones, I have two main criteria that must be met, comfort and sound. One may think that these characteristics are even, but comfort and quality beat out sound every time. It does not matter how good a pair of headphones sounds if they are uncomfortable when you use them. I recently had the pleasure of testing the mixcdr Active Noise Cancelling Wireless headphones. They arrived in a 9 5/16 inches tall by 8 3/16 inches wide by 2 5/8 inches thick retail box. The cover displayed a 3 3/4 inches wide by 4 3/4 inches tall white-ink outline of an over-ear style headphone. Along your top left you will see the title “mixcder,” along your bottom left you will find “Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphone” and along your bottom right the Model: E7, all in turquoise. From a distance, the white headphones and turquoise verbiage emanate brilliantly from the solid black background. However, as you approach the box, you will see numerous small grey squares on the surface. I appreciated the detail and the artistic effect. The reverse panel displayed the same turquoise colored title and provided the required product labels, a link to their website and support email. Along the middle, you will find the product specifications, listed in seven different languages (English, French, Japanese, German, Spanish, Russian, Italian). The packaging promised Bluetooth Capability with HSP, HFP, A2DP, AVRCP profiles, 95dB sound, built-in 400mAh LiPo battery, 20 hour play time without and 18 hour play time with noise canceling technology. The left side panel provided six icons detailing the ANC, 40mm premium large-aperture drivers, “sound better from quieter,” incredible over 18 hours playtime, wireless and wired dual mode, compact carrying case. The opposing side provided the turquoise title atop the grey-square covered black background. As noted, I appreciated the artistic flair that the company utilized on the cover and sides of the packaging. It reminded me of the 1980’s, the movie Tron, the movie Ready Player One and ultimately the movie War Games, “Shall We Play a Game?”
Excitedly, I ripped into the packaging to see what bounty mixcder had to offer. Inside, I found a 9 1/4 inches tall by 8 inches wide by 2 1/2 inches thick black nylon bag with a bright white “mixcder” logo along the bottom. At the top of the case, you will find a 3 inches wide hinge, with a useful 3 1/2 inches long by 1 inches thick carry strap. The contents of the case can be accessed by gripping the metallic zipper-pull and unzipping the approximately 24 inches of zipper. As you open the clamshell case, you will immediately notice a 3/4 inch wide retention strap that traverses the middle of the case. Beneath the strap, you will find the 9.2-ounce headphones, and an accessory bag containing a 34 inches long micro-USB to USB-A cable, a 62 1/2 inches long 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable, a cute headphone-shaped warranty/thank-you card and a multi-lingual instruction manual. The instruction manual did a great job detailing the product. The first page of the nine-page English translation section provided a nice introduction, a description of the contents and a labeled product diagram. Along the bottom of the left ear cup, you will find the 3.5mm port and the ANC button/LED indicator. Along the bottom of the right ear cup, you will find the microphone, power button, previous track/volume down button, next track/volume up button, LED indicator, micro-USB charging port. Before using the headphones for the first time, it was recommended to charge them fully. The instruction manual suggested that it would take two hours to charge the first time and then 1–1.5 hours for each successive charge. I placed the headphones onto charge, noted the red LED and waited an hour and forty-five minutes for the LED to extinguish. If you cannot wait to use the headphones, you can use them in wired mode, while charging. Since I do not like using the 3.5mm to the lightning dongle, I allowed them to fully charge before using them. Once the device was fully charged, I held down the power button for 5 seconds and heard a series of four ascending tones. I then navigated to settings, Bluetooth and selected “mixcder E7” from the list. Unlike many similar devices, there were no vocal cues to alert me to the power on/power off/connected status of the headphones.
When I test a new pair of headphones, I first navigate to audiocheck.net to utilize their audio tests. To evaluate the lower range, I use the Low-Frequency Response and Subwoofer Audio Test (10–200 Hz), to test the upper range, I use the High-Frequency Response and Hearing Audio Test (22–8 kHz), and to test the channels I use the Left/Right Stereo Audio Test. The Left/Right/Central channels were appropriately programmed, the volume up/down buttons proved to be responsive, and I found the sounds to be well balanced. As you may already know, the human range of hearing is listed as 20Hz-20kHz, with the upper range decreasing as we age. The E7 headphones had acceptable upper range but suffered somewhat in the lower range (30Hz-15kHz). Listening to Holly Cole “Train Song,” various Johnny Cash songs, “Long Black Train” by Josh Turner, Cee Lo Green “Bright Lights Bigger City” and Joker Theme “Why So Serious” from Dark Knight, I found an average/acceptable depth. If you are looking for full bass, deep bass, and bass-centric sounds, the E7 headphones will disappoint. The ANC did provide some peripheral noise reduction but also muddied the sound of movies like Gladiator, Troy and basically anything by Michael Bay. I preferred to listen without the ANC active, as the sound felt fuller and more vibrant. To enjoy the upper sounds, I like to listen to a variety of instrumental and acapella pieces such as those from the Far and Away soundtrack, Braveheart soundtrack and groups like Anthem Lights and Pentatonix. Beyond the test tracks, movies on Amazon Prime, Netflix, and VUDU were enjoyable but missed the heavy pulse of strong bass. For a sub $70 pair of headphones, I do not know that you will find a cheaper pair of headphones. If the feature is important to you, definitely consider these headphones. They are comfortable, enjoy a padded headband, padded ear cups and are reasonably weighted. I do feel that there are some cheaper options, with equal to better sound, however. One such example would be the Tribit XfreeTune over-ear headphones.
When a call was incoming, the LED on the lower right ear cup flashed red, alerting me to the call. I was able to press the power/multi-function button once to answer the call and then again to hang up the call. Double tapping the power button allowed me to call the last number dialed. Similar to other devices that I have tested, the call feature felt like an add-on and had some weaknesses. First, I was not a fan of the placement of the microphone. Placement near the angle of the jaw captured a lot of background noise and caused me to sound like I was in a tunnel. I called my wife and talked to her, my friend David and even to my mother. Each of them stated that it was hard to hear while outdoors and okay while indoors. Talking via speakerphone or by simply holding the phone up to my head provided a superior listening option. The second major issue that I found was that I did not find a method to access the voice assistant. Despite these limitations, the volume up/down buttons were incredibly responsive and promptly changed the volume on my iPhone X. Additionally, long pressing each of the buttons quickly advanced the track to the next/previous song. I was pleased with the button layout, with the button responsiveness, with the comfort of the headband and earcups.
In summary, the E7 earphones enjoyed a unique outer shell, comfortable headband/earcups, reasonable volume control, good upper range, reasonable lower range and a borderline passable phone call experience. For the price, I would have liked voice assistant control and audible cues for power on/off and pairing status. The battery life was exceptional, allowing a few hours per night for an entire week. Lastly, the ability to fully charge the device in an hour and a half was even more amazing. I was impressed to find all of this tech in a device at this price point. If you are looking for the best sound on the market, you can expect to pay more than 10–20x the price of this device. Music was pleasant, movies were enjoyable and I was able to listen to multiple hours without fatigue. The downside was that I had tested other similarly classed products, with additional features. The similarities/differences between tech devices drive companies to enhance their products and to come up with new/better ideas. If you want a cheap, take-anywhere, great on an airplane/bus/car, +ANC, device with a really nice carry case, this is the kit for you.
Originally published at macsources.com on August 21, 2018.