Polk Audio Ultra Focus 8000 On-Ear Headphones
The Polk UltraFocus 8000 have the best overall fidelity of the noise cancelling headphones on our list. These fine headphones offer headset functions, and have remote control buttons on the right side ready for iPhone or iPad use. And, they are really comfortable.
Made by a company known for their loudspeaker designs, the UltraFocus 8000 is an on-the-ear design offering close to audiophile-grade sound. Frequency response is listed as 8 Hz to 28 KHz with 110 dB sensitivity. Voices and instruments are well-defined, bass is full, but not boomy like other designs, and high frequency response is extended without being fatiguing. With noise cancelling on, audio quality is not appreciably reduced, but you will find that the noise cancelling in the Polk headphones is not quite as effective as other units. It was a conscious design choice I am sure, as more aggressive cancellation of mid-range frequencies starts to have real effects on music.
The active noise cancelling system requires two AAA batteries, with battery life specs listed as 40-60 hours. The system works well but struggles a bit with masking voices, again a conscious choice by Polk. The three-button remote provides play/pause, volume, mute, and call answer functions. If there is a downside to these headphones, it is that they do not work if the batteries are dead. Yet, when all is said and done, the UltraFocus 8000 are still our top pick due to their excellent sound quality and effective noise cancellation.