Review: Velodyne vQuiet Noise-Cancelling Headphones

I haven’t had a decent pair of over-ear headphones in a long time, and as a podcaster I really need one. The earbuds I’ve been using (the RHA) are great for a lot of things, but there’s nothing like having some more isolation when editing Mikes on Mics in a very busy household (or taking the frequent flight). So when Velodyne sent me a pair of vQuiet Noise Cancelling Headphones to check out, I was more than happy to give them a go.

The vQuiets offer “Active” noise cancellation, eliminating nearly 90% of all unwanted noise. With kids often around while I’m doing the editing of the podcast, this is a great feature. Couple that with the clarity the vQuiets offer when I’m actually recording the podcast, I’m impressed. The vQuiets offer two inputs for the headphone cable on both the right and left ear cup and the switch on the left side turns on the noise cancellation feature. When you need to charge the headset — which keeps the noise cancellation functional — a battery indicator on the right ear cup notifies you that a charge is needed. Then you simply plug in the included micro-USB cable and charge on your computer or through any USB power adapter.

The ability to switch noise cancelation on and off is smart, as I don’t always need it on. Sometimes I enjoy having a bit of ambient noise, so I’ll leave it off. But when I need as much silence as possible so I can focus on what’s coming through the vQuiets, I’ll flip that switch to the “on” position. That feature is a nice touch.

The vQuiets are very compact, folding up to a very manageable size. They’re not going to fit into a messenger bag, but they do get compact enough that a carryon or backpack will work just fine. (Plus, they come with a carrying bag that is designed to protect them cosmetically more than anything else.) The vQuiets are comfortable to wear for longer period of time — I’ve worn them for upwards of two hours straight with no discomfort — and they look as good as they sound thanks to a great design courtesy of international artist, Marta Hall (who also happens to be the president of Velodyne).

The cable is made of quality material and doesn’t kink like a lot of other headphone cables I’ve used and also features inline controls — ideal for those who want to use them during flights. The left ear cup also features a “hidden in plain sight” and yet highly functional “Monitor” button (located on the logo), which acts as a bypass mute button when you press it and hold it down.

Now I’ve not had a chance to test these against some of the other noise-cancelling headphones out there (like the Bose QuietComfort Series, for example) but you can take a look at what Ben Brooks has had to say about one of the older models and what he appears to be using now here. As for me, I’m extremely happy with the performance, comfort, and look of the Velodyne vQuiet Noise Cancelling Headphones. I’d recommend that anyone looking to get a pair of cans that blocks out a ton of noise when you want — or need — it blocked to give these a look. They’re priced right and are exceptionally well made.

You can get a pair of the vQuiets for $299 USD through Amazon1 or find another retailer through the Velodyne website.

1 As I mention on my Start Here page, I am an Amazon affiliate, so if you buy them from there I’ll get a little bit of pocket change as well.