Misses mark when ANC arrives
Beyerdynamic (styled as ‘beyerdynamic’) Lagoon ANC Headphones is the company’s offer in the premium wireless headphone segment. Priced at a whopping 29 29,990, the cans go against acclaimed headphones from other established audio brands, such as the Bose NC 700, Sony WH-1000XM3, and Jabra Elite 85H. This means that most of the above mentioned headphones are equipped with bells and whistles, including touch control, active noise cancellation (ANC), additional codec support and much more. We keep these cans for testing and see what the results are
Construction and design
The Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC wireless headphones have two separate models – the Traveler and the Explorer. However, the only difference between the two ‘models’ is the color. So, they are basically two different colors with different names. The Beardynamic Lagoon ANC Traveler is black and the Explorer is brown and gray. We’ve got Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC Explorer – brown and gray variant – for review.
After unboxing the packaging, you’ll find a sleek-looking hard case with a Beardynamic logo stamped right in the middle. The case has a shape that looks like a teardrop and looks quite unique. You don’t see too many wireless headphones deviating from the standard circular / oval-shaped hard case, and it’s nice to see that BearDynamic is taking some freedom to this end. When you unzip the seemingly strong case, a soft foam material is used for the interior to keep the contents safe.
In the case, you’ll find yourself with headphones, a USB Type-C charging cable, and a 3.5mm audio connector for passive use. Both wires are made of standard rubber material. Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC Explorer is sitting snugly inside the case.
These round headphones definitely give a premium look even though they are basically made of plastic. The headband and earcap memory foam are brown and the rest of the headphones have a matte gray finish. The plush memory foam present in the headband is softer than the earcup. Additionally, in earcups, the memory foam is not completely symmetrical and shows a slight swelling on the lower half to better surround the ear. The earpiece foam is quite stiff but has enough gifts that allow them to take the shape of your ears. We really enjoyed the detailed attention from Beyerdynamic in this section.
The headband’s memory foam, though softer than the earcup, ensures that no hotspots are created over your head for extended periods of use. The headphones can be extended a bit more and have steel reinforcement in them. However, in their most compact, Lagoon ANC can be a little too large for small heads, leading to inadequate isolation.
The earpacks can be rotated 90 degrees which ensures that your chest is flat when not in use and is simply placed around your neck. Earcaps can also be folded upwards for portability support. Also, they sit in a folded position in a given case which is quite compact. Earpacks move even slightly to adjust the angle of your head and your ears. So, unless your head is too small, these headphones should fit you almost perfectly and make you feel extremely soft and comfortable within hours of use.
The headphones, though sturdy, are also quite flexible. These can be pulled apart a bit and you won’t hear any louder screams and screams. However, we’ve heard rumors that aren’t true of other premium headphones like the Bose NC 700 and Sony WH-1000XM3.
In the right earcup, you have all the physical buttons, touch controls and ports. First, there are two toggle switches – one for ANC and the other for power. The power switch can be flicked from the power off position to the on / off bluetooth pairing position. There are three modes of ANC switch – off, ANC level 1 and ANC level 2. Level 1 basically mutes external words a bit while level 2 is a fully developed ‘shut-the-world-out’ mode. Then there’s the power on / off toggle switch that puts the headphones in pairing mode. You have a USB Type-C port and a 3.5mm audio jack, as well as a touch control on the right earcap surface.
Overall, we really enjoyed the design of the Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC Wireless Headphones. They feel strong, look super premium and fit comfortably for most heads.
The headline feature of the Beardynamic Lagoon ANC headphones is clearly the ANC. As mentioned above, you have two different ANC modes and you can toggle between them to your liking. However, we would have preferred a more grainy control over the ANC like the Bose NC700 which allows you to control the ANC level within 10. Of these, however, you can only keep 50 percent or more off.
Another eye-catching feature is the LGS or Light Guide system. Basically, most wireless headphones give a different color of light to the inside of the earcup to provide visual prompts like voice prompt, power on, pairing mode, etc. However, although BearDynamic has applied this seemingly fancy prompting method, voice prompts are still very much present.
Some of the LGS prompts include – battery level prompts (vibrating red for low batteries, continuous green for full batteries and more), pairing prompts where left and right earcaps alternately flash blue and continuous orange for active Bluetooth connection. LGS switches to standby mode when the can is not used for more than 10 seconds. This is done through built-in motion sensors that trigger when you are nearby and turn off when not in use.
The cans also have a hybrid control system that includes some physical controls (which we explained above) as well as touch controls. Touch controls are in the right ear cup and are intuitive. However, the sensitivity seems to be very high due to the fact that a lot of false touches were registered during our testing period.
Touch controls work seamlessly for the most part. These are quite standard – double tap to pause / play, swipe up and down to increase and decrease the volume, respectively, swipe to the right for the next track and left and swipe for the previous one and hold right / left to quickly forward / rewind. To wake up your default voice assistant, you just have to press the center of the touchpad for 2 seconds. Similarly, you can double-tap to accept a call, hold down for 2 seconds and reject, and control the call volume by swiping up or down.
The controls, as we have repeated before, are quite intuitive, so they are easy to learn and most of them work well. However, no matter how many times we tried, we couldn’t get the ‘Fast Forward’ and ‘Rewind’ controls to work. Additionally, motion sensors in headphones are used to enable smart posing. Headphones pause music playback when they are moved and tilted downwards. It has worked quite flawlessly in our experience.
Lastly, the headphones can be tuned to the app attached to your specific hearing aids. This feature is called mosaic. While this may not necessarily change our music-listening experience much, it can be especially effective for hearing impaired people. Unfortunately, the app doesn’t include a customizable EQ to fine-tune your listening experience. This is something we also miss a lot in the Bose NC 700 app and we don’t understand why these companies fail to incorporate this small, but significant, quality of life feature.
Additional features include additional codec support such as Qualcomm aptX LL (low latency), aptX, and AAC, speech comprehension using Qualcomm cVc, up to 45 hours of battery life (without ANC) and wired (passive) use. However, it uses Bluetooth version 4.2 instead of the industry standard 5.0, which is unreasonable at this price point and it does not come with an IP rating. Additionally, the LGS feature seems largely deceptive because users are less likely to see the ‘lights’ when they turn on the headphones, especially since voice prompts are available. You can always turn off voice prompts in the app, but why would you do that? They are much more convenient. Still, LGS sets it apart and looks chic.
BearDynamic is known for its audiophile-grade headphones that have a star sound profile. The Beardynamic Lagoon is no exception. The only downside in this regard is the relatively narrow sound stage, especially when compared to the Jabra Elite 85H and the Sony WH-1000XM3. It feels quite limited and such tracks Hotel California By Eagle Sound compressed instead of extended. Nevertheless, the imaging is almost perfect, so the relatively narrow sound stage at least places all the instruments accurately.
Headphones provide solid low-frequency response that does not distort even the slightest at high volume levels. The shaft has a strong thump in it but does not sound jerky. When the ANC is on, the bus gets a little more body but nothing too much uncontrollable. There is a certain emphasis on midrange that enhances the quality of vocals, guitars and their melodic resonance.
The heights are quite wide, however, the roll-off point is quite precise and non-stop. There is a dip in the high frequencies that fades the frequencies that shake the human ear, much like Sennheiser products.
As in the song Another bites the dust By The queen, The middle and lower frequencies complement each other nicely. Thus, although the song has a strong base beat, the quality and clarity of Mercury’s voice are not compromised. The bass is a bit more exaggerated than the Sennheiser and Bose headphones, however, the equally boosted mids make sure they don’t sound boozy, but balanced.
Passive isolation is certainly one of the weakest components of the Beardynamic Lagoon ANC headphones, however, the weaker ANC performance is even worse. The ANC performance is by no means poor and performs comparatively well in reducing background noise, however, priced at Rs 29,990, it competes with ANC royalties such as the Sony WH-1000XM3 (which is cheaper) and the Bose NC 700. These headphones are good for dimming low-frequency rumbles that are constant, however, they mainly scatter at higher frequencies. Even typing on our mechanical keyboard sounds as clear as day at ANC Level 2, which is frustrating. If the price of these headphones was around 18-22K, we wouldn’t have complained so much, but about 30K perfection is rightly expected.
On the other hand, the battery life is adequate enough. The company claims 45 hours if ANC is not running and 24.5 hours if ANC is not running. Of course, this number varies from user to user depending on the ANC mode and volume level. We ran ANC 80 percent of the time at Level 2 with a volume of about 60 percent. This has netted us about 26 hours of battery life, which is quite respectable in this category.
The last row
The Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC Wireless Headphones feature an aesthetically pleasing design and a comfortable fit sport for most heads. Sound quality, including company expectations, Starler, extended low and medium and detailed height. However, the sound stage is quite limited and the ANC performance is severely weaker than that of the Bose NC 700 and Sony WH-1000XM3. In addition, the forward and rewind touch controls did not work for us despite repeated attempts. However, if the stellar sound quality and decent battery life is what you want it to be, the Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC can be a great buy. However, if these cans cost less than 10K, we would have a much easier time recommending them to all audiophiles as well as casual listeners.