The beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC is a great sounding pair of premium wireless headphones that slightly lags behind the field leaders when it comes to comfort and active noise cancellation. The earcups of these headphones are much more forgiving to those whose ears are on the smaller side. Therefore, if you're not burdened with larger ears, you do place a premium on sound quality, and don't need field-leading (but still good) active noise cancellation, these could be the perfect headphones for you. If you need accommodation for larger ears or want top-tier noise cancellation you'll be better off spending a bit more on the flagship models from Bose Noise Cancelling 700 and Sony WH-1000XM4. There are also less expensive models available that can accommodate larger ears, but they make noticeable sacrifices in both noise cancellation and overall sound quality.
beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC Review
Pros: Great sound quality, relatively small and portable
Cons: Can be uncomfortable if you have larger ears, noise cancellation lags slightly behind that of comparable models
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Lagoon ANC emphasizes sound quality, with all other aspects of the headphones falling into the 'respectable but not exceptional' category. While these aren't the best all-around wireless headphones available, they deliver a great listening experience, as long as your ears aren't too big for the earcups.
After dozens of hours listening to the various genres of music with the Lagoon ANC, we think pretty much everyone will love the way these headphones sound. The one exception to that rule would be those looking for thumping, sound-defining bass.
The most compelling aspect of the sound produced by these headphones is their exceptional clarity. This results in clear and bright expression in the high and mid-ranges, flattering everything from twangy guitars to screeching flutes. Acoustic ensembles similarly sound particularly lively with these headphones as every subtle nuance makes its way to your ears, hinting towards the experience of watching a live performance in an intimate cafe.
The Lagoon ANC manages to anchor that clarity with well-defined and resonant bass, rounding out any type of music into a full-bodied, well-realized sound. However, that bass is not powerful enough to come to the forefront and be the main driver of the sound. Therefore, if you like music where thunderous bass is a prerequisite, the Lagoon ANC will likely disappoint.
One unique feature of the Lagoon ANC's listening experience can only be accessed by pairing the headphones with the beyerdynamic MIY app. Somewhat disappointingly, this app won't let you adjust the EQ, but it can adjust the balance of the headphones based on your specific hearing. It accomplishes this by administering a hearing test in which you have to press a button in the app whenever you hear a tone playing and release it whenever you don't. We found this adjustment to either be groundbreaking or unnoticeable — some testers thought the test results completely changed (and improved) the sound profile, while others noticed no difference at all. It is possible that this test yields better and more noticeable results for those with some sort of hearing damage or loss.
The Lagoon ANC provides a respectable amount of active noise cancellation and noise isolation in general but falls well short of the top models on the market. If you're mostly looking for a pair of headphones that sound great, the Lagoon's noise cancellation is a nice bonus. If noise cancellation is the primary reason you're shopping for headphones, the Lagoon may fall short of your expectations.
Providing that your ears are small enough to nestle into the earcups without scrunching up the padding, these headphones themselves offer a reasonable degree of noise isolation; simply putting on the headphones cut out much of the background noise of planes and cafes in our testing. Switching on the active noise cancellation (which has a low and a high setting) almost eliminates predictable low-frequency noises like airplane engines and fans. Higher pitched and more random noises, like talking and the clinking of spoons onto ceramic ware, tend to cut easily through the Lagoon's active noise cancellation. While more staccato and higher-pitch noises like this are a challenge for any pair of noise-canceling headphones, the Lagoon's defenses seem more transparent to them than the competing models from Bose and Sony.
Bottom line, we found the Lagoon's noise reduction capabilities more than up to the task of allowing you to enjoy music in pretty much any situation. However, if you're specifically looking for a pair of noise-canceling headphones that will enable you to concentrate in noisy situations, there are better options available.
Like so many of the over-ear headphones on the market today, the Lagoon ANC is quite comfy unless your ears are on the larger side of the spectrum.
The main complaints we received about the Lagoon ANC from our cadre of comfort testers are that the earcups are a tad too small and shallow and that the cushioning is just a bit too stiff. Even though most of our testers' ears touched the earcups to some degree while wearing these headphones, most found the sensation benign enough that it faded away after a bit. These testers had no problems wearing the Lagoon all day. However, those with ears on the larger side of average found the earcups to be quite restrictive and create some uncomfortable hot spots after wearing them for a couple of hours.
The basic controls of the Lagoon ANC are quite straightforward, but the touchpad used for more specific functions can be quite finicky.
These headphones pack all of their controls onto the right earcup. On the bottom are two switches, one that turns the headphones on and off and initiates pairing when held for three seconds, and one that toggles between three levels of active noise cancellation (one being zero active noise cancellation). These switches are easy to find and use while wearing the headphones.
More advanced controls like volume adjustments and skipping tracks requires using the touchpad located on the face of the right earcup. Swiping up and down on this pad can increase and lower the volume; swiping forward and back can skip tracks, tapping functions as a play/pause button, and several more complicated gestures can do things like fast forward and summon virtual assistants. Unfortunately, we found the touchpad to be less than responsive, requiring just the right angle and amount of pressure to register a gesture accurately. This resulted in us generally digging our phones out of our pockets when we needed to change the volume or skip tracks. Touchpad controls are hard to get right, but we've seen much better implementations of this technology in some competing headphones.
Beyerdynamic offers its MIY app that pairs with the Lagoon. We were somewhat disappointed that this app does not allow you to adjust the EQ. However, it can administer a hearing test to calibrate the sound to your specific ears, provide statistics of how long you spend listening to music each day, how loud that music has been, and suggest if your ears need a break from the loud noises.
A somewhat unique feature of the Lagoon is the "Light-Guide-System" — essentially a ring of LEDs within each earcup. If you pick up the headphones while turned on, the right earcup glows red while the left glows white. Upon entering pairing mode, these lights flash blue, and once a connection is made, a solid blue light shines. While this feature is unique and relatively creative, we didn't find that it added much to the overall user experience.
The Lagoon ANC tips the scales at 9.9 ounces, which is about average. The headphones include a semi-hard carrying case that gave us peace of mind that shoving the headphones into a carry-on wouldn't cause any damage. However, that case is somewhat oddly shaped, and you must fold the headphones into a less than intuitive pretzel to fit them into the case. It took us a couple of trial runs until folding the headphones into the case felt like second nature.
Should You Buy the Lagoon ANC?
The Lagoon ANC sits at a somewhat odd price point that is slightly below those of the top-tier models but is still high enough to be considered premium. These headphones sound just as good, and in some cases even better, than those top-tier models; the only sacrifice you make is the quality of the active noise cancellation. Therefore, if all you're looking for is premium sound quality and you don't care about premium noise cancellation, these headphones provide a relatively good value per dollar. Offering premium sound quality for slightly less than the competition, the beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC is a great choice for audiophiles. However, its titular active noise cancellation can't quite compare with that of the other premium models on the market.
What Other Wireless Headphones Should You Consider?
Since these headphones are already quite costly, many people shopping in this price range might prefer to spend a bit more on one of the top-tier models, including Bose Noise Cancelling 700 or Sony WH-1000XM4. The Sony pair gives you high-ranking performance, impressive sound quality, and noise cancellation for just a bit higher price.
— Michelle Powell and Max Mutter
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