Libratone Q Adapt wireless headphones block out sounds of the city, if you want

The new Libratone Q Adapt series come with adjustable noise cancelling, plus touch-sensitive and hands-free controls.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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The Libratone Q Adapt On-Ear headphones are touch-sensitive so you can take a call or adjust the volume and noise-cancelling level without taking out your phone.


Wireless headphones are having a moment as Apple looks like it's ditching the traditional 3.5mm audio jack. Libratone is one of the manufacturers adapting to this sea change with new Q Adapt headphones, which can be controlled by tapping your ear and paired with a noise-cancellation app to block out the sounds around you.

The Libratone Q Adapt series consists of two sets of headphones: a wireless on-ear pair for £219, and a wired pair of in-ears with a Lightning cable for Apple devices, which cost £159. We don't have US prices yet, but that converts to around $290 and $210.

Q Adapt On-ear

The wireless Q Adapt On-Ear headphones pack two 40mm drivers and connect to your phone, computer or other device via Bluetooth 4.1, so you can walk around without worrying about tangling up in a cable. They have a microphone built-in for hands-free calls even when your phone is on the other side of the room.

You can also control the 'phones without your phone. The side of the cans are touch-sensitive, so you simply tap the side of your ear and run your finger over the surface of the earcup to adjust volume, skip tracks or answer a call. You can also mute the music by waving your hand by your ear.

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Headphones don't have to shut you away from the world. The Q Adapt cans sync with another pair so you and a friend can listen to the same thing. Handy if you're watching a movie on a plane, sharing a workout playlist or you just don't want to talk to each other.

Obviously all these features come at a price, which is that you have to remember to charge the headphones. The battery life is more than 20 hours, which will easily get you through a day or two at work and even a long journey. If the battery does die, they come with a 3.5mm cable to keep listening. The headphones charge from a Micro-USB connection, the same as most phones.

The On-Ears come in white, black or pale pink. They slide neatly into a bag as the ear cups twist sideways so they fold flat.

Q Adapt In-ear

The in-ear earbuds have similar touch controls in an inline control. They're only for iPhone and other Apple devices, because of the Lightning cable.

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The Libratone Q Adapt In-Ear earbuds are just for Apple devices with a Lightning connection.


The advantages of using Lightning instead of 3.5mm include the fact that it carries power, so the earbuds don't need a battery pack. You can also talk to Apple's voice control system Siri through the hands-free mic on the cable.

The in-ears come in white, black, rose pink and pale pink.

Sound city

Both sets of headphones are matched with a new noise cancellation app called CityMix. Download the app to your Apple or Android phone, and you can adjust how much your headphones block out the outside world. There are four different levels of noise cancelling, each one represented in the app by an picture of a city fading out to different degrees.

So for example, if you like to listen to music while jogging, cycling or on the subway, you can still be aware of your surroundings without having to turn the music right down.

The Q Adapt series will be on sale in mid-to-late October. They're set to go on sale in the US, UK, China, Europe and the Nordic countries.