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Best Noise-Canceling True Wireless Earbuds for 2022

Looking for a set of true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation? There are more options than Apple's AirPods Pro.

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It was only a few years ago when there were only a small handful of active noise-canceling, or ANC, true-wireless earbuds available on the market. Things are a lot different now. The feature comes pretty much standard with all headphones and earbuds these days, including the likes of the AirPods ProSony WF-1000XM4 or Bose QuietComfort Earbuds. But you don't have to break the bank to get a pair of ANC true-wireless earbuds. There are plenty of affordable options, too. 

Noise-canceling technology continues to improve with each passing year, with the best noise canceling able to mask a wider range of frequencies and do it on the fly ("adaptive" noise canceling) with sophisticated software algorithms and more powerful but energy-efficient processors embedded in the buds. Apple, Sony and Bose remain among the leaders in the category, but they have plenty of competition.

If you're in the market for noise-canceling headphones in all styles, including on-ear headphones or over-ear headphones, check out the best noise-canceling headphones for 2022. We update both of these lists regularly as new models hit the market.

Read more: Best Wireless Earbuds for 2022: Top Picks for Every Budget

David Carnoy/CNET

No earbuds are perfect, and not everybody will love the fit of the Sony WF-1000XM4 buds or be able to afford their high price. But if you're looking for great-sounding, great noise-canceling earbuds with solid voice-calling capabilities and good battery life, these buds check all the boxes. This true wireless earbud model has noise-sensing microphones and noise isolation earbud tips with a more stable fit.

Bose's QuietComfort Earbuds also have top-notch noise canceling and sound quality, but the Sony earbuds are right there with the Bose ones for noise canceling -- and some might say they're a touch better in that department -- but the Sony earbuds offer slightly better sound quality and a more compact design, particularly for the case (though the Sony buds certainly aren't small).

Read our Sony WF-1000XM4 review.

 

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The Earfun Air Pro SV have a few things going for them. First, they sound shockingly good for a set of earbuds in this price range. They feature big, open sound with well-defined bass and good clarity. They're also lightweight and comfortable to wear, their noise canceling is effective (though not that powerful) and they have a fairly natural-sounding transparency mode that allows ambient sound in if you want to hear the outside world around you for safety reasons.

Earfun is highlighting how you can see the buds' squared-off stems through the case -- there's a little window -- but aside from the stems, the buds themselves have a similar shape and design to the AirPods Pro. While the case offers wireless charging, the buds are missing a sensor that pauses your music when you take them out of your ears (you can use a single bud if you want) and resumes playback when you put them back in. Their touch controls work reasonably well. They're IPX5 splash-proof, and battery life is rated at six hours with noise canceling turned on. There's also a low-latency gaming mode and you can upgrade the buds' firmware and tweak sound settings in a companion app for iOS and Android.

Earfun talks about them having "six professional mics for a stunning call experience" -- and they do work decently enough for calls -- but I was slightly disappointed with the noise reduction while using them in the streets of New York. Aside from that small gripe, they're a very good value, particularly now that Earfun is offering them for $54 when you use the code SUMMER40 (40% off) at checkout on its site.

Read our Earfun Air Pro SV first take.

 

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While the Beats Fit Pro ($200) technically aren't AirPods, they're built on the same tech platform as the AirPods Pro (yes, Apple owns Beats). Unlike Beats' earlier and less expensive Studio Buds, the Beats Fit Pro include Apple's H1 chip and have most of the AirPods Pro's features, including active noise canceling, spatial audio and Adaptive EQ. I'd venture to call them the sports AirPods you've always wanted. And for some people, they might just be better than the AirPods Pro.

Read our Beats Fit Pro review.

 

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Featuring excellent sound, improved noise canceling and voice-calling performance as well a smaller, more refined design that includes stabilizing fins (so the earbuds stay in your ears more securely), the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 are among the best new true-wireless earbuds for 2002. They're also among the best true-wireless earbuds overall, giving the Sony WF-1000XM4 a run for the money.

Read our Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 review.

 

Earfun

The EarFun Air Pro 2 earbuds feature solid active noise cancellation and their sound is also impressive for their relatively modest price, overall well-balanced, with decent clarity and solid bass performance. Some of EarFun's buds have had a bit too much treble push -- sometimes referred to as "presence boost" -- but these mostly manage to avoid that. They do sound better than the original Air Pro model.

The earbuds have some extra features, like an ear detection sensor so that your music pauses when you take the buds out of your ears, and a case that has USB-C and wireless charging, which you don't often find at this price. Equipped with Bluetooth 5.2, they're splash-proof with an IPX5 rating and offer up to 7 hours of battery life on a single charge at moderate volume levels, though you'll probably get closer to 6 hours with noise canceling on.

There's also a transparency mode that lets ambient sound in. It actually sounds pretty natural and is closer than I thought it would to the AirPods Pro's excellent transparency mode. Alas, there's no companion app that allows you to tweak the sound or upgrade the firmware.

EarFun talks up the Air Pro 2's voice calling capabilities -- the buds have three microphones in each earbud -- and I thought call performance was good but these didn't reduce background noise as much the new SoundPeats T3, which are also good for the money ($40). However, while the SoundPeats T3 are better for calls, the EarFun Air Pro 2's noise-canceling and transparency modes are superior and the SoundPeats don't have the ear detection sensor. Active noise cancellation is the name of the game with these earbuds. Also, the EarFun Air Pro 2 buds sound better, with richer, more dynamic sound.

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Unlike the "open" LinkBuds, the LinkBuds S are traditional noise-isolating earbuds with tips you jam in your ears. They're more compact and lighter than Sony's flagship WF-1000M4 and also feature Sony's V1 processor. While their sound and noise canceling don't quite measure up to the WF-1000XM4's, they're close and cost less. They're the Sony buds for people who can deal with larger buds like WF-1000XM4 but want 80% to 85% of those buds' features and performance for $80 less.

Read our Sony LinkBuds S review.

 

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Over the years, JBL has put out some decent true-wireless earbuds, but nothing that really got me too excited. That's finally changed with the arrival of the Samsung-owned brand's new Live Pro 2 and Live Free 2 buds. Both sets of buds -- the Live Pro 2 have stems while the Live Free 2 have a pill-shaped design -- offer a comfortable fit along with strong noise canceling, very good sound quality and voice-calling performance, plus a robust set of features, including multipoint Bluetooth pairing, an IPX5 splash-proof rating and wireless charging.

The Live Pro 2 and Live Free 2 are equipped with the same 11mm drivers, six microphones, oval tubes and oval silicon tips. Aside from the design, the biggest difference between the two buds is battery life; the stemless Live Free 2 is rated for up to seven hours, while the Live Pro 2 is rated for 10 hours. The Live Pro 2 is available in four color options.

Read our JBL Live Pro 2 first take.

 

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While they've been out a while and the AirPods Pro 2 should be coming sometime in 2022, the Apple AirPods Pro remain a great pair of true wireless earphones. That's largely due to their winning design and fit, good sound, effective noise canceling and spatial audio, a virtual-sound mode for watching movies and TV shows (only works with iPhones and iPads running iOS 14 or higher and the 2021 Apple TV 4K). They're also excellent for making voice calls and have a top-notch transparency mode.

Yes, they're expensive at $250 from the Apple Store, but they tend to sell for $200 or less. The updated version adds MagSafe compatibility, so these stick to magnetic wireless chargers.

Read our Apple AirPods Pro review.

 

David Carnoy/CNET

Samsung-owned JBL has a couple of new sets of earbuds, the Live Pro 2 and Live Free 2 that are surprisingly good. Both are equipped with the same 11mm drivers, six microphones, oval tubes and oval silicon tips. And they also combine a comfortable fit along with strong noise canceling, very good sound quality and voice-calling performance, plus a robust feature set, including multipoint Bluetooth pairing, an IPX5 splash-proof rating and wireless charging.

Aside from the design -- The Live Pro 2 has stems while the Live Free 2 is pill-shaped -- the biggest difference between the two buds is battery life. The stemless Live Free 2 are rated for up to seven hours, while the Live Pro 2 are rated for 10 hours.

The Live Free 2 fit securely in my ears and are smaller and superior to Samsung's Galaxy Buds Pro, particularly in terms of comfort level. The buds are available in three colors.

Read our JBL Live Free 2 first take.

 

David Carnoy/CNET

Bose's QuietComfort Earbuds have been out a while, but they not only have very good sound but excellent noise canceling, which remains among the best out there right now in a set of earbuds. Performance-wise, they have a leg up on Apple's AirPods Pro -- and a lot of people like how Bose's StayHear tips lock the buds in their ears -- but AirPods Pro's smaller design, somewhat more comfortable fit and superior voice-calling capabilities make it hard to declare the Bose model the straight-up champ in that battle.

Read our Bose QuietComfort Earbuds review.

 

David Carnoy/CNET

Beyerdynamic may be late to the game, but it's finally introduced its first true-wireless earbuds, which feature active noise canceling, up to 11 hours of battery life (with noise canceling off) and impressive sound quality.

Beyerdynamic is known for its over-ear wired studio headphones, including the newish DT 700 Pro X ($259). The Free Byrd earbuds, which support the AAC and aptX Adaptive audio codecs, exhibit many of that model's sonic traits, including clean, accurate sound and an airy open quality (aka a wide soundstage).

If you can get the proper fit and a tight seal, these are excellent-sounding earbuds that are right at the top of their price class in terms of sound quality. The Free Byrd are closer to the middle of the road in other areas, particularly their noise-canceling performance. But Beyerdynamic has said it made sound quality its highest priority and that definitely shows. Read our Beyerdynamic Free Byrd review.

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Available in four color options, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise-canceling headphones hew more closely to the newer Galaxy Buds Pro and Galaxy Buds Live, both of which have eye-catching glossy curved designs and the same compact charging case as this new model. In fact, it's the Buds 2's design and fit -- they're 15% smaller and 20% lighter than the Buds Plus -- that make them a potentially more likable alternative to the slightly better-sounding Buds Pro.

Like the Buds Pro, the Buds 2 are equipped with active noise-isolating earbuds. That means all the latest Galaxy Buds models now feature some form of active noise canceling, though it's slight with the Buds Live, which have an open design sans ear tips. While the Buds 2 look more like shrunken versions of the Buds Pro, I found them more akin to the Buds Live in that they barely stick out of your ears and are fairly discreet. Because they sit more flush with your ears -- and have that curved design -- they also pick up less wind noise. They're IPX2 sweat-resistant.

Read our Galaxy Buds 2 review.

 

David Carnoy/CNET

Bang & Olufsen's earlier Beoplay E8 earbuds were good but underwhelming for their high price. The new Beoplay EQ buds are also rather expensive, but at least they're among the very best true wireless earbuds available right now, with top-notch sound and adaptive noise canceling, along with a natural-sounding transparency mode. Multipoint Bluetooth pairing means you can connect them to a smartphone and computer simultaneously. They have three microphones on each bud and are good for voice calling, though not exceptionally good. 

Needless to say, the premium design elements are here -- the aluminum-shelled case opens and closes with precise smoothness and the buds themselves have their own aluminum accent on the outer surface where the touch controls live.

The buds are fairly large and do stick out of your ears like premium buds from Sony and Sennheiser. They fit me comfortably and securely and are suitable for sporting activities, with an IP54 splash-proof rating. Battery life is rated at around 6.5 hours at moderate volume levels and you get an extra two charges from the case, which has USB-C and wireless charging.

The sound is big and dynamic with deep, well-defined bass and a wide soundstage. The mids sound natural and the treble has nice sparkle to it. They're a pleasure to listen to and among the best-sounding true wireless earbuds. I didn't experience any listening fatigue over longer listening sessions. aptX is available for devices that support the audio codec; these have aptX Adaptive and use Bluetooth 5.2. 

Are they better than the Sony WF-1000XM4, which cost $120 less? The answer to that will depend partially on just how well they fit your ears and just how good a seal you get from the included ear tips. I personally ended up getting the best fit using Sennheiser's large tips, which work best for my ears. They're a great set of earbuds if you can afford them. Just buy them from a retailer that has a good return policy in case you're not completely satisfied.

David Carnoy/CNET

The Soundpeats Air Pro 3 are lightweight buds that sound quite good and offer decent noise canceling for their modest price point. They use Qualcomm's latest QCC3046 chipset (Bluetooth 5.2) with aptX Adaptive Bluetooth audio streaming that's supported by many Android smartphones. IPX4 splash-proof, they have a battery life rating of six hours, with an additional three charges in their compact charging case, which is around the same size as the AirPods Pro's case.

While the buds' biggest strengths are their lightweight design, sound quality (you get big, bold sound with strong bass that only lacks that extra bit of clarity and definition that higher-end buds offer), the only downside is the voice-calling performance is only so-so -- callers said the microphone pick up and voice clarity just wasn't as good as some earbuds we've tested and reduction of background noise was not great either. In other words, don't buy these if voice-calling is a priority.

David Carnoy/CNET

A lot of people love Nura's original over-ear Nuraphones, which are uniquely designed with an in-ear component and personalized sound. I'm personally more fond of the company's new NuraTrue earbuds, which also have a fairly unusual design and give you the option to create a personalized hearing profile. 

The buds look big but are lightweight. They fit a bit more like sport earbuds -- they include a couple of sizes of stabilizing fins -- and stick out of your ears a bit (they're not exactly discreet). I got a good seal and comfortable fit with one of the larger tips and if you're able to get a good fit, these deliver excellent sound and decent noise-canceling performance. Nura has some of the best hearing personalization and a quick 5-minute process, with no test tones involved, yielded good results for me with improved sound.

You can adjust the bass level with a slider in the "immersive" mode in the app and I found these delivered big sound with a wide soundstage. aptX audio codec support is available for compatible devices. 

The NuraTrue also have a "social" transparency mode -- it's good, but not quite up to the level of the AirPods Pro's transparency mode in terms of how natural it sounds. Battery life is rated at around 6 hours with noise canceling on at moderate volume levels. I thought the touch controls worked well and these are splash-proof with an IPX4 rating. Call quality wasn't quite what I hoped it would be -- it's fine but some callers said my voice sounded unnatural and canned when noise reduction was engaged in the noisy streets of New York. There is a sidetone feature that allows you to hear your voice in the buds, which is good.

Initially there were some complaints about the earbuds not playing loud enough, but a firmware update fixed that issue. I had no problem with the volume levels; they play plenty loud now, perhaps too loud for some people. Though fairly pricey, If these fit your ears well, they're among the better premium buds, particularly for sound quality. Hopefully some firmware upgrades will make them even better over time.

David Carnoy/CNET

After a long wait, Bowers & Wilkins has finally released a couple of sets of true wireless earbuds -- the PI7 ($399) and PI5 ($249) -- both of which are excellent and feature active noise canceling along with a transparency mode. The flagship PI7 has a different driver design and sounds slightly more detailed and refined with a little more bass energy. They both sound excellent, but if you're looking for the absolute best-sounding earbuds, the PI7 buds are arguably that, besting the Sony WF-1000XM4 by a small margin. They also sound slightly better than the excellent Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless II and Master & Dynamic MW08.

While the PI7's noise canceling is quite decent, the Sony's noise canceling is superior. I also thought the Sony did better with voice calling (it has better noise reduction so people can hear you better in a noisier environments) and it has better battery life.

The PI7's case does transform into a Bluetooth transceiver, so you can plug it into your laptop for aptX streaming or an in-flight entertainment system. That's a nice bonus feature the PI5 doesn't have, but the Sony is the overall better value. However, if sound quality is your priority, the PI7 are worth considering if you can afford them. Hopefully they come down in price over time.

The PI5 buds also sound excellent and are a touch lighter than the PI7. At $249, the PI5 competes directly with the $280 Sony 1000XM4. As with all in-ear headphones, you have to try them to see how they fit your ears. Bowers & Wilkins' buds may fit better than Sony's or vice versa. 

Note that despite their high price there's limited stock on the PI5 at Amazon right now.

Read our Bowers & Wilkins PI7 first take.

 

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The Momentum True Wireless II remain Sennheiser's flagship true-wireless earbuds. But shortly after the release of the CX, Sennheiser's second-generation midrange buds, the company has followed up with the CX Plus, which add noise canceling a slightly higher price. They look nearly identical to the standard CX buds but have a glossy black finish on the bud's exterior touch-sensitive surface. Cosmetically, they're more akin to the older and slightly larger CX400BT.

I like the CX for the money, and the CX Plus delivers the same excellent sound while rounding out the feature set with active noise canceling and a transparency mode. Battery life is rated at up to 8 hours at moderate volume levels and these are splash-proof, with an IPX4 rating. They do stick out of your ears a fair bit. 

The noise canceling isn't quite as good as the Sony WF-1000XM4's noise canceling, but I thought it was quite effective and headset performance was also decent, though not necessarily stellar. These are all-around solid noise-canceling earbuds that can count sound quality as their biggest strength.

David Carnoy/CNET

Panasonic's Technics EAH-AZ60 buds don't have quite as premium a feel as the earlier EAH-AZ70W, but they sound sweet with clean, well-balanced sound, well-defined bass and good detail. They feature good active noise canceling, a transparency mode and multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can connect to your computer and phone at the same time. They give very solid voice-calling performance with good noise reduction. The buds are IPX4 splash-proof and are rated for up to 7 hours of battery life on a single charge at moderate volume levels. 

They're missing a couple of features usually found at this price point: namely, an ear detection sensor that automatically pauses your music when you pull the earbuds out of your ears, and wireless charging (the former feature is more important). The step-down EAH-AZ40 earbuds also sound good but the EAH-AZ60 not only have larger drivers (8mm compared with 6mm), but they support Sony's LDAC audio codec and have two additional microphones for voice calling and noise canceling (the EAH-AZ40 model doesn't have noise canceling).

David Carnoy/CNET

The OnePlus Buds Pro ($126) may have some chrome on their stems, but they're pretty much AirPods Pro clones, right down to the same pinch controls. But their charging case is different, at least, and they deliver good sound quality and noise canceling, as well as top-notch ambient noise reduction for voice calling. In short, they're a good set of true wireless earbuds that cost less than the AirPods Pro and have a companion app for Android and iOS devices.

Read our One Plus Buds review.

 

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The Beats Studio Buds look a lot like the rumored stemless AirPods we've been waiting for. Geared toward both iOS and Android users, they are missing a few key features on the Apple side of things (there's no H1 or W1 chip), but they're small, lightweight buds that are comfortable to wear and offer very good sound. While their noise canceling isn't as good as the AirPods Pro's they do have a transparency mode and they're decent for making calls. Ultimately, their fit and sound quality are their strongest selling points -- and they are cheaper than the AirPods Pro.

Read our Beats Studio Buds review.

 

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Master & Dynamic's earlier MW07 and MW07 Plus delivered top-notch sound for true wireless, but they were a little lacking in the features department and weren't so great for making calls. The updated MW08 offers some significant improvements, including the addition of solid noise cancellation and call quality, that make them one of the top models for 2022. Alas, they're expensive at $299.

Battery life has improved a bit, up to around 12 hours of battery life at 50% volume versus 10 hours for the MW07 Plus. The earbuds are equipped with Bluetooth 5.2 and active noise cancellation with three microphones on each earbud. Noise reduction during calls isn't up to the level of the AirPods Pro but overall call quality has improved. The noise-canceling on the MW07 Plus was pretty weak; the MW08's is much more effective.

You can opt for two levels of noise cancellation in the new M&D Connect app for iOS and Android, as well as two levels of transparency that let you hear the outside world. The app currently has no way to tweak the sound profile -- I'm OK with that, because the sound profile is just fine for my tastes -- and the earbuds have a physical button on each bud to control playback, not touch controls.

The buds may not fit everyone's ear equally well, but they certainly have a distinct look, as well as excellent sound and a great listening experience if you can get a tight seal (I was able to get a secure fit with the largest tip). They deliver more of an audiophile sound profile, with smooth, well-balanced sound and well-defined bass. This model has new 11mm drivers, which add a bit of punch to the bass and a touch better clarity. The MW08 works well with all genres of music.

Available in a variety of color options, like their predecessors, the MW08 includes a swanky stainless-steel charging case (it charges via USB-C) that's compact but carries more weight than your typical buds cases. I prefer the matte finishes of the cases that come with the black and blue versions, and you also get a secondary pouch for safekeeping. Yes, the charging case can get scratched up if you leave it in a bag.

These truly wireless earbuds now support both the aptX and AAC audio codecs and have an extended range of more than 20 meters, according to Master & Dynamic.

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LG's Tone Free FP9 are a nice improvement over earlier Tone Free true-wireless earbuds I tested a few years ago, offering better sound with fuller bass and decent noise canceling. They're lightweight and comfortable to wear (yes, they look quite a bit like AirPods Pro but come in black) and their touch controls are responsive. Their most distinguishing feature is the built-in self-cleaning feature. It's a bit of a gimmick, but for all you germaphobes, the case has a UV light -- LG calls it UVnano -- that kills bacteria on the speaker mesh.

Note that the big bonus feature over the earlier FP8 is that you can plug the case into an in-flight entertainment system on a plane or treadmill (and other devices with a headphone port) and use it as a Bluetooth transmitter for the buds. That's a relatively rare feature -- the Bowers & Wilkins PI7 earbuds have it -- although we expect it to come to more earbud cases in the future.

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TCL is best known for its high-quality, high-value Roku-powered TVs, but it's moved into the headphones arena in the last few years. I wasn't too impressed with its earlier models, but its latest Moveaudio S600 delivers excellent sound and good active noise canceling along with decent battery life (up to 6.2 hours with noise canceling on and 8 hours with it off, with three extra charges from the charging case). I found that headset performance for voice calls is decent, but not quite up to the level of the AirPods Pro. The charging case does offer wireless charging. 

These are slightly more geared toward Android users -- TCL makes budget Android phones, after all -- and feature Google Fast Pair. That said, they work fine with iPhones and TCL's companion app is available for iOS and Android (you can customize the sound and touch controls in the app). The earbuds support the AAC audio codec, but not aptX. 

These automatically pause your music when you pull the earbuds out of your ears and they're IP54 splash- and dust-proof. The stems are a little long, but the earbuds fit me comfortably and I got a tight seal using the largest ear tips. The S600 is available in three color options.

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Anker's Soundcore Life P2 buds have been popular budget choices. The updated Life P3 have been upgraded with active noise canceling and are essentially a more affordable version of the Liberty Air 2 Pro ($130 list). The Life P3 are missing wireless charging and a wear-detection sensor that automatically pauses your music when you take the earbuds out of your ears. That said, these earbuds sound quite decent (they have a bass-boost mode) and are also good for making calls. A companion app allows you to tweak the sound a bit, but I mainly stuck with the default sound profile. 

Battery life is rated at up to 7 hours at moderate volume levels. These offer IPX5 water-resistance, which means they can withstand a sustained spray of water and are splash-proof.

As with the Liberty Air 2 Pro, I had a little trouble getting a tight seal with the included tips (this should only affect a small percentage of users), so I used my own. To get optimal sound and noise-canceling performance, it's crucial to get a good seal. There's also a transparency mode that lets ambient sound in, which works fine but isn't on par with the AirPods Pro's excellent transparency mode. 

Available in multiple color options, the Life P3 earbuds carry a list price of $80, but I do expect to see some discounts that bring them closer to $60, which would put them in bargain territory. The Liberty Air 2 Pro earbuds sporadically sell for $100, or $30 off their list price, by comparison.

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