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Best-Sounding Wireless Earbuds in 2023: Get Top Sound Quality

Many people are happy with cheap true-wireless headphones, but if you need something with top-notch sound, this is the list for you.

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True-wireless earbuds continue to improve with each passing year and now many affordable buds and even some budget models deliver quite respectable sound quality. If you're looking for that, we have a list of the best cheap wireless earbuds. However, this list is about the best of the best-sounding earbuds. While I've included a few more affordable models on this list for those on tighter budgets, the majority are fairly pricey -- and some are downright expensive.

Not all but many of the best-sounding wireless earbuds also tend to be on the bigger side and may not fit some ears. To get optimal sound quality -- and bass performance, in particular -- it's crucial to get a tight seal, so finding a set of buds that really fit your ears well is an important part of the sound quality equation. The included ear tips often play a big role in how a set of earbuds will fit your ears, and sometimes you may have to buy third-party ear tips to get the right fit. Not everybody wants to bother with that, so make sure you buy your earbuds from a retailer that allows you to return your purchase without penalty. 

This list is updated regularly as new models come out. 

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Bowers & Wilkins has upgraded its fantastic-sounding PI7 noise-canceling earbuds. The new S2 model has better battery life and Bluetooth range, now up to 25 meters (double the previous range). Additionally, the buds now integrate into the new Bowers & Wilkins Music app for iOS and Android and have a much improved setup experience.

While not a major upgrade from the originals, the PI7 S2s, which feature a dual-driver design, are easily among the very best-sounding true-wireless earbuds. The step-down PI5 S2s, which have a single driver design, don't sound quite as good but are more affordable. 

Read our Bowers & Wilkins PI7 S2 review.

 

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Battery Life

Rated Up to 6 Hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Wireless Earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 -- Splash-Proof

Bose's second-generation QuietComfort Earbuds 2 are not only about 30% smaller than their predecessors, but their case is about 40% smaller and truly pocketable. They feature best-in-class noise canceling and improved sound, thanks to Bose's new CustomTune sound calibration system that customizes the sound for your ears. Voice-calling performance is also significantly better than that of the original QuietComfort Earbuds.

The other big change is to the ear tips. Bose has ditched its one-piece StayEar wing tips for a two-piece Fit Kit system that features separate ear tips and "stability bands" in three size options, giving you more flexibility to get a secure fit and tight seal. 

The buds initially ship in the triple black color, with the sandstone color to follow later in the year.

Read our Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 review.

 

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Earfun

Battery Life

Rated up to 6 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Wireless earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX5 -- protection against low-pressure water streams)

In the past, we've recommended Earfun's AirPro SV and Air Pro 2 as excellent budget noise-canceling earbuds choices (they're still good values). But the new-for-2022 Earfun Air S may be the best of the trio, with multipoint Bluetooth pairing and the latest Qualcomm QCC3046 chip with the aptX audio codec for Android and other devices that support it. They have the same 10mm wool drivers as the AirPro SV and feature surprisingly impressive sound for their modest price. They also work well as a headset for making calls with decent background noise reduction. The buds have an IPX5 water-resistance rating, which means they're splashproof and can withstand a sustained spray of water.

Note that the earbuds cost as low as $49 when you clip the instant 10% coupon and then apply the CNET-exclusive discount code EFAIRS07 at checkout at Amazon, or the code E4AH201 at Earfun's online store.

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The new AirPods Pro are powered by Apple's new H2 chip, which delivers more processing power while being more energy efficient, according to Apple. The new chip, combined with new low-distortion drivers, allows for improved sound that offers better clarity and depth. The noise canceling is also improved -- Apple says the new AirPods have "double" the noise canceling of the original AirPods Pro. Additionally, the new AirPods add an extra hour of battery life, up from five to six hours with noise canceling on. Plus, a speaker in the case that emits a sound that helps locate your buds via Find My should they decide to hide from you.

Note that while Apple has discontinued the original AirPods Pro, they'll remain on sale at discounted prices until supplies are exhausted. However, most people should get this newer model if they can afford it. The AirPods Pro 2 continue to see small discounts, dipping to as low as $223 during Amazon' Early Access Prime event in October.

Read our Apple AirPods Pro 2 review.

 

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Battery Life

Rated up to 11 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Wireless earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 -- splash-proof)

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 (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 Beyerdyanic has said it made sound quality its highest priority and that definitely shows. Read our Beyerdynamic Free Byrd review.

$229 at Amazon
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The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro offer improved noise canceling along with very good sound and voice-calling performance, plus support for high-resolution wireless audio streaming if you're a Galaxy device owner with the right setup. That said, their biggest upgrade may be their new design and smaller size, which make them a better fit for more ears. Aside from their somewhat high price tag, their only drawback is that some of their key features only work with Samsung Galaxy devices.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review.

 

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Battery Life

Rated up to 30 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Over-ear wireless headphones

Water-Resistant

No IP rating

No earbuds are perfect, of course, 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 earbuds with active noise cancellation, solid voice-calling capabilities and good battery life, these buds check all the boxes.

Read our Sony WF-1000XM4 review.

 

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Following the third-generation AirPods, Apple has another new set of earbuds, this time from its subsidiary audio company, Beats. Technically, the new splash-proof Beats Fit Pro ($200) aren't AirPods, but they're built on the same tech platform as the AirPods Pro. Unlike Beats' earlier, 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 2022. They're also one of the best true-wireless earbuds overall, giving the Sony WF-1000XM4 a run for the money.

Read our Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 review.

 

$191 at Amazon
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Bang & Olufsen's Beoplay EX buds are the company's best true-wireless earbuds yet. They feature a comfortable, secure fit (except perhaps for those with much smaller ears), top-notch build quality, great sound, good noise canceling and improved voice-calling performance over B&O's EQ buds, with three microphones in each earbud that help with reducing background noise while picking up your voice. While they're out of most people's price range, they're arguably the best earbuds out there with stems and offer superior sound to the AirPods Pro, with better clarity, deeper more powerful bass and richer, more accurate sound. 

Battery life is rated at 6 hours at moderate volume levels with noise canceling on and there's an extra 14 hours of juice in the brushed aluminum charging case (wireless charging is supported). The buds have an IP57 water resistance rating, which makes them waterproof and dust-resistant. They feature Bluetooth 5.2 and multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can connect to two devices at the same time, such as a computer and smartphone. You can use a single earbud independently and the earbuds have ear-detection sensors so your music pauses when you remove them from your ears. 

The earbuds support aptX Adaptive for devices like Android smartphones that support Bluetooth streaming with the aptX HD audio codec (AAC is also supported). They're available in the gold tone pictured as well as a graphite color.

$367 at Amazon
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Battery Life

Rated up to 9 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Wireless Earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 -- splash-proof)

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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Last year, Panasonic trotted out its venerable Technics brand and gave us a couple of pairs of very good-sounding true-wireless earbuds, including the flagship EAH-AZ70W, which once cost $250 but are down to around $160 on Amazon.

Now we get the Technics EAH-AZ60, which doesn't have quite as premium a feel as the EAH-AZ70W, but it sounds sweet with clean, well-balanced sound, well-defined bass and good detail. It features active noise canceling (it's good), a transparency mode, multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can connect to your computer and phone at the same time, and it has very solid voice-calling performance with good noise reduction. The buds are IPX4 splash-proof and are rated for up to seven 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 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 doesn't have noise canceling). 

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Battery Life

Rated up to 10 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (Adaptive)

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Wireless earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX5 -- protection against low-pressure water streams)

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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Battery Life

Rated up to 12 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Wireless earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX5 -- protection against low-pressure water streams)

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 MW08 model offers some significant improvements, including the addition of solid noise canceling and call quality, that make it one of the top models for 2022. Alas, it's expensive at $299 (the more durable MW08 Sport, which sounds the same, is $349).

Battery life has improved a bit (up to around 12 hours of battery life at 50% volume versus 10 hours for the MW07 Plus), and the earbuds are equipped with Bluetooth 5.2, 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 lets 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 earbuds 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 for $300, 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.)

The MW08s now support both the aptX and AAC audio codecs, with an extended range of more than 20 meters, according to Master & Dynamic. They have an IPX5 rating (splash-proof), and in April 2022, they added multipoint Bluetooth pairing via a firmware update so you can simultaneously pair them with two devices.

$299 at Amazon
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Battery Life

Rated up to 7.5 hours

Noise Canceling

No

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Wireless earbuds

Water-Resistant

No IP rating

The Fokus Pro are Noble's second-generation premium true-wireless earbuds and feature a hybrid three-driver configuration, with a custom made 8.2mm dynamic driver and two Knowles balanced armature drivers. They sound great overall, delivering refined, articulate sound (also accurate) with well-defined bass and excellent detail.

That said, to get optimal sound quality -- and to really take advantage of what the buds have to offer from a sound standpoint -- you really need a device that supports aptX (many Android phones do) and a streaming service like that supports high-resolution streaming. Alternatively, you can also use a dedicated music device that supports aptX Bluetooth streaming. These connect fine to iOS devices, but you won't get optimal sound quality. (It's still very good, but the buds are overkill if you're just connecting them to an iOS device.)

The Fokus Pros use the Qualcomm SoC QCC3040 chip and Bluetooth 5.2. They support SBC, ACC, aptX and aptX Adaptive codecs. Fokus says the ergonomic shell is 3D printed with a semi-custom low profile shape, a designer faceplate and embedded touch sensor. Battery life is rated at up to seven-and-a-half hours at 50% volume and the metal charging case has a 500-mAh battery (it's not as easy as it should be to get the buds out of their case).

From a features standpoint, these buds are pretty low frills. There are no ear-detection sensors, active noise canceling or transparency modes and voice calling performance is decent enough but not great. They're all about the sound. They fit my ears well, though these are true noise-isolating earbuds with tips you jam pretty deeply into your ear canal to get a tight seal. Companion app Noble Fokus for iOS and Android features a 10-band equalizer with presets and the ability to create your own custom presets. The app also includes a hearing test function that will personalize your EQ settings based on the results of the hearing test.

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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; a quick five-minute process, with no test tones involved, yielded good results for me with improved sound.

Note Nura has released its newer NuraTrue Pro earbuds ($339), which have an upgraded Qualcomm chipset and are the first earbuds to support Qualcomm's aptX Lossless (however, you'll need a smartphone that also supports aptX Lossless). Check out my full first take of the NuraTru Pros.

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Battery Life

Rated up to 8 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Wireless earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 -- splash-proof)

Known for delivering good bang for the buck, 1More has released a more premium set of buds that are equipped with a 10mm dynamic driver paired with a balanced armature. They have support for Sony's LDAC codec for high-resolution wireless streaming over Bluetooth with music services like Qobuz or Tidal that offer high-resolution music files.

The Evo buds sound better than the company's other earbuds, offering better clarity and bass definition as well as a relatively wide soundstage. They also feature solid noise canceling, multipoint Bluetooth pairing, wireless charging, a transparency mode and an IPX4 splashproof rating. Battery life is rated at five-and-a-half hours with ANC on and eight hours without it off. A 15-minute quick charge gives you four hours of juice.

While the earbuds have three microphones in each and tout excellent voice-calling performance, I'd rate it as decent but not great. The noise reduction isn't quite as good as what you get with some buds but that may improve with firmware upgrades. The 1More companion app is serviceable but could also be improved.

These are worth trying if you don't want to spend over $200 for some of the more expensive models on this list but still get excellent sound.

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