Most headphones with ANC sound better with the feature turned off, but the OneOdio A30? Well, you’ll want to leave the ANC turned on with these. This is a pair of active noise-cancelling headphones from a Chinese audio company, and before you write these off, a lot of Chinese audio companies nowadays are producing pretty impressive stuff. Sure, build quality might not be as premium as you’d like, but for the price, I can’t complain too much.
The headphone is made out of plastic, which can be a bit creaky, especially around the swivel point of the earcups. You do get pretty decently padded ear cushions though, and some padding on the headband. There’s no pinching at the crown of my head, but the clamping force is definitely on the stronger side to keep the headphones secure. They don’t move even when I’m shaking my head vigorously, which is good, but wearing these for longer periods of time does result in a bit of wearing fatigue.
On the left earcup, you get three buttons; a plus button that increases volume when pressed once, or skips the track backwards when held down, a minus button that decreases volume when pressed once or skips the track forwards when held down and a power button that acts as a play/pause button when pressed once and turns the headphone on or off when held down. Pretty easy once you get used to them. There’s also a 3.5mm port here for wired listening.
On the right earcup, you get a single switch that controls ANC on or off. One nice thing about these headphones is that you don’t need to turn the headphones on to turn ANC on. This means you’ll be able to turn on ANC and use the headphones wired if you want to and get an even longer battery life. The USB-C charging port is also located here, and I’m glad they didn’t go with micro-USB.
Speaking of battery life, it’s really impressive. You get 20 hours with the headphones and ANC turned on, 30 hours with the headphones turned on and connected via Bluetooth and 50 hours when just using ANC. I haven’t actually managed to test whether it really will last that long, but I’ve only charged these once, and they still have a decent amount of battery left, which is a good sign.
But how do these sound? Well, they’re definitely decent, if you keep ANC on. With ANC on, you get better clarity, surprisingly. Without ANC turned on, the sound becomes a bit too boomy and vocals don’t sound quite as sharp.
Bass on these isn’t as emphasised as I imagined they would be, so people who are looking for bass-heavy headphones might be a bit disappointed. The mids do feel a bit muddy if ANC is turned off, so again, I highly recommend keeping ANC on. It just sharpens the entire midrange and treble and balances out the sound signature.
Soundstage is pretty okay, not great, but not bad either. Imaging is pretty accurate, although I would like instrument separation to be a bit clearer because it does feel a bit too blended together at times.
That being said though, considering that these retail for US$69.99, and you’ll most likely be able to get them discounted most of the time, they’re actually really good if you just want a pair of beater headphones with ANC. Sure, expensive headphones that sound great are definitely nice to have, but if you’re travelling and you don’t want to baby your stuff or stress about losing them, then these are a good option.
The downsides, of course, include the average build quality. I’m generally okay with headphones using plastic, I bought my Sony XM4s and they’re made with plenty of plastic, but the A30 just doesn’t feel all that nice. Plus, the ANC button is loose, so if you shake your head, well, you’ll hear the button rattling about. It’s just a point to take note of, but if you’re buying a pair of headphones under $100, it’s a bit unfair to nitpick at the build quality when the brand is already packing decent ANC into the headphones.
Another downside is that there’s no auto-pause function, so even if you take the headphones off and leave it on a table, music will continue to play, so you’ll have to conscientiously make sure to pause or turn off your music if you want to conserve battery life.
Aside from those though, I think these are a great pair of headphones that won’t break the bank, while still offering decent sound and active noise cancellation. For less than US$70, these are really good.
Content by Cheryl Tan