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Large over-the-ear headphones aren't to everybody's taste, but when I want to immerse myself in top-quality sound there's really no substitute. Still, the best 'cans' are expensive. If you're now working from home, or, like me, have been for years, searching out equipment that can serve both work and leisure is important.
EPOS and Sennheiser have a co-branded range called ADAPT that includes headsets suitable for use at work and after hours. The £349 (inc. VAT)/$439 ADAPT 660 is a top-end over-the-ear model that comes with a dongle for PC connection and Bluetooth for linking to your phone, and will stay connected to both at once. If you need to make a wired connection there's a 3.5mm jack on the cans and a (rather short) cable.
The ADAPT 660 is a chunky headset that you won't forget you're wearing. When relaxing and listening to music or watching a movie, I found there was a tendency for the cups to slip about a bit. My head is probably verging on a little too small for the headband system, but I had no problem when sitting bolt upright at a desk. There's plenty of padding around the ears and at the top of the headband, making the headset comfortable to wear for extended periods. The ADAPT 660 weighs 227g -- lighter than comparable headsets from Bose and Sony, which are around 250g.
There's no annoying need to switch the headset on when you want to start using it. Just twist the cups out of their storage position, which generates a satisfying little click from each cup, and the headset powers up and connects to devices. Call management and playback features are controlled by sweeping and tapping the outside of the right can -- it's all very intuitive. There's a Teams button on the right can that launches Microsoft Teams on a PC, and Alexa support too.
SEE: Top 100+ tips for telecommuters and managers (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is turned on using a sliding button on the right can. There are two settings (in addition to 'off', of course): on 'maximum mode' you're in a sound bubble; switch to 'adaptive' mode and the intensity adjusts depending on the level of surrounding noise. The sensitivity can be controlled through a handset app that also provides a range of other additional control features, including equaliser settings and battery status.
With 30 hours of battery life there's no need to worry about keeping the headset charged, although it's irritating that when you do want to charge up the connector type is Micro-USB. That means carrying a cable that might only be used for this headset.
Sound quality is excellent for both work and leisure purposes. I found voice calls were clear, and those I talked to had no issues. Audio quality, when paired with a phone and a laptop, was also impressive. During testing I listened to audio books, recordings of online meetings, classical music and catchup TV -- all with impressive results.
The carrying case is somewhat flimsy, and I'm not convinced it would offer great protection if squished in the bottom of an over-stuffed bag. I've certainly seen better. Still, the ADAPT 660 has excellent sound reproduction and easy on-device controls, although the Micro-USB charge cable and carry case are disappointing.
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