Mobile over-ear headphones in the upscale price range now offer lavish functionality and active noise reduction. With the Lagoon ANC, Beyerdynamic clearly intends to compete with the top dogs of Sony and Bose.
The design is appealing and elegant, without frills and of high quality. The ear cups rotate and fold for space-saving storage in the wedge-shaped case. They are padded with memory foam and covered with artificial leather, which feels pleasantly soft and comfortable, as does the adjustable headband. The result is a comfortable and secure fit, even for long listening sessions. At high temperatures, however, the ears do start to sweat.
This Traveller version is completely black, while the technically identical Explorer version uses a colour combination of grey and brown. Technically, the Lagoon ANC scores highly with active noise cancelling, touch functions for control and sound personalisation. The manufacturer’s specifications for running time are also impressive: 45 hours without noise suppression and 24.5 hours with. In fact, there was no need to recharge the handset during the longer test period. There were also no complaints about the Bluetooth connection: Pairing takes place quickly and the radio link is kept stable across several rooms in an apartment. Pairing is possible with up to 15 devices, two of which can be simultaneously active and alternately operated.
When operating the Lagoon ANC, it uses a touch panel on the right auricle and two switches to switch the device on and off, as well as to switch on noise cancelling in two intensity levels. You can quickly find your way around.
Control the level, start/stop playback, jump between titles, fast-forward and rewind, call a voice assistant in your smartphone or computer, answer/end phone calls and toggle between calls via the touch panel – all of this works reliably with little practice needed.
A nice extra is the LED, interior illumination of the ear cups, which displays information about the device status in colour-coded format, i.e. a low battery level. If you take off the headphones, you can also see that the Lagoon ANC automatically switches to standby mode when the light goes out.
Part of the operating concept is the free MIV app for Android and iOS. It includes online help for the handset functions, hearing statistics, the ability to configure the touch panel sensitivity, as well as possible sound personalisation (MOSAYC by Mimi Defined). The app determines a hearing profile through a series of test frequencies at different levels, which must be confirmed by the user, and adds an age indication. The result is a correction curve that can be infinitely applied to the sound output.
As a base, the Lagoon ANC offers a medium passive damping. The protection of active background noise suppression, however, is switched on via a two-stage electronic system, which also works when music playback is switched off. The damping mainly affects the bass range and thus effectively filters out low-frequency and static noises. Particularly in stationary situations, such as sitting in a train or plane, this actually creates an isolated quiet area. The second intensity level is quite efficient, but without being distracting. Due to the concept, the damping is less efficient during movement. In practice, however, I didn’t find wind noise to be a problem. Nevertheless, the competition has the edge: the noise cancelling is accompanied by a slightly audible sound. In addition, the two-step switchability is not particularly sensitive. And finally, I would have liked the Sony WH-1000XM3’s ability to be able to spontaneously communicate with its surroundings via touch function.
The typical application of the Lagoon ANC is probably the Bluetooth-4.2 track, to which the following sound description (judged over an iPhone 8) refers. The headphones deliver a harmonious sound performance with full and powerful tuning and generally good detail resolution. It produces powerful levels when needed but, fortunately, is not audible to the person sitting next to you. I would classify the model as a comfortable headphone for the sophisticated user, delivering the desired listening pleasure, but less suitable for an audiophile. As far as codecs are concerned, Beyerdynamic also offers an upscale feature: AAC is used for the Apple platform, while aptX and the fast aptX LL for film sound are supported for Android devices. But first a word about the hearing profile: It is adjustable in intensity, but unfortunately not compensated in level. Higher intensities are always accompanied by a volume boost, which makes comparisons more difficult. I couldn’t assess to what extent the curve actually represents a linearization of one’s own hearing, especially since I have doubts about the incorruptibility of the test methodology used. The hearing test took place with compensation switched on at medium intensity.
If you are not in a quiet home environment, I recommend switching on the active noise suppression, despite slight losses in transparency, as this rewards you with a fundamentally better noise-to-noise ratio and intensifies the music. In the bass range, the headphones are powerful with sufficient definition. At the same time, it can certainly identify older recordings with less depth. Even true low bass is comprehensible, as are deep tonalities and changing dynamics.
In the midrange, voices are easy to understand and acoustic instruments are convincingly clear. In addition to the character of the different instruments, a nice closeness is also conveyed depending on the recording. Only in the border area between bass and low midrange do I feel the tuning is slightly overemphasised. But you get a powerful sound in rock, pop and EDM genres, and also reveals the necessary dynamics in orchestral works.
At high frequencies, the Lagoon ANC draws a safe line between transparency and hardness. This results in good detailed information, helping the contours of the instruments involved as well as the stereo stage and movements in the panorama to be easily understood. In terms of room depth, the closed dynamic driver system is, as expected, more in the midfield and cannot compete with open wired hi-fi specialists. Nevertheless, the Fazioli on Benny Andersson’s piano work is reproduced with wonderful intimacy and surround sound.
A surprise was the operation of the receiver via the supplied cable, which is possible both actively with noise cancelling and also purely passively. The sound results are first-class and exceed the Bluetooth range in terms of definition and detail resolution. Accordingly, Beyerdynamic can be congratulated, as it is quite obvious that they are working with high-quality driver equipment that does not need to be upgraded electronically. Additionally, the Lagoon ANC delivers good speech intelligibility for the user as well as the other party.
With a price of 400 Euro, the Lagoon ANC is in the same class as models from Sony, Bose and Sennheiser. For the noise reduction I would prefer Sony’s WH-1000XM3 or the Bose NC700 because of its variable adjustability. But Beyerdynamic can’t be matched in terms of wearing comfort and general sound quality. Indeed, with the high sound quality of the drivers in passive operation, the Heilbronn-based manufacturer continues to show how to lay a good foundation.
Measurement ResultsMore measurement results
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)10 - 30.000 Hz
- Impedance21,75 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)99,6 dB
- Pressure averaged from big and small head584,5 g
- Weight with cable293 g
- Weight without cable284 g
- Cable length120 cm
What's in the box
- Mini jack cable
- USB C charging cable
- Travel case
- Battery life: up to 45 hours
- Battery life with ANC: up to 24.5 hours
- BT codecs: aptX LL, aptX, AAC, SBC
- BT profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP, SPP