The Beyerdynamic (stylised as ‘beyerdynamic’) Lagoon ANC headphones are the company’s offering in the premium wireless headphones segment. Priced exorbitantly at Rs 29,990, the cans go up against acclaimed headphones, from other established audio brands, such as the Bose NC 700, Sony WH-1000XM3, and Jabra Elite 85H. This means it comes equipped with most of the bells and whistles that the headphones we mentioned above have, including touch controls, Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), extra codec support and more. We put these cans to test and let’s see what the results are.
Build and design
The Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC wireless headphones have two separate models – the Traveller and the Explorer. However, the only difference between the two ‘models’ is the colour. So, they’re essentially two different colour variants with different names. The beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC Traveller is black in colour while the Explorer is brown and grey. We received the Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC Explorer – the brown and grey variant – for the review.
Upon unboxing the packaging, you’ll find a swanky looking hard case with the Beyerdynamic logo stamped right in the middle. The case has a shape that resembles a teardrop and looks quite unique. You don’t see too many wireless headphones deviating from the standard circular/oval-shaped hard case, and it’s nice to see Beyerdynamic taking some liberties to this end. When you unzip the seemingly robust case, a soft foam material is used for the interiors to keep the contents secure.
Within the case, you’ll find the headphones themselves, a USB Type-C charging cable and a 3.5mm audio connector for passive usage. Both cables are made up of the standard rubber material. Sitting snugly inside the case is the Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC Explorer.
These circumaural headphones certainly ooze a premium look even though they are predominantly made out of plastic. The memory foam on the headband and earcups are brown while the rest of the headphones sport a matte grey finish. The plush memory foam present on the headband is softer than on the earcups. Additionally, on the earcups, the memory foam isn’t completely symmetrical and features a slight bulge on the lower half to better encompass ears. The foam on the earcups is quite firm but has adequate give allowing them to take the shape of your ears. We really enjoyed the attention to detail from Beyerdynamic in this department.
The memory foam on the headband, while softer than on the earcups, still ensures that no hotspot is created on the top of your head over extended periods of usage. The headphones can also be extended a fair bit and have steel reinforcements within. However, at their most compact, the Lagoon ANC might be a bit too large for smaller heads, which leads to insufficient isolation.
The earcups can be rotated 90 degrees which ensures that they lay flat on your chest when not in use and simply kept around your neck. The earcups can also be folded upwards to aid portability. Also, they sit in a folded state within the provided case which is quite compact. The earcups even move a fair bit to adjust to the angle of your head and your ears. So, unless you have an inordinately tiny head, these headphones should fit you just about perfectly and feel extremely snug and comfortable over hours of usage.
The headphones, while sturdy, are also quite flexible. They can be tugged apart a fair bit and you won’t hear any loud, concerning creaks and squeaks. However, we did hear faint ones which is not the case with other premium headphones such as the Bose NC 700 and Sony WH-1000XM3.
On the right earcup, you have all your physical buttons, touch controls and ports. Firstly, there are two toggleable switches – one for ANC and the other for power. The power switch can be flicked from Power Off position to On/Bluetooth Pairing position. The ANC switch has three modes – Off, ANC level 1 and ANC level 2. Level 1 basically mutes external noises slightly while level 2 is the full-blown ‘shut-the-world-out’ mode. Then, there’s the power on/off toggleable switch which also puts the headphones into pairing mode. You also have the USB Type-C port and 3.5mm audio jack here, as well as the touch controls on the surface of the right earcup.
Overall, we really enjoyed the design of the Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC wireless headphones. They feel sturdy, look super premium, and fit comfortably for most heads.
The headlining feature of the Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC headphones is obviously the ANC. As aforementioned, you have two different ANC modes and you can toggle between them as per your liking. However, we would have preferred a more granular control over ANC like with the Bose NC 700 which allows you to control the ANC level by the 10s. In these, however, you can only have them off, at 50 per cent or max.
Another eye-catching feature is LGS or light guide system. Basically, the inner part of the earcups glows a different colour to deliver visual prompts such as Power On, Pairing mode, etc much like voice prompts on most wireless headphones. However, even though Beyerdynamic has implemented this seemingly novel prompting method, voice prompts are still very much present.
A few LGS prompts include – battery level prompts (pulsing red for low battery, continuous green colour for full battery and more), pairing prompt where the left and right earcups alternately flash blue, and continuous orange colour for active Bluetooth connection. The LGS also switches to standby mode when the cans are not in use for more than 10 seconds. This is done via built-in motion sensors which get triggered when you’re nearby and go off when not in use.
The cans also feature a hybrid control system which comprises of some physical controls (which we explained above) as well as touch controls. The touch controls lie on the right earcup and are intuitive. However, the sensitivity seems to be too high since plenty of false touches were registered in the duration of our testing.
The touch controls worked seamlessly for the most part. They are quite standard – double tap to pause/play, swipe up and down to increase and decrease volume respectively, swipe right for next track and left for previous and swipe and hold right/left to fast forward/rewind. To awaken your default voice assistant, you simply have to press the centre of the touchpad for 2 seconds. Similarly, you can also accept calls by double tapping, reject by pressing and holding for 2 seconds and control call volume by swiping up or down.
The controls, as we iterated before, are quite intuitive, so they’re easy to learn and most of them worked well. However, we absolutely couldn’t get the ‘Fast Forward’ and ‘Rewind’ controls to work no matter how many times we tried. Additionally, the motion sensors within the headphones are utilised to enable smart pausing. The headphones pause music playback when they are removed and tilted downwards. This worked quite flawlessly in our experience.
Lastly, the headphones can be tuned on the accompanying app to your specific hearing ability. This feature is called Mosayc. While it didn’t necessarily tweak our music-listening experience too much, this can be particularly useful for those with hearing disabilities. Unfortunately, the app doesn’t include a customisable EQ to fine-tune your listening experience. This is something we sorely missed even on the Bose NC 700 app and we cannot understand why these companies fail to include this small, but significant, quality of life feature.
Additional features include extra codec support such as Qualcomm aptX LL (Low Latency), aptX, and AAC, speech intelligibility using Qualcomm cVc, up to 45 hours of battery life (without ANC) and wired (passive) usage. However, it uses Bluetooth version 4.2 instead of the industry standard 5.0, which is, frankly, absurd at this price point and it also does not come with an IP rating. Additionally, the LGS feature feels largely gimmicky since the chances that users are going to pull off the headphones and take a look at the ‘lights’ are abysmally low, especially since voice prompts are available. You can always turn the voice prompts off on the app, but why would you do that? They’re so much more convenient. Nevertheless, LGS does make it stand out and look flashy though.
Beyerdynamic is known for its audiophile-grade headphones with stellar sound profiles. The Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC is no exception. The only thing lacking in this regard is the relatively narrow soundstage, especially when compared to the likes of the Jabra Elite 85H and the Sony WH-1000XM3. It feels quite restrictive and tracks such as Hotel California by The Eagles sound compressed instead of extended. Nevertheless, the imaging is almost perfect, so the relatively narrow soundstage at least places all the instruments accurately.
The headphones deliver solid low-frequency response which doesn’t distort the slightest bit even at top volume levels. The bass has a strong thump to it but doesn’t sound jarringly boosted. With ANC on, however, the bass gets a bit more body but nothing too unmanageable. The midrange has a certain emphasis on it as well which boosts the quality of vocals, guitars and their harmonic resonances.
The highs are quite extended, however, the roll-off point is quite accurate and seamless. There’s a dip in the high frequencies which dim out those frequencies that sound jarring to the human ear, much like Sennheiser products.
In songs such as Another One Bites the Dust by Queen, the mid and low frequencies complement each other fantastically. So, while the song does feature strong bass beats, the quality and clarity of Mercury’s vocals are not compromised. The bass is slightly more exaggerated in comparison to headphones from Sennheiser and Bose, however, the equally boosted mids ensure that they don’t sound boomy, but balanced.
Passive isolation is certainly one of the weak elements of the Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC headphones, however, what’s even weaker is the ANC performance. The ANC performance isn’t bad by any means and performs relatively well in dulling out background sounds, however, priced at Rs 29,990, it competes with ANC royalty such as the Sony WH-1000XM3 (which costs lesser) and the Bose NC 700. These headphones do well at dimming out low-frequency rumbles that are constant, however, they mess up majorly on high frequencies. Even the typing of our mechanical keyboard is heard as clear as day on ANC Level 2, which is disappointing. Had these headphones been priced around 18-22K, we wouldn’t be complaining this much, but at nearly 30K perfection is rightfully expected.
Battery life, on the other hand, is quite adequate. The company claims a massive 45 hours without ANC turned on and 24.5 hours with ANC on. Of course, this number will vary from user to user depending on the ANC mode and the volume level. We had the ANC on for 80 per cent of the time at level 2 with the volume at around 60 per cent. This netted us a battery life of about 26 hours, which is quite respectable in this category.
The Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC wireless headphones feature an aesthetically-appealing design and sport a comfortable fit for most heads. The sound quality, as expected of the company, is stellar, with boosted lows and mids and detailed highs. However, the soundstage is quite restrictive and ANC performance is severely lacklustre in comparison to the Bose NC 700 and Sony WH-1000XM3. Additionally, the forward and rewind touch controls did not work for us despite repeated attempts. However, if stellar sound quality and decent battery life are what you’re after, the Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC can be a great purchase. However, if these cans were priced 10K lower, we would have a much easier time recommending these to all the audiophiles as well as casual listeners out there.