Blue Satellite

Blue Satellite

Are you looking for a pair of stylish, wireless, active noise-cancelling (ANC) headphones? How about a pair that doesn't sacrifice sound quality at the alter of ANC? The Satellite from Blue proves that noise-cancelling technology and beautiful, crystal clear high fidelity audio can indeed coexist. How do they do it? By being smart and including not two but four individual audio drives. Inside the Satellite you'll find two 44mm drivers that pump out powerful, sublime audio, and two 30mm ANC drivers that (when combined with four external mics) will silence even the most persistent of noise. Combine all this with a built-in, industry-leading HiFi amplifier, and you have the makings of greatness.

The Satellite from Blue is, without-a-doubt, the best sounding mid-range wireless headphone that money can currently buy. The dual 44mm drivers produce clean, solid highs with no hint of sibilance. The midrange is smooth, beautifully rendered, and never overshadowed by the low end. Speaking of bass, Blue delivers clean, tight bass that kicks rather than feeling bloated and/or muddy. The Satellite's were easily able to render the soaring vocals of Loreena McKennitt, the crunchy, thrashing licks of Black Stone Cherry's twin guitar attack, and the masterful slide guitar work of R.L. Burnside. Most of this can be attributed to the outstanding built-in audiophile-quality AMP/DAC that Blue included in the Satellite. Sound quality, when the amp is turned off, does suffer some but it's nothing that I would call a deal breaker. Overall, the AMP/DAC are the real stars of the show and you'd be nuts to not use them. But what happens when you run out of power? Thankfully, Blue has seen fit to include a standard 3.5mm audio jack for times like this. It's easy enough to connect these cans to an external AMP/DAC and pick up where you left off.

This is the first pair of headphones from Blue that feature active noise-cancelling. Thankfully, Blue did it right by including two separate 30mm drivers dedicated to ANC. The results are active noise-cancelling that doesn't affect the music the way other noise-cancelling do. I've spent my fair share of time listening to music with ANC enabled on my Bose QC35s and I can tell you, without-a-doubt, that listening to music with ANC enabled on the Satellite is a real treat. ANC works well enough in most cases but falls a wee bit short when put to the test in louder environments like an airplane cabin or a city street. They're great for eliminating the chatter of a busy office and they can even handle a baby's cries. However, they're just not as good as the Bose QC35 when it comes to anything louder. However, the quality of the ANC and the fact that it doesn't muck up the audio more than makes up for any shortcomings that the ANC might have.

The only thing I can really knock these headphones for is comfort. The ear cups are large and comfortable, and the pads are soft and work well to seal out the outside work. The headband, however, is where the problem lies. The excessive clamping force here ensures that I can only wear these headphones a few hours before the ear cups begin to really bother me. I'm hoping that, given enough time, that I can stretch them out enough for them to be comfortable. Only time will tell. Wrapping it up, the Satellite with its quad audio drivers, first-class AMP/DAC, and non-intrusive ANC should be high on the list of anyone looking for a well-built, fantastic sounding pair of wireless headphones.

Update: I have had these for several months now and I'm happy to report that they do indeed get more comfortable as time wears on. Unfortunately, I also ran into another problem where something broke inside the headband. My cans are now permanently stuck in fully extended mode. Hopefully customer support can take care of this for me. Still, even with a few problems, these are outstanding headphones and well worth your consideration.

– Patrick

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