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Libratone Q Adapt On ear in long-term test: the best headphones with ANC?

Picture: TechnikNewsNET
(Post picture: © 2017 TechnikNewsnet)

About six months ago I decided on the Libratone Q Adapt On ear. I found the overall package that these headphones offered me very tempting. Do I still think that way today? My long-term test.

What's in the box

The Danish audio company put a lot of effort into the packaging alone. The Libratone Q Adapt On Ear come in a white cardboard box on which you can see an image of the headphones in the purchased color. It was also kept round, which I think looks very good.

If you cut the plastic seal on the side and lift the upper part of the packaging, you will first see a stylish leather case for the headphones. It is a pity here that it is not a hard case and therefore offers little protection for the headphones.

In the upper part of the packaging there is a small case with the Libratone logo. This contains the operating instructions and other small pieces of paper. Under the leather case are the headphones, which are in a foam mold. In the middle of this shape there is a fabric-coated micro USB charging cable and an AUX cable, which was made with the same materials as the USB cable.

Unfortunately, a power supply unit is not included. In my experience, you have to be careful with the AUX cable because it already has a kink, which means that it was not processed very well.

Outward appearance and comfort

The Libratone Q Adapt On ear come in black (my model), white and gold. In terms of design, these headphones stand out from the competition, such as the Bose QC 35 or the Sony MDR1000x. You won't find such a well thought-out design anywhere else as I think.

On the right earbud, Libratone typically has a round touchpad with the company's logo, a nightingale. There you can use gestures to skip the track, turn up the volume or even start the Google Assistant or Siri.

Probably the most practical feature of this touchpad is that you can place your hand on it to hear the surrounding noise. This is helpful if, for example, you are greeted by someoneprowill. On the underside of the same earphones is the micro USB port for charging the headphones, as well as the jack plug and a function button that allows you to connect the headphones to a new device via Bluetooth, but also the four-level active noise canceling, that of Libratone City mix is called, can control.

On the left earbud there is nothing except the power button and the brand name Libratone. There is also a microphone on both sides, which is responsible for noise canceling.

Processing: There is room for improvement

In the first months of use, the workmanship of these on ears made a good impression on me. You could bend the headphones as you wanted, nothing happened. The hinges, with which you can continuously adjust the size, did not show any shortcomings. Only after about three months, after pulling the hinges apart before each use and then pushing them back together again so that the headphones fit into the leather case, did I notice that the left hinge in particular was loosening and now no longer stays in exactly the same position . I am very satisfied with the choice of materials: leather for the ear pads, plastic for the earphones, metal for the hinges and fabric for the connecting bracket.

The wearing comfort is pleasant once you have found the perfect level for your head. You can then use them for several hours prowear without problems. If you don't find a suitable level, these headphones can be really uncomfortable. Because I have a fairly large head, I always take the widest level, where unfortunately the headphones wobble a lot. The competition from Bose definitely does it better with the QC 35.

Inner workings

A 40mm driver works on both sides of the headphones and delivers a very good sound. But more on that later. The Bluetooth chip comes from generation 4.1 with AptX technology. With this technology, more data can be transferred between two devices at the same time, which ultimately improves the sound. Libratone states that the playback time is 20 hours. A realistic figure. My model has usually lasted 18 to 19 hours so far. If the battery should still run out, it can be recharged in under three hours or you can enjoy music with the AUX cable.

Another special feature is that there is a proximity sensor under the cushion of the right handset. In theory, it should be there for the following: If you remove the headphones, the current playback is paused. If you put it back on, the music will continue to play. And in practice? In practice, with a few exceptions, this works as it should. The only disadvantage: The feature only works with a Bluetooth connection and not when the headphones are connected via the jack.

Libratone app

I was positively surprised that there is a companion app for these headphones. If you open the app for the first time, you will be asked to create a Libratone account. Not necessary, for what, I thought at first. But then I found out that this is necessary to enable support directly from the app, which is a big plus. I can't say anything about Libratone Support itself, as I've never needed it.

Once you've logged in, you'll always end up on the home page. There not only all own LibratoneproProducts are presented in a round look, but you can also use a shortcut to call up Spotify and stream Internet radio stations. If you select the headphones, you end up on another page in the color of your own Proproduct is held. From there you can check the battery level, get to five favorite Internet radio stations, connect a second pair of the same headphones to your smartphone or tablet, but also regulate the CityMix (ANC) and display the ambient noise, which, as described above, can also be done via the function key or the touchpad works.

In the settings you can then choose between the three equalizers Neutral, Extra bass and Reinforced highs Select. You can also change the name of the headphones there, as well as view the firmware and serial number, but also to make the nightingale glow permanently on the touchpad (which uses a lot of battery!).

Sound quality and active noise canceling

First of all: I love the sound these headphones emit. I would even prefer it to the Bose QC 35. It doesn't matter what kind of music you listen to, the highs, mids, lows and bass are almost perfectly matched. These on ears never overdrive at a higher volume.

Apart from the fact that you can only choose between three equalizers, in my opinion these only change the sound very minimally. That's why I've been using the neutral mode since then.

Active noise canceling is very good when you consider that these are "only" on-ear headphones and therefore outside noise can penetrate more easily than with over-ear headphones. You can also choose between four levels. While with level one you can still clearly perceive your surroundings, with level four you can hide an aircraft quite successfully.


Overall, I am very impressed with the Libratone Q Adapt On ear. They deliver a great sound, have almost perfect active noise canceling and, in my opinion, are the most beautiful headphones currently available. I think it's a shame that I've more or less ruined my AUX cable, the left hinge is already loose for the size and that you really have to find the perfect size so that you can wear these headphones comfortably.

Six months ago I bought the Libratone Q Adapt On ear for € 260 in stores. Even then, that was a great price for what was offered to me. I get it today on Amazon for as little as € 205, which in my opinion makes it recommendable for anyone who listens to as much music as I do.

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David Haydl

David lives in Graz and has been there for around half a decade TechnikNews, also editor-in-chief for some time. He regularly provides the site with news, test reports and the like TechnikNews Weekly, which was his idea to launch. He likes to spend his free time outdoors, listening to a lot of music (and clearly too loud) and some podcasts on all kinds of topics, and also likes to go running. He enjoys the time that remains with his charming girlfriend or in front of the TV.

David has already written 1198 articles and left 114 comments.

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