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Cleer Flow II Bluetooth ANC headphone review: Exceptional sound quality and excellent noise cancelling

Cleer Audio is a relative newcomer within the headphone marketplace. It used to be based in 2012 with a focal point on DJ headphones, however that focal point modified to shopper merchandise in 2016. Since then, the corporate has wasted no time; it now gives 4 in-ear and 4 over-ear fashions with extra at the manner.

The Waft II is one in all Cleer’s newest fashions. It’s a wi-fi Bluetooth headphone with lively noise cancellation (ANC) and compatibility with Google Assistant voice regulate. Most significantly, the total sound high quality is outstanding.

This overview is a part of TechHive’s protection of the most productive headphones, the place you’ll to find opinions of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options you must imagine when buying groceries.

Options

The Waft II is an over-ear, closed-back headphone with softly padded earcups and headscarf. The ovoid earcups are relatively smaller than maximum over-ear headphones I’ve attempted, making them somewhat fiddly to seat correctly. It weighs an insignificant 11.five oz., which is lighter than many such headphones, but its construct high quality turns out somewhat really extensive.

cleer flow ii exploded driver Cleer, Inc.

Cleer says its Ironless Driving force design makes use of rings of rare-earth magnets with out a iron to strengthen the focal point of the magnetic box, permitting extra voice-coil tour with decrease distortion. The 40mm magnesium diaphragm with polyurethane encompass gives low mass, top pressure, and top inner damping.

Each and every driving force employs a full-range 40mm magnesium diaphragm with polyurethane encompass, leading to low mass, top pressure, and top inner damping. The magnet construction makes use of no iron; as a substitute, it’s made out of 20 rare-earth magnets in a hoop construction. Cleer calls this Ironless Driving force Generation, which is claimed to strengthen the focal point of the magnetic box, permitting extra voice-coil tour with decrease distortion. Particularly, Cleer claims the THD (overall harmonic distortion) at 100dB SPL is not up to part that of a traditional magnetic driving force throughout all of the audio spectrum and as much as six instances much less within the upper-midrange area.

The required frequency reaction extends from 20Hz to 40kHz the usage of a stressed connection, garnering Hello-Res Audio certification if that’s the case. With Bluetooth, the frequency reaction is specified from 20Hz to 20kHz. No tolerance is given in both case.

Talking of Bluetooth, the Waft II implements model four.2 with the A2DP 1.three.1, AVRCP 1.6, HFP 1.6, and SPP 1.zero profiles. The supported audio formats come with AAC, aptX, aptX HD, and LDAC. You’ll be able to pair the headphone with the supply tool in the standard means, or—if the tool helps NFC (Close to-Box Conversation) pairing—you’ll be able to merely cling it close to the fitting earcup and they are going to pair routinely.

Cleer touts its “hybrid” noise cancellation, which mixes passive isolation with lively noise cancelling (ANC) for as much as 30dB attenuation of wideband ambient noise. The Waft II powers up with ANC on, however in fact, you’ll be able to flip it off, which turns on Ambient Mode that permits you to hears sounds round you. On this mode, the exterior microphones select up ambient sound, which is performed within the headphones in conjunction with the song you’re paying attention to.

The one factor I want for here’s a 3rd possibility that disengages ANC however does no longer turn on the exterior microphone. That manner, it’s essential to nonetheless have passive isolation and lengthen the battery lifestyles.

The three.7V lithium-ion battery supplies as much as 20 hours of play time from a complete fee, which takes about two hours to finish. Even higher, a snappy 10-minute fee is sufficient for 2 hours of play time.

cleer flow ii straight on Cleer, Inc.

The Cleer Waft II gives robust construct high quality, even though the earcups are reasonably small.

Person Interface

The Waft II supplies 3 bodily buttons at the lower-rear segment of the left earcup: energy on/off, ANC on/off, and Google Assistant. The buttons are properly separated, and the ANC and Google Assistant buttons have small ridges on other facets, making them really easy to search out through really feel. The ability and ANC buttons even have LED signs, and a pleasing voice informs you when the facility is became off and on in addition to the ANC standing.

You regulate the song with contact gestures at the outer floor of the left earcup. Swipe up and down to modify the amount, swipe ahead and again to skip to the following or earlier observe, and double-tap to play/pause. In the event you get a telephone name, double-tap to simply accept and grasp up and cling to reject the decision.

Right here’s a groovy function: If ANC is on, you’ll be able to cling a number of palms at the left earcup to interact Dialog Mode. This briefly turns off ANC and turns on Ambient Mode, so you’ll be able to communicate with any individual like a flight attendant. While you take away your palms from the earcup, ANC turns again on. Curiously, the contact sensor can distinguish between maintaining a fingertip to reject a decision and a whole finger or two to interact Dialog Mode.

A three.5mm stereo-audio jack is located on the backside of the left earcup, whilst a USB-C port is located on the backside of the fitting earcup. As anticipated, the USB-C port is used to fee the battery.

cleer flow ii controls Cleer, Inc.

The bodily buttons are properly separated, and the multifunction touchpad makes it simple to regulate quantity, skip tracks, and play/pause.

Efficiency

My supply for take a look at tracks used to be the Tidal Grasp library from my iPhone XS by way of Bluetooth. First up used to be “Agbada Bougou” from Have a good time through Tony Allen and Hugh Masekela. The instrumentation is discreet—drum package, acoustic bass, trumpet, and alto sax—and the Waft II sounded blank and open with extremely correct renditions of every software.

The similar used to be true of “My Blue Heaven” as sung through James Taylor on his album American Same old. The Waft II’s total sound used to be transparent, open, and well-balanced, and Taylor’s voice and guitar have been superbly rendered.

For one thing somewhat extra fashionable, I listened to “I’m Gonna Love You Only a Little Extra Child” through Summer time Walker from Birds of Prey: The Album, which incorporates songs from the film Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn. As soon as once more, the total sound used to be blank and open, and the vocal used to be proper up entrance with out overbalancing the remainder of the observe.

Amazingly, The Who’re nonetheless at it with their 2019 unlock, Who. I listened to “Hero Floor 0,” a extremely produced observe with quite a lot of strings. As I had come to be expecting through now, the sound used to be transparent and well-balanced, even though Roger Daltrey’s voice used to be somewhat farther again than I’d heard sooner than—it used to be most definitely blended that manner.

It’s exhausting to imagine that Prince’s album 1999 is nearly 40 years previous. I listened to the 2019 remaster of the identify observe and heard the similar open, blank sound as with the entire different tracks I sampled.

Turning to a few classical song, I loved a observe from Cecilia Bartoli’s album Farinelli. A number of the arias on that album is Signor, l. a. tua speranza…A Dio trono, impero Dio from the opera Marc’Antonio e Cleopatra through Johann Adolf Hasse, carried out with Il Giardino Armonico below the path of Giovanni Antonini. Opera isn’t one in all my favourite genres, however Bartoli is a definite exception. Her beautiful voice used to be adroitly rendered through the Waft II, and the orchestra sounded blank and mild.

cleer flow ii thd Cleer, Inc.

Ironless Driving force generation is claimed to showcase not up to part the THD of a traditional magnetic driving force throughout all of the audio spectrum and as much as six instances much less within the upper-midrange area.

In the end, I dug into Witold Lutoslawski’s Diversifications on a Theme through Paganini as organized through Alexander Warenberg for piano, strings, and percussion. For this recording, it’s carried out through Denis Matsuev on piano and Kammerorchester Wien-Berlin below the path of Rainer Honeck for the album Shostakovich/Schnittke/Lutoslawski. This unbelievable piece used to be rendered superbly through the Waft II with a fully open, transparent sound that showcased the excellent sound of the piano in opposition to the strings and percussion.

Along with Bluetooth, I listened to some of the tracks discussed above thru an iFi hip-dac attached to the telephone and the Waft II with cables. I didn’t listen a lot of a distinction when put next with Bluetooth—the stressed connection used to be in all probability somewhat airier, however no longer a lot better.

The touchpad at the left earcup works somewhat properly for enjoying and pausing, converting the amount, and skipping to the following or earlier observe. It calls for somewhat of methodology—you should hit the pad fairly all at once and transfer your finger quite temporarily—but it surely didn’t take lengthy to get used to it.

I had an bizarre alternative to check the lively noise cancellation: My neighbors around the boulevard have been having the outside in their space power wiped clean, which made somewhat a steady-state racket. The Waft II’s ANC labored really well to mitigate a big portion of the noise.

Comparability to DALI IO-6, Sony WH-1000XM3

Along with the Waft II, I listened to every observe at the DALI IO-6 and Sony WH-1000XM3. As I swapped headphones, I came upon that the Waft II pauses the song when you’re taking it off and resumes playback while you put it again on, which is lovely cool. The opposite headphones don’t be offering that little nicety.

As I wrote in my overview of the DALI IO-6, its sound is wealthy and opulent, which I in point of fact appreciated. When put next with the Waft II, on the other hand, it used to be virtually too wealthy; I stored writing “thick” in my notes. The Waft II used to be extra open and spacious.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 shared the Waft II’s openness, however its bass used to be typically overemphasized. That are supposed to please bassheads, however I favor a extra impartial stability, which the Waft II excelled at.

I additionally when put next the ANC efficiency of the IO-6 and WH-1000XM3 with that of the Waft II as my neighbors’ space used to be being power wiped clean. Throughout my overview of the IO-6, I assumed the ANC labored really well with rain at the roof of my automobile, but it surely got here up somewhat quick in opposition to the onslaught of power cleansing, permitting extra noise to achieve my ears. The WH-1000XM3 labored highest in that din, however the Waft II used to be no longer some distance in the back of.

cleer flow ii lifestyle2 Cleer, Inc.

Cleer began out specializing in DJ headphones, however the Waft II demonstrates how they’ve effectively expanded past that area of interest.

Backside Line

I completely love the sound of the Cleer Waft II, much more than the DALI IO-6 and Sony WH-1000XM3. It befits the corporate’s oddly spelled identify completely—transparent, blank, open, and well-balanced. As well as, the construct high quality is forged, its ANC works really well, and it gives some great touches, akin to Dialog mode and routinely pausing the song when you’re taking it off and beginning once more while you put it again on.

I’ve simplest two proceedings. First, the earcups are reasonably small, because of this you should jiggle them round to seat them correctly. The earcups at the IO-6 and WH-1000XM3 are greater, making them more straightforward to seat in your head. 2d—and extra necessary—I want the Waft II had a method by which ANC used to be off and the microphones didn’t select up environmental sound; either one of the opposite fashions be offering this sort of mode.

Alternatively, the Waft II has a decrease checklist worth than the opposite two: $280 as opposed to $350 for the Sony and just about $500 for the DALI. With awesome sound high quality for not up to the contest, the Cleer Waft II is my new reference Bluetooth ANC headphone.

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