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Excellent ANC Performance – MBReviews

The Haylou S30 is proof that you don’t need to break the bank to have a reliable pair of headphones to cancel the noise of the engines while you’re flying. And I know that this has been claimed by many other manufacturers, including Haylou with it S35 ANC, but I did fly while wearing the Haylou S30 and can attest that they work almost as good as the Sony WH-1000XM3 ANC headphones.

And it’s not only Haylou because this year we have also been blessed by the likes of SounPeats Space and TOZO HT2, both very valid competitors to the S30. And the Haylou S30 does advertise a reduction of up to -43dB, a bit of a funny value considering that the S35 claimed a reduction of up to -42dB.

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Haylou S30 ANC headphones.

The Bluetooth version has also been upgraded to the v5.4 which doesn’t really add that much to the coverage, but it should raise the ceiling for high-bitrate data transfer. But does the Haylou S30 actually need it? The supported codecs are SBC and AAC, so not really, there is no support for lossless audio or equivalent. So how come Haylou claims that the S30 are Hi-Res audio certified?

Both TOZO and SoundPEATS said the same and it’s a way to say that the wired connection is far better than the Bluetooth one (we already knew that). But Haylou mentions a 24bit/96KHz audio sampling rate and it doesn’t specify that the Hi-Res sound will only be delivered via a wired connection, which is a bit baffling considering the lack of proper codecs for this specific application. In any case, we do get a better battery than on the S35 and there is a 360 degree spatial sound effect, so let’s put the Haylou S30 to the test and see how they perform.

The Design and the Build Quality

I did mention that the Haylou S30 headphones that I got are the Pro Edition, but what does that mean? There are three tiers available and the Pro Edition means that there is microphone and a carrying case into the package, while the base version only carries the microphone.

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Haylou S30 – better look.

The headphones themselves are the same across all editions, and it does have a very similar look to the S35. I got the black version (there is also an all-white option available) and yes, the earcup hinges are made of plastic, designed in the same manner as on the S35. The adjusting sliders are mainly made of plastic, but just like its main competitors, there is an outer metallic piece to offer some extra resistance.

The sliding motion is not really the smoothest, but they never got stuck as it happened with other headphones. Now let’s talk a bit about the headband. I have complained that it wasn’t the best on the TOZO HT2 and the SOUNDPEATS Space, and honestly, at the first glance it doesn’t seem that great on the Haylou S30 either, but after wearing the headphones for a couple of hours, it’s not that bad actually. Yes, there a a couple of plastic pieces on the sides, but the foam is thicker than them, so they should not be felt at the top of the head. I didn’t feel them during the time I wore them, so there is no pressure point there.

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Haylou S30 – the earcups.

What about the earcups? They don’t push to the sides of the head and the earcups themselves are designed to be a bit wider, so it should be able to cover even larger ears. The pads can be removed (just use a prying tool), but they do remain attached to a plastic frame, so if you want to replace them, it’s a somewhat particular design. I saw that because both the TOZO HT2 and SOUNDPEATS Space went with the same approach. Now let’s talk about the controls. Most manufacturers put all the controls on one side and that’s also the case with the Haylou S30 because everything can be found on the right earcup.

There is a USB-C port for charging up the inner battery and on one of its sides, there’s the 3.5mm jack for the wired connection, while on the other side, there’s the 3.5mm jack for the microphone extension. Next to the jack, there’s an LED indicator that gets white when the Haylou S30 is turns on and paired and it gets red when you turn off the headphones. There is also a multi-function button, a single volume button and the ANC button. Yes, the controls are a bit unconventional. The volume button will raise the volume at a click and lower it if the button is held.

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Haylou S30 controls.

To skip a track you need to double click the multi-function button and to return to a previous track, its necessary to triple click it. To play or pause a track, just click the MFB button. I suppose muscle memory will kick soon, but it’s a very weird design. We’re not done yet because the outer shell of the right earcup has a touch-control area where, just like with the Sony WH-1000XM3, you can press and hold it to enable the conversation mode (the music will get intro the background, so you can hear what’s happening around you). A triple click will enable the Gaming mode, while a double clikc will enable the Bass mode.

The Internal Hardware and Connectivity

The Haylou S30 does have a dedicated FCC ID page and yes, the manufacturer has submitted some internal photos. This means that I could see that it’s equipped with a 600mAh battery which seems to reside within the right earcup. And we also see that the headphones rely on a Zhuhai Jieli Bluetooth IC (just like SOUNDPEATS Space), but it’s not clear enough to properly see the chip.

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Source: FCC ID.

In any case, we do know that the Haylou S30 uses Bluetooth 5.4 which doesn’t necessarily increase the standard 30-foot coverage, but it does help with gaining a higher bandwidth ceiling. Do we need it when the support for lossless codecs is missing? Not really, but I suppose it also helps optimizing the battery life quite a bit. There is also support for Bluetooth Multipoint, so you can connect the headphones to a couple of devices simultaneously.

The Sound Quality

As I did with pretty much all other headphones that I tested so far, I initially checked some technical aspects and I did the same with the Haylou S30. The first thing that I checked is the driver quality by playing a sound which moves between lower and higher frequencies, and, ideally, there should be no buzzing. And it was surprisingly clean even at the lower frequencies. Moving on, I checked whether the drivers are properly matched and yes, the sound played in the middle, without deviating.

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Haylou S30 after detaching the earpads.

Next, I played a few binaural songs to get an initial idea about what to expect from the headphones and I was excited to see what the 360 degree spatial sound effect was all about. With ANC on, the sound stage is very similar to that of the S35, meaning we are dealing with a narrower and more intimate performance. I could tell where each instrument was, but I noticed that the song tends to get a bit busy and some details seem lots when lots of things are happening at the same time. With ANC off, it doesn’t immediately seem to have an actual impact on the sound quality, but after going back and forth several times, it does seem like the sound stage gets wider and that slightly annoying crowded effect is less pronounced.

Now let’s move on to the usual list of songs. The first is the low-bass-focused track Faded by Zhu and, keeping the volume at about 70% and ANC off, the bass sounds full and rich, but it doesn’t take away the stage completely from the voice, both complimenting each other. With ANC on, the low bass loses a bit of its wideness, the whole song feeling a bit more narrow, but it’s not a night and day performance, the changes being more subtle that you would expect. Next, I listened to Morph the cat by Donal Fagen to understand how the Haylou S30 handles the mid-bass and while I think a flatter, more neutral pair of headphones are suitable for this jazzy piece, it sounded dynamic and fun nonetheless.

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Using Amazon Music for the higher sound fidelity.

With ANC on, it can get a bit busy at times and some details may be lost, but overall, it’s not a bad performance especially consiering the price of the headphones. Then I listened to She Burns by Foy Vance and with ANC off, the sound is fairly clear with a focus on the bass. The male voice is also decently placed. With ANC on, the sound stage narrows a bit, but it’s not that much different than when the ANC was off. Afterwards, I listened to Breathin by Ariana Grande and, due to the slightly boosted bass, it sounded really good.

The voice is a slightly bit forwarded, but it doesn’t overshadow the instruments that much. Again, the difference between ANC on and off is the slight narrowing of the sound stage and perhaps a reduction in the richness of the bass. Lastly, I listened to Sweet Child o Mine by Guns n Roses and I expected it to be too colorful and fatiguing, but it’s actually quite balanced.

The ANC Mode

I have spoken about how the ANC impacts the sound quality (not by much), but its main purpose is to allow the user to lower the volume after the environmental sounds have been quieted down. And the likes of Sony and Bose have been the best options for years especially for people that fly often and need something to lower the droning noise. But as I said in the intro, the Haylou S30 performed pretty much just as good as the Sony WH-1000XM3 that I have been using for years. That’s the first time a pair of inexpensive headphones have managed to achieve such a feat and it does pose the question whether it’s worth investing in more expensive options. Obviously, the sound quality is still better when the budget is higher, but a lot of people are willing to make that compromise, especially since the Haylou S30 sound decently well.

The Haylou S30 App

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Haylou S30 – the app.

The Haylou S30 can connect to an app, although there isn’t much benefit from doing so. The app is called Haylou Sound and the headphones will be automatically detected after opening up the application. Then, from the Device tab, you can check the Status of the headphones and yes, you can also switch between the ANC on, off and the Transparency mode, as well as enable the Game mode. Then under Sound, you can choose between several presets, but there is no way to customize the EQ. Lastly, under Settings, you can update the firmware and enable the Find headset function.

The Call Quality

There are two ways to use the Haylou S30 to take calls: using the default, built-in mics or relying on the extra microphone but which may look a bit weird outside your gaming chair (like outdoors). In any case, in the first scenario, my voice sounded a bit hallow and distant, but the good news is that a lot of noise is being suppressed, so even if I was near a trafficked road, my voice remained the same (not great, but not terrible). With the extension installed (the boom mic), my voice was better focused, but the quality is still below other more expensive headphones.

The Battery Life

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Haylou S30 – the battery – Source: FCC ID.

As I mentioned before, the Haylou S30 is equipped with a 600mAh battery which is one of the largest batteries I have seen on a pair of headphones, let alone within this price point. And the manufacturer claims that we should get up to of 80 hours with ANC off and up to 50 hours with ANC on. I my tests, I easily forgot that I had to charge the headphones, so I would easily get a week on a single charge with ANC off. With ANC on, I actually did the math and I got about 50 hours on a charge which is impressive.

The Conclusion

I was impressed by the Haylou S35 and what the manufacturer managed to achieve considering the budget restraints. And I think that the S30 is an upgrade in the areas it mattered the most. I am talking about the ANC. I suppose not much has been changed in terms of sound quality, but the ANC performance is phenomenal, on par with devices that cost almost ten times more. Also, the tap to enable the transparency mode made me forget I am not using the Sony headphones. So, if you’re short on budget, but need something reliable on long flights look no further than the Haylou S30.

Haylou S30

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Pros

  • Excellent ANC
  • Decent sound quality
  • Comfortable to wear for long periods of time
  • Long battery life
  • Has an external microphone

Cons

  • The controls are a bit weird
  • No custom EQ available

Author

Silence Dogood

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