Here’s my PreSonus HD10BT Review. It’s the first time reviewing anything made by PreSonus on the blog. And, it’s also the first time I’ve reviewed any headphones with active noise cancelling (ANC) functionality. It seems to be a review of firsts then.
Most headphones featured on the blog so far have had passive noise cancelling in the form of snug fitting and well insulated ear-cups, but ANC takes good headphones and makes them great.
The Eris PreSonus HD10BT will almost serve as an introduction to PreSonus products and what the brand is all about. We hope to get our hands on some more of their tech over the coming months so keep an eye on the newsletter for more.
Let’s start the review in the usual fashion, first impressions.
PreSonus HD10BT Review
With other review items I normally get delivery notifications, but with these I didn’t. It was a lovely surprise when the doorbell went and there stood the UPS (or at least I think it was UPS!) delivery guy. My wife asked me ‘What have you ordered now?!’
But, to both of our surprise it was the HD10BT’s. I accepted the delivery and inspected the outer shipping box. It was well protected with a thick brown cardboard box and inside contained some plastic air bubbles and the simply sublime HD10BT product box.
I’ve already made a fairly big statement in terms of packaging on this blog. I said on my Edifier X3 Review that they were the best packaged headphones I’ve reviewed so far. But, the PreSonus Eris HD10BT have well and truly taken that crown.
They are extremely well packaged. The branding, colours, product image choice and font choice are all perfect. They’ve used really a heavy grade cardboard for the box construction. A folding, magnet close door adds to the premium feel.
Removing the plastic seal on the side of the box and opening it up, I was greeted with a beautiful half moon travel case finished in some sort of faux leather.
The headphones were lurking inside. As it’s a half moon style travel case the HD10’s fold into a sort of telephone shape to enable them to fit inside. Unfolding them is a joy as they snap into place with ease in a sort of pleasing mechanical fashion.
They didn’t need charging straight from the box which is good! It leads me to believe they’ve been charged up to allow them to be tested prior to leaving the factory.
Single Use Plastic
Previous readers of my reviews will know that I like to discuss how much single use plastic each product contains. The brilliant news is that there was hardly any at all. Aside from the plastic sticker that seals the box, a plastic baggy used to store the cables and the small plastic part of the box used for hanging it in a retail store, there wasn’t any other single use plastic.
The only thing PreSonus could do more would be to maybe change the plastic sticker for a paper one. They don’t really need to do more on this particular product, they’ve done a great job at reducing single plastic use.
The HD10BT’s left a lasting first impression, I was really excited to turn them on and get to grips with just how good a pair of professional headphones would sound.
So, what did I make of the sound quality?
PreSonus HD10BT Review Sound Quality
I’m going to say it. They’re the best sounding headphones I’ve ever reviewed on the blog. It’s another big statement. but I genuinely feel this way.
The 40mm drivers are responsible for a really good, punchy yet refined bass response. Cranking the volume up my ears really started to feel the boom. As I was predominantly connected to my iPhone I was unable to really crank these up and test them to the limit, but it was plenty loud enough for me.
To test the sound I listened to ‘The Allegory’ by Royce Da 59. A track called FUBU on that album has an awesome intro that’s perfect to test the treble, bass and midrange.
The track has a repeating pattern of snares and high hats which really hits those high end frequencies. I’m a big fan of loud treble and what’s surprising is that I found HD10BT’s treble slightly hollow and thought it could be emphasized a tad more in my opinion. It’s just missing that tiny bit of detail that could make all the difference.
The next test track was Role Model by Eminem. It has a pretty epic guitar, super heavy bass line and some hard hitting snares. It’s a classic ‘boom bap’ rap beat and it sounds fantastic! The bass really shines, I could almost feel it in my chest like when you’re at the front of a show next to the loudspeakers.
I wanted to see what something like Ludovico Einaudi’s Le Onde would sound like. I’m really impressed with the detailing and sense of positioning. It almost sounded like I was watching him in concert and I had front row, center seats.
The detailing, as mentioned is brilliant, I could hear each individual instrument in each of the test tracks. I really love when you listen to a track on a great pair of headphones and you’re able to identify a previously unheard part of a song! It would have gone unnoticed on inferior devices.
I feel like I should revisit some of my favorite albums with the PreSonus headphones to see what instruments and nuances I notice.
Built In Microphone
The built in microphone is really only any good for taking and making calls. You wouldn’t want to use these for streaming on Twitch or recording your voice. And, the good news is that PreSonus don’t pretend that the microphone is super high quality. They say:
‘A built-in microphone and basic call function even let you answer the phone without missing a beat.’
Overall Sound Quality
Overall I’m conflicted, I feel as if the the Eris HD10’s would benefit from some ever so slight tweaking with an EQ to give the high end a slight nudge to really elevate them above their competitors.
But, I really like the stock sound. Either way they are an absolute delight to listen to. The superb sound quality and flat response across the entire frequency range make them worthy of being your ‘go to’ headphones.
I haven’t forgotten to cover the active noise canceling feature, it’s further down the review!
PreSonus HD10BT Review Build & Design
I went in all guns blazing, I started the build quality test with the ‘twist test’ It’s one I’ve used on everything from phones and keyboards to headphones. The test really puts the materials used in the construction through their paces.
The PreSonus Eris HD10BT passed with flying colours, I almost made a complete loop by bending them as far as I could, it looked like a loop in a roller coaster! They immediately sprung back to their original shape though, which is a sign of a strong and flexible build.
It’s easy to see why, the all metal ‘skeleton’ gives the headphones it’s strength. They feel robust and strong, it gives me confidence that I won’t break them by accidentally dropping or sitting on them!
The earcups are packing enough foam to make them really comfortable. I wore them for almost 3.5 hours straight whilst re-factoring some really complicated application code.
One of the volume buttons did move ever so slightly but it didn’t bend inwards in a concave fashion when pressed with vigor, so I’m not worried they’ll break any time soon.
I didn’t suffer any major issues with comfort, one thing I did notice was because they are really well insulated, my ears were quite warm! Which in hindsight, isn’t really a complaint but a compliment. It’ll certainly help save on the heating bills too!
Despite weighing in at 340 grams they don’t seem weigh your head down. I certainly didn’t notice any discomfort after listening for any length of time.
The fit is quite tight which gives you a decent fit on your head, I wore these whilst walking the dog and the don’t budge, I wouldn’t use them for working out though, something like the Edifier TWS5 would be perfect for that.
Speaking of the tight fit, I do sometimes wear glasses. Wearing the headphones over the ‘arms’ of my glasses was a little uncomfortable at first but I got around that by adjusting the size by a couple of clicks.
Keep in mind by adjusting the fit though you may notice the noise cancelling not working as well as it should. The tighter the fit, the better the ANC seemed to be.
The 16 hour battery life is really good and I don’t think I’d miss the convenience of a charging case, as is now common with most wireless earbuds.
There are 3 buttons and one switch to contend with. They all feel well built, the ANC slide switch in particular gives a really satisfy ‘snap’ as it slides into place.
You’ll easily find the main controls on the right hand earcup due to a well placed tactile power/function button. It’s large enough to find by touch but small enough to not be an eyesore on the side of your head!
As these are Bluetooth headphones, the controls on the earcup give you the ability to answer or reject calls as well as redialing the last number that called you.
The volume controls can also be used to go back to the previous track or skip a track. To do this, just press and hold the + or – button and it’ll skip or go back a track.
On the left side of the headphones you’ll find the 3.5mm audio cable input, active noise canceling slide switch, and the USB charging port.
Being as deep inside the Apple eco-system as I am, the benchmark (I like to use) in Bluetooth connectivity is how fast the Apple Airpods connect once you flip open the charging case. It’s really quick and super user friendly.
The PreSonus HD10BT are even better than the Airpods at connecting to your smart phone.
Once I’d gone through the initial set-up which took approximately 15-20 seconds, I wanted to test how long it took to re-connect the Bluetooth after turning them off and on again.
Once I’d powered them back on, they re-connected to my phone in under 4 seconds. For comparison, the AirPods took just over 5 seconds.
You can also connect using the included 3.5mm cable. The cable length at 115cm feels a little restricted.
They are described as being for studio use as well but my lack of experience being in a studio doesn’t give me the credentials to comment on if the cable is long enough. You could always use a 3rd party 3.5mm cable, so it’s no big deal if you do need additional length.
You’ll find the Amazon Basics 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable should suit most needs. It’s over 200CM long and it’s less than £6 / $8. Hit the affiliate link here.
In terms of the design, they’re fairly typical and aren’t anything to write home about but they do look good. The all black finish matched with the chrome outlines on the earcups works perfectly. Black and chrome are a classic, timeless combination.
On the top of the headband you’ll find the stamped PreSonus branding which is out of the way and fairly subtle, which is nice. I don’t want to wear headphones out in public that scream ‘look at me’. It’s almost asking to be mugged!
The left earcup has a printed image of an audio wave, which stands out quite a bit but, somehow manages to seem understated. That seems like a bit of an oxymoron but I can’t figure our quite how to describe it so that’ll have to do.
Overall I really like the design. They aren’t marketed as a fashion accessory like Beats By Dre but they still hold their own. They aren’t ugly by any stretch of the imagination.
For the geeks and audiophiles, here’s a brief overview of the specification:
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Wired Connectivity 3.5mm or 6.35mm
- Active Noise Cancelling
- Closed back
- Over Ear Design
- Superior 40 mm drivers
- Inbuilt mic for calls
- 16 hours battery life
- 96 dB Sensitivity (±3 dB)
- Balanced frequency response (20Hz – 20kHz)
What’s In The Box
1 x Hard-shell Travel Case
1 x HD10BT ANC Headphones
1 x 3.5mm to 3.5mm Audio Cable
1 x USB to Micro USB Charging Cable
You’ll get everything you need to get started right away. The headphones I received were charged and ready to go!
My first experience with ANC was a fair few years ago, I think it’s probably around 4-5 years to be honest. I had just started a new job for an I.T company, one of the senior developers had a passion for technology, he’d just bought a pair JBL’s with ANC. I’d not heard of ANC before.
It’s an eerie feeling when flicking the ANC switch without any music playing. It’s almost as if your hearing is turned off. I don’t really have the words to describe the feeling but it’s one I’ll never forget.
To test the ANC capabilities of the PreSonus offering I was going to go outside to the local park. But it was raining, I’m not sure if these are water resistant and I certainly didn’t want to get wet! I had other plans, the home office would be the perfect place to test it.
I have two custom PC’s and a storage server in my home office. One is used as my day to day development machine and the second is used as a PLEX media server and web server. This means they have lots of fans inside, in the office I have a total of 15 cooling fans which can, when it gets warm be really loud.
My wife is also working from home at the minute. Her work laptop is nearly five years old and the cooling fan gets really loud at times.
The inbuilt active noise cancelling mode on these copes with it all! I stood right next to where my PC’s are stored I can’t hear any background noise at all. It’s only when I asked my wife to speak that you can hear anything. The ANC is really good and far better than that on the JBL’s I tried all those years ago.
I traveled to Dubai and India last year on business, I only wish I had a pair of these with me to drown out the background noise on the flights.
The ANC can be activated or deactivated by using the discreet sliding switch on the left ear cup. The green LED indicator light allows you to see if it’s on or off.
One thing that’s worth pointing out is that with ANC turned on it significantly enhanced the bass sound. It sounded fuller and deeper, enhancing the overall sound.
Benefits Of Noise Canceling Headphones
- Can increase productivity in work environments.
- Could help to reduce jet lag.
- Reduces sensory stimulation.
- Increases concentration.
- Reduced headaches (for me anyway).
PreSonus HD10BT Review Any Complaints?
Only one complaint and it’s tiny to be frank. I wanted to include it in my write up in the interest of openness and honesty. The issue isn’t with the headphones themselves but, with the 3.5mm cable that’s bundled with them. It’s a low quality, generic unbranded cable and that’s a little disappointing.
After using the cable for less than half an hour I noticed the ‘neck’ where the cable connects to one of the 3.5mm jacks had started to sag.
If anything, it’s a slight inconvenience and one that you shouldn’t lose any sleep over. I’m sure many of us have spare 3.5mm cables should the need to source a replacement be required.
How much & Where To Buy?
You’ll find the PreSonus Eris HD10BT on Amazon. At the time of this review they’re available for a bargain price of $99.00. They’re also available in the UK for £88.00
Hit the affiliate link here to check them out.
Summary And Verdict
It has to be 10/10 for the PreSonus HD10BT Review.
I did consider a 9.5 due to the cable quality issue but as I said above, it’s not a big problem. It mars the overall consumer experience ever so slightly but not enough to reduce my overall verdict.
These should be at the very top of your wishlist. They are well worth it in my opinion.
I also have a pair of active noise cancelling headphones to review by Edifier, everyone who reads my reviews will know how much of an Edifier fan I am. On paper at least they should give the PreSonus ones a run for their money. I’ll come back and add the link to that review once I’ve finished my testing.
You can find even more information about these headphones and other audio products over on the PreSonus website, just click here.
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CodeWithMike is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to www.amazon.com.
The headphones were sent to us to allow us to test and write our PreSonus HD10BT Review.