The Phiaton Chord MS 530 Bluetooth headphones combine premium materials, Bluetooth 4.0 and Active Noise Cancellation in a single pair of high-end, stylish headphones you’ll want to wear for hours at a time. Comfortable and great-sounding, the Chord MS 530 headphones are also well-made and great-looking. At an MSRP of $349 they should impress. And, in a word, they do!
In the box you get:
- Chord MS 530 BTNC Headphones
- Microphone Cable
- USB Charging Cable
- Warranty Card
- Owner’s Guide
- Inflight Adapter (3.5mm Double Mono Jack)
There is a major “like” and a significant “dislike” that emerges from this list. I “like” the fact that, although these are Bluetooth headphones, they also allow you to use them in wired mode. That means the music doesn’t need to stop just because your battery runs down. It also means these can be used on a plane with their noise canceling function turned on but the Bluetooth turned off. On the other hand, I don’t love the fact that only a soft case is included with the Chord MS 530 headphones. These headphones are meant for travel. That’s why they have noise cancellation built into them. Headphones designed for travel deserve a hard, highly protective case. These don’t have one. A huge deal? No, but I would have preferred to see these cost $5 more and include something more substantial.
Let’s talk technology.
The Phiaton Chord MS 530 headphones employ Bluetooth 4.0. That means improved sound quality, greater range, and extended battery life. In addition, the inclusion of aptX increases digital streaming efficiency and improves overall dynamic range. It also means the headphones support “multipoint connection” that allows you to connect two devices at the same time. That’s great, if you want to switch between your smartphone and your tablet as the music source. The Phiaton Chord MS 530 headphones also include noise cancelation technology that cuts out up to 98% of ambient background noise. Most headphones we’ve reviewed have either Bluetooth OR noise cancellation, but few have both. But there is more. Dual-microphones combine to offer “Clear Voice Capture”. That’s a fancy way to reference the headphone’s ability to separate the voice of the person wearing the headphones and surrounding background noise. Add in echo cancellation and noise suppression technology, and the Phiaton Chord MS 530 headphones take their voice calling capabilities seriously.
Plush leather ear cups wrap gently around the ears in a manner that is surprisingly comfortable but also cuts out a good bit of outside noise even before the active noise cancellation is turned on. Behind them sit 40mm Titanium Drivers. As Phiaton explains, “By adding a coat of titanium to the driver unit, the sound quality is enhanced, with deep rich bass and added sonic presence.” It works… the headphones sound amazing. More on that in a bit.
So the Phiaton Chord MS 530 headphones offer both Bluetooth connectivity and active noise cancellation. That COULD result in headphones that offer abysmal battery life. It COULD, but it doesn’t. Yes, the Phiaton Chord MS 530 headphones get up to 30 Hours of Talk/Music time, or 18 Hours of Talk/Music time with the noise cancelation turned on. I would say that is pretty darn good for headphone packing as much technology as they do.
So what do I think of the Phiaton Chord MS 530 headphones? I am a huge fan! A huge fan! The build quality of the headphones is fantastic. High-quality materials are used in their construction, and they feel solid without being overly heavy. The metal, plastic and leather combine to create something that looks and feels high-end. That’s a good thing since these headphones are designed to be used at home, on the road and while traveling. Weak flimsy headphones have no place on a plane. These do.
The leather ear cups are surprisingly comfortable. That held true for both my wife Elana and myself and that is rarely the case. And, as previously mentioned, the soft leather of the ear cups doesn’t just make them comfortable but it also blocks a good bit out ambient sound.
The sound put out by the headphones is impressive. And that is true both with and without the active noise cancellation turned on. Perhaps more importantly, when listening to music through the Chord MS 530 headphones it doesn’t SEEM like you are listening to headphones. The music just surrounds you.
To handle the Bluetooth AND call AND Active noise cancellation Phiaton needed to include a number of buttons and controls. They are solid and well-designed, but they require a bit of time in order to learn which buttons are where. The power buttons sits on its own. The Noise Cancellation switch does as well. The Call buttons is textured and doubles as the pairing button. The multifunction button controls play/pause/track/volume. It was initially a bit confusing but, within a short time of using it, the approach became both easy and familiar. The USB charging port and 3.5mm audio jack are both hidden behind protective doors. Yes, it is a lot of different buttons and ports but it doesn’t disrupt the clean lines of the headphones.
All that’s the good. Here’s the less good. The noise cancellation works pretty well. They are good although they don’t quite match the noise cancellation offered by the Harman Kardon NC headphones we reviewed some months ago. My bigger issue is the fact that the Chord MS 530 headphones have a good amount of noise cancellation “white noise” when the circuitry is turned on and there is no music. (When the music is on this noise is not noticeable.) Honestly it is not a huge complaint – these are along my favorite headphones – but I would be remiss were I not to mention it.
In all, the Phiaton Chord MS 530 Bluetooth Headphones are an impressive offering from Phiaton. The pack in a ton of tech, are solidly built, are quite comfortable and sound great. The $349 price tag might appear a bit steep initially, but considering the fact that these are Bluetooth, noise canceling, and great simply as wired headphones, they are actually a decent value. And since you can get them for $50 less on Amazon, they can be had for just $299 in our Amazon Affiliate Store. Get them.
MSRP: $349 ($299 in our Amazon Affiliate Store)
What I Like: Solid build; Comfortable; Bluetooth AND active noise cancellation; Good to great battery life; Sound good
What Needs Improvement: Bluetooth “white noise” when music not playing; Cheap, soft bag when a hard case is called for
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample