Earlier this year I reviewed the Kygo A11/800 headphones and was impressed by their design and performance. Over the last couple of months, I’ve been testing another Kygo headset the Xenon.
For those not in the know, Kygo is a well-known Norwegian DJ who started producing his own collection of audio products and a complete line of fashion and accessories.
The overall look and feel of the Xenon headphones are understated until you turn them on. When you do, you’ll see an X on the side of each ear cup as it lights up. Thankfully, the light doesn’t pulse or glow and is dim enough not to be distracting. However, if you do find it annoying, you can turn them off by pressing the + and - buttons on the right ear cup simultaneously.
My review unit was the black version but they’re also available in white and stellar, an off white colour. I really like the design esthetic, which is clean with round ear cups. There’s a thin chrome line between the ear cup and the full circumference of the soft padding.
The Xenon headphones are nicely finished with a mix of quality plastics and metal. It feels strong and sturdy with lots of soft padding on the cups as well as the headband for an extremely comfortable fit. I’d go as far as saying, the Xenon’s are one of the most comfortable headphones I’ve used.
They’re not too heavy either which is especially impressive considering the 24-hour battery life from a single charge using Bluetooth with ANC off and up to 16 with ANC on. It takes up to two hours to fully charge the headphones from flat to 100%. The headband has just the right amount of pressure on my head and I never felt any pain from long listening sessions.
The rubber buttons for on/off and volume up and down are very close together and I nearly always had to feel them to find the correct button as they’re almost indistinguishable from each other. The ambient noise cancelling slide switch is above the other buttons and it has an LED light to indicate when it’s on. Strangely, even when you power off the headphones, the ANC light will stay on.
There’s also a 3.5mm jack for a wired connection which works even if the Xenons are out of battery. Charging is via a USB-C connection using the cable supplied but you’ll need your own power adaptor.
The power button doubles as a multi-function button since it’s used to answer/cancel calls, pause/play, and enable pairing mode.
The Xenons are not as fully featured as the A11/800s so they're not compatible with the Kygo companion app, they don’t have an ambient mode or touch controls and they won’t pause your music when you take them off. However, they do everything well and with less fuss.
The Active Noise Cancelling works well with the simple slide of the switch. This is partly assisted by the passive noise isolation you get from the tight seal on the ear cups. The ANC isn’t as good as say Sony’s 1000XM3, which is the gold standard, but they still do a decent job of reducing the ambient noise around you in most scenarios. The lack of an ambient mode means they’re not a good choice to wear walking on a street for safety reasons. However, you can choose to turn off ANC and you will still hear most sounds around you as long as you don’t have your music up too loud.
You can have two devices connected at once thanks to Bluetooth 5.0. Audio codec support includes SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX-Low Latency.
Sound Quality The Xenons have a wide soundstage that produces a balanced sound overall. The bass isn’t overpowering but also not as powerful as some in this price range. There’s a nice clarity to the sound that I like and I feel they favour a broader range of genres of music than cans like Beats which are tuned for a particular genre of music.
I can hear a lot of similarities to the more expensive Kygo A11/800s, but I actually prefer the slight nuanced differences in the Xenons.
In particular, I really liked using them to watch movies thanks to the wide soundstage, comfort and I didn’t see any lip-sync issues either.
The Xenons also worked well for taking audio calls or for online chat calls. I was able to hear myself clearly and others had no problem hearing me either.
There’s a lot to like about the Kygo Xenon’s. They look great, perform well and have excellent battery life with solid Bluetooth connectivity and audio support.
Available now from www.xbykygo.com for €200.
5.0 Talk time: 25 hours Standby time: 180 hours Playing time: BT+LED: 14 hours Playing time: BT+LED+ANC: 12 hours Playing time: BT: 24 hours Playing time: BT+ANC: 16 hours Wireless range: 10m Bluetooth profiles: A2DP/AVRCP/HSP/HFP Audio codec: SBC/AAC/AptX/AptX-LL Impedance: 32±15%Ω Sound pressure level: 110 98±3dB Frequency response (±3dB): 15/20Hz - 22/20kHz Weight: 320 g Dimensions: 190 x 76x90mm