When it comes to buying headphones, one principle that I tend to live buy is I’d rather buy a pair once and pay a little more instead of purchasing cheap models time and again.

I’m not an audiophile or someone with extremely discerning tastes, but I know a good pair of headphones when I see them — or hear them. I can appreciate the build quality and audio of a premium brand, but I also like to keep some money in my pocket when I can.

I recently had the chance to test out a pair of wireless headphones from a brand that I wasn’t too familiar with, Cleer Audio. The model I got to review were the Alpha, a pair of over-ear headphones with active noise cancellation.

Priced $220, I feel like these are a perfect happy middle ground. They have a full suite of features and excellent sound, but they come in about 1/3 of the cost that I expected. These are the type of headphones I can picture lasting me a number of years.

Cleer Audio ALPHA

  • Ambient mode
  • Qualcomm cVc 2 mic beamforming for crystal clear voice calls
  • Dirac Virtuo Spatial audio
  • patented 40mm Ironless Drivers
  • 35hr playback on single charge, 10min quick charge for 4 hours
  • Intuitive touch controls

My initial impressions were very favorable, thanks to quick pairing and a full-featured app. I appreciate that I have such levels of control over the audio aspect with options such as manual and preset EQ settings, Active Noise Cancellation, and Ambient Mode.

The headphones are very comfortable to wear, even in longer listening periods. The design is more clean and minimal than others I’ve tested and I like that they feel solid at the hinges and cups.

Controls are fairly intuitive and don’t take too long to figure out. You can certainly feel the response and clickiness whether adjusting volume, taking a call, skipping tracks.

I would describe the Cleer Audio ALPHA sound as being robust but not overly heavy on the low end. There’s nothing muddy whatsoever in the experience; all levels are equally represented and appear spaced apart nicely.

Battery life is rated at up to 35 hours which is more than two full weeks of typical listening for me. I only charge them out of habit as I’ve yet to be prompted that the battery level is low. Speaking of which, I like that just ten minutes on the USB Type-C charger is enough to provide four hours of listening.

Other notable features include wear detection for automatic pausing and playback, conversation mode, the ability to pair to multiple audio sources, and support for Qualcomm aptX Adaptive codec.

You can learn more about the ALPHA headphones at Cleer Audio’s website where you can also purchase them in two color options: Midnight Blue and Stone. They’re also available at Amazon where they’re currently listed at just $220.

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