Two months ago, the upstart brand SHIVR introduced their first 3D wireless noise-cancelling headset to a select number of audio reviewers. We were most fortunate to receive a pair. The NC18 boasts active noise-cancelling, spatial audio technology, and a built-in gyroscope. Engineered with closed-back dynamic 40 mm drivers, these over-ear headphones are designed to deliver varying types of audio reproduction. Want to know if they hit the mark? Without further delay, let’s take a closer look in this SHIVR 3D Wireless NC18 Headset review.
• Comfortable fit & sharp design
• Solid construction yet flexible
• ANC & spatial audio
• Battery life of up to 20 hours
• Wear detection
• 40 mm drivers
• No wall outlet plug included
• Missing airline adapter
• No audio alerts when switching ANC or 3D sound on/off
• Currently only one style available
SHIVR 3D Wireless NC18 Headset Review
Per the press release, “A next-generation, noise canceling 3D audio headphone had been created by us, with the idea of reinventing how sound is experienced. One will be able to savor the stunning feeling that he has never had before. We really think you don’t want to miss this. It will be a WOW, we promise.”
Here’s What You Need To Know for Operation
- To pair the headphone to your mobile device, slide the power switch to the ON position. The time this takes varies based on your device. A blue light will flash in a particular order. Then head to the Bluetooth Settings on your mobile device and pair to NC18.
- Volume up and down is controlled by pressing the volume control to the + or – position.
- The Play/Pause Button controls all music such as playing, pausing, forward and previous track, and telephone operations such as answering, ending, and rejecting calls.
- When receiving or ending a call, a quick tap handles this; a 2-3 seconds tap rejects it. One tap also controls playing and pausing of music. A quick (and I do mean quick) double tap forwards one track. A quick triple tap goes to the previous track.
- Playtime lasts for 20 hours. Charging the headset takes approximately 2 hours. A blinking red light will show when the battery is low, as will a voice prompt. Charging the battery will prompt a red light while a fully charged battery will light green.
Design and Features
The outer headband surface, as well as the ear pads, are made from a “skin-friendly protein leather.” Regardless, they’re very soft and comfortable. The quality of the workmanship is quite good.
Both the headband and ear pads contain some form of memory foam, so every time you remove the headset, they’ll return to their designed state.
Determining which side is left or right is straight-forward. Unlike some headsets, the “L” & “R” designations on the inside are large enough to read. Cups can rotate 90° degrees in and roughly 10° out, plus there are hinges to reduce the space need to fit into the hard carrying case.
The headband can fit a wide range of head frames with its nine adjustable positions. My head fits well within three open notches. Button and switch placement is handled very well; never did I forget the location of anything. As it stands, the tap controller, the volume controller, and the USB-C charging port are on the right, while the ON/OFF switch, the MFC button, and the audio cable port are on the right. Overall, the construction is well done and assures high quality.
The headphones come with four Bluetooth Codecs: aptX™, aptX™ low latency, AAC, SBC.
Included in the packaging is a hard carrying case which is fabric-lined. There’s also a charging cable, an audio cable, a user manual, stickers, and a button.
The SHIVR 3D Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headset is currently available in one color. Should an additional color be introduced, this post will be updated.
• Driver Type: 40 mm Closed-Back Dynamic
• Impedance: 32 Ω
• Headphone Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
• Noise-Cancelling Width: 50 Hz – 1 kHz
• Microphone Type: Omni-Directional
• Bluetooth Codecs: aptX™, aptX™ low latency, AAC, SBC
• Music Play Time: 20 Hours
• Charging Time: 2 Hours
• Range: 48 Feet (15 Meters) direct line of sight
• Operating Temperature: -10°C – 50°C
• Bluetooth Version: 4.2
Amazon Music Playlist
• Lana Del Rey – Paradise
• My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade
I repeat this time after time again when reviewing speakers and headphones; the most critical factor is the quality of sound. These over-ear SHIVR headphones were tested across a broad range of music using the playlist listed above. When you’re testing headphones with 40 mm drivers, you expect them to deliver detailed audio reproduction.
The quality of vocal and instrumental reproduction (guitars, keyboards, drums, etc.) was impressive up to the 70-75% volume level. Once the volume got beyond this point, the audio reproduction wasn’t to my liking. I don’t like blistering audio regardless as I have tinnitus and value my ears.
Bass audio reproduction is the strong point of the SHIVR NC18. I’m amazed at how well I can hear the bass drum every time it’s struck.
Vocals come out smooth and full of life. The vocal reproduction of Ellie Goulding and Emily Sande sounded terrific. After having played albums from the artists listed above, I can report that this headset met my expectations.
When it came to the active noise cancelling, I wasn’t blown away or disappointed. The ANC on the NC18 was par for the course. After using the Libratone Q Adapt on-ear headphones (specifically for its ANC) for 2+ years, I find it difficult to switch.
The motion tracker/spatial audio technology is a most interesting feature within the SHIVR NC18 headset. For those that haven’t tried this technology before imagine moving your head left to right or from up to down. One doesn’t need to be sitting either; most of us wear headphones on the go. So as we walk and turn our heads, the audio shifts to reflect our head movement.
I enjoyed this feature much of the time when it came to the playing of music, but not always. Paradise from Lana Del Rey and The Black Parade from My Chemical Romance were a trip to listen to. Jazz from the likes of John Coltrane are well suited to this technology. On the flip side, El Camino from indie rock band The Black Keys wasn’t an improvement for me.
Each listener will take away a slightly different experience with this tech.
A Few Things I Noticed
Now, I wouldn’t be much of a reviewer if I didn’t find a fault or two with SHIVR headset. The feature I disliked the most and needs improvement is the microphone. On the few occasions when I took a wireless call while wearing the headset, the recipient I was speaking with stated that I sounded like I was talking with a cloth over my mouth; a bit muffled. The words were clear enough to comprehend, but the lower frequencies in my voice were a bit too high. On my end, I could hear the people I was speaking with quite well. When the call was completed, the music I had been listening to kicked back on.
Another unusual thing occurred when I was unable to forward or go to a previous track on a particular track from one of the albums listed above. It was bizarre, and this never occurred with any other album. I think it’s safe to say that this is an issue with the MP3 audio, not the headset.
Extended use does create some perspiration on the earpads, but this should be expected in hot and humid conditions. So long as leather or leather-like materials are used for the earpads, this issue will persist.
The feature-rich SHIVR 3D wireless NC18 headphones performed quite well. The production of vocals and solid bass up to the 70-75% volume setting was music to my ears.
These headphones are amazingly comfortable after many hours of continuous use. At $169.99, the NC18 headset is well priced in the marketplace. If you have the opportunity to demo this headset, I believe you’ll enjoy it as much as I have, and continue to do so.
What do you think of this SHIVR 3D Wireless NC18 Headset review? Do you agree or disagree with our verdict? Let us know in the comment section below or via social media. We’re eager to hear your thoughts.
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Don’t hesitate to head over to the SHIVR website to see their latest announcements. The NC18 3D wireless over-ear headset comes with a one-year limited warranty. “SHIVR products are warranted against defects in materials and craftsmanship for a period of one year from the date of original retail purchase.”
FTC Disclosure: SHIVR provided Beantown with one (1) NC18 headset sample for review purposes. This writer’s opinion is 100% his own and not a paid product ambassador.
All photographs are the copyrighted property of Beantown LLC © 2019.