EPOS Adapt 660 AMC – Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team co-branded BT/ANC headphones (review)
Inspired by the race car, the EPOS Adapt 660 AMC sports the striking Aston Martin Racing Green. They sound and look superb. It is primarily for premium UC (unified communications), but it is also a damned good BT, ANC over-the-ear headphone.
Let’s get over the beautiful green trip – these are serious Bluetooth 5.0/Cabled, Hybrid Adaptive Noise Cancelling, over-the-ear headphones for both work and play.
At work, they flawlessly connect to UC solutions like Microsoft Teams and can use BT 5.0, the BTD 800 USB-A dongle or USB-A to micro-USB cable. These are one of the few devices that can charge and work simultaneously due to a high-performance USB Digital to Analogue (DAC) in the headset.
At play, they can go up to 20/30 hours (ANC on/off) with SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX Low Latency for use on Windows, Android, macOS and iOS devices delivering superb music quality. Again, you can listen and charge simultaneously – fabulous for long trips.
They use the Sennheiser PCX-550 II as a base. These are widely regarded as the best over-the-ear travellers headphones weighing just 227g – far lighter than most. EPOS then add UC and AI firmware for UC use, a purple Teams button, and advanced AI and machine learning to optimise voice pick up for a natural listening experience from four advanced MEMS microphones. All while using the superb Sennheiser sound signature – club, movie, speech, director-user defined pre-sets – for music pleasure.
EPOS Adapt 660 AMC
We use the terms FAIL, PASS and EXCEED against all review parameters for this type of device.
|From||Aston Martin ($879) or the Adapt 660 (same specs) from EPOS dealers|
|Country of origin||Designed in Denmark and made in China|
|Company||Sennheiser’s business segments Enterprise Solutions, and Gaming headsets are branded EPOS, under Demant. It caters to the Enterprise Solutions, Gaming, and Air Traffic Control segment, with a vast range of products with a contemporary design approach.|
|More||CyberShack EPOS/Sennheiser news and reviews|
First impression – sexy Aston Martin Green – Exceed
Disclaimer: I use the Sennheiser Momentum 3 for audiophile pleasure and the Sennheiser PXC550-II for travelling and entertainment audio. I know the Sennheiser sound signature well and the performance of both headsets – the latter is the EPOS Adapt 660 AMC base.These come in a half-moon flat, hard-sided, zippered fabric case that includes the BTD 800 BT dongle, a 1.2m USB-A to micro-USB cable and a 1.4m 3.5mm to 2.5mm audio cable. The headphones fold flat, so the case is about 19 x 18 x 5.5cm and will withstand the rigours of backpack travel.
EPOS AI – Exceed
This is the secret sauce that differentiates EPOS from its Sennheiser cousin – well, from all contenders.
- Machine learning identifies use, voice, and noise patterns. It can extract voice from other noises like ringing phones, chatter, traffic, barking dogs, etc.
- EPOS do the hard yards at its ound lab and release firmware updates.
- It also runs on the headset – AI at the edge. It can discriminate between your voice and the callers – both sides of the call.
We were able to test both the PXC-550 II and the EPOS ADAPT 660 AMC, and you can hear the difference in UC use. The ADAPT has several levels of more ‘quietness’ and better mic pickup. You can read more about EPOS AI technology.
ANC – Noise cancellation – exceed
EPOS anti-noise focuses on frequencies between 20-800Hz and volume – 60-65dB in an open office and 60-85dB on public transport or planes.
It can provide up to 30dB attenuation – excellent – with ANC on. Consider that a normal voice is about 60dB, a quiet library is 40dB and a diesel truck about 90dB. Each headphone has three ANC mics and one voice mic and is more than a match for the Sony WH-100XM4 or Bose QC45 when it comes to ANC.
But there is quite a lot more to this tech. Its noise cancelling is in three parts. It has both an external and internal mic or Hybrid ANC – a total of four ANC mics. Plus, it has 15–30 dB passive noise (over the ear cups) cancellation (at high frequencies), making it an excellent choice for open offices or when travelling for work on planes or trains.
There is also a transparency mode (double tap right earcup).
Use and comfort – Exceed
I use the PCX-550 II for travel. I have made several long haul 15-hour plus trips plus a regular train commute of about 1.5 hours. The ADAPT 660 ANC are the same – light at 227g, and the leatherette pads are deep and comfortable. The pads, closed-back cups, and headband ‘clamp’ weight provide the first layer of noise isolation. I have never experienced overly hot ears or discomfort.
The touch controls on the outside right ear cup are super easy to use. Swipe up to raise the volume, right to change songs, and tap it to play/pause. Double tap for your voice assistant of choice (if connected to a smartphone) or Alexa if not.
Gamers will appreciate the aptX Low Latency that should bring these to under
EPOS Connect – PASS
EPOS connect (Android) for the Adapt 660 refused to recognise the headphones. Looking at reader comments, this has been happening for months (EPOS support confirms it is working on the Android app). EPOS Connect for iOS does work and reveals a reasonable set of features:
- Noise cancellation slider 0-50% Adaptive Mode (also for Wind reduction) or 100% ANC on
- Acoustic Mode: Neutral, Speech, Club, Movie, Custom (Boost or recess bass, spatial, reverb etc.)
- Smart pause on/off (when you remove headphones)
- Call enhancement
- Sidetone percentage (hearing your voice while on a call)
- Audio Limiter
- BT Multipoint
Apart from ANC on/off/adaptive you need the App to change any other settings.
How do they sound? – Exceed
Windows users beware that Windows may install both an A2DP and HFP/HSP (handsfree) version – the latter is strictly for UC and boosts the voice frequencies and recesses bass and treble. So, if your music is ‘off’ go into Bluetooth and select the correct one for music.
Music is amazing with mid-bass starting at 47Hz and building strongly to 100Hz. It is then relatively flat 5kHz (good), dips to avoid treble harshness, and then is flat again to almost 20kHz. This neutral sound signature – a clean canvass – allows the EQ to boost or recess to the speaker’s native capacity.
While the neutral pre-set is fine for most music genres, you need to use the app (Android users cannot yet access it) to change pre-sets.
And do not underestimate the power of the custom pre-set. With a bit of experimentation, it can expand the sound stage, introduce reverb and switch on Dynamic Loudness Control to level erratic volume increases and decreases from different audio content.
Sound stage – Pass
Over-the-ear headphones have the advantage of a more expansive sound stage – even if it is just outside your head. These are closed-back (for Hybrid ANC), but you get quite an open, more expansive sound stage when playing Dolby Atmos content.
Call clarity – Exceed, even in noisy environments
Callers commented that my voice was loud and clear, with little to no background noise.
Battery – Exceed
EPOS claims 20/30 hours ANC on/off using Bluetooth. Our tests at 75% volume with ANC on/off saw 22/31 playtime. Charge 0-100 micro-USB is about 3 hours (and you can listen simultaneously). It supports fast charging: 10 minutes yields 90 minutes of playtime.
Note that it is 5V/2A maximum (USB 2.0) compatible – do not use a USB-C PD charger.
And do not forget that this is one of the very few that allows you to charge and listen simultaneously over BT, USB or 3.5mm.
A two-year warranty is suitable for a product that will stand up to commercial use. You can buy replacement earcups for $39 a pair, and a replacement 700mAh internal battery pack is $39. It is well-made and has long term support.
Competition – Exceed – up there with the best
There is no competition if you consider these a business UC product with AI voice and significant music benefits. The bonus is that it covers both work and play so well.
On the consumer front, they compete with Sony WH-1000XM4 and Bose QC45 (and Bose 700). And let’s not forget the Sennheiser PCX550-II that is on special for $299 at present.
CyberShack’s view – EPOS Adapt 660 AMC is for business and pleasure
We are extremely pleased that the EPOS Adapt 660 AMC has not departed from its PCX550-II roots that provide ultimate listening pleasure. The main changes are in the four mics (versus three) and the AI that drives clear voice and prioritises UC.
All Sennheiser products focus on music, so, you may hear things that you may never have heard before on your older headphones. It is that wonderful Sennheiser signature. But let’s not forget these are all about work (ha, ha!)
EPOS Adapt 660 AMC - Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team co-branded BT/ANC headphones$775 but shop around
- Sennheiser sound married with EPOS AI
- Durable and comfortable
- 20/30-hour battery life
- USB DAC for simultaneous charging and listening (few others have this)
- BTD 800 dongle supplied (although you do not need this)
- Still has a micro-USB connector
- If all you are after is excellent sound for your travels, the Sennheiser PCX550-II is all you need