Great noise-cancelling ear buds that don’t break the bank

OneSonic MXS-HD1 buds perform well across calls, podcasts and different musical genres

OneSonic MXS-HD1
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Price: €130
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OneSonic MXS-HD1 (€130)

There are plenty of ear buds available these days – and good ones at that. So why do the OneSonic MXS-HD1 merit a closer look?

Well, for a start, they are significantly cheaper than some of their rivals. Coming in at €130 for active noise-cancelling wireless ear buds makes them worthy of consideration alone. Then there is the fact that they are from an Irish company. Given that we have all been making an effort to support Irish businesses in the past few years, it ticks the “home grown” box.

But most of all they are worth serious consideration because they are actually good. Comfortable to wear for long periods of time, decent noise cancelling and good audio quality make the MXS-HD1 worthy of consideration if you are looking for a new set of ear buds.


The glossy black ear buds look nice too, coming in the standard pill-box charging case that can be powered up via a USB-C cable.

Power automatically turns on when you put them in your ear, and a friendly voice tells you whether they are connected or in pairing mode. Once you run through the initial connection procedure, they connect automatically to your phone, so there is very little effort here. It is all very smooth and quick to deal with.

Changeable tips

Comfortwise, the buds fit well. The silicon tips are changeable so you can get a good fit, and there is little sound leak that I noticed unless you are really trying to pick it up (and standing far closer than current social distancing guidelines recommend).

They don’t need an app to set up, which means you don’t get the customisation options of other brands but ask yourself if you’ve ever really used the app for rival headphones once set-up is complete. For most people the answer is no, so it’s no loss here.

The key thing though is how they sound. On this front, the OneSonic buds perform well. Sound quality is good, although some very bass-heavy tracks may sound a little light. In general, the buds performed well across podcasts and different genres of music. Unless you are very picky about your music, you’ll find little to criticise here.

Call quality is decent, with the person on the other end of the call coming through crystal clear and vice versa. I have struggled with this on other ear buds, as the placement of the mic can sometimes lead to muffled sound.

The touch controls are quite easy to use too, with volume controls split between the earbuds – volume up on one, volume down on the other – and a similar set-up for track selection. Playing and pausing tracks is a double tap on either bud, and ditto for accepting and rejecting calls.

Audio pause

You can also switch between the various noise-cancelling modes – on, off and ambient – by pressing and holding the touch panel for two seconds.

One minor gripe is that they don’t automatically pause audio when you take out an earbud. I’ve got so used to that feature that I frequently took them out and realised only 10 minutes or so later that the audio was still connected to the ear buds. The obvious answer to this is to remember to use the pause button or put the buds back into the box, but the feature is handy if you need to speak to someone quickly.

One thing to note is that the auto power-off function when you put them in the case will only work if the case has charge in it; if you run it down to nothing, it won’t work.

The buds will also turn off automatically if they don’t detect a bluetooth connection within 10 minutes, so they don’t needlessly run down the battery.

The good

Great performance and reasonably priced, the OneSonic buds are another great product from an Irish firm.

They also have decent battery life – five hours of listening time on a single charge, and up to 20 hours with a fully charged case.

Touch controls are easy to use and make sense, and don’t require a training session to pick up and remember.

The not so good

Because the price is low, you are going to lose a couple of features. Most notable is the lack of auto-pause when you remove an ear bud – though for some people that may be a plus point.

The rest

The ear buds are IPX4 certified, which means they will take a splash or two.

The verdict

Reasonable price and good quality, the OneSonic MXS-HD1 are a good choice for those who want active noise-cancelling ear buds that don’t break the bank.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist