What Natural Lakes are in Texas?

Texas, the second-largest state in the United States, has rivers, lakes, lowlands, and mountains. Although Texas is generally fairly hot and humid, especially in the summer, it also boasts a wide range of temperatures. Texas may be known for its hot weather, which goes well with its world-famous barbecue, but it also has many freshwater lakes, which can be incredibly refreshing, especially given the hot weather.

Texas is home to many natural and artificial lakes, which provide numerous chances for freshwater fishing and lakeside holidays. These lakes range from a few hundred hectares to more than 100,000 acres. Texas may be home to numerous lakes, yet almost all these bodies of water are man-made or artificial. So, are there any natural lakes in Texas? If so, how many are they? Below, we will explore how many natural lakes the Lone Star State is home to and why the state has more artificial reservoirs than natural ones.

How Many Natural Lakes are in Texas?

Caddo Lake Texas
Caddo Lake is the largest natural lake in Texas.

Texas is home to over 7,000 lakes, but only one of them is considered natural. Bizarre, isn’t it? Texas has more than 7,000 lakes, most in the state’s central and eastern regions, and many are close to Dallas. Apparently, there aren’t many natural lakes in the state. The only natural lake in the state is Caddo Lake in East Texas, created by a log jam put in place in the early 20th century. But is the second-largest state in the nation really home to just one naturally occurring lake?

The fact that Texas has just one natural lake is widely known among Texans. It’s called Caddo Lake, located in East Texas, on the border between Texas and Louisiana. Caddo, however, is merely Texas’ largest natural lake. There are several others, although the majority are so small that it is debatable whether they should be considered lakes, ponds, or swamps. Moreover, it’s unlikely that you’ve heard of them because virtually every lake you’ve heard of is artificial. This incorporates more than 200 more reservoirs around Texas, such as Lake Livingston, Lake Texoma, and Lake Houston. Most of the state’s remaining lakes were constructed in reaction to Texas’ occasional tendency for its normally calm rivers to flood amid heavy rains.

Natural Lake in Texas: Caddo Lake

Caddo Lake
Caddo Lake has a size of 25,400 acres.

Victoria Ditkovsky/Shutterstock.com

A lake and bayou called Caddo Lake separate Texas from Louisiana. It has a size of 25,400 acres or 39.7 square miles, ranking it among both states’ largest lakes. Up to the 19th century, the lake served as a settlement for the Caddoans, a Southeastern Native American tribe. The swamp surrounding the lake contains one of the largest flooded cypress trees in the United States, adding to its allure and is the reason it is a conservation area on a global scale. 

However, according to experts, Caddo Lake is more of a swamp. Because of artificial dams, it is gradually transforming into a lake; technically speaking, it is no longer entirely natural.

Despite being the only recognized natural lake in Texas, Caddo Lake is both a natural reservoir and a man-made lake. It was created hundreds of years ago due to the Red River becoming blocked by debris. An artificial dam was built to safeguard the lake that people had previously been residing next to for millennia when the federal government removed the stopper, known as the Red River Raft, in the late 19th century.

What Animals Live in Caddo Lake?

In addition to hosting owls, eagles, frogs, river otters, beavers, bobcats, snakes, and alligators, Caddo Lake is now an internationally protected wetland. It also features over 70 different types of fish, making it a well-liked fishing location. You can go canoeing among groves of moss-covered cypress trees on this lake in northeast Texas while fishing for bass, catfish, and crappie. But you can’t swim in the lake since it is one of the most alligator-infested lakes in the country.

How Was Caddo Lake Formed?

Caddo Lake Louisiana
Caddo Lake, located in northwestern Louisiana on the Texas border, is known for excellent fishing.

iStock.com/westtexasfish

Most geologists believe that the “Great Raft,” a 100-mile (160-km) log jam on the Red River in Louisiana, produced Caddo Lake, either gradually or catastrophically, potentially drowning the pre-existing low-lying basin. As Captain Henry Miller Shreve and the Army Corps of Engineers gradually cleared the log jams in the lake and on the Red River, the lake gradually altered shape and eventually dropped over 10 feet, wiping out the East Texas ports and their riverboat industry.

The discovery of oil beneath Caddo Lake brought the industry back to the area. The first over-the-water oil platform in history was finished at Caddo Lake in 1911.

In 1913 and 1914, an ecologist surveyed Caddo Lake and hypothesized that the lake originated between 1770 and 1780 based on an analysis of the cross sections of bald cypress and hardwood trees as well as numerous dead stumps.

Why Are There So Many Man-Made Lakes in Texas?

Devastating floods that claimed lives and destroyed homes and cattle are frequently mentioned in early records of Texas, especially near the Brazos. Officials started constructing dams along Texas rivers in the 1930s and 1940s to establish flood control lakes that would soak up floodwaters and lessen havoc and casualties. As per the Texas Water Development Board, 187 man-made water supply reservoirs greater than 5,000 acres in the state remarkably resemble natural lakes.

The US Army Corps of Engineers was entrusted with creating several additional reservoirs for flood control over the following decades as the demand for such flood control projects built up in the 1950s. Coincidentally, Texas’ worst drought occurred in the 1950s, making water supply a second priority for these reservoirs.

In addition to lakes and reservoirs, the state has playas and resacas in its watery repertoire. A reservoir is created by damming a river. In contrast, resacas are tiny lakes produced naturally at horseshoe bends in rivers that were left as independent water bodies when the river changed course. The size of a playa can vary from 15 acres to 800 acres. Despite Texas’ limited natural lake resources, many other bodies of water resemble lakes.

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Army veteran receives life sentence for role in rapper’s killing

A 27-year-old Army veteran was sentenced on Thursday to life in prison with the possibility of parole for his role in the fatal shooting and robbery of a Las Vegas-area rapper in 2019.

“You are robbing and killing the very citizens that you swore and fought to protect,” District Judge Jacqueline Bluth said during Angell Fernandez’s sentencing hearing. “And that is just so hard for me to wrap my head around, with all of these good qualities that you have.”

Angell Fernandez was convicted of first-degree murder in the home invasion killing of a Las Vegas-area rapper. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal/TNS)

In May, a jury convicted Fernandez of first-degree murder, attempted murder, battery, burglary, multiple robbery counts and a weapons charge, but it was deadlocked when trying to decide whether Fernandez should receive a life sentence.

He will be eligible for parole after 31 years under the sentence imposed by Bluth on Thursday. The judge also ordered him to pay $11,164 in restitution.

Fernandez was one of three men arrested in connection with the death of 40-year-old Ronnie Cravens Jr., a rapper known as Succeed Phlyguy. Prosecutors have said Fernandez planned the home invasion and robbery at the Henderson home where Cravens lived with his roommates.

Angell Fernandez was convicted of first-degree murder in the home invasion killing of a Las Vegas-area rapper. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal/TNS)

On Thursday, Bluth said she agreed with the argument that Fernandez was the “mastermind” behind the robbery.

Two masked men, including Fernandez, broke into the home on Oct. 12, 2019, and Fernandez was linked to a firearm shot 12 times during the ensuing gunfight, prosecutors have said. One roommate was shot in the leg, while Cravens died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Prosecutors have said Fernandez was linked to the killing through pizza deliveries sent to Cravens’ home in the days prior to the shooting. The deliveries were made to conduct surveillance on the house.

Defense attorney Dan Winder said Thursday that Fernandez’s co-defendant, 40-year-old Wahid Briley, was the robber who is accused of fatally injuring Cravens.

Angell Fernandez was convicted of first-degree murder in the home invasion killing of a Las Vegas-area rapper. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal/TNS)

Briley is scheduled to go to trial in January. A third suspect in the case, 30-year-old Michael Mosley, was sentenced in April to between 12 and 30 years in prison for his role in the robbery and shooting.

Winder said that there was not enough evidence to prove that Fernandez planned the robbery. Following the hearing, Winder said he plans to appeal Fernandez’s conviction and sentence.

During the penalty phase of Fernandez’s trial, defense attorneys argued that he had been abused as a child but grew up to be a straight-A student before joining the Army.

Bluth acknowledged Fernandez’s “horrific childhood.”

“But you are such an enigma in so many different ways,” she said. “You have the capacity to do such good … but then you use all those good things in bad ways.”

Cravens’ daughter, Kayleigh Evans, told the judge that she longs to hear her father’s laugh and see his smile again. She said Cravens was days away from signing with a record label when he was killed.

“All he wanted to do was to be able to make it in this world,” Evans said. “He wanted to be somebody, wanted his name remembered.”

___

© 2022 Las Vegas Review-Journal

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Nigeria: FG Threatens to Sanction Chinese Firm Over Slow Pace of Rail Project

The federal government has threatened to mete out a stiff sanction to the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) over the firm’s alleged failure to provide 85 per cent counterpart fund for the the rail project in some parts of the country.

The Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, decried the slow pace of work in the Kanu-Kaduna and Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail lines.

Sambo gave the warning on Saturday while briefing journalists in Lagos at the end of a tour of the Lekki Deep Seaport to ascertain the level of work done so far.

Sambo, who frowned at the attitude of the Chinese firm, said two years after the agreement was signed, CCECC had not provided any of its 85 per cent counterpart fund for the rail project.

According to him, the agreement stipulates that CCECC is to provide 85 per cent of the project cost while the federal government provides the remaining 15 per cent.

He said, “I have given them till October 2022 to fulfill their own part of the agreement or stiff sanction would be meted out to them.

“How could it be said that two years after the agreement was signed, CCECC is yet to provide a dollar?”

Recall that former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had in March accused the firm of playing politics with the Kanu-Kaduna rail project, urging the contractor to provide funding for the project.

Amaechi had said, “The pace is extremely slow, the equipments are supposed to be 2,000 plus, but what they (CCECC) have brought so far is 541, they claim that 300 and something equipment are in Kaduna. I will send people to check. Even if you add that all together, you will have 800 and something equipment in place of 2,000 equipment that they are supposed to bring. That means something is wrong somewhere.

“I know they (CCECC) claim that there is no money, that we have not funded them. But what of their responsibility in the contract that they will look for the money?

“CCECC has not brought money, the Chinese are no longer giving us money for more than three to four years now. So CCECC can’t afford to delay in their responsibility to look for money for the project. That is what the Chinese must do.”

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Several killed in Egyptian church fire: Health ministry | News

BREAKING,

Sources told Reuters news agency stampede caused by electrical fire after 5,000 worshippers gathered in Giza, Cairo.

Egypt’s health ministry has said “several” people have been killed in a fire at a church in the city of Giza, near Cairo.

Egypt’s Coptic church, citing the health ministry, said 41 people were killed and 55 were injured in the fire on Sunday at the Abu Sifin coptic church in the Imbaba neighborhood.

Two security sources told Reuters news agency an electrical fire broke out as 5,000 worshippers gathered for mass, causing a stampede.

Fifteen firefighting vehicles were dispatched to the scene to put out the flames while ambulances ferried the casualties to nearby hospitals.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi spoke by phone with the Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II to offer his condolences, the president’s office said.

More to follow.

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Cameron Smith has claret jug and now eyes No. 1 in the world

MONTREAL: Hubert Hurkacz shrugged off a slow start to upset fourth seed Casper Ruud on Saturday and book a title clash with Pablo Carreno Busta at the ATP Montreal Masters.

Poland’s eighth-seeded Hurkacz needed two hours to claim a 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 victory over his Norwegian opponent, who had dropped just one set all week.

But his workload was minor compared to that of unseeded Spaniard Carreno Busta, who needed three hours to hold off Briton Daniel Evans 7-5, 6-7 (7/9), 6-2.

Carreno Busta had a match point in the second set tiebreaker but couldn’t close out victory for another 50 minutes, finally sprinting away as he won the last dozen points of the match.

Evans sent over his sixth double fault of a long evening to surrender the contest.

Carreno Busta reached his first Masters final, where he’ll be vying to become the first unseeded Canadian champion since Argentina’s Guillermo Canas in 2002.

The last player ranked outside the top eight to win the Canadian crown was Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2014, when the men played in Toronto.

This year, Ruud was the highest-seeded player to make it to the semifinals, after world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev, second seeded Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz and third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece all fell in the second round.

Carreno Busta fired 45 winners, but said he was pleased to get through despite not playing his best tennis.

“It’s important to win these kind of matches, I’m so happy to be in the final,” he said.

“Suddenly this week, my level has been unbelievable.”

Against Ruud, Hurkacz finished with 47 winners — including 18 aces — and 19 unforced errors, advancing on his second match point.

“I was just trying to stay in the match, he was better for the first set and a half,” Hurkacz said. “I just had to hold on and fight.”

Hurkacz has gone to three sets in each of his matches this week, but said he wasn’t feeling any physical toll.

“I feel good, I have energy,” he said. “So far so good,” he said.

Ruud and Hurkacz traded early breaks, but the Norwegian gained the edge in the first set, winning it on another break of serve.

He then inflicted further punishment by breaking Hurkacz to love in the opening game of the second as he tried to set a tone for the remainder of the match.

But Hurkacz struck back with an immediate break and carried on to level the match at a set apiece.

Hurkacz got away quickly in the deciding set, grabbing a 4-1 lead with two quick breaks of serve before closing out the comeback triumph.

He avenged a loss to Ruud in the fourth round at Roland Garros two months ago.

“I was just staying aggressive, searching for opportunities, just trying to take every single chance to get ahead in the rally and make him uncomfortable,” Hurkacz said.

Hurkacz has won his first five ATP finals — including the Miami Masters in April — and is keen to carry on with his string of victories.

“I just try to compete as hard as I can, be as well-prepared (as possible)

“I was fortunate to win the first few finals. But tomorrow is a new match. It’s going to be a very tricky one.”

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Why carp, one of Australia’s worst introduced pests, could be a great budget-friendly fish

Just a fraction of the 5,000 seafood species make it from the ocean to dinner plates, but experts say broadening our nets could help seafood sustainability while keeping the weekly food budget in check. 

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
Is it time for our fish-and-chip menus to change?

New South Wales Department of Primary Industries senior fisheries manager Luke Pearce told ABC Radio Melbourne that while carp had a bad name, the fish could find some love in the kitchen.

Carp are one of the worst introduced pests in Australia and have negative impacts on water quality and biodiversity, according to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

“They have such a negative impact on our environment and they’ve just caused such huge problems in our river system,” Mr Pearce said. 

A swap of carp in brown water swimming.
The more carp taken out of waterways the better, according to senior fisheries manager Luke Pearce.(ABC Rural)

There was also a notion that carp made bad eating and that put people off.

“I was of the opinion for a long time but I’ve convinced a lot of people over my time to taste them,” Mr Pearce said. 

“But there are a few things you’ve got to do first.” 

Plating up a pest

While Mr Pearce said carp could survive in some pretty unappealing environments, like in the water at a sewerage treatment plant, a good rule of thumb was that if you’d eat any other fish from the water source, carp would also be safe to consume. 

Dead carp falling out of a crate
A national control plan is being developed for carp.(Landline: Kerry Staight)

“So if you’d eat a trout or a golden perch or a cod from the same waterway, then a carp would be fine to eat from it,” he said. 

Mr Pearce said tackling the fish’s flavour was also something to keep in mind. 

When under stress, carp produce histamines which create an odour and its distinctive muddy taste. 

“The quicker you can get that fish on ice, the less likely the muddy taste will be present,” he said. 

Slippery mucus on the fish’s body also tarnished carp’s eating reputation, but Mr Pearce said the solution was skinning.

“Once you skin your fish, that mucus is gone and you’ve got a really nice clean, fresh and tasty fillet of fish that you can do a bunch of things with,” he said. 

Cook vs cull 

A $15.2 million carp control plan is being developed with the aim of slashing numbers of the invasive species using a herpes virus, but Mr Pearce said there was still a push for people to see the fish as a protein alternative. 

“Carp are being turned into fertiliser … but they’re consuming all these resources that take away from our native fish and the more we can take out the better,” he said. 

How about eels?

Co-founder of the Lake Bolac Eel Festival Neil Murray lives on Jupagalk Country in south-west Victoria and has been participating in an annual eel harvest for almost two decades.

Mr Murry said First Nations people would gather in the late summer at Lake Bolac as the eels began their annual migration to the sea to spawn, known as kuyang season. 

“The eel was the most-favoured fish by First Nations people,” he said. 

“It’s highly nutritious, very abundant and it’s easy to catch.” 

Raw eel on a plat
Eel is still largely exported overseas.(ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)

Mr Murry said while the industry was still fairly lucrative, most of the catch was frozen for export. 

“I just prefer it freshly grilled over coals and I usually cut it into sections about four-inches long and let the oil drip out of it,” he said. 

“I think initially a lot of people were put off it because it’s a slimy, squirmy thing that looks like a snake, but when you’re brought up in the area like I was, it was a part of our diet.”

Different not more

University of Melbourne marine and fisheries ecologist John Ford said of the species that fishers caught, only a few made it to the retail giants.

“The fish you see on the supermarket shelves, the ones that are already in demand, are only going to get more expensive,” Dr Ford said.

“The ocean can’t give us any more fish than it is right now and as the population grows, the demand grows.”

Dr Ford said that meant looking at eating lower-quality products, like fish meal, a product made from wild-caught fish and by-products.

But he said there was one major reason lesser-known products weren’t at the shops.

“We don’t know how to cook them, and that’s the real challenge,” he said.

Big pieces of Norwegian salmon are stacked on top of each other in a fridge at a supermarket.
It would need to be profitable for supermarkets to stock alternative seafood.(Flickr: BakiOguz)

Consumers would have to feel comfortable cooking an unfamiliar product.

“It requires someone to be bold and put these products on the shelf and to educate people,” Dr Ford said.

He said while Australia’s supermarket duopoly would make a shake-up a challenge, future collaboration with peak fishing bodies could shore up seafood’s future.

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Let’s talk about royal titles

Who has one? Who doesn’t? When do royals get them and why? And, of course, why do some give them up or lose them? Questions like these crop up all the time, and frankly, given all the tradition and historical context involved, we don’t blame you if it gets a bit confusing.

Obviously, heading up the British monarchy you have the sovereign, and when you address them, it’s “His” or “Her Majesty.” Beyond that, most titles are a gift of the monarch.

With a monarch’s children, there are automatic titles in play. The eldest son always becomes the Duke of Cornwall. He is also traditionally granted the title of Prince of Wales — a role in which Charles was invested in 1969.

Beyond the first-born son, all children and grandchildren of the monarch are born a prince or princess.

It’s worth noting here that royal parents can decline the gift of a title, which the Queen’s daughter, Anne, chose to do for her children. Additionally, royal parents may want their offspring to follow similar styling to themselves. So, in the case of the Queen’s youngest son, Edward, Earl of Wessex, and his wife, Sophie, their children are styled as those of an Earl and are called Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

Great-grandchildren only get the coveted title if they are direct heirs to the throne, like the Cambridges’ eldest, Prince George.

But wait, don’t his siblings have titles, too? You’re quite right — but it’s worth noting that the Queen made special exceptions for them to have equal titles, rather than it being standard for all the Cambridge kids. It’s for this reason that the Sussexes’ two children, Archie and Lilibet, aren’t prince or princess yet. However, that will change once Charles, their grandfather, becomes king.

You’ll also have noticed that senior members of the family are often referred to as “HRH” or “His” or “Her Royal Highness.” With an HRH comes the expectation that you will perform duties on behalf of the monarch. Nevertheless, there are a few members of the family who hold HRHs but don’t represent the Queen, like Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice.

And, of course, there have been instances when a royal has been asked to stop using the honorific, as was the case with Prince Andrew earlier this year, or they choose to give theirs up, as with the Sussexes. It doesn’t mean that Andrew and Harry are no longer princes — that label is still their birthright — and they are still in the line of succession. There are also fairly recent examples of the title being stripped away — think of Diana, Princess of Wales, Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York, or Edward VIII following his abdication.

Spouses of princes also usually get courtesy titles. So, when Harry wed Meghan Markle in 2018, she became Princess Henry of Wales — though she rarely goes by this, opting for her gifted title of the Duchess of Sussex instead.

If you’ve got all that down, let’s move on to the peerage system. This dates from medieval times and was designed to ensure the monarch was surrounded by a stable group of nobles to assist in governing the kingdom. The most exclusive rank is that of a duke, followed by marquess, earl, viscount and, finally, baron. These can be gifted to anyone — royal or non-royal subjects.

If the precedence of peerages weren’t baffling enough, it’s further complicated by the fact that an individual can hold multiple peerages of differing ranks. Wives of peers also receive courtesy titles, but husbands generally don’t.

Titles are, for the most part, seen as ceremonial. But there are still hereditary ones — duke or baron — that can give you the chance to sit in the House of Lords, one of two of the houses of the British Parliament, and to vote on laws. As royals are supposed to be politically independent, they don’t take any seats themselves.

Then, lastly, there are knighthoods, which are bestowed by the monarch for exceptional achievement and are handed out on the advice of the government. Men who are knighted are called “Sir” and women are known as “Dame.” Other non-hereditary awards that can be handed out by the monarch include Commander, Officer or Member of the Order of the British Empire (more recognizably known as CBE, OBE or MBE). The sovereign can also choose to confer a British Empire Medal or invest an individual into the orders of the Garter or Thistle.

Phew, ok, that wraps up our overview of the intricate titles systems in play. It’s a complicated arrangement rooted in centuries of tradition. There are some who think it’s outdated and perpetuates the British class system. But whatever your perspective, it doesn’t look likely to change any time soon.

WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING?

Queen welcomed to Balmoral in private.

The 96-year-old monarch was welcomed to Balmoral Castle in Scotland by a guard of honor on Tuesday, but the event was held privately. The event was adapted for the Queen’s “comfort,” the palace told CNN. Traditionally, the monarch inspects a military unit at the property’s gates to mark her return to the residence. Britain’s PA Media news agency reports that the Queen traveled to Scotland in late July but was understood to have been staying elsewhere on the estate before moving to her main Balmoral retreat this week. The Queen is often joined by family members over the summer at her Scottish residence, but she is expected to break her vacation in September to briefly travel back down to England for audiences with the outgoing Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and his successor.

File photograph of the Royal Standard flying from the turrets of Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

Prince Edward closes Commonwealth Games with message of hope.

The Earl of Wessex wrapped up the 2022 Commonwealth Games by praising the athletes for inspiring future generations of competitors. Taking the podium at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham for the closing ceremony on Monday, the Queen’s youngest son told a packed crowd: “Every four years, we endeavor to come together to celebrate our Commonwealth through sport. Thanks to the manner, style and enthusiasm with which you have competed, officiated, supported, organized and volunteered, you have, once again, brought the spirit and values of the Commonwealth to life.” The prince added, “You have inspired us and hopefully future generations. You have also demonstrated what unites us.” Edward — who has been the vice-patron of the games since 1990 — was a frequent spectator at the various sports, often bringing his wife, Sophie, and children, James and Louise, along, too.

Prince Edward closes the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on August 8.

Harry and Meghan to receive humanitarian award.

The Sussexes and their Archewell Foundation are to be honored at a charity event next week for their work advocating for Afghan refugees. The award from Human First Coalition will be given to the couple during a benefit event in New York City on Monday. Archewell’s executive director, James Holt, is reportedly set to accept the honor on their behalf. The event will feature traditional Afghan food, music and a bazaar. US Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut will also be picking up an award for his services to Afghan refugees at the ceremony, which coincides with the first anniversary of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on July 18.

DID YOU KNOW?

After 70 years, you’d think the Queen had done it all. And yet, this week we were surprised to find out that her signature is to be featured on UK coinage for the very first time. To coincide with her Platinum Jubilee, the Royal Mint — the official maker of UK coins — is releasing a three-coin set that celebrates important aspects of her reign: awards and honors, her work with charities and the Commonwealth.

Irish artist and illustrator P.J. Lynch, who designed each of the £5 coins, revealed his inspiration, saying: “I initially focused on The Queen’s hands; she is so often shaking hands — it is how she welcomes and communicates with the people she meets. It led me to consider her signature, which is so symbolic, an instrument of state when she signs official documents, but also her personal promise and commitment.”

While the Queen's signature is one of the most recognizable in the world, it's never been struck on UK coinage until now.

“It is time for us all to come together to support the world’s future workforce.”

Prince Charles on International Youth Day.

The Prince of Wales marked International Youth Day on Friday with a call to action to champion the next generation while also acknowledging the challenges it has faced in recent years. In his video message, Charles noted that “from the impact of a public health crisis, and now a cost-of-living challenge, to the threat of climate change, there has been much to erode the hope of the younger generation.”

However, he said the day provided an opportunity to recognize the achievements of younger generations and praised “the resilience and ambition” they present “in the face of unprecedented global challenges.” Take a look at his full remarks here.

ONE LAST THING…

Just a quick one, Royal News readers — we wanted to let you know that we’re going on another short two-week break as the summer draws to a close (gosh, that flew by, didn’t it?). But worry not, we’ll be resuming our regular weekly service from September 2.

Take care and see you soon,

Max and Lauren

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Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for 2022

Bose pioneered noise-canceling headphones a while ago, but since then virtually every brand under the sun has released its own models of headphones with comparable technology. The field is almost completely occupied by headphones that feature noise canceling. The best noise-canceling headphones can be difficult to identify, because the quality varies wildly between options, so it’s important to know which pairs are worth the investment. The market is extremely competitive, which makes it better for all of us — there’s no shortage of great noise-canceling headphones or noise-canceling Bluetooth earbuds if you prefer those.

The best noise-canceling headphones tend to cost more than $200 — and some premium models cost double that or more — but you can find plenty of good ANC headphones and earbuds at more affordable price points. So while some of the models on the list are indeed expensive, I’ve also included some value models that perform decently for not too much money. I’ve fully reviewed or had hands-on listening time with all the headphones and earbuds on this list, which gets updated regularly as new models hit the market.

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When you have a product that a lot of people love, change can be risky. Such is the case for Sony’s WH-1000XM5, the fifth generation of the 1000X series headphones, which were first released in 2016 as the MDR-1000X Wireless and have become increasingly popular as they’ve improved with each generation. Over the years, Sony has made some tweaks to the design, but nothing as dramatic as what it’s done with the WH-1000XM5. Other than the higher $400 price tag ($50 more than the WH-1000XM4), most of those changes are good, and Sony’s made some dramatic improvements with voice-calling performance as well as even better noise canceling and more refined sound.

Read our Sony WH-1000XM5 review.

 

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No earbuds are perfect and not everybody will love the fit of the Sony WF-1000XM4 buds or be able to afford their high price. But if you’re looking for great-sounding earbuds with great noise canceling, solid voice-calling capabilities and good battery life, these buds check all the boxes.

Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds also have top-notch noise canceling and sound quality, but the Sony is right there with the Bose for noise canceling (and some might say it’s a touch better in that department), but the Sony offers slightly better sound quality and also has a more compact design, particularly for the case (though the Sony buds certainly aren’t small).

Read our Sony WF-1000XM4 review.

 

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The Bose QuietComfort 45 essentially looks the same as its popular predecessor, the QuietComfort 35 II, with the biggest design difference being a USB-C port in place of the older Micro-USB. (At 238 grams, the QC45 weighs just 3 grams more than the QC35, which should be imperceptible.) And while the Bose 700 has plenty of fans, a lot of people, including me, think this QuietComfort design is slightly more comfortable and the headphones fold up and fold flat. It’s arguably the most comfortable pair of headphones out there. 

They also sound very similar to the QC 35 II, with no change to the drivers. Where you’ll see an improvement is with the noise cancellation (there’s a transparency mode), which very well could be the best out right now. According to Bose, there’s a new electronics package that powers the new ANC system, which now better muffles “unwanted sounds in the midrange frequencies” (voices) that you’d “typically find on commuter trains, busy office spaces and cafes.”

I found that to be true and give these the slight edge over both the Headphones 700 and Sony WH-1000XM4 for noise canceling. That said, you can’t adjust the level of noise canceling like you can with those models, which offer a more robust feature set, particularly the Sony. However, after a firmware update, you can now tweak the sound in the app with equalizer settings.

The headset performance has also improved, with better noise reduction during calls. And these offer multipoint Bluetooth pairing. That means you can pair the QC45 with two devices simultaneously — such as a smartphone and PC — and switch audio as needed. They’re equipped with Bluetooth 5.1 and support the widely compatible AAC audio codec but not aptX.

While these have advantages over the Headphones 700 and Sony WH-1000XM4 and do sound quite good, those models sound slightly better: The 700 is slightly more natural sounding and tuned more for audiophiles, while the Sony has more dynamic bass. So that makes choosing between these three models that much more difficult. 

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Sony has released its new WH-1000XM5 but the WH-1000XM4 remains on sale. While I prefer the WH-1000XM5 — it’s a little more comfortable and has improved noise canceling, more refined sound and significantly better voice-calling performance — the WH-1000XM4 is still a great headphone and some people may prefer its slightly more energetic sound and how it folds up into a smaller case than that of the WH-1000M5. It also costs less, and we should see some nice discounts on it going forward.

Read our Sony WH-1000XM4 review.

 

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Hot on the heels of the third-generation AirPods, Apple has another new set of earbuds, this time from its subsidiary audio company, Beats. Technically, the new Beats Fit Pro ($200) aren’t AirPods, but they’re built on the same tech platform as the AirPods Pro. Unlike Beats’ earlier and less expensive Studio Buds, the Beats Fit Pro include Apple’s H1 chip and have most of the AirPods Pro’s features, including active noise canceling, spatial audio and Adaptive EQ. I’d venture to call them the sports AirPods you’ve always wanted. And for some people, they might just be better than the AirPods Pro.

Read our Beats Fit Pro review.

 

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Unlike the “open” LinkBuds, the LinkBuds S are traditional noise-isolating earbuds with tips you jam into your ears. They’re more compact and lighter than Sony’s flagship WF-1000M4 and also feature Sony’s V1 processor. While their sound and noise canceling don’t quite measure up to the WF-1000XM4’s, they’re close and cost less. They’re the Sony buds for people who can deal with larger buds like WF-1000XM4 but are looking for 80 to 85% of those buds’ features and performance for $80 less.

Read our Sony LinkBuds S review.

 

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The No. 5909 are premium audio brand Mark Levinson’s first headphones and, yes, they’re really expensive at $999. But they’re also really good. They have a sturdy design without managing to feel hefty on your head (read: they’re substantial but not too heavy) and they’re comfortable to wear over long periods thanks to their nicely padded (and replaceable) leather-covered earcups and headband.

Not only do they feature good noise canceling and excellent sound, but their voice-calling performance is top-notch. Plus, they have multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can pair them with two devices, such as a computer and a smartphone, simultaneously.

The No. 5909 are high-res certified with support for Sony’s LDAC and Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive codecs that allow for near-lossless streaming over Bluetooth. Apple’s iPhones and iPads don’t support those codecs while certain Android devices do. Using the No. 5909 headphones over Bluetooth on my iPhone 13 Pro, it sounded a tad more natural and refined than the AirPods Max (the No. 5909 had a touch more “pure” and accurate sound). 

I did notice a difference when I paired the No. 5909 to my Google Pixel 4 XL, which has support for LDAC, and using the Qobuz audio streaming service that offers high-res streaming. Overall, the sound had a little more depth and texture, and there’s a touch more sparkle, definition and openness. 

Read our Mark Levinson No. 5909 review.

 

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The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 have been out a while but are still one of the best over-ear noise canceling headphones, with excellent sound, noise cancellation and top-notch headset performance for voice calls. Bose’s newer QuietComfort 45 headphones probably have the slight edge in terms of comfort and offer a tad better noise canceling, but the Headphones 700 arguably sound a little better with slightly more refined sound. 

Read our Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review.

 

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Even if the AirPods Pro may not sound quite as magical as you’d hope for their price, they’re still a great pair of true-wireless earphones. That’s largely due to their winning design and fit, improved bass performance and effective noise canceling — and now they’ve been updated with spatial audio, a new virtual-sound mode for watching movies and TV shows (only works with iPhones and iPads running iOS 14).

They’re an excellent choice when you want to make a call or listen to music during your workout. While they’re expensive, the good news is they tend to sell for 25% off their list price. 

Read our Apple AirPods Pro review.

 

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Featuring excellent sound, improved noise canceling and voice-calling performance as well a smaller, more refined design that includes stabilizing fins (so the earbuds stay in your ears more securely), the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 are among the best new true-wireless earbuds for 2020. They’re also one of the best true-wireless earbuds overall, giving the Sony WF-1000XM4 a run for the money. 

Read our Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 review.

 

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Bang & Olufsen’s earlier Beoplay E8 earbuds were good, but underwhelming for their high price. The new Beoplay EQ are also rather expensive, but they’re among the very best true wireless earbuds available right now, with top-notch sound, adaptive noise canceling and a natural sounding transparency mode. Multipoint Bluetooth pairing means you can simultaneously connect them to a smartphone and computer. They have three microphones on each bud and are good for voice calling, though not exceptional.

Needless to say, the premium design elements are here: The aluminum-shelled case opens and closes with precise smoothness, and the buds themselves have an aluminum accent on the outer surface where the touch controls live.

The buds are fairly large and do stick out of your ears like premium buds from Sony and Sennheiser. They fit me comfortably and securely and were suitable for sporting activities, with an IP54 splash-proof rating. Battery life is rated at around 6.5 hours at moderate volume levels, and you get an extra two charges from the case, which has USB-C and wireless charging.

The sound is big and dynamic with deep, well-defined bass and a wide soundstage. The mids sound natural and the treble has a nice sparkle to it. They’re a pleasure to listen to and among the best-sounding true wireless earbuds. I didn’t experience any listening fatigue over longer listening sessions. There is aptX for devices that support the aptX audio codec; these have aptX Adaptive and use Bluetooth 5.2.

Are they better than the Sony WF-1000XM4, which cost a fraction less? The answer to that will depend partially on how well they fit your ears and how good a seal you get from the included ear tips. I personally ended up getting the best fit using Sennheiser’s large tips, which work best for my ears. They’re a great set of earbuds if you can afford them. Just buy them from a retailer that has a good return policy in case you’re not satisfied.

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As far as sound, comfort level and build quality, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than Anker’s SoundCore Life Q30 for the money. It doesn’t quite have the clarity or bass definition as some of the top premium models, but it’s less than a third of the price and gets you about 75% of the way there in terms of sound (it’s well balanced overall with punchy bass and there’s an app that allows you to tweak the sound). Noise canceling is good for the price, though not up to the level of the Sony WH-1000XM4 or Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. Battery life is rated at an impressive 40 hours with USB-C charging.

The only area where the Q30 falls a little short is for voice calls. It picks up your voice fine in quieter environments but it just doesn’t reduce background noise all that well. 

Compared to the Q20 (see below), the Q30 does offer improved sound (it’s not a huge difference, but it definitely is a notch up) and a more premium design. Anker often offers the Q20 at a $10 discount at Amazon. Eventually, we should see something like that on the Q30.

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Yes, they’re expensive, but the AirPods Max deliver richer, more detailed sound than lower-priced competitors from Bose and Sony. They also feature arguably the best noise canceling on the market along with premium build quality and Apple’s virtual surround spatial audio feature for video watching. While they’re heavy, they manage to be surprisingly comfortable, though I did have to adjust the mesh canopy headband to sit a little more forward on my head to get a comfortable secure fit when I was out walking with them. They should fit most heads well, but there will be exceptions.

Read our Apple AirPods Max review.

 

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In many ways, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are excellent true wireless earbuds, particularly when it comes to their sound and to their noise canceling, which is among the best out there right now in a set of earbuds. In performance they clearly have a leg up on Apple’s best-selling AirPods Pro true wireless noise-canceling buds. However, the AirPods Pro’s smaller design, somewhat more comfortable fit and superior voice-calling capabilities make it hard to declare the Bose the straight-up champ. Ultimately, it depends on what your priorities are.

Read our Bose QuietComfort Earbuds review.

 

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Available in four colors, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 hew more closely to the newer Galaxy Buds Pro and Galaxy Buds Live, both of which have eye-catching glossy curved designs and the same compact charging case as this new model. In fact, it’s the Buds 2’s design and fit — they’re 15% smaller and 20% lighter than the Buds Plus — that make them a potentially more likable alternative to the better-sounding Buds Pro.

Like the Buds Pro, the Buds 2 are equipped with active noise canceling. That means all the latest Galaxy Buds models now feature some form of active noise canceling, though it’s slight with the Buds Live, which have an open design sans ear tips. While the Buds 2 look more like shrunken versions of the Buds Pro, I found them more akin to the Buds Live in that they barely stick out of your ears and are fairly discreet. Because they sit more flush with your ears — and have that curved design — they also pick up less wind noise. They’re IPX2 sweat-resistant.

Read our Galaxy Buds 2 review.

 

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There’s a bit of an old-school vibe to the Technics EAH-A800 — and it’s not just the Technics brand, which Panasonic resurrected in the last few years. Their design is something of a throwback but the headphones are comfortable and both fold up and fold flat. They feature a big, energetic sound with powerful bass and good detail (however, they take a day or two to break in).

They feature ear-detection sensors that automatically pause your music when you take the headphones off, as well as multipoint Bluetooth pairing (you can connect them to two devices at the same time like a computer and smartphone). Additionally, they have support for Sony’s near lossless LDAC audio codec for Bluetooth streaming that’s available on certain Android devices. I mainly listened to these headphones with an Android device and the Qobuz music service, which offers high-resolution tracks. That setup offers the best possible wireless sound quality.

The headphones are available in black and silver and according to Panasonic, can deliver up to 50 hours of battery life at moderate volume with ANC on. That’s excellent, and the EAH-A800 also works well as a headset for making calls with eight onboard microphones for noise reduction and voice pickup. 

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The new Shure Aonic 40 noise-canceling headphones are a bit smaller and more affordable than the company’s well-received Aonic 50 headphones ($299) that were released in 2020. My quick take: They sound quite good with clean, well-balanced sound that you can tweak in the Shure companion app for iOS and Android (you can choose from preset EQ settings as well as a customizable manual EQ setting).

The active noise canceling is solid but not quite up to the level of Sony’s or Bose’s and like the Aonic 50, they work well for making calls (Shure is known for its microphones) and you can connect them to your computer via USB-C. For those with aptX-enabled Android devices, the headphones support aptX HD Bluetooth streaming. 

You don’t get extra features like ear-detection sensors that automatically pause your music when you take the headphones off your head and resume playback when you put them back on. However, the headphones have a dual-hinge design so they both fold up and fold flat, allowing them to have a more compact case than the Aonic 50’s (its case is pretty huge). In other words, these are more travel friendly. Battery life is rated at 25 hours with noise canceling on.

They’re very good headphones — sturdy, too — but I didn’t find them quite as comfortable as competing models from Bose and Sony. For some people, the top of the headband may put a little pressure on the crown of your head (the headband’s padding is OK but could be better). I pushed the headband forward a bit on my head to get a more comfortable fit. They’re also available in white.

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Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay HX is the successor to the company’s H9 series headphones (that X is a Roman numeral 10) and like those earlier H9 models, the HX carries a list price of $500 (some colors are discounted at Amazon). That price point makes it a direct competitor with Apple’s AirPods Max, a heavier headphone at 384.8 grams vs. 285 grams for the HX. I don’t know if the HX is more comfortable than the AirPods Max, but I found the two models pretty equal in the comfort department over longer listening sessions and these do feature the usual swanky B&O lambskin covered memory foam ear pads.

The HX has custom 40mm drivers, Bluetooth 5.1 and support for Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive (that includes aptX HD) for high-resolution wireless streaming when you combine an aptX-enabled Android device with certain music streaming services like Qobuz.

Their sound measures up well to the AirPods Max’s sound, with deep, well-defined bass, natural-sounding mids (where vocals live) and inviting detail in the treble (the sound is overall well-balanced). If you want to push the treble or bass, you can tweak the EQ in the Bang & Olufsen app for iOS and Android and give the headphones a warmer or brighter profile. 

While these are expensive, they offer more accurate sound than the Sony WH-1000XM4. Their noise canceling is also very good and voice-calling capabilities are also quite solid. Additionally, they offer multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can connect them with a smartphone and PC simultaneously (Microsoft Swift Pair enabled for Windows machines) so you can easily switch between the two (the Sony WH-1000XM4 also has this feature). Battery life is rated at up to 35 hours with noise canceling on and 40 hours with it off. Those are excellent numbers.

Earlier Bang & Olufsen’s models included a soft case (a pouch really), but the HX comes with a hard case. As I said, it’s expensive, but the small improvements over earlier flagship Bang & Olufsen noise-canceling headphones help make the HX’s case as a worthy alternative to the AirPods Max. 

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After a long wait, Bowers & Wilkins finally released a couple of sets of true wireless earbuds in 2021 — the PI7 ($400) and PI5 ($250) — both of which are excellent and feature active noise canceling along with a transparency mode. The flagship PI7 has a different driver design and sounds slightly more detailed and refined with a little more bass energy. They both sound excellent, but if you’re looking for the absolute best sounding set of earbuds, the PI7 are arguably just that, besting the Sony WF-1000XM4 by a small margin (they also sound slightly better than the excellent Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless II and Master & Dynamic MW08).

While the PI7’s noise canceling is quite decent, the Sony’s noise canceling is superior. I also thought the Sony did better with voice calling (it has better noise reduction so people can hear you better in a noisier environments) and it has better battery life.

The PI7’s case does transform into a Bluetooth transceiver, so you can plug it into your laptop for Qualcomm aptX streaming or an in-flight entertainment system. The PI7 supports aptX Adaptive wireless transmission (which includes the aptX HD codec) from compatible mobile devices, allowing for “high-resolution music transmission from suitable streaming services, such as Qobuz.”

They’re IPX54 splashproof and have 4 hours of battery life with noise canceling on (that’s a little disappointing), plus an extra 4 charges from the case. 

The PI5 buds also sound excellent and are a touch lighter than the PI7. At $250, the PI5 competes directly with the $280 Sony 1000XM4. As with all in-ear headphones, you have to try them to see how they fit your ears. Bowers & Wilkins’ buds may fit your ears better than Sony’s and vice versa.

Read our Bowers & Wilkins PI7 first take.

 

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The Momentum True Wireless 3 are Sennheiser’s flagship new true-wireless earbuds. But if you can’t afford them, the CX Plus are a good alternative. They look nearly identical to the standard CX buds ($130) but have a glossy black finish on the touch-sensitive exterior surface — cosmetically, they’re more akin to the older and slightly larger CX400BT.

I like the CX for the money, and the CX Plus delivers the same excellent sound while rounding out the feature set with active noise canceling and a transparency mode. Battery life is rated at up to eight hours at moderate volume levels and these are splash-proof, with an IPX4 rating. They do stick out of your ears a bit.

The noise canceling isn’t quite as good as the Sony WF-1000XM4’s, but I thought it was effective and the headset’s performance was decent, though not stellar. These are all-around solid noise-canceling earbuds that can count sound quality as their biggest strength. 

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Master & Dynamic’s earlier MW07 and MW07 Plus delivered top-notch sound for true wireless, but they were a little lacking in the features department and weren’t so great for making calls. MW08, the newest update, offers some significant improvements, including the addition of solid noise canceling and call quality, that makes it one of the top models for 2022. Alas, it’s expensive at $299.

Battery life has improved a bit (up to around 12 hours of battery life at 50% volume versus 10 hours for the MW07 Plus), and the earbuds are equipped with Bluetooth 5.2, active noise cancellation with three microphones on each earbud (noise reduction during calls isn’t up to the level of the AirPods Pro but overall call quality has improved). The noise canceling on the MW07 Plus was pretty weak; the MW08’s is much more effective.

You can opt for two levels of noise cancellation in the new M&D Connect app for iOS and Android, as well as two levels of transparency that lets you hear the outside world. The app currently has no way to tweak the sound profile (I’m OK with that because the sound profile is just fine for my tastes) and the earbuds have a physical button on each bud to control playback, not touch controls.

These buds may not fit everyone’s ear equally well, but they certainly have a distinct look, as well as excellent sound and a great listening experience if you can get a tight seal (I was able to get a secure fit with the largest tip). They deliver more of an audiophile sound profile, with smooth, well-balanced sound and well-defined bass. This model has new 11mm drivers, which add a bit of punch to the bass and a touch better clarity. The MW08 works well with all genres of music.

Available in a variety of color options, like their predecessors, the MW08 includes a swanky stainless-steel charging case (it charges via USB-C) that’s compact but carries more weight than your typical buds cases. You also get a secondary pouch for safekeeping (yes, the charging case can get scratched up if you leave it in a bag).

These truly wireless earbuds now support both the aptX and AAC audio codecs and have an extended range of more than 20 meters, according to Master & Dynamic. They have an IPX5 water-resistance rating, which means they can withstand a sustained spray of water.

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Earfun

The Earfun Air Pro 2 not only features solid active noise cancellation but their sound is also impressive for their relatively modest price, with overall well-balanced sound, decent clarity and solid bass performance. Some of Earfun’s buds have had a bit too much treble push — sometimes referred to as “presence boost” — but these mostly manage to avoid that. They do sound better than the original Air Pro.

The earbuds have some extra features, like an ear-detection sensor (your music pauses when you take the buds out of your ears) and a case that has USB-C and wireless charging, that you don’t often find at this price. Equipped with Bluetooth 5.2, they’re splash-proof with an IPX5 rating and offer up to seven hours of battery life on a single charge at moderate volume levels, though you’ll probably get closer to six hours with noise canceling on.

There’s also a transparency mode that lets ambient sound in. It actually sounds pretty natural and is closer than I thought it would to the AirPods Pro’s excellent transparency mode. Alas, there’s no companion app that allows you to tweak the sound or upgrade the firmware.

Earfun talks up the Air Pro 2’s voice calling capabilities — the buds have three microphones in each earbud — and I thought call performance was good but these didn’t reduce background noise as much the new Soundpeats T3, which are also good for the money ($40). However, while the Soundpeats T3 are better for calls, the Earfun Air Pro 2’s noise-canceling and transparency modes are superior and the Soundpeats don’t have the ear-detection sensor. Active noise cancellation is the name of the game with these earbuds. Also, the Earfun Air Pro 2 buds sound better, with richer, more dynamic sound.

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Anker’s SoundCore Life Q20 headphones are arguably the best value in the category of noise-canceling headphones. Not only do these over-ear headphones sound quite decent for their regular list price of $60 (they often sell for $10 less), but they’re also comfortable to wear thanks to the secure earcups.

No, they don’t sound as good as premium Bluetooth headphones from Sony and Bose, but the audio quality is pretty good, which is all you can ask of noise-canceling headphones at this price. The sound quality is fairly well balanced with a reasonable amount of clarity and plump bass that’s not bloated or muddy (there’s a bass boost or BassUp mode if you want an extra helping of bass with your music). Also, the noise cancellation is acceptably effective and they’re solid as a headset for making calls. Battery life is good at 40 hours. A simple carrying pouch is included.

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Microsoft’s over-ear noise-canceling Surface Headphones 2 were released in early 2020, and the biggest change from their predecessor is the price: The original Surface Headphones launched at $350, while the Headphones 2 cost $250. Like the original, there’s a lot to like about this second-gen model. While they’ve lost their hands-free Cortana voice control feature (a change no one will lament) and the sound quality hasn’t improved (it’s quite good but not stellar), the combination of some small design tweaks, better battery life, upgraded Bluetooth and the new lower price (especially when they go on sale) helps make them more recommendable. 

Their multipoint Bluetooth pairing capability allows you to pair them with two devices at the same time, such as a computer and a phone, and quickly switch the audio from each device to the headphones. That’s an appealing feature from a work-from-home standpoint, and these also work well for making voice calls.

Read our Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 review.

 

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Sennheiser

The Sennheiser PXC 550-II didn’t get much attention when it was released in 2020 and with its list price of $350, it faced daunting competition from Sony and Bose. But we’ve spotted it for less than $200 on Amazon and it’s a good value there, featuring very good sound (it’s got a slightly warmer sound profile), good noise canceling and solid voice calling. Battery life is impressive at around 30 hours with noise-canceling on. 

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The Solo Pro are among the best on-ear noise-canceling wireless headphones and feature Apple’s H1 chip, which enables several nifty features for Apple devices. However, these headphones don’t have the dynamic head-tracking required for Apple’s spatial audio feature while watching TV and movies — only the AirPods Pro, third-gen AirPods, AirPods Max and new Beats Fit Pro have head-tracking. These support spatial audio for music listening, and while they’re way overpriced at their list price of $300 but they’re more attractive at half that price — or less. Most colors are selling for $130 or so. They’ve technically been discontinued by Apple, so buy them only if they’re heavily discounted.

Read our Beats Solo Pro first take.

 

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Shure

If you’re looking for a very clean-sounding headphone with more of a neutral sound profile, the well-built Shure Aonic 50 is that noise-canceling headphone. The treble is clear and articulate and the bass is well-defined but may be a little underpowered for those who want a little more oomph. The noise canceling is good but not quite up to the level of top noise-canceling models from Bose and Sony that cost a little less.

The headphones fold flat but they’re a bit bulky, as is their case. But they work very well as a headset for making calls — Shure is known for making excellent microphones — so they’re a good work-from-home headphone that’s comfortable to wear (but might be a little big for some folks). 

While the Aonic 50 suffers a bit from being a little too expensive, it’s an excellent headphone that seems built to last. Battery life is rated at 20 hours — the headphone charge via USB-C — and it supports a variety of audio codecs, including aptX, aptX HD, aptX Low Latency audio, Sony LDAC, AAC and SBC. 

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Amazon

Sennheiser updated its well-regarded 4.50BTNC noise-canceling headphones in 2020. The new headphone model is called the 450BT and it has some notable upgrades, including better battery life (up to 30 hours with noise canceling on), USB-C charging, Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX support for devices like the Samsung Galaxy smartphones that support it and more comfortable earpads. The 450BT noise-canceling headphones list for $200, but usually cost around $150 although they have dipped to as low as $100 in flash sales (they’re a very good value at that price).

The 450BT headphones don’t have quite the clarity or bass definition of Sennheiser’s Momentum Wireless 3 headphones, but they cost much less and deliver very good well-balanced sound that’s easy to listen to for long periods. I thought the 450BT model also worked quite well as a headset making calls, with the sidetone feature that allows you to hear your voice inside the headphones.

The only potential downside is that regular headphones may not be the most comfortable for some people. I have a smaller head, so they worked fine for me, but they do clamp a bit and those with larger heads may find that to be an issue. Also, while the earpads have been upgraded, they’re still covered in a faux leather material that doesn’t breathe quite as well as some earpad coverings. Still, if you can’t afford premium models in the $300 to $400 range, this is a more affordable option that’s well built and delivers premium sound. The headphones fold up to fit into an included soft carrying case.

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I liked Bowers & Wilkins’ original PX noise-canceling headphones, but they were slightly lacking in both the earcup comfort and noise-canceling departments. The company’s PX7, released in the fall of 2019, improves on both fronts, with excellent sound, four noise cancellation settings (Automatic, Low, High and Off) and well-padded earcups in a sturdy, eye-catching design. There’s also an adjustable ambient transparency mode that allows you to hear the outside world. 

The headphones are a tad heavy at 10.7 ounces (304 grams), but the build quality is top-notch — and it better be considering these are a little pricey at $400. Bowers & Wilkins previously made a more compact on-ear model, the PX5. But these do sound a little better.

The sound is rich and detailed, with deep bass that remains well-defined even at high volumes. These are pretty dynamic headphones, with a touch of extra energy in the mid-highs. They’re not laid-back like the earlier PX5 Wireless and their most direct competitor is probably the Sennheiser Momentum 3 model listed above. That Sennheiser is arguably superior for making calls, but this B&W probably wins on design. 

The PX7 headphones support AAC and aptX, use Bluetooth 5.0, charge via USB-C and have up to 30 hours of battery life at moderate volume levels. The noise canceling isn’t quite at the level of the Bose or Sony in this roundup, but it’s not far off — as I said, it’s improved from the original PX model’s noise cancellation.

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More headphone recommendations 

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6 questions to ask before moving in with your partner

Though marriage rates are steadily declining in the United States, the number of people who cohabitate continues to trend in the opposite direction.

In 2010, 49.2% of adults cohabitated at one point in their life, and 47.4% had been married, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Fast forward 10 years and the gap continues to widen: In 2020, 58.9%of American adults had cohabitated and 47.7% had been married.

But just because a step like this is common doesn’t mean it’s casual.

Before moving in with a partner, it’s important to talk to them about your expectations and fears, says Jessica Small, a marriage counselor and therapist at Growing Self Counseling & Coaching in Denver, Colorado. “Have a conversation that allows you two to determine what needs to be in place in order to set your relationship up for success as you take this next step,” she says.

Here are some key questions that will help start the conversation.

6 questions to ask before moving in together

Why do we want to move in together?

If the reason you want to move in with your partner is for cheaper rent or because you feel societal pressure, you might want to take a step back, she says.

“Living together is a big step in a relationship and ideally you want to be making the choice because you believe that the relationship has the necessary components for a long term partnership, not just because it is convenient, better for financial purposes, or because all the rest of your friends are doing it,” she says.

“Relationships function best when they are want-based instead of need-based.”

“Relationships function best when they are want-based instead of need-based.”

How will we divide up household tasks and financial responsibilities?

Many couples believe that daily habits, like how the other loads the dishwasher or squeezes the toothpaste, will create conflict. This is rarely the case, Small says.

“I can tell you after a decade as a couples counselor these things have never come up as a problem,” she says. “The biggest issues that consistently comes up for couples living together are inequity in division of labor and general personality differences.”

Is your a partner neat or messy? An early riser or a night owl? How will you split the spending on groceries or furniture? All this should be discussed before moving in to set realistic expectations.

What are we anxious about?

Moving in is exciting! But, it can also create a new set of anxieties, ones which you should communicate with your partner. If the two of you know what the other is nervous about, you can better address it.

It’s also normal to be anxious about what you’re losing, Small says.

“People don’t often ask themselves what they will be sacrificing when they move in with their partner and then feel caught off guard and overwhelmed by their experience of grief,” she says.

Even if a person is ready and happy to live with a partner, it’s not rare, she says, for them to miss being alone or miss their prior roommate. “These feelings are normal and valid, it will be easier to manage these feelings if you are prepared for them and have communicated you might feel this way to your partner,” she says. “It’s important for couples to honor this wide range of feelings.”

Other important questions to ask:

You want to know as much as you can about your partner’s expectations in order to curb your own. Other questions to ask, Small says, include:

  • What do I imagine living together will look and feel like? Think about eating dinner together every night, waking up in the morning, having coffee together, and what cooking looks like.
  • In six months or one year, what will be happening that will make me feel like living together has been successful?
  • What does this next step mean for our relationship? For example, if one of you sees this as a step toward marriage and the other doesn’t, that should be discussed.

“By asking one another these questions you will have the opportunity to ensure that you are aligned and have appropriate expectations,” she says.

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Don’t miss: This RV repairman started answering internet questions on a lunch break—now he makes $115,000 a year doing it

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CBS Weekend News, August 13, 2022

CBS Weekend News, August 13, 2022 – CBS News


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