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View Full Version : Need advice choosing my first nice set of noise cancelling headphones




LtCarter47
Oct 28, 2009, 10:46 AM
Hi Guys,

I'm looking to purchase a nice set of noise canceling headphones for a long international flight in January. I went on a similar flight earlier this year with a pair of Bose Tri-Ports (http://www.bose.com/controller?url=/shop_online/headphones/audio_headphones/around_ear_headphones/index.jsp), which was not very fun. They obviously didn't have noise-canceling tech and became uncomfortable after only a few hours or so. I really would like to invest in a good pair that will be comfortable to wear for longer than that. I'm thinking $300-$350 will be my budget. Folding for compact storage is a plus since I'll be packing them in carry-on!

Since I'm not really much a of an audiophile I'm only vaguely aware of the big brands out there from casual reading on the forums and such. I'm expecting to take a look at Sure & Senheiser. I know Bose has it's reputation for being over-priced and over-hyped, but I might look at the QuietComfort 15's that just came out(I used the QC2s at a job with a noisy server room where they provided them, and I did like them). Also I typically would never consider buying anything made by Monster, but I've heard good things about the Beats by Dr. Dre.

If anyone has any suggestions of other brands or (and most importantly) places I could go to try out good headphones in northern CA (I'm not aware of any displays in the normal stores like Best Buy / Frys that you can try other than Bose), it would be hugely appreciated!

Thanks,
Sean



ChrisA
Oct 28, 2009, 11:04 AM
I wonder if simple in-expensive in-ear phones would block noise as well?

I have a pair of these and they work well. I use them with a iPod and for music practice. They block a lot of outside sound. Because they fit in the ear like like earplugs they work a lot like earplugs and block sound.
http://sony-in-ear-headphones.blogspot.com/2009/09/sony-mdr-ex71slwk-fontopia-headphones.html

If you really need to block airplane noise use what the ground crews use, the guys who work around planes every day use earplugs (not unlike the above) with in addition these http://www.opticsplanet.net/peltor-bullseye-hearing-protectors.html

LtCarter47
Oct 28, 2009, 11:41 AM
I wonder if simple in-expensive in-ear phones would block noise as well?

I have a pair of these and they work well. I use them with a iPod and for music practice. They block a lot of outside sound. Because they fit in the ear like like earplugs they work a lot like earplugs and block sound.
http://sony-in-ear-headphones.blogspot.com/2009/09/sony-mdr-ex71slwk-fontopia-headphones.html

If you really need to block airplane noise use what the ground crews use, the guys who work around planes every day use earplugs (not unlike the above) with in addition these http://www.opticsplanet.net/peltor-bullseye-hearing-protectors.html

Thanks for the suggestion, though I have to admit I'm not a big fan of the in-ear type. I can never seem to find a pair that are both comfortable and don't fall out. I also find the pressure that the in-canal type causes extremely uncomfortable. I think for this trip the old fashioned around the ear type will be best.

mikes70mustang
Oct 28, 2009, 01:04 PM
Noise canceling have terrible quality. Even non audiophiles can tell. Closed over ear studio headphones will kill a lot of sound and sound better. And might possibly be as much or cheaper than high end noise canceling ones.

LtCarter47
Oct 28, 2009, 01:13 PM
Noise canceling have terrible quality. Even non audiophiles can tell. Closed over ear studio headphones will kill a lot of sound and sound better. And might possibly be as much or cheaper than high end noise canceling ones.

That's interesting, I hadn't thought of that. Has anyone tried them on a plane and found they work well to block out the "plane noise"?

VirtualRain
Oct 28, 2009, 01:22 PM
That's interesting, I hadn't thought of that. Has anyone tried them on a plane and found they work well to block out the "plane noise"?

I use a pair of Sennheiser HD280 (http://www.sennheiser.com/sennheiser/home_en.nsf/root/private_headphones_dj-headphones-hd-280-pro) over-ear headphones regularly on the plane. They advertise 32db of ambiant noise reduction and I believe it. They also sound amazing, feel great even after long trips, and cost around $100.

ChrisA
Oct 28, 2009, 01:37 PM
Thanks for the suggestion, though I have to admit I'm not a big fan of the in-ear type. I can never seem to find a pair that are both comfortable and don't fall out. I also find the pressure that the in-canal type causes extremely uncomfortable. I think for this trip the old fashioned around the ear type will be best.

The Sonys come with three different sizes of the little rubber parts so you can adjust then to fit. But I can understand where some people might not like them. There is a period where you have to get used to them. I always use the full sized around the ear headphones when I can. But they are bulky.

My favorit headphones are the long-tine studio engineer's "standard issue" K240 but these are open and don't block noise at all. So I bought a pair of cheap AGK K77. the sound is not as good but I only use these for practice at home and they stay on a hook near the digital piano and rarely get unplugged. These block most noise from say the kids watching TV in the other room and I have to remove then to talk with anyone even if they are nearby. They block noise maybe close to what the sony in-ears do. The electronic noise cancelling headset block noise even better, maybe by another factor of four.

The $12 hearing protectors that you can buy at any Home Depot give 24dB noise reduction. maybe as good as a $300 Bose.

Bottom line, simple mechanical noise blocking (closed over-ear or ear-plug phones) work well but not as good as the best electronic noise cancelling headphones. But the combination of earplugg style and over-ear muffs works even better.

LtCarter47
Oct 28, 2009, 02:01 PM
The Sonys come with three different sizes of the little rubber parts so you can adjust then to fit. But I can understand where some people might not like them. There is a period where you have to get used to them. I always use the full sized around the ear headphones when I can. But they are bulky.

My favorit headphones are the long-tine studio engineer's "standard issue" K240 but these are open and don't block noise at all. So I bought a pair of cheap AGK K77. the sound is not as good but I only use these for practice at home and they stay on a hook near the digital piano and rarely get unplugged. These block most noise from say the kids watching TV in the other room and I have to remove then to talk with anyone even if they are nearby. They block noise maybe close to what the sony in-ears do. The electronic noise cancelling headset block noise even better, maybe by another factor of four.

The $12 hearing protectors that you can buy at any Home Depot give 24dB noise reduction. maybe as good as a $300 Bose.

Bottom line, simple mechanical noise blocking (closed over-ear or ear-plug phones) work well but not as good as the best electronic noise cancelling headphones. But the combination of earplugg style and over-ear muffs works even better.

Thanks for the info. I didn't even know about "open" and "closed" studio headphones till you and Mike mentioned them. I'm starting to get a much better idea of what I need to look at. This helps a lot!

hakukani
Oct 30, 2009, 01:59 AM
I fly regularly from my home in Hawaii to the mainland. I've tried several solutions, and have found that my trusty Sony 7506's do just fine.

Forget the Bose.