Noise Cancelling Headphones

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Fahd, Dec 1, 2003.

  1. Fahd macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    #1
    I need to buy a noise cancelling headphone. Its just impossible to listen to anything while on a 747.

    Which headphones would you recommend? I looked around on CNET and the best one seems like the Bose Quiet Comfort II, except that they cost $300 and are rather bulky.

    http://dw.com.com/redir?edId=3&dest...tml?tag=tm&oId=4614-5-107393&siteId=7&ontId=5

    If you have used any noise cancelling headphone, please post your opinions/recommendations.

    (I'm sorry this is not directly Apple/MAC related, but apple does offer the bose headphones on their online store.)

    Thanks for your valuable feedback! :)
     
  2. ksz macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #2
    I purchased the Panasonic RP-HC50 noise-cancelling earphones for the Thanksgiving flight. I had never heard of these, but for $39.99 I decided to try them out.

    After the round trip flight, my observations:

    1. The plugs are comfortable (I barely feel them).

    2. Noise cancelling can be turned on and off, and has 2 suppression settings. I used the High setting at all times on the flight.

    3. This is my first experience with noise cancelling devices. I found that jet engine noise has 2 main components: a hissing-like component (not exactly a whine, but similar) and deeper engine roar. Both components are loud and bothersome, but the roar is more dominant.

    4. With noise cancelling turned on, the hissing/whining component was completely eliminated! Music was noticeably clearer and there was, at first, an added pressure sensation on the ear which subsided after an hour. The engine roar was still audible, as were the conversations around me.

    5. Turning noise cancelling off, I could clearly appreciate the difference. The hissing/whining component is pretty annoying.

    Because engine roar is not suppressed by noise cancelling circuitry, I think a better choice might be Etymotic's ER-6 for $130. It does not use active noise cancellation; instead, it isolates ambient sound (all of it) by fitting snugly in your ears and by using materials that dampen sound waves.

    I tried the ER-6 at the Home Theater Expo in San Fran earlier this year. A representative from Etymotic inserted the plugs into my ears and then...silence, despite the noisy and crowded convention hall. I may take these out for a spin for the Christmas flight.

    Sony also makes noise-cancelling earphones, but they sell for about $150. I prefer earphones because they're simply more convenient to travel with.
     
  3. Fahd thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    #3
    Thanks for that!

    Concerning the ER-6 were they comfortable to use over prolonged periods?
     
  4. Kwyjibo macrumors 68040

    Kwyjibo

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2002
    #4
    i have a pair of sony in-the-ear headphones that are sort of like the etymonics ... they were fifty bucks or so, i got the white ones off ebay and enjoy them alot, haven't tested on planes tho.
     
  5. ksz macrumors 68000

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    Oct 28, 2003
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #5
    The flight was from CA to NY. The Panasonic phones were in my ears for most of the flight, and were comfortable from beginning to end. Once you twist them such that the front end is completely flush with the opening of the ear, most earphones I've tried magically disappear (i.e. barely noticeable).

    I don't know about the ER-6. I had them on for about 15 minutes, but they too were very comfortable.

    I believe MacWorld has a review of the ER-6, Sony, Bose, and two others.
     
  6. hobbes3113 macrumors regular

    hobbes3113

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    Oct 18, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #6
    I have a pair of the Bose quiet comfort headphones and have not been dissapointed at all. Granted, they are a bit spendy, but worth every penny. While no headphones (at least consumer level) currently on the market will completely eliminate external noise, the Bose set that I have is head and shoulders better than anything else I have tried. Don't let the size bother you, they are extremely comfortable, and with the current version, you can remove the cord and use them just for noise cancellation. If you have not been able to try them, I suggest finding a retailer and taking them out for a spin before you make any decision.

    -Hobbes
     
  7. Foxer macrumors 65816

    Foxer

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #7
    I also have the Bose QC headphones. They work quite well and the sound is good. Enough ambient airline noise is removed to consider them worth the price, if you fly a good deal. There is a slgiht bit of discomfort after prolonged use on cross-country flgihts, but I have experienced this with most headsets. My only complaint is that they are rather bulky, and when packed with my powerbook and other materials, the resulting mass is quite a bit to lug. Note that i have the original style quite comfort, there is now a QC2 with a smaller storage profile and, they claim, better functionality.

    I hope to receive the ER-6 at the end of the month. I have heard nothing but good things about them on these forums and from other sources. They also look to be at the other end of the "bulk spectrum."
     
  8. Zeke macrumors 6502

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    Oct 5, 2002
    Location:
    Greenville, SC
    #8
    I was dissappointed with the Bose QC headphones. My friend and I both bought noise cancelling headphones at the same time. He got a pair of Sony in the ear phones (the last generation and so were only $50) whereas I got the Bose. The Sony's you couldn't hear someone speaking real close to you unless they yelled at you whereas the Bose you could hear someone talking without a problem. Supposedly the Bose are better for flights but I was very dissappointed (sent them back). Bose of course allows you a month to test them out so if you're unsure try them out.
     
  9. idkew macrumors 68020

    idkew

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    where the concrete to dirt ratio is better
    #9
    I have the er-6's and they are quite comfortable for prolonged use. i seem to forget they are in my ear. very nice sound reproduction also.
     
  10. rueyeet macrumors 65816

    rueyeet

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    MD
    #10
    I think you have the same ones I do (except mine aren't in white)...they are similar to the ER-6's in that they rely on isolation rather than active noise cancellation. They were about $50 and came with three sizes of silicon earbuds, and are made to seal tightly into your ear so that outside sound is minimized.

    I use them every day on the bus I ride to work, and they both seal out most of the din of people talking and let me hear my music without increased volume, and as a bonus, the people around me aren't bothered by my music either.

    You can still hear whatever sound is picked up through your head via vibrations, but they pretty well make sure that nothing but the music gets into your ear canal. I'm sure the ER-6's probably do a better job, but these do the job well enough, for far less money.

    I haven't had occasion to test them on a plane yet, but I'd hazard to guess that they'd seal out conversations and the ventilation system, but not get rid of the engine vibration.
     
  11. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    Aug 9, 2002
    Location:
    Springfield, OR (Home of the Simpsons)
    #11
    Great discussion I have been doing a bit of research and shopping around on this subject myself.

    Besides the Bose are there any other good over the ear noise canceling head phones? My wife can't have ear phones her ears are way too sensitive and they drive here nuts. Trust me on this I've tried every type of ear phone and super expensive ear plug you can try and she hates them all. So what are the other options.

    These are two from Sennheiser I've considered but I'm looking for personal reviews of these type of headphones.

    http://www.sennheiserusa.com/pages/products/headphones/pxc250.htm

    http://www.sennheiserusa.com/pages/products/aviation/hdc451.htm
     
  12. Fahd thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    #12
    I just went ahead and bought the Sony MDR-EX71SL. It works on isolation, no active circuitry. If that doesnt do the job, I'll probably try the ER-6 and if nothing seems to work I guess I'll end up with the super expensive and super huge bose.

    I wonder if the Sony MDR-NCR11 maybe better than the ER-6 since it has an active circuitry and is also the isolated kind. I've read though that the wires on that one are a big mess.

    Thanks for all the feedback!
     
  13. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    Location:
    Springfield, OR (Home of the Simpsons)
    #13
    For a professional review and another source of finding and purchasing headphones check out.

    www.headphone.com
     
  14. ksz macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #14
    The magazine review I referred to earlier (can't remember where exactly...MacWorld, MacAddict, MacHome, MacThisOrThat) favored the ER-6 over the MDR-NCR11.

    Their top 3 choices were:

    1. Etymotic ER-6
    2. Bose Quiet Comfort II
    3. Sony MDR-NCR11


    Anyway, please post your impressions of the EX71SL once you've tried 'em.
     
  15. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    Aug 9, 2002
    Location:
    Springfield, OR (Home of the Simpsons)
    #15
    Here's a page at Headphone.com that has a lot about of info about the different Enymotic models.
     

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