cheap over-ear headphones and earplugs

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by caspian915, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. caspian915 macrumors member

    caspian915

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Location:
    New Orleans, LA, USA
    #1
    Hey all,

    Question: Would a combination of foam earplugs and over the ear headphones be good for cancelling noise and listening to music in a loud environment with minimal effect on my ear?

    Explanation:

    I currently can't put the money down for a decent pair of noise-cancelling headphones, but I desperately need a solution to the noise of where I spend my days--I freelance and tend to go to a really large starbucks because there are always seats near the plugs (currently operating from a pretty bad battery).

    I am obviously concerned about longterm damage to my hearing, so I want to be careful with the headphones. Starbucks always has their music up annoyingly loud, and when there's a lot of people on top of that, it's unbearable for concentration.

    In theory, I could find a less noisy location, but considering the battery situation that isn't easy.

    Any thoughts? Any other suggestions until I can get noise-cancelling headphones?

    thanks
    - sps
     
  2. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #2
    what's your budget? and to be honest if you have a job, it shouldn't be too hard to go without music for a while and save up. One thing about headphones/earphones is that it's usually better to get the premium stuff first rather than getting bad quality stuff and then later getting premium stuff.

    Most cheap earbuds with memory foam inserts do a decent job of isolating sound as it is, and you can get a pair of earmuffs rather than any old headphone to go over them.
     
  3. caspian915 thread starter macrumors member

    caspian915

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Location:
    New Orleans, LA, USA
    #3
    My freelancing pays basically the equivalent of unemployment right now, so I don't really have a budget for things that I can go without. Listening to music while I work, however, is something I can't go without; needed for concentration.

    I already have an old pair of headband headphones, cheap kind. Just thought I would stick some pharmacy brand foam ear plugs in my ears and put the ear phones over them.

    I'm doing this so I can hold out for buying a decent pair. Uneven cash flow right now dictates that I do not spend more than a pretty anemic per diem unless it's necessary.
     
  4. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #5
    That just seems counter-intuitive. Sure sticking some plugs in your ears would help block noise, but then instead of just blocking out outside noise, you're also blocking out the headphones.

    What exactly do you freelance in? Is it just on the computer? Is there any specific reason you have to go to a noisy starbucks to do it?

    Again what's your budget? If it's something ridiculously low like only 10 bucks, then you seriously need to save up to get a decent pair of earbuds and memory foam plugs for them. Noise canceling headphones aren't really the most suitable choices, because they effect sound quality in a bad way and tend to cost a lot.
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #6
    You can buy what you need at Home Depot for not much money. It's in the same isle as hard hats, eye protection and dust masks What you need is OSHA aproved hearing protection. They sell it for industrial use. People that work outside at airports next to jet engines and on construction sites which jack hammers and so on. This stuff is so cheap it is considered disposable. Good earplugs will be enough. Also look at places that sell guns. Shooters, cops and so on use them to prevent hearing damage at ranges.
     
  6. caspian915 thread starter macrumors member

    caspian915

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Location:
    New Orleans, LA, USA
    #7
    Interesting suggestion, I'm going to check that out. Those could come in handy in the future when I no longer need them for what I'm doing right now.

    Ah, ok. That's not something I've read. I want to make sure I can put the sound on the headphones down as low as possible without completely killing the music. I'm not really an audiophile, so most of the time I'm content. As long as I can enjoy the music or podcast I'm listening to, I'm good. I just don't want Shelby Lynne playing in the background really loudly while 200 people are also talking. I normal volume cafe I can handle and all the sound tends to blend into white noise, but Starbucks really seems to have an agenda.

    I appreciate the ideas. Precisely why I posted here.
     
  7. paolo- macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    #8
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_0_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8A306 Safari/6531.22.7)

    Putting plugs under your headphones should work. It's what a lot DJs do actually. Also you won't have bright orange construction worker thing on your head.

    Another thing you could consider is using an EQ to bring out frequencies that aren't in the background noise. Speaking voice would be a mid-frequency. A 'loudness' setting could help you as it boosts the bass and high frequencies that won't be competing against people talking. I do that on the bus, the motor is loud and bassy, so I use the bass reducer setting on my iPhone. I can't hear the difference but the overall volume is lower so it isn't as hard on my ears.
     
  8. Penguissimo macrumors 6502a

    Penguissimo

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Location:
    Michigan
    #9
    You still haven't said what your budget is, but if you can spare $50-60, track down a pair of Etymotic ER-6is. They're made by an earplug company and consequently do a great job of sealing out surrounding noise, especially if you do some experimenting with the included tips (of which there are at least a handful). Etymotic's entire line is fantastic, but this is the cheapest they get, and the higher-end stuff wouldn't particularly be worth it unless you really care about sound quality.

    As stated before, wearing earplugs under headphones will result in the music being distorted and muffled in the same way as the environmental noise you're trying to block out. If the Etymotics are too pricey, your best bet would be to reverse your plan. You could get a set of over-the-ear hearing protection (such as this random example pulled from Google) and wear normal earbuds underneath them.
     
  9. photoguy7 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2011
    #10
  10. Tamokerz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2011
    #11
    I need HELP..

    i was gonna make a thread about recommended cheap headphones then i saw this article and its kinda like my situation(well almost) so i decided to post here instead.
    Well you see the earphones free from the Itouch is almost worn out so I was planning to buy a headphone. My price range is about $80 below cause I'm just a student and I just need it for casual purposes only. Got any recommendation?

    Oh I prefer midsized headphone that has a good bass sounds.
     
  11. philipt42 macrumors 6502

    philipt42

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    Location:
    RI
    #12
    I have the HF-3, and they're fantastic.

    http://www.amazon.com/MEElectronics...1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1318101243&sr=1-1

    These would be a god bet for OP, though he's probably bought them by now.

    As for the rest of you, go to head-fi.org for headphone advice, it's scary-good.
     

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