Noise Cancelling vs Comply Foam vs earplug

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by MaxBurn, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. MaxBurn macrumors 65816


    Nov 25, 2010
    I am flying quite a bit and working in a lot of computer rooms and want something for those areas. In general I use some foamy 29 or 31 db rated earplugs for those areas.

    I have also found that combining my triplefi with a set of Comply Foam Tx500 tips they are nearly as good as earplugs at sound isolation.

    How does noise canceling headphone stack up against these? I just can't find anything in my area to test out, let alone just plain buy.
  2. VideoFreek macrumors 6502


    May 12, 2007
    I use both the Etymotic ER-4 in-ear phones and the Bose QuietComfort 3 noise-canceling headphones for my business travel (mostly long international flights). Sonically and in terms of noise isolation, I'd say the Etymotic phones are far superior to the Bose. In fairness though, the Bose QC3 headphones, though quite popular with business travelers, are criticized for having less noise isolation than other noise-canceling headphones due to their design, which does not completely cover the ear.

    In general, though, if you can stand the foam earplugs for long periods of time (I can't--they tend to irritate me), I would always recommend to go with a high-quality set of in-ear phones for the best listening results.
  3. Cartaphilus macrumors 6502a

    Dec 24, 2007
    I also use both Bose noise-cancelling headphones and Etymotic ER-4's. In the environments you describe, the Bose can be effective, since it is efficient at canceling steady noise, like the hum of aircraft engines, or the background noise of a call center. The technology does not work, though, on sporadic sounds, like a garrulous passenger seated behind you in the plane, or a visitor to a neighboring cubicle in a call center. The in-ear foamed ear buds, though, do an excellent job in isolating you from those types of sounds.

    On the other hand, I find the Bose comfortable for long periods of time, while the Etymotics, despite their great sound quality and ambient noise reduction, become annoying in the ear after an hour or so. The Bose in its carry case takes up a good deal of room in a briefcase, but the Etymotics can fit easily in a pocket.

    Depending on what I'm doing, where I'm going, and for how long, I chose which device I want to use.

    I think you'd be very happy to have the Bose headphones, even if you continue to use the in-ear 'phones sometimes.
  4. Yourstrul macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2011
  5. MaxBurn thread starter macrumors 65816


    Nov 25, 2010
  6. Tix macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2011
    I saw a Cnet review on some new noise-cancelling earphones by Audio-Technica. I didn't read the whole thing, but the writer really liked the earphones and said they had both active and passive noise cancellation. I think it was about 80 bucks...?
    Maybe worth looking in to more.

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