Up to $300 for noise cancelling headphones

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by yawa, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. yawa macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2009
    I've seen a few threads relating to noise cancelling earphones but not many for headphones and so i thought id start a new one.

    I am after some noise cancelling headphones to watch movies and listen to music when im flying or in hotels. They do need to be noise cancelling as i want to be able to block out the airplane engine noise which is a serious pain with my current headphones.

    Any tips? i have a budget or around $300/£230 and have so far stumbled across the following.

    • Bose QuietComfort 15 (QC15)
    • Dr Dre Studio
    • Denon AH-NC732 - bit out of my budget really

    i heard the dr dre studio headphones are supposed to be slightly overpriced...but then im not sure if they are $10 overpriced for the name of $100.
  2. agr5 macrumors member

    Dec 7, 2009
    I have AblePlanet's ClearHarmony head phones. I really like them and you can find them online for much cheaper than what they retail for, which is $349.
  3. Pigmyracer macrumors newbie

    Apr 12, 2010
    If you're an audiophile or care at all about how your music sounds I would strongly suggest avoiding noise canceling headphones as they, by definition distort sound. Your best bet is to buy good quality in-ear canalphones from a quality company like Shure or Etymotic (just to name two, there are countless others). This happens to be my opinion but if you head over to an audiophile form (like Head-Fi), you will find that this is not an uncommon position. If you really want noise canceling, the Sennheiser PXC 450 (retail is justly slightly out of your range, you should be able to get a discounted version with your budget) is probably the best bet.
  4. UtahWJR macrumors member

    Jul 12, 2008
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    I have a set of the Bose QuietComfort 15's and used them for the first time weekend before last to watch a movie on my iPad on a Delta flight to/from CA and the worked very well. Tried non-cancelling headphones on prior flights and could never hear well enough even with the volume turned up all the way.

    Only problem I had was the flight was not long enough for me to watch the complete movie :)

    Note - Bose make a cheaper pair but they are not the over-the-ear type like the 15's.
  5. MickeyVee macrumors member


    Jun 28, 2009
    I have the Denons & Etymotic HF2's. On a flight in January, I drove my fiancee crazy switching back and forth between the two. I ended up preferring the HF2's and my fiancee the Denons.
    I got the Denons at a warehouse sale last year for under $100 (crazy low).. even that was too much.

    Right now I'm trying out the Monster Beats Tour control talk.. They don't fit as well as the HF2's but I prefer the bass on the Monster. Overall a smoothe response (but I'm still testing)

    The HF2's (or HF5's) should be well within your budget. Good luck!!
  6. Scottyk9 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 18, 2004
    Another vote for canal-phones - I have etymotic HF2 and love them (waiting for the HF3)
  7. lordonuthin macrumors 6502


    Jan 27, 2007
    Bose QC15's are very nice and comfortable with very good quality sound, they work too well in a noisy data center, can't hear a cell phone have to put it on vibe. I would like to have compared others but I can't afford to do that. Otherwise I very happy with them.
  8. mcorf macrumors member

    Jul 25, 2008
    I have the Bose Q3's( on the ear) and my wife the 15's( over the ear) and they both work great. Tried the Dre's and didn't like them as much, and don't like the in-ear types.
  9. 4PPLEM4C macrumors newbie

    Apr 16, 2010
    I've had my Bose QC15's for a while and no problems with them at all, very comfortable, great sound and very affective at cutting out the background noise. Well worth the price.

    Would highly recommend them to the op
  10. yawa thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2009
    Thanks for all of the suggestions. I will probably pop into London tomorrow and try and find some of the Bose to listen to.

    In reply to other posts they do have to be headphones rather than earphones as some of my flights are 10hours + and i really cant or wouldnt want to wear earphones for even half of that time.

    Also noise cancelling is a must because i will primarily be using them on planes and in hotels and from experience non noise cancelling headphones on a plane are a nightmare.
  11. basesloaded190 macrumors 68030


    Oct 16, 2007
    If your spending $300 please don't buy bose. For that money you can get yourself a great set of headphones. Bose sells overpriced headphones that aren't really that great. Head over to Headfi.com to get a better idea of what you should be looking for
  12. rpang macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2009
    So Cal...
    Some useless info: It depends on planes too from my experience. On Boeing planes, cabin noise is horrible so its hard to hear anything using non noise cancelling headphones. On Airbus jets, cabin noise is a lot lower so normal headphones work for me. Try sitting in the back of an American Airlines MD-80 (the older jets). Even noise-cancelling headphones dont work for me.
  13. Bill McEnaney macrumors 6502

    Apr 29, 2010
    I'd buy the QC3s or the QC15s.

    I bought the Bose QC3s about a year ago. Those great-sounding headphones come with two rechargeable batteries and their charger. But QC3 headphones use only one at a time. It fits into the right-hand headphone.

    The QC15 headphones, which I bought for my friend Tim, sound better than the QC3s do because they cancel more noise than the QC3s do. They also come with two or three non-rechargeable AAA batteries. The QC3's are pricier than the QC15s. So I should have waited for the QC15s.
  14. MovieCutter macrumors 68040


    May 3, 2005
    Washington, DC
    Pretty sure you can find a pair of Shure se530's for around $300. I bought mine brand new for $250 a year ago and they are ama....wait for it....zing!
  15. Moriarty macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2008
    Go for noise ISOLATING canalphones. Their noise cancellation is FAR superior to the electronic circuits on headphones because they physically block the noise - they're like earplugs with speakers in them.

    For under $200 you can get a pair of Etymotic ER-4P in-ear earphones. An excellent compromise between bang and buck. The sound great and give superb noise isolation.


    Edit: 10 hours wearing canalphones? Hmm, maybe not :p. The Denon's can be had for $250. http://www.headphone.com/headphones/denon-ah-nc732.php. But there's really very little choice TBH, there aren't any amazingly good noise cancelling headphones for decent prices.
  16. Pigmyracer macrumors newbie

    Apr 12, 2010
    Its not my intention to argue but I would strongly suggest taking a look at Head-Fi. I have owned several pairs of in-ear phones as well as countless over the ear headphones (including the Bose QC3) ranging in price from $20-1,000. The Bose are probably not the worst I've heard, but they make music sound likes its being filtered; tinny, with distorted highs and mids and base with no impact. If you are going to spend $300, don't just spend it on the company that advertises the most.

    With regards to your needs. I absolutely agree that some form of noise reduction would be nice. With the right fit, earphones will provide plenty of isolation but not at the cost of sound quality. Noise canceling phones try to overpower environmental noise and thus distort sound. Earphones rely on physical isolation, sealing off the ear canal, to block environmental noises. Big big difference. Regarding comfort, again, this is a fit issue. I own several pairs of off-the-shelf earphones that I am comfortable wearing for hours on end. I've flown all over the world with in-ear headphones and have never had a problem. To each his own but I would strongly suggest that you avoid this Bose hype.
  17. appleguy123 macrumors 604


    Apr 1, 2009
    15 minutes in the future
    I absolutely love my Bose QC 15 headphones. Other than their size, there are no cons to them at all (if you are spending $300 anyway.) If you have any more questions about them, feel free to ask.
  18. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    It's been mentioned above, but given you are wanting all the advice.

    One more suggestion for the "don't buy noise-cancelling." I suffer from the white noise/headache problem and find the sound quality to be about as painful.

    There are plenty of headphones that provide decent isolation as I understand you don't want to go the earphone route. (That being said, I can keep my SE530s in for hours)

    I haven't heard the Denons so I can't comment. I'm a proponent of the Bose QC2s over the Beats or QC3s. If forced to chose between the latter (which I really wouldn't want to) - I'd probably get the Beats because at that point I'd stop caring about sound quality and was just go for the fashion statement approach.

    I highly recommend the earphone route. The sound quality is better and the isolation is just as good as noise-cancelling without the drawbacks.

  19. BigBeast macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2009
    Try the Bose Tri-Ports

    I thought I would need noise canceling headphones when I was deployed over to Afghanistan but I couldn't afford them. I ended up buying a pair of Bose Tri-Ports instead. WOW! I got em for $130 and 5 years later they're still AWESOME! My friend just listened to em a couple days ago and LOVED them. I kept trying to talk to him but he couldn't hear me- The Tri-Ports have very soft leathery over-ear cans that block out external noise very well. PLUS the bass response on the Tri-Ports is great! Also, they're very durable! In Afghanistan I was a medic on flight duty- constantly flying in cargo planes which are A LOT louder than commercial airplanes. While I could still hear the airplane noise (no noise canceling headphones can improve the noise conditions in a C17), the Tri-Ports sounded great and dramatically reduced the outside noise. And what's also great- they're incredibly comfortable! I've had them on for flights up to 12 hours long and forgot they were on:)

    Tri-Ports- I love em!!!!!!
  20. Krovem macrumors 6502


    Feb 9, 2009
    Studios leak the sound a lot at like 30-40% sound. Check out my review on youtube.

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