Noise Cancelling Headphones – Recommendations?

I’ve recently been travelling by air a good bit more than I used to, and I’m in the market for a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones to go along with my iPod. I’m more interested in quality/performance over price, although I don’t want to break the bank, either. Obviously, Bose is a well known company in this market, but I’m wondering about others… Perhaps Sennheiser?

Does anyone have any experience with these or others?

Beyond company reputations, can anyone recommend a specific model?

Thanks.

13 Responses to “Noise Cancelling Headphones – Recommendations?”

  1. Anonymous

    look, bose is ok for you’re average listener, but if you are looking for audiophile sound, look elsewhere. bose over-emphasizes bass, this produces “euphonic” sound. pleasing sound, but not accurate. I’m apprehensive about anything that plays opposite frequencies into my ears, so I wouldn’t go for noise cancelling. The best would be Ultimate Ears customs, but a decent compromise are the $250 UE fi.5 Pros.

  2. Anonymous

    I’d definitely go with passive noice cancelling rather than active. Etymotics have 25db of passive noise isolation and are some of the best sound-quality headphones available at any price. I wouldn’t give mine up for anything!

  3. Anonymous

    I travel extensively. I have a set of Bose that are great. They’re a bit heavy on the head. But they work great. I redeemed a bunch of Citibank thank you points to get them. Otherwise I probably wouldn’t have tried them.

  4. Anonymous

    I use Sennheiser PXC-250. They get the job done on the subway and on planes (though I’ve never had another pair of noise-cancelling headphones, so can’t compare) — the difference with the cancelling feature on vs. off is significant. They’re not uncomfortable, which, for me, is as good as it gets (I can’t stand the feel of buds, and though I’ve never tried on a pair of Bose, have worn headphones with similarly large cup size, which causes discomfort with the pressure against the earpieces of my glasses).

    At the time (around 1.5 yrs ago), Circuit City was selling them retail for $150 with a 30-day return policy, while Amazon had them steeply discounted, around $70 or $80. I tested them via Circuit City, and when I was satisfied, returned them and bought them at Amazon. I frequently see those Bose set-ups in airports — for comfort/quality comparison, perhaps you could test a pair there and then compare with a returnable pair or two purchased retail?

  5. Anonymous

    Forgot to mention that the ipod sound quality is exceptional – crisp and clear!! My friend and I actually compared the sound quality against a $150 Sony headphones and he said there is no comparison to the Bose. Needless to say, he went and bought the Bose.

  6. Anonymous

    There are two routes you can go. Either a noise-cancellation headphone or an IEM (in-ear monitor) earbuds. Instead of noise cancellation technology, IEM’s seal off ambient noise. I prefer IEM’s because they are much more compact and light. And they don’t require battery operation.

    For IEM’s:
    Shure and Etymotic are the big names. They do get pretty expensive, a little bit cheaper on E-bay. A cheaper alternative is the Sony MDR-EX51LP or MDR-EX71SL

    For Noise Cancellation:
    Bose QC2/QC3 are good but expensive.
    Solitude NC headphones also get good reviews.
    Sennheiser is so-so.

    When you consider what to buy, comfort should be a big factor. If you can’t stand having them on you head for more than an hour, than there’s no point no matter how good the noise cancellation is. If you serious about sound then you should spend a decent amount for headphones. To get more info go to this forum: http://www.head-fi.org/

  7. Anonymous

    I have to agree with Shayan. I know $300 price tag is steep, but the Bose QC Noise Cancelling headphones are worth every penny. I work in a noisy environment and wear it everyday. Also, Bose has great customer service. I was able to get a free pair of headphones after it broke 1.5 yrs later. Keep in mind that you really do get what you pay for. Don’t waste you time with the cheap ones.

  8. Anonymous

    I’m on the road almost every week (I’m a consultant) and I’ve tried quite a few noise cancelling headphones. The ones I’ve liked best are the BOSE QuiteComfort ones.

    I’ve had my Bose QC2s for a little over two years now, and I love them. They are a bit on the pricy side with the $300 price tag, but if you expect to be travelling a lot in the future, they are a great option. I know the new QC3s just came out, so maybe you’ll be able to find a price drop?

    Happy shopping!
    Shayan

  9. Anonymous

    I know you don’t want cheap, but I bought some Coby CV-191 noise cancelling headphones for about $25 and they are fantastic.

    The only thing wrong with them is that they are a bit too large for my head so I have to zip a hoodie around them to hold them more closely to my ears in order to get the full noise canceling effect on an airplane. But maybe this is just something wrong with my head, since they fit my husband better and he loves them.

  10. Anonymous

    I’ve got to agree with the King on this one. I love my Shure earbuds. They are “sound isolating,” as opposed to “noise cancelling.” I like that because you can just put them in w/out anything playing and have silence. Then you can turn music on low and relax. Perfect for me!

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