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darth vader

Noise cancelling headphone Q?'s (mostly for travel)

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I'll be honest. I'm not a can fan for the most part, but as some travelling is on the agenda, I'm looking for a good set of noise cancelling cans. Hoping I can pick the brains of some head-fi experts.

 

After going down the utoob rabbit hole, it seems that Steinheiser PXC-550, Bose QC35 and Sony MDR-1000x are top of the heap. Seems the Sony is this years choice so far if coin is not a problem.

 

On the other side of the small coin, the Jam transit seems to be ticking some boxes. 

 

Something inside me says even Bose are better than Dr Dre Beats, but I could be wrong there. Seems Jam have an offering at 1/4 the price of beats that, well, beats them.

 

 

So, is it worth shelling out for some better noise cancelling cans?

 

By that, I'm kind of asking if noise cancelling cans are worth more than just a plane trip. Are they are a serious contender for good head-fi? Or just a joke? If they are a joke, I'd be inclined to go for the Jam's to just get me some results. If they can be considered viable for good sonics I'd think of shelling out for something better.

 

Bear in mind, I'm coming from a vinyl/tube rig, headphones are something very new to me. Got my phone loaded with buckets of MP somethings for the trip, just not sure which way to go.

 

What recommendations would you give for auditioning headphones at retail stores?

 

I tried a few at the local JB store, there was one that let you plug your own phone in. From that it seemed that the point of sale "try me" headphone set ups are very much tailored to give the best sound, like the tv's are switched to store mode. The demo music sounded great, but music from my phone sounded like AM radio (at least that stall was honest)

 

Whats the best way to ask them to demo the truth?

 

I chucked up an ad in the WTB section, but as you can see, I know nothing. Hoping you can help.

 

Cheers

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Avoid the Dr Dre Beats unless you want to build an ongoing relationship with the retailer's customer service and repairs people. Also the sound quality is not what you are looking for. If you want to wear a brand, buy a T-shirt.

 

Even before buying for audiophile-level listening, you need to be sure that the sound cancellation function works reliably.  I have some Sennheisers that bump out of cancellation mode after between 45 seconds and 1 minute's worth of low engine rumble when I'm sitting forward of or on top of the wing.

 

Edited to add: you probably need a specialist retailer. Their service is so good that emails or a phone call to Headphonic in Perth will set you right.

Edited by ThirdDrawerDown
provide shop advice

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NC headphones will not cancel out all of the noise - so you will still have to put up with some noise in the background esp on a plane. Don't expect tomb like silence.

 

The best NC headphones I've used is also the cheapest I've used. I bought a pair for my wife to use on her business travels and they work as well as my Sennheiser PXC450s. 

 

https://www.storedj.com.au//audio-technica-anc33is-noise-cancelling-earphones?gclid=CjwKEAjwz9HHBRDbopLGh-afzB4SJABY52oFPMjO_SpysS2roP6aVbfyBaw9G7jqKiWoAT1IVggJPhoC-xHw_wcB

 

The Sennheiser PXC450s are very good but don't fit my head too well and they give me an earache. 

 

Edited by Sir Triode

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wolster   

Have not tried some of the brands mentioned but, after doing my own research 18 months ago, I went for Bose and they do a great job of noise cancelling as well as sounding good.

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Luc   

We're off OS later this year and I didn't really want to fork out 6-800 for two pairs of NC cans like the Bose I recently bought for my daughter. 

But I tried them on the other day and they were certainly comfortable and I think they'd be a better bet than ear buds but I'm not sure.

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Noise cancellation is one area in which Bose are miles ahead of the competition.

 

They had been developing and designing headphones for pilots commercially for years before anything was available to the general public.

 

I would suggest having a listen somewhere if you can, they are eerily effective.

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Jventer   

My son who plays guitar and piano and uses headphones all the time - as in at home on the bus, etc.: anything he can stick into his ears. Not earphones like the Apple onse, earbuds as those you stick in you ears and provide sound isolation.Headphones is a big issue for him as he continually lose them, break them, forget them etc. We found if we buy around $30 a pop it works most of the time. Earbuds are good because it is easily stored and what the kids do is to remove just one if they want to listen to someone. Some brands are remarkably resilient - they even survive being left in trouser pockets and being washed :).

 

Friend of mine who travels to the USA once year and some flights locally swears by Bose.

 

I use good earbuds, mostly Etymotic - those that you can stick in your ears to provide sound isolation. Cheaper that way as you don't have to pay for noise cancellation. The thing with noise cancellation is that it only works for certain frequencies and then you need batteries too.

 

Best advice is to try before you buy, if possible.

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Jventer   

I forgot to add, you are listening via a phone to  MP3's. The phone and files will be the limiting factor.

If you go down this path and wish to spend, maybe look at better files and a headphone dac and amp.

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Kaynin   

Bose NC is certainly excellent, but I went with the PSB M4U2's - better sounding cans plus the NC qualities are just as good.

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blybo   

I had Bose QC15's and was very happy with the NC abilities, sound was fine but not great, compared with my Sennheiser Momentums. I didn't like the fact that they did not work passively so I bought Sennheiser PXC550's a few months ago and have been very happy with NC and SQ but probably still behind my Momentums, because Apple iOS does not support aptX bluetooth or whatever it's called. The ability to change volume and tracks with a sweep of the finger on the right ear sensor panel is a great idea, and very easy to come to grips with compared to cable remotes.

 

Haven't used the PXC550's on a plane yet...

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EV Cali   

 

 

47 minutes ago, blybo said:

I had Bose QC15's and was very happy with the NC abilities, I didn't like the fact that they did not work passively

 The QC15s couldn’t be used without power but, the QC25s can run passively. You don’t need power to listen if you’re happy to make do without the noise cancellation and the built-in amp.
 

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blybo   
3 minutes ago, EV Cali said:

 

 

 The QC15s couldn’t be used without power but, the QC25s can run passively. You don’t need power to listen if you’re happy to make do without the noise cancellation and the built-in amp.
 

I know, but seeing as though I was upgrading, I didn't limit myself just to Bose. NC can be turned off on the PXC550's too, and can passively via a cable

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I weent to the local JB and tried what they had there. Very poor selection of cans on display and only the Bose stand had any NC cans. The QC35's were nice but I agree with many of the reveiws... "no highs or lows, must be Bose" was a bit of a catch cry.

 

As you said @Jventer this may not be too much of an issue as for travelling it will be MP3's from a phone.

I do have flac files, dac, etc, so I was kind of thinking a reasonable set might get some use when I get back home.

 

The Bose did have good NC qualitys, kind of spooky at first, lol.

 

I wanted to try the Stenheiser and the Sony offerings, but alas in this town I couldn't find any on display. Sony had an "ambient noise" function that seemed kind of cool and like the PXC 550's has  swipe type funtionality. $700 is a lot to spend on some headphones that are not audiophile quality though (JB price, better prices online)

 

JB did have the Jam Transit. They were a fail. Tacky feel to them and noise cancelling didn't work. SQ was passable, just.

 

I think I might go for the Bose, price V's quality and function, they seem pretty good.

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blybo   
7 minutes ago, darth vader said:

I weent to the local JB and tried what they had there. Very poor selection of cans on display and only the Bose stand had any NC cans. The QC35's were nice but I agree with many of the reveiws... "no highs or lows, must be Bose" was a bit of a catch cry.

 

As you said @Jventer this may not be too much of an issue as for travelling it will be MP3's from a phone.

I do have flac files, dac, etc, so I was kind of thinking a reasonable set might get some use when I get back home.

 

The Bose did have good NC qualitys, kind of spooky at first, lol.

 

I wanted to try the Stenheiser and the Sony offerings, but alas in this town I couldn't find any on display. Sony had an "ambient noise" function that seemed kind of cool and like the PXC 550's has  swipe type funtionality. $700 is a lot to spend on some headphones that are not audiophile quality though (JB price, better prices online)

 

JB did have the Jam Transit. They were a fail. Tacky feel to them and noise cancelling didn't work. SQ was passable, just.

 

I think I might go for the Bose, price V's quality and function, they seem pretty good.

I got my PXC550's from JB marked down to about $380 from memory.

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Without wanting to become a shill for a shop I've never bought from but simply been impressed with, Headphonic do have a rather good no-cost mail and returns policy on their web site.

Edited by ThirdDrawerDown

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Luc   

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I'd ask yourself the question "Do I really have to listen to something on the flight at all"? These days, I just buy a book before getting on. But, I'm not a frequent flyer. I did get a pair of Bose QC20s recently, they were OK but I was happy to gift them to a family member.

 

BTW Headphonic will give store credit, but not a refund. Their "trial period" wording is deceptive.

 

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Smoovie   

 

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 Noise Cancelling Headphone

 

I have used this set for years and they cancel out a lot of the ambient noise in a plane cabin.

 

The sound quality is not what you would consider 'audiophile', however it certainly isn't bad.

 

One feature that this particular set have over others is the use of AAA batteries instead of built in battery which means you can buy a 4 pack of AAA batteries and simply change them in and out when one runs dead. A 4 pack should last you months. 

 

I've been travelling very heavily of late and I can confirm 1 battery will last you several long haul flights.

 

The Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7NC Headphone sound amazing compared to the above, but they're double the price and don't offer any better noise cancelling imo.

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blybo   
  • [mention=133073]ThirdDrawerDown[/mention]  These are what's on offer there Murray. If like me you only want a pair for air travel then you wouldn't need the bluetooth option would you and the  $99 ones might be the ones to buy?

Bluetooth is worthwhile. I've lost count of how many times I've got out of my seat and forgetting I have cans on, got the cord caught on something.

I often leave NC on without music for sleep


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Luc   
5 hours ago, john.reekie said:

I'd ask yourself the question "Do I really have to listen to something on the flight at all"? These days, I just buy a book before getting on. But, I'm not a frequent flyer. I did get a pair of Bose QC20s recently, they were OK but I was happy to gift them to a family member.

 

BTW Headphonic will give store credit, but not a refund. Their "trial period" wording is deceptive.

 

 

I'll either be reading or I'll have audio books but I'd just like to try some NC to see if they can help in getting me to nod off on the London/Syd flights, I'm dreading the thought of 24hrs of twitching legs and boredom so some shuteye would be a bonus.

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frankn   
6 minutes ago, Sir Triode said:

If you worry about that I hope you do not use social media!

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Wimbo   
2 hours ago, Luc said:

 

I'll either be reading or I'll have audio books but I'd just like to try some NC to see if they can help in getting me to nod off on the London/Syd flights, I'm dreading the thought of 24hrs of twitching legs and boredom so some shuteye would be a bonus.

Back in the day we'd have a cookie before the flight then get stuck into our Duty Free grog. Normally got woken up before we landed in Amsterdam. KLM was great.

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