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swervyn

Noise cancelling headphones for travel

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Hi all, I have pretty much read most threads re: the topic and have done plenty of googling! Seems most threads are getting on a bit and wondering if people have thoughts on what is currently available?

 

I have an upcoming long flight (10ish hrs) and the last time I did it I vowed to get decent headphones for the next trip, the constant drone of the planes engines did my head in.

 

Would prefer to be spending no more than $300-$400

 

From the research I have done, seems like the Bose QuietComfort 35 II are the pick of the bunch for that price range?

 

Comfort is a big plus, so prefer something that can be worn for a long period without being too uncomfortable

 

Would like to hear others views/opinions etc and what I should be looking for

 

Cheers

 

 

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The Sony 1000xm3 would be my choice, the noise cancelling and  SQ leaves the Bose 35II wanting....  you can get the Sony 1000xm3 around the same as The Bose if you make an effort in bargaining.....

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My pick is the QC25. Cheaper than the QC35 and both have noise cancelling second to none. When flying, noise cancelling should be the primary criteria and comfort comes next. 

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Posted (edited)

Compare different ones at a shop to see how effective NC and comfortable it is. Bose is very good although there others with better music reproduction from an audiophile sound perspective. Get a wireless one as cords get in way.

Edited by Al.M

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7 minutes ago, Al.M said:

Compare different ones at a shop to see how effective NC and comfortable it is. Bose is very good although there others with better music reproduction from an audiophile sound perspective. Get a wireless one as cords get in way.

Make sure to bring the cord and airline adapter just in case they forbid bluetooth.

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I boght the Sony XM3's. Lightweight, great battery life and much better sounding the than the Bose QC35 IMO.

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Thanks guys, found this review and I think I am sold on the Sony's

 

 

 

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Sony's great BUT I found the Bose much more comfortable, and on a very long flight that was worth much more to me.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Addicted to music said:

The Sony 1000xm3 would be my choice, the noise cancelling and  SQ leaves the Bose 35II wanting....  you can get the Sony 1000xm3 around the same as The Bose if you make an effort in bargaining.....

Agreed.  I just went through the same dilemma and looked at a couple of headphones and the Sony came out tops for my requirement and bang for buck value.  The bose was a bit more comfortable and the noise cancellation a bit better than the Sony, but the soundstage was much more narrower and the bass had a bit more of that duff duff quality.  The Sennheiser momentum 2's were good but ear fatigue came in after listening for an hour.  

Edited by shogo33

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Posted (edited)

I used to fly a lot and at 30,000 ft with the engines roaring, audio quality differences found while listening on the ground did not matter.   Noise cancelling matters most and if flying longer distances, being comfortable with wearing the cans is a close second.   Have a look at people wearing noise cancelling headphones on the plane and Bose is ahead by a long way.

 

It amazes me that many reviewers of noise cancelling headphones focus on audio quality as much as noise cancelling.   Fair enough if the headphones were multi purpose and used in various situations.  But if the primary purpose is flying,  then any perceived audio quality is lost because it is such a noisy environment. 

Edited by Snoopy8
Typo

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Another vote for the Sony - I've had or have the QC35, Senneheiser 550's B&W PX, and the Sony's - the Sony was my pick of the bunch - bets balance of comfort, sound quality and NC.

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Just now, Snoopy8 said:

I used to fly a lot and at 30,000 ft with the engines roaring, audio quality differences found while listening on the ground did not matter.   Noise cancelling matters most and if flying longer distances, being comfortable with wearing the cans is a close second.   Have a look people wearing noise cancelling headphones on the plane and Bose is ahead by a long way.

 

It amazes me that many reviewers of noise cancelling headphones focus on audio quality as much as noise cancelling.   Fair enough if the headphones were multi purpose and used in various situations.  But if the primary purpose is flying,  then any perceived audio quality is lost because it is such a noisy environment. 

That was exactly my reasoning and point; this isn't primarily about sound quality but about noise cancelling for long periods. I've had 3 pairs of noise cancelling headphones. All except the Bose become uncomfortable on long trips. The Bose is the clear winner to me for that purpose and I wouldn't use anything else.

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6 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

That was exactly my reasoning and point; this isn't primarily about sound quality but about noise cancelling for long periods. I've had 3 pairs of noise cancelling headphones. All except the Bose become uncomfortable on long trips. The Bose is the clear winner to me for that purpose and I wouldn't use anything else.

I had 3 or 4 pairs of noise cancelling non Bose headphones, plus a few bud earphones.  Reviews said the cheaper ones  (half to one third the price of Bose) were 80-90% that of the Bose in audio quality and noise cancelling, slightly less comfortable.   My mistake for believing them...  :shocked: 

 

Glad to know there are at least 2 of us on SNA who puts less emphasis on audio quality  while flying with noise cancelling headphones...  👍   

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Posted (edited)

You mentioned an upcoming 10 hour flight only so it appears you are not flying a lot and that might tip it in favour of other choices with audio quality if you are going to spend time in other situations where this might matter more such as on train commutes, at home, driving cars or as a passenger. 

 

I had an over-ear Bose QC 35 in the past and NC was incredible, perhaps 95% reduction and very comfortable, audio was good enough but it just lacked something when listening in quiet situations when even compared to a minimalist on-ear compact $130 Audio Technica ATH ANC1 (no longer made) 75% reduction. I agree on a noisy plane even with good NC audio quality doesn’t make a difference.

 

I also have an over-ear wireless $200 Sony MDR ZX770BN that I got used condition but very clean for $130 with about 60% NC effect and even that has better audio than the Bose. I used this for flying perhaps 1-2 times a year to Japan and across Aust, but extensively commuting on the train 2 hours a day and find this quite satisfactory for the spend.

 

I have used similar $300 Beats and they are very average and heavy.

 

Beware some products can have very ineffective NC as low as 25% so it’s important to try before buying. Various review sites mention this against models.

 

If you are only using it for the 10 hour upcoming flight and perhaps once a year in future with no purpose in between, I would consider cheaper alternatives because although a 95% NC Bose or similar is nice, it may be wasted if you are not using it. Any reasonable NC (not below 50%) headphone will make a difference than not having any no matter the price and quality.

 

Incidentally, I find listening to NC with good audio quality quite nice as it creates a very black background for instruments to really stand out and reduces extraneous external back noise dramatically. 

Edited by Al.M

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