Computers & Electronics

Noise Cancelling Head Phones

  • Last Updated:
  • Jul 18th, 2018 9:51 am
[OP]
Deal Addict
Feb 22, 2007
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Noise Cancelling Head Phones

Hello,
Can anyone recommend a good noise cancelling headphones? It will mostly be for travelling on a plane. At the moment, I'm using Sony Headphones (not noise cancelling). They don't work that well, neither do the earbuds on the plane.

I'm looking to spend up to $150. I keep hearing about Bose Q35, but that's way over my budget. Any headphones are that comparable?
26 replies
Deal Addict
Jul 26, 2004
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The Bose QC25 is pretty good ... just all wired unlike the wireless QC35. The QC25 was as cheap as $199 during black friday/boxing day last year when I got a pair for my dad for xmas. Perhaps a prime day special could be around the corner ? There are a few other unknown brands on amazon that sells Active noise cancelling headphones, reviews vary, priced between $50-100ish perhaps read some reviews there and decide which one is worth a shot.

I myself have a set of sony earbuds with active noise cancelling that I got a few years ago on boxing day for $30.... usually use it on the plane and it does help to lessen the noise. I'd imagine a full over the ear one would work even better.

But if you're willing to spend a little more, the Bose ones are pretty much the go-to for active noise cancelling. There some sony ones that are good too, but it'll be pricy as well.
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2009
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I use wired ear canal headphones. They cut out most of the noise and don't require charging. They also take up very little space.

I use the Etymotic ER4P series which have excellent sound quality, but in your budget, you could consider the hf5 at US$100:

https://www.etymotic.com/consumer/earphones/hf5.html

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However, I bought some cheap active noice cancelling Bluetooth headphones for my kids for the plane. Because of their young age, I don't think they'd take to ear canal headphones very well. I got the Srhythm NC-25. They seem to work fine for CAD$80 with my office room air conditioner noise. The sound quality is OK, not top tier, but good enough for my workplace for regular usage. They can also be used wired if you need that.

https://www.amazon.ca/Canceling-Headpho ... S2DT56SXGM

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Aug 3, 2006
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Like coilz said, get either the Bose QC25 wired or Bose QC35 wireless. Save up your money to increase your budget. $150 will only leave you disappointed at products in that price range.
Deal Guru
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Mar 6, 2003
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The only one that is comparable to Bose QC25/35 in terms of noise cancelling are the Sony ones. The WH-1000XM2 or WH-1000X (these have been as low as $309). The next best would be the Sony WH-H900N (Costco.ca has these) for $250

The Bose QC25 is the wired model but it has been officially discontinued, but retailers may still have it. It cleared out at $199 for a long time.

So far, the ones that cost less than $200 fall short of the Bose in terms of noise cancellation ability. The most popular ANC headphone at RFD is the Plantronics Backbeat Pro2 (~$150), but its noise cancellation is only average at best.

It was mentioned above....also IEM earphones are an option. They block a lot of noise, but I find them uncomfortable because you have to jam them deep into the ear to get a tight seal. But if you need to block out a lot of noise, they are just as effective. I had used a set of Etymotic ER4S for a lot of years
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Mar 23, 2009
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warpdrive wrote:
Jul 12th, 2018 9:09 pm
It was mentioned above....also IEM earphones are an option. They block a lot of noise, but I find them uncomfortable because you have to jam them deep into the ear to get a tight seal. But if you need to block out a lot of noise, they are just as effective. I had used a set of Etymotic ER4S for a lot of years
I don't find in-ear monitors uncomfortable, but it will be different for everyone. For some models you can get different tips though. And as for noise blockage, they are actually the best, and better than even the best Bose ANC headphones. Furthermore, they block all noise, not just specific types of noise. For those who haven't tried them, think of them basically as earplugs that also happen to work as headphones.

The other thing I've noticed with ANC headphones is a weird pressure sensation on my ears. I usually don't notice it when listening to audio, but if there is silence, I get that odd pressure feeling. Obviously, you don't get this with in-ear monitors since there is no active noise cancellation.

The main drawback of in-ear monitors is cable noise. If you inadvertently brush against the cable, that generates noise that's loud and clear.
Member
Oct 20, 2007
337 posts
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I struggle to sleep on an airplane and given that I frequently fly trans-Atlantic, noise cancelling headphones have been a blessing.

I've owned multiple products and styles from ear buds to full headsets from Sony to Bose and I've found that in this category, you get what you pay for. I currently own both the QC35 and QC25 Bose units and they by far offer the best performance if noise cancellation is your goal. I even owned Bose ear buds and although they worked for a brief periods, if you attempt to sleep for hours they become very uncomfortable and don't provide the same level of coverage as full headsets.

If a tight budget is an issue you may be better off buying a slightly used QC15 as they were a good product in their day. I still have a set as backup.

Sadly, every cheap copy I've bought didn't cut out enough noise to make a meaningful difference, including a last generation Sony model. Good luck.
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Mar 23, 2009
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mpsrent wrote:
Jul 13th, 2018 7:43 am
I've owned multiple products and styles from ear buds to full headsets from Sony to Bose and I've found that in this category, you get what you pay for. I currently own both the QC35 and QC25 Bose units and they by far offer the best performance if noise cancellation is your goal. I even owned Bose ear buds and although they worked for a brief periods, if you attempt to sleep for hours they become very uncomfortable and don't provide the same level of coverage as full headsets.
Bose QC35 is rated for about 24 dB noise cancellation.
Etymotic ER4P can do close to 30 dB (although they claim 35 dB). In other words, the Bose isn't even in the same league.

But as mentioned, it depends on your preferences. Sure, if you prefer over-the-ear with active noise cancellation, Bose is usually rated the best. But if noise isolation is your goal, it's not even close to being the best.
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Sep 23, 2013
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realg123 wrote:
Jul 12th, 2018 10:04 am
Hello,
Can anyone recommend a good noise cancelling headphones? It will mostly be for travelling on a plane. At the moment, I'm using Sony Headphones (not noise cancelling). They don't work that well, neither do the earbuds on the plane.

I'm looking to spend up to $150. I keep hearing about Bose Q35, but that's way over my budget. Any headphones are that comparable?
Given your budget, I would recommend Plantronics BackBeat PRO which is what I have . The noice cancellation part is not its forte. But sound quality it has the best bang for the buck
Daniel

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Sep 24, 2007
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I own the Sony M2s, they are now my go to CANS, really awesome for music and watching movies on my shield. The loud roar of my AC completely negated by the ANC, so for sure I know jet engine noise is not gonna be an issue for me on flights. The only concern is the horrible cramped seats of most airliners for sleeping than any possible noise. The ANC is so good on these HPS, I have a feeling I am going to miss meals on a long haul 13 hr flight, not being able to hear the meal trays coming by.
[OP]
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Feb 22, 2007
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Thank you guys very much.
Member
Sep 30, 2006
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Scarborough
+1 for Bose QC25... I got them on Black Friday last year for $179 +tax.
While being wired, it has a richer sound than the QC35, and as well they are powered by AAA battery. Way easier to replace in the future.

You can also check out used ones potentially... a lot of people buy these things and hardly use them. Just saying you might score some good deal there.
Member
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Feb 2, 2010
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How are your experiences with phone calls using noise cancelling wireless headphones?

I have Bose QC35 II and Jabra 65T. Both are terrible with phone calls. They pick up so much noise from the environment. I even got a replacement headphone from Bose and it's still the same.
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EugW wrote:
Jul 12th, 2018 10:43 pm
I don't find in-ear monitors uncomfortable, but it will be different for everyone. For some models you can get different tips though. And as for noise blockage, they are actually the best, and better than even the best Bose ANC headphones. Furthermore, they block all noise, not just specific types of noise. For those who haven't tried them, think of them basically as earplugs that also happen to work as headphones.

The other thing I've noticed with ANC headphones is a weird pressure sensation on my ears. I usually don't notice it when listening to audio, but if there is silence, I get that odd pressure feeling. Obviously, you don't get this with in-ear monitors since there is no active noise cancellation.

The main drawback of in-ear monitors is cable noise. If you inadvertently brush against the cable, that generates noise that's loud and clear.
you are correct about the noise reduction....IEMs, when inserted properly, block more noise than the best ANC headsets.

That's also part of the problem.....when I was wearing them people don't realize that I can't hear them at all because they block everything. On a plane with the attendants coming by to serve things, family talking to me occasionally, I found I had to keep pulling them out and inserting them back in. I found the best tips are the foam ones and I have to roll them between my figures before putting them in deeply. WIth regular headphones, it's easy to just pop one earcup off temporarily for a second or two.

Secondly, in my case, the Etymotics had a really flat frequency response, and when combined with the loud engine noise which you can still hear, they sounded too tinny. On a plane, I think it's nice to wear a headphone that has a slight emphasis in bass in a noisy environments.

I think IEMs are definitely a great option provided you don't mind shoving them into your ear.
Jr. Member
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Dec 18, 2017
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Get the brand the pros use on stage - Shure. Specifically at your price point the SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones which mask 37db. The wired ones are under your price point and for a bit more the wireless ones work out well. I will be asked to be buried with my Shure E5c which after 10 years, I still have to be convinced that something else sounds better via wired input. I never get on an airplane or in the small cottage with my big-time snoring friends without them!

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