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Melensdad
10-16-2006, 05:19 PM
I have been using, for the past 2 years, a pair of inexpensive Radio Shack Noise Cancelling headphones. I actually have 2 pairs because I crimped a wire on the first set and it cuts out the sound to one earphone if you don't hold it "just" right so I gave that pair to my daughter last year. I picked up another pair because I was pretty happy with them. I think I spent $29 the first time, and $39 the second time.

I've been hearing such good things about the Bose Quiet Comfort that I decided to look at those and tried them out. WOW they are better. But at $299 for the QC2 and $349 for the QC3, it just seems silly. I guess I like nice things but they did not seem to be THAT much better than the Radio Shack units I already have.

Still I felt I owed myself a treat and desired a bit better than those I own.

So I went on a search. Here are 4 photos of EXACTLY the same units I have, sold by 4 different companies for 4 different prices under 4 differnet names. Not sure who the heck makes them. But I have the Radio Shack version . . . they are pretty good. Not top quality but certainly a good value if you want a small fold up pair for a modest price.

Melensdad
10-16-2006, 05:25 PM
Now in my search, I've listened to a few more nice units beyond the Bose. I think I'm going to get some Sennheisers. Their model PXC300 has a "list price" of $219 but I've seen it for under $140. Expensive, but still less than 1/2 the price of Bose QC2 and even a better value when compared to the more comparable Bose QC3.

I liked the smaller size of the PXC300 better than the QC3 size too. The other thing I didn't like about the QC3 is the rechargable battery. If it dies, you lose your headphones. Not just the noise cancelling feature, but also the music. With the PXC300 from Sennheiser, it uses typical AAA batteries (2 of them) and if the batteries die, you can still listen to music but you lose the noise cancelling feature.

Anyone else have any recommendations on a top quality, but compact (I use them when I travel so they must fold) set of noise cancelling headphones? What do you use? Why?


Here is a C|Net Review of the Sennheisers:

CNET editors' review

Reviewed by: Steve Guttenberg
Edited by: Jasmine France
Reviewed on 9/21/05

Sennheiser's PXC 300 noise-canceling headphones boast the latest refinement of the brand's NoiseGard Advance hushing technology. The travel-friendly 'phones also offer featherweight comfort, fold flat for easy storage in the supplied soft travel case, and come with batteries and airline audio adapters. The PXC 300s retail for $220, though online pricing hovers at less than $200.

At first glance, the Sennheiser PXC 300s looks like upscale Walkman-style headphones; closer examination reveals them to have an impressively durable design. The earpieces are approximately 1.75 inches in diameter, so they can't completely cover your ears, but the PXC 300s' extraplush leatherette ear cushions blocked out a significant level of noise on their own. They exerted a fair amount of pressure on our ears, but we found the headphone extremely comfortable, even in hot weather. The headphones employ Sennheiser's proprietary, spiral-embossed Duofol diaphragms and bass-tube technology for improved sound quality. The PXC 300s are backed up with a two-year warranty.

Sennheiser claims its latest NoiseGard Advance system eliminates the electronics' inherent background noise, but we heard very low-level hiss in quiet locations; in the noisy world, the hiss was inaudible. Sennheiser also claims the PXC 300s reduce susceptibility to interference from cell phones and other radio-frequency sources, and we experienced no disturbances. The PXC 300s' noise-canceling circuitry and two AAA batteries are housed in a separate 5.25-inch-long, black plastic tube fitted with a metal belt clip. Sennheiser states the batteries should provide up to 80 hours of service, though you can still enjoy music over the PXC 300s even if you don't have a spare set of AAAs on hand; you just won't get the noise-canceling capability if you have no batteries.

The cable running from the headphone and the battery case is 4.5 feet long; it's fitted with a 3.5mm stereo plug compatible with virtually all portables, and you get a 6.3mm adapter for home use.

We evaluated the Sennheiser PXC 300s' noise-canceling (NC) performance on New York City's subways and buses. The din reduction wasn't up to the standards set by full-size headphones that completely enclose the ears, but it's definitely in the ballpark. Engaging the NC circuitry significantly boosted the PXC 300s' volume level and accentuated the midrange frequencies, which heightened the apparent NC effect. That volume gain was also appreciated because the PXC 300 wouldn't play particularly loud with our iPod. Sound quality was above average, with good bass power and definition. The PXC 300s, like many other noise-canceling headphones, produce acoustic pressure on the eardrums. Listeners sensitive to this effect may find it mildly uncomfortable.

We compared the Sennheiser PXC 300s with one of our favorite NC models, AKG's K28 NCs (http://reviews.cnet.com/AKG_K_28_NC/4505-7877_7-31429518.html?tag=txt) ($160). The Sennheiser's sound was clearly more detailed with superior bass definition, but the AKG produced more bass and could play a lot louder than the PXC 300s. Noise-canceling abilities on both 'phones were excellent.

Big Dog
10-16-2006, 06:01 PM
http://www.compuplus.com/i-Sennheiser-PXC-300-Noise-Cancellation-Foldable-Stereo-Headphones-1004204~.html?sid=s3ev2v40009l69n

Melensdad
10-16-2006, 06:06 PM
BD are you using the Sennheisers? Do you like them?

Dargo
10-16-2006, 06:08 PM
I demo'd a pair of the Bose QC3's and didn't care for them, so I bought another pair of the QC2's for my wife. Besides not being as comfortable, I also strongly dislike the rechargable battery in the QC3's. If you like the ear bud style of headphones, I like my Shure E5's. They give a very good representation of the true sound like the QC2's. I do have an old pair of Sennheisers I bought from Vonn's Electronics (remember that place in Crawfordsville Bob?).

If I'm listening to an audiobook, I don't really care that much about sound quality. Otherwise, I want my music to sound right. BTW, don't bother with Sony's offerings of noise reduction headphones. I've wasted plenty of money on them, and they all suck! I've not tried the Sennheisers because I've had the QC2's since they came out and have been satisfied with them. They even keep Mrs. Dargo happy as she's bopping along on "her" Grasshopper mower. :D

Melensdad
10-16-2006, 06:26 PM
Do you find the QC2 headsets to be bulky? I didn't like the whole ear coverage and prefer the smaller style of the QC3 and Sennheisers. While the QC2's full ear coverage would have greater sound deadening properties because they fully cover your ear, I still perfer the smaller units for comfort, but that is just a personal preference.

Like you, I see the rechargable battery pack of the QC3 as a major drawback.

Doc
10-16-2006, 06:38 PM
A week ago I had not heard of noise cancelling headphones. Now that you guys have talked of how well they work, I plan to have a pair soon. :D

Dargo
10-16-2006, 06:41 PM
The smaller "on the ear" QC3's felt like they had to squeeze my head too much to stay in place unless I was just sitting still. And, you're right, they do not provide as much noise cancellation as the QC2's. I have to admit, I really do not feel that they are bulky when wearing them. But, for noise cancellation, I prefer over the ears.

Hint, I got Mrs. Dargo's QC2's on eBay new for $200. When shopping for them, I saw several of the "like new" QC3's already listed. I have a feeling some people wanted the 'new and improved' only to find, like me, that they are new but unimproved in my preferences. An odd thing about the Shure E5's; if I'm chewing gum or eating on a plane, they fall out of my ears. :mad: Not cool for some rather expensive ear buds!

HGM
10-16-2006, 07:21 PM
An odd thing about the Shure E5's; if I'm chewing gum or eating on a plane, they fall out of my ears. :mad: Not cool for some rather expensive ear buds!

Is that (http://www.shurestore.com/earphones/index.html#eseries) a $500 pair of headphones? They sounded really interesting, so I had to look... The E5c is out of my practical range, but the E2c looks interesting, do you know anything about these? They look like the ultimate in compact..:cool2:

Big Dog
10-16-2006, 07:24 PM
BD are you using the Sennheisers? Do you like them?

Nope, I searched them last night after you mentioned them. Need to find somewhere I can try them!

DaveNay
10-16-2006, 07:49 PM
Anyone else have any recommendations on a top quality, but compact (I use them when I travel so they must fold) set of noise cancelling headphones?
http://www.ultimateears.com/custom/UE-10-Pro.htm

http://www.ultimateears.com/custom/upload/prod/UE-10_Pro_1.jpg

They aren't active noise reduction, but they will actually block significantly more ambient sounds than an active pair.

Only $900 per set.

Melensdad
10-16-2006, 10:05 PM
Doc . . . even the inexpensive Noise Cancelling headphones are pretty darn amazing. The Radio Shack units are good for non-music. So if you are watching a video or listening to an audio book they are fine. For listening to music you might want to consider the high quality headphones.


BD . . . find somewhere near you with Sennheisers, they are amazing. I think they sound better than the Bose headphones, but then I've never been a big fan of Bose speakers or the Bose Wave. I'm not saying it is bad stuff, I just think it is flawed because it, by design causes phase distortion. The headphones don't suffer from that design and they are very very good. I just liked the Sennheiser shound a little better. To each his own.


Dargo . . . I don't chew gum so I don't have to worry about them falling off my head!


DaveNay . . . no earbuds for me. I just don't like them.

Melensdad
10-18-2006, 09:49 PM
Just an update, the lovely Mrs_B got me the Sennheiser's for my birthday. She even got the correct model :cool2:

While they look light and fragile, these are very well made headphones, as well they should be given the price. They claim 80% noise reduction and from what I can find on the internet, their noise reduction is among the most advanced system available and this model has the most advanced version Sennheiser offers.

The headset folds very compactly and includes a semi-rigid travel case that also holds batteries, and 2 different plug adapters for use on various types of equipment. To keep the headset light, the circuitry and battery is held in a pocketable unit that can also be clipped to a belt. Some would consider this a drawback and that could be considered a valid point, but the other option is to follow the path taken by Bose and build all of the batteries and circuitry into the headset which increases weight and bulk. To each his own, I prefer the smaller lighter headset.

The sound, by the way, is supurb! Meat Loaf's Bat out of Hell never sounded so good :D

Big Dog
10-18-2006, 09:58 PM
Where did she get them?

Big Dog
10-18-2006, 10:03 PM
Bob,

BTW................ Get on the tractor and let me know how it goes. I'm concerned that on machinery it may take a full ear cup to really help with noise reduction.

DaveNay
10-18-2006, 10:07 PM
Bob,

BTW................ Get on the tractor and let me know how it goes. I'm concerned that on machinery it may take a full ear cup to really help with noise reduction.

It does. They are also greatly affected by wind.

Melensdad
10-18-2006, 10:40 PM
It does. They are also greatly affected by wind.
BD . . . Without even trying this new pair on a tractor I can tell you that full ear cup headphones will do a better job. But that is not to say that the on the ear type won't work at reducing quite a bit of noise. Any noise cancelling headphone is going to reduce noise, some more than others. These fit much tighter on the head than my Radio Shack pair and while I have not done a direct comparison, I'm willing to bet that these will be far more effective for 2 reasons, first is the tighter fit and second is the far more advanced N/C circuitry.

Realize that N/C circuitry is designed to quiet droning type noises, ideal for airlines and other engine sounds, including tractors. They do NOT do a good job on voice, gunshot, etc.

But if you want the absolute maximum effectiveness, then you want a full ear cup model. This type will quiet the tractor engine somewhat, but not as much as something like a set of Bose QC2 headphones.

As for the wind, all noise cancelling models can be affected by the wind if the wind hits them correctly (or is it that it hits them wrong?). N/C headsets have microphones on the OUTSIDE that detect ambient noise, if the wind hits those microphones at the correct/incorrect angle, then it will affect them. Many designs have a protected microphone. Some have an exposed microphone.

As for where she bought them? I didn't ask. But I suspect Amazon.Com. They had a very fair price, and they ship quick too.

Big Dog
10-19-2006, 05:21 AM
BD . . . Without even trying this new pair on a tractor I can tell you that full ear cup headphones will do a better job. But that is not to say that the on the ear type won't work at reducing quite a bit of noise. Any noise cancelling headphone is going to reduce noise, some more than others. These fit much tighter on the head than my Radio Shack pair and while I have not done a direct comparison, I'm willing to bet that these will be far more effective for 2 reasons, first is the tighter fit and second is the far more advanced N/C circuitry.

Realize that N/C circuitry is designed to quiet droning type noises, ideal for airlines and other engine sounds, including tractors. They do NOT do a good job on voice, gunshot, etc.

But if you want the absolute maximum effectiveness, then you want a full ear cup model. This type will quiet the tractor engine somewhat, but not as much as something like a set of Bose QC2 headphones.

As for the wind, all noise cancelling models can be affected by the wind if the wind hits them correctly (or is it that it hits them wrong?). N/C headsets have microphones on the OUTSIDE that detect ambient noise, if the wind hits those microphones at the correct/incorrect angle, then it will affect them. Many designs have a protected microphone. Some have an exposed microphone.

As for where she bought them? I didn't ask. But I suspect Amazon.Com. They had a very fair price, and they ship quick too.

Thanks a bunch Bob!! :thumb:

bczoom
10-19-2006, 07:48 AM
They are also greatly affected by wind.
So don't stick your head out the window of the plane. :whistle:

Melensdad
11-12-2006, 06:26 PM
Well I had my first bit of MINOR disappointment with these new headphones today. On a couple occasions, while working outside on a mildly blustery day, the wind caught the headphones just perfectly to cause 'wind noice' to be amplified by the noise cancelling circutry so that it sounded like static was playing over the headphones.

All N/C headphones have exterior microphones, and some have bigger problems with the wind issues than others. I would say that these are OK when working outside, but not great when working outside on a windy day. As I wrote, it was only mildly blustery so it was only occasionally a nusience, but then again I was often protected from the wind so on a windy day I think it could be a much bigger issue.

ON A BRIGHT NOTE, I did operate them while driving one of my tractors and also while driving the Snow Trac. They did a very nice job of deadening the engine noise of both. I didn't buy them for that purpose, and I'd say that a set of FULL EAR ENCLOSURE headphones like the Bose Quiet Comfort 2 would do a better job of deadening loud sounds. But these did a nice job, and they are very light and very comfortable.

bczoom
04-09-2007, 02:39 PM
Bump.

I'm now considering a set. Anything new out there or other thoughts/recommendations?

ghautz
04-09-2007, 03:42 PM
The latest issue of the IEEE Spectrum (an electrical engineering journal) mentions the Jabra C820 as new on the market. Supposedly sell for $100 less than the cheapest Bose noise-cancelling model. The reviewer liked them. Might be worth checking out.