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    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2007
    Heh, I graduate in May with a degree in Philosophy and History, I think I'm the only one who could possibly have you beat with that...
  1.  (110.2)
    I'd recommend the Sennheiser PX100s. They're cheaper than the 200s (which are noise cancelling), but by all accounts sound better. I love mine. They, like the PX200s, collapse down into a nice sunglasses-case style box thing, and cost just over NZ$100 here, so should be well under US$100.
  2.  (110.3)
    Ah, fantastic post! I've been looking for a good pair of noise cancelling headphones recently for my weak eardrums and nasty evil tinnitus :D I'll keep an eye on this.

    I've been reading some customer reviews of various models, and one thing I've noticed is that an individual's experience of how good the noise cancelling is (and on rare occasions, if it hurts their ears or not) can vary quite a lot. Is the experience of noise cancelling quite subjective? I can imagine it is given that it's acting upon an ear that's unique to the listener.

    I want to get a model that's effective, but I don't have a large amount of money to blow, so I find myself moving backwards and forwards between budget and non-budget models and finding problems with both.
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2007 edited
    For those following along for recommendations, here's a digest of all the suggestions made to date, with prices I could find online. I'm sure there are better deals out there, but these should give you some rough figures based on the current market.

    Since Whitechapel won't allow me to insert a table, or tabs between words, the following are of the form:

    Headphone - Noise Canceling? - Price in US$ (where the price was found)

    Shure e2c - Yes - $60.66 (from Electronica Direct via Amazon)
    Sony Psych - NO - $17.25 (from Amazon)
    Sony MDR-Q22LP - NO - $18.68 (from Amazon)
    Sony MDR-V150 - NO - $14.75 (from Amazon)
    Bose In-Ear - NO - $99.95 (from
    Sennheiser (PX150 - PXC450) - YES - $129.95 to $449.95 (from
    Sennheiser PX100 - NO - $59.95 (from

    External to this discussion I have also been recommended:

    Koss (in general) - YES - $49.99 to $199.99 (from
    Grado Labs SR-60 - NO - $60.00 (from
    Grado Labs SR-80 - NO - $85.00 (from

    Thanks to everyone who has made recommendations so far! Keep them coming, I can use as many good recommendations and as much information as I can get.
    • CommentAuthorrobb
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2007
    noise cancelling = not hearing the car about to run you over
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2007 edited
    @ Paul Duffield

    Tinnitus has been an issue for me as well, and is one of the reason I really need these recommendations. Ever since I had a ruptured ear drum from a sinus infection a few years back I've been a lot more protective of my hearing. Luckily it was a minor rupture and healed back with no significant loss of hearing, but it was quite worrisome at the time, especially since my passion is music.

    The technology itself does seem to have some inherent problems that could really affect the subjective experience.

    *disclaimer* This is my understanding of the technology. If anyone notices any mistakes in this, please let me know.

    Noise cancellation is generally based off of the headphones using a microphone to pick up ambient noise, and then passing it through a processor to generate a signal that is the opposite polarity of that arriving at the microphone. The combination of the two signals cancels them out, so only the remainder of the sound, that of what the headphones are plugged in to, arrives at the ear. This is is only done with lower frequency sounds, as higher frequency sounds would require the speaker to be almost adjacent to the eardrum (which is infeasible) in some cases, for it to be effect. Most noise-canceling headphones rely on passive techniques (basically that the cup of the earphone will by it's nature block out high-frequency sounds fairly well) to reduce the rest of the noise.

    With this you run the risk of some low frequencies you may want to hear being accidentally canceled out if they happen to coincide with what the microphone is picking up. Additionally, it all depends on how well built they headphones are, as a cheap microphone, processor, or speaker, may cause the canceling to be less effective or cause the aforementioned problem.

    From "":
    While noise-canceling headphones do a good job distinguishing between the audio a wearer wants to hear and the background noise he or she wants to keep out, some people say that they compromise sound quality by muffling sounds. Users can also experience a change in air pressure, although ports built into the ear cup are meant to vent air trapped behind the speakers.

    That's my two cents on it, from the research I've done so far.
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2007
    Wow, I sound like a little know-it-all there. I blame all my English teachers for encouraging me to write with an inflated sense of confidence...
    • CommentAuthorredcrow
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2007
    I've been happy with the Skullcandy Lowriders I found at Target for $28.
    • CommentAuthorDragone
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2007
    Damn, in the same situation myself, looking @ your list bschory. Thanks for doing the legwork. I'm using the ipod buds right now and I want a compact earphone not bud. Buds hurt my ears.
  3.  (110.10)
    @ bschory

    Thanks for the lo-down there! That confirms and elaborates upon most of what I've heard from all around the internet, so it sounds about right. The change in ear pressure would explain some users complaining about a painful experience after putting the headphones on. From what you've said, it wounds like it's worth paying top price for something that's very well produced, instead of running the risk of getting a shoddy or half-arsed product for less.
  4.  (110.11)
    I strongly recommend the Shure E2C buds. I use them for music and I use them as monitors when playing music or practicing drums. I can play as loudly as I want and have the music I'm playing along to pretty quiet. They are not noise canceling, but they are noise isolating, just like you would think from earplugs. Lots of reviews claim the bass and high end are weak. I think the reason for this is that they were conceived as an inexpensive in ear monitor solution, which means they should have a flat response. 'Flat' meaning the music isn't getting any help from the speakers.

    Also, they come with three types of 'sleeve' to fit into your ear, which means that one of the three types (and several sizes) should feel comfortable.

    The Amazon page has good information.

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