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Are there any headphones that COMPLETELY block out noise even w/o music playing?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I'm renting an apartment and god it's noisy, so noisy. I'll pay up to 600 dollars for something that can give me peace and quiet. Make that a thousand.

In-ear monitors aren't an option, they're too uncomfortable for me. This is something I'll be wearing every time I don't feel like listening to music or watching a movie while next door the malfunctioning air conditioner is practicing its battle cry.

What are my options, if there are any in the first place...?
post #2 of 19
very high isolation isn't something people normally look for in an audiophile-grade headphone.

hd280 has more than most, but it's not that great.

if i were you, I'd look for a good pair of closed cans for music listening, and a highly isolating pair of jackhammer operators hearing protectors for quiet time.

I can tell you, with no reservations at all, that the "extreme isolation" headphones you can get for about $80 are complete garbage by any measure. Anyone who says they sound good is stupid, deaf, a drummer (same thing as deaf), or high on crack. They sound bad by non-audiophile standards, and terrible by head-fi standards.
post #3 of 19
Some noise cancellers will block out all noise even when they aren't connected to a device. I think the Quiet Comforts are one such pair? If you're not looking for high sound quality, that may be a path to look down.
post #4 of 19
Maybe the Extreme Isolation Paul Gilbert uses. I don't know a lot about it though.
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Death_Metalhead View Post
Maybe the Extreme Isolation Paul Gilbert uses. I don't know a lot about it though.
I have a pair. They're rubbish. I keep them around just to let people compare them with my dt770.
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
I'm not looking for sound quality - I will not be using them for any listening, just blocking noise.

For listening I use my HD650s. They're open yeah but I usually don't hear much from outside when music is playing.
post #7 of 19
If you're not going to listen to anything through them, just get cheap hearing protectors.

Peltor H10 Extreme Earmuffs

Those will give you 30db of isolation - far more than any headphone that sounds at all good - and only cost $15.
post #8 of 19
what you're really asking for is IEMs but you also mentioned that you're not considering them, which is unfortunate.

super.fi 3's isolate well and are very comfortable once you get used to them (takes about a week of use). you forget they're in your ears after a while.
post #9 of 19
clipons and large over ear hearing protectors = win

or the bose headphones have very good noise canceling that works when the music is off. it's best for repatiative sounds like fan drones which it totaly blocks out. It has very litttle effect on speach. So if anyone talks to you you get the weird effect of only hearing there voice in perfect clarity like it's inside your head :S
post #10 of 19
Your ears will get sweaty inside those ear muffs, but that will only dull the noise. You will get more relief from the noise by blocking some of the noise as ear muffs and closed headphones do AND by playing noise into your ear as headphones do. The HD280 is a good solution for you which will only cost you $65 from Amazon.com right now. There are better closed headphones for more money. Just ask if interested.
post #11 of 19
Try IEMs again.

I'd go for something like the UM2 which is known for its comfort.
post #12 of 19
Some kind of earbud, plus the aforementioned earmuffs might do the trick.
post #13 of 19
use custom earplugs with noise blocking ear muffs.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by fanta View Post
What are my options, if there are any in the first place...?
Just be aware that "active noise cancelling" headphones won't work. They are fine for significantly reducing noises such as those experienced in trains, aircraft or cars, as well as when using computers, but they are completely and utterly hopeless when it comes to reducing things like other people's music, random noises, speech,etc. Infact the testing I did on my PXC250 headphones gave me a massive 0.5 dB of isolation below 50 hz.

I have two "grades" of noise attentuation. The first is a pair of Sennheiser CX300 earphones connected to a 2nd generation iPod shuffle. Because this is all so compact and tiny, I can get on with my usual chores and get a minimum of 10 dB isolation at low frequencies and much more at high frequencies.

If that still is not enough, I will put industrial ear muffs over the Sennheiser CX300 phones. It is perfectly comfortable, does not interfere with the operation of the CX300s at all, and I get a pretty insane amount of isolation. With music playing through the CX300, I am pretty much deaf to the world.

The disadvantages are obvious though - and caution needs to be exercised because you have effectively lost one of your senses. You need to have safety procedures in place to compensate for the fact that you are temporarily deaf (and other things like the telephone - I will put it through to my vibrating mobile).

Nevertheless, since it became perfectly legal in my state for people to play their hi fi systems a loud as they like between 8.00 am and midnight, I would rather put up with these inconveniences rather than be driven nuts by the constant thub of subwoofers.

In your particular case though, the optimin solution would appear to be to move elsewhere as soon as you are able to. But a pair of Sennheiser CX300s, a 1 Gb iPod shuffle and professional ear mufs cost me about $200 AUD and that was the best $200 I have ever spent for the sake of my sanity.

I tried other solutions such as the Etymotic custom ER-15 musician's ear plugs, but I found that the CX300 earphones worked much better and were much more comfortable. That is not to say you shouldn't consider them, but they fit like custom IEMs, so I guess not. Same thing with the Etymotic non-custom earplugs. They have the triflange fitting that goes pretty deep into the ear canal.

The CX300 phones don't really go very deep at all - just perhaps 8mm in or so - I would think of them more as a deep fitting external earphone rather than a true IEM, but they seal extremely well and do provide pretty good isolation, whilst allowing you to use ear muffs over the top of them.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by vulc4n View Post
Try IEMs again.

I'd go for something like the UM2 which is known for its comfort.
x2. As some others have been mentioning, you can put earmuffs on top of whatever IEMs you find most comfortable, and get the noise isolation from both. Active noise canceling is garbage (I have a couple pairs), but the combination of these two makes for an extreme amount of isolation (upwards of 50 db, probably)
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