I'm getting ultrasone pro 900 for its bass (I love bass - I usually listen to hip hop or edm) and I have a question. How's noise canceling ability? I used to own Bose qc 15 and ONLY thing I liked on that can was its ANC capability. I know that pro 900 is not ANC ones but how are they perform on noisy environments (in bus+planes) anyways?
ultrasone pro 900: how's noise canceling?
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The Pro 900 will be almost as good at passively canceling noise as the QC15s are passively. The QC15s are hands-down the best at ANC. I find that the Pro 900s are fine for practically any environment. I was able to watch a movie on an airplane at a low volume and I could hear the dialogue just fine.
On another note, the Pro 900s are amazing! I've had mine for a year and just tried the Kees mod, and I love it. You should give it a try after you've had them for a while. It is easy to do and completely reversible. It sounds great with EDM!
The Pro 900s do a good job canceling noise but I guess you would have to hear for yourself to know exactly how much. I was happy using them on a bus, plane, walking around a city, and other such environments. They weren't as good at passively canceling noise as the Ultrasone HFi series. If noise canceling is your most important thing then look at the HFi 780 (then again the QC15 is the best at noise canceling). The Pro 900 sound quality easily beats that of the HFi 780s though (I used to own the HFi 780s). Look for the Pro 900s on Amazon, that way you can return them if they really aren't right for you.
The kees mod covers one of the holes on the headphone baffle and adds a cotton pad behind the driver to increase dampening effects which, IMO, tighten the bass up giving it better extension, more impact, and faster response. Some people say it also brings the mids forward. I also think it improves the soundstage but these are all subjective observations. Try it for yourself after you've gotten used to the sound signature of the Pro 900s. They really are incredible phones!
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I had the Pro 900s for a time and wasn't very impressed with the isolation. During quiet parts of a song, I could quite easily hear extermal noises, say a TV at 10 feet which was at a reasonable volume.
I also think they were quite poor at preventing leakage. I never felt comfortable using them in my office with folks sitting within a few feet of me. In my opinion, when they were used to listen to music at an enjoyable volume, which for me is definitely NOT at a damaging level, they'd be almost as leaky, and thus annoying, as ear buds.
In the end I sold my Pro 900s, tried a few different closed earphones, found they were all much the same, so went with a really good pair of IEMs instead (the ACS T1s). The IEMs have fantastic isolation, zero leakage, and superb sound quality.(NOTE: I found the cheaper IEMs, say sub $100, weren't so good.)
There is an isolation chart you can look at on the 'specs' tab here: http://www.headphone.com/headphones/ultrasone-pro-900.php. I'm not sure how accurate it is, but it seems to reflect my experiences. The Pro 900s get circa 15 dB isolation. Good IEMs give 25+ dB isolation. That may not sound like much more, but because the dB scale is logarithmic, 10dB is twice as much isolation.