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Thread Starter 

Hey everyone,


Our most recent endeavor with headphones has been comparing the noise cancellation qualities and audio performance of some popular models.  


We’ve included both active and "passive" models.  For the test, we played traffic noise at 75 dB with studio monitors placed in a treated studio with our dummy head microphone in between. This gives the impression of being on a busy street to help illustrate how well noise canceling headphones actually work with a mixture of broadband and impulsive noise.


Every pair of closed-back headphones reduces a fair amount of noise just by putting them on. In the measurements, you’ll see how the mid-high and up (1kHz +) was affected when putting on noise canceling headphones without noise canceling circuit engaged.  At this point, they behaved as passive noise-reducing headphones, and  even caused a noticeable increase in the 125 Hz range.  Next, we took a look at the active canceling function which reduced the low-end noise.  Once the noise cancellation was engaged, the low frequency was reduced considerably while anything above 1kHz stayed the same.


Pretty interesting, what do you think?


We also compared the audio quality of a few of the headphones playing music. You can find these audio comparisons on the Sonic Sense Resource Center. There are also audio comparisons of the reduction and cancellation capability of the following models:

  • Sennheiser PXC 450
  • Bose QuietComfort 15
  • Extreme Isolation EX-29
  • Beats Studio
  • Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
    • These are not noise canceling or isolation headphones, but a great representation of a how well just a pair of closed back headphones can work for the same purpose.


If you're interested in the whole article, all of the above content is on one page. Let us know your thoughts, comments, or questions! What headphones do you think performed the best?

Edited by SonicSense - 6/27/14 at 2:54pm