Headphone Isolation
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headfi49

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First off, I want to apologize for making this topic. I've tried searching the forums and gather some opinions, but I feel like I have some very direct questions, so I'm going to make a new topic...
 
Background Information
 
I work in (what I consider to be) an extremely loud office environment. I'm a computer programmer, and all day I hear people around me pounding away on their mechanical keyboards. It drives me absolutely crazy, and so I'm looking for some solutions.
 
 
What I've Tried
 
I'm currently wearing a pair of Sennheiser HD 280 pro's. In terms of sound quality, it's great (I'm not a huge audiophile, so I'm not that picky). However, the isolation they provide -- allegedly 32 dB of attentuation -- is extremely disappointing. If I don't have music on, it's about the equivalent of cupping my hands over my ears. In other words, I can blatantly and clearly hear conversations around me, can clearly hear the keyboards clicking away, etc. Which leads me to a question...
 
 
In terms of headphones, what is isolation, exactly?
 
There's evidently a distinction between ear protection and headphones, in terms of the attenuation rating of the two. The reason I say this is because I tried some big, beefy ear muffs rated at around 30 dB, and I could hardly hear a thing. As I mentioned above, the HD 280 pro's offer practically nothing. Even with music on at about 30% on my iPod, the keyboard clicking is still distracting enough that I consider it an issue. It's like listening to a song, and hearing extra notes added in the form of obnoxious keyboard "click-clack" noises!
 
Now, obviously, headphones and ear muffs serve two different purposes (e.g. one is for playing audio, the other is protecting your ears). Is the attenuation rating on headphones more of a gimmick? What am I missing? is that the rating they're supposed to provide with music playing at X volume?
 
For what it's worth, I feel like the Sennheiser headphones fit really loosely on my head. As in, even if they conceivably did isolate well, they don't fit snug enough to work properly anyway.
 
 
Isolation Trumps Clarity
 
Like I said earlier, I'm not a huge audiophile, so I'd rather take headphones that isolate better as opposed to a pair that sound better.
 
 
I'd Strongly Prefer to Avoid In-Ear Solutions
 
There are two reasons I shy away from these: first, my ear drums are slightly irregularly-shaped, so I often have difficulty getting ear buds to stay in or fit properly (and without pain, for the matter).
 
Second, there's another larger, more practical reason: I have to talk to people enough during the day that I'd have to take them in and put them out way too often, to the point that it would become a burden.
 
 
Recommendations?
 
I'd say the most I'd be willing to spend would be about $200, but that's realy pushing it. I'd say somewhere around $100-150 would be the range I'm most comfortable with.
 
I've seen the "Extreme Isolation" headphones, but the reviews haven't impressed me very much. It seems like those have a satisfaction guarantee though, so maybe I'll give those a try.
 
Again, I have a pair of the HD 280 pro's, and I feel like the isolation they offer is minimal at best. I almost feel like I need to just buy a pair of ear muffs and modify them to play music; I've tried the ear-muff-with-ear-bud underneath "solution", and it just became way too much of a pain taking the muffs off and the buds out and then putting them back in every time I had to have a conversation.
 
I'm really desperate for something. The noisy environment is immensely distracting to me some days. I really appreciate any help!
 
 
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Dsnuts

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You want to try something on the cheap? I have over 30 Headphones in my collection and one of the best if not the best isolating headpones I have is a JVC HAS600.. Fantastic little headphone... It uses no battery or any gadgetry. Just clean music for you and everything else blocked off in the world. @ $30 it is fantastic at what it does and is a complete sounding headphone to boot. Nothing lacking at all on them.. Memory foam is in the pads so it seals off the world around you. Now that is a great idea.
 
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headfi49

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So let's say you put those JVC HA-S600's on without any music playing; what type of isolation does it provide? Do you happen to have the Sennhesier HD 280 Pro's in your collection? If so, how would the isolation of those two compare to one another?

Thanks for the suggestion too, I really appreciate it!
 
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IdahoPirate

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Try going for noise isolating than cancelling if you want pure silence. IEM's ar eht ebest for that, and as for your irregular ears, you can try and get custom molded ones, tht could help you out. If youd like you can check out the Beyerdynamic DT-770's, which were designed for drummers. Ill see if i can find anythign else for you too
 
 
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Dsnuts

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Quote:
So let's say you put those JVC HA-S600's on without any music playing; what type of isolation does it provide? Do you happen to have the Sennhesier HD 280 Pro's in your collection? If so, how would the isolation of those two compare to one another?
Thanks for the suggestion too, I really appreciate it!

I don' t have the HD280s but I do have the M50 which I just compared to. The isolation is about the same on both.. It is surprising that these smaller HAS600 portable phones isolate as well as they do and when you have even a small amount of volume on a tune it shuts out all outside noise. Without tunes you can hear what is happening outside about the same as any closed can without battery operated isolation.. The cost on these are so cheap I had to recommend them to you.. What idahopirate said about IEMs are actually correct. They will give you the best isolation..If you can get an IEM with foam tips they will seal out the world to you.
 
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SonicBoy

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[size=10.0pt]I’ve recommend, on the iPod thread, the Sennheiser HD25. They are available at DJ stores for you to try before you buy. The sound isolation is better than most NC headphones that I’ve tried. Give them an audition.[/size]
 
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