isolation while traveling
Jun 12, 2002 at 3:33 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 34

onyxdr

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 12, 2002
Posts
26
Likes
0
Looking for some purchasing advice for some sealed headphones for use while traveling and commuting: airplanes and trains, for the most part. (I will also use these in the library, so the noise isolation bit is crucial -- little or no leakage preferred.)

Perhaps this is heresy, but the most important features for me are noise isolation and convenience/portability; obviously I want something that sounds decent, but my main source is my iBook which I use to listen to mp3s (mainly ripped at 160, some classical stuff ripped at 192) and watch DVDs while on the road. I am in no position to upgrade my source, and I'm sick and tired of lugging a pcdp and associated cds around. So there it is.

After kicking around on these forums for a few days I have come up with a few options. The Etymotic ER6s seem to provide the best isolation, from what people have been saying, but I'm afraid of anything that messes with inner ear pressure that way -- I've had enough problems with burst eardrums on airplanes, thank you very much. Plus I don't really want to fiddle around a lot to get a good seal.

People have mentioned other canalphones -- Aiwa and Sony pop up -- but I'm not sure what kind of isolation they provide. Is it comparable to the Etys? More to the point, is it sufficient for listening on an airplane?

Moving away from earbuds, people seem to speak highly of the Sennheiser HD 280 Pros. How much isolation do those really provide, and are they comfortable enough for long-term wear?

What I'm looking for here is reaction and advice from people who own or have used these 'phones in similar situations, if possible. Thanks!
 
Jun 12, 2002 at 4:20 PM Post #2 of 34

acs236

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 24, 2002
Posts
3,335
Likes
39
I have the 280s. I've never tried any of Etymotic's phones, and while the isolation of the 280s is good compared to other full sized closed phones, I doubt it compares with Eytmotics. I find them comfortable, though.

I used them mainly on the subway/train and find the level of isolation adequate.
 
Jun 12, 2002 at 9:17 PM Post #4 of 34

starch

Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 6, 2002
Posts
72
Likes
0
The 280s do fold up fairly easy, but they're still large, as is the long coiled cord. I've carried them in a laptop bag by turning the ear cups 90 degrees inward, to flatten them out. At that point they take up the same amount of room as a medium size book. They isolate pretty well - I had to move the phone on my desk so that it was in my immediate field of view and I could see the LED - I couldn't hear it ringing even thought it was less than 3 feet from my head!
 
Jun 12, 2002 at 11:06 PM Post #5 of 34

jlo mein

In some place that's not Canada ....the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Joined
Nov 13, 2001
Posts
1,720
Likes
21
judging by your source, and the fact that you listen to 160kps mp3's, i dont think you need to spend that much on headphones, but thats just MHO.

I would suggest something cheap like the sony ex70, or something like that. Soundwise, i dont think you will tell the difference when listening to those mp3's.

Also an important note: do not use canalphones while your plane is taking off. The changing pressure, along with you having your ears plugged, has a chance of ruining your ears. Not that it happens all the time, but theres a chance. I mean, thats why we wear seat belts right?
smily_headphones1.gif


Just stick your canal phones in after the plane has reached its designated altitude.
 
Jun 12, 2002 at 11:48 PM Post #6 of 34

Jeff Guidry

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Apr 6, 2002
Posts
2,614
Likes
13
Well, theoretically you aren't supposed to be using personal electronic devices at all during takeoff, so there would be no need to have the headphones in until you've gotten to a cruising altitude.

IMO the canalphones still do not isolate sufficiently to bother with their great expense. I used the ER-6's on a domestic flight, and though they did attenuate much of the noise, the overall bass drone of the engines still vibrated my body enough not to be able to hear sufficient detail in the headphones to make them worth their cost.

You might do better just getting the EX-70's or something similar.
 
Jun 13, 2002 at 12:50 AM Post #7 of 34

onyxdr

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 12, 2002
Posts
26
Likes
0
So, are the Sony EX-70s going to isolate as well as the Sennheiser 280s? What about sound leakage when I'm using them in a library? I presume that these are two sides of the same issue, so a 'phone that isolates well won't leak noticably. But I could be wrong about that.

What about these new Aiwas I read about in other threads on this forum? Better or worse than the Sonys for isolation and lack of sound leakage?
 
Jun 13, 2002 at 1:28 AM Post #8 of 34

Jeff Guidry

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Apr 6, 2002
Posts
2,614
Likes
13
I haven't used the Aiwa's, so I wouldn't be able to help you there.

I'm not aware of any standardized isolation testing that could give you a definitive answer as to whether the 280 or the EX70 is the winner, but the EX70 has three venting holes on the back of the bud that might let some sound leak out. On the whole, headphones that don't let sound in won't let sound out. However, if you like to crank your tunes, you're going to be heard.

A good rule of thumb is to turn your headphones on at the volume you would normally listen to them and hold them out from you as far as your arm reaches. If you can hear them, they're too loud.
 
Jun 13, 2002 at 1:59 AM Post #9 of 34

onyxdr

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 12, 2002
Posts
26
Likes
0
I suppose that the best thing to do is to try each 'phone out and see how it holds up. I know that the Sonys are available at local places like Circuit City; where might I find a pair of Sennheisers to try on? Any ideas?
 
Jun 13, 2002 at 2:40 AM Post #11 of 34

MacDEF

Headphone Hussy (will wear anything if it sounds good)
Joined
Jun 26, 2001
Posts
6,761
Likes
12
Quote:

Originally posted by Jeff Guidry
IMO the canalphones still do not isolate sufficiently to bother with their great expense. I used the ER-6's on a domestic flight, and though they did attenuate much of the noise, the overall bass drone of the engines still vibrated my body enough not to be able to hear sufficient detail in the headphones to make them worth their cost.

You might do better just getting the EX-70's or something similar.


Wow, my experiences have been just the opposite of Jeff's. While you'll never be able to get rid of the visceral drone of the engines (since you're physically connected to them through the body of the plane
wink.gif
), Etys block out plenty enough external noise to still allow their superior sound to show. The EX70 neither isolate as much, nor do they sound as good, even in a noisy plane, to justify their cost, IMO. They cost $40-$50, compared to $120 for the ER-6, and to me at least the Etys are worth every penny in comparison when it comes to airline travel.

As for the HD 280, I haven't heard them, but if their specs are to be believed, they will not block out nearly as much noise as the ER-6 (or especially one of the ER-4 series).
 
Jun 13, 2002 at 3:08 AM Post #12 of 34

onyxdr

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 12, 2002
Posts
26
Likes
0
MacDEF:

I have two reservations about the Etys. First, the discussions in this and other fora about the problems getting a good seal make me wary. Second, given my source, I wonder if the Etys aren't too much headphone for the kind of listening I'm doing. Will I really hear the difference when listening to ripped-at-160 mp3 files or watching a DVD movie (especially at 35000 feet)?
 
Jun 13, 2002 at 3:36 AM Post #14 of 34

Quincy

New Head-Fier
Joined
May 17, 2002
Posts
17
Likes
10
Hi onyxdr,

I've used the er-6 on a long flight from the US to southeast asia and had plenty of time to decide whether I liked them or not. I loved them, thought I could hear lots of detail on a plane that I never could hear before, and I've endured that trip several times without etymotics. Same was true for CD's and on flight movies that were shown in the cabin.

I used the Koss Plug on one occasion before, with a modification that used good earplugs from a drug store (Flents - they're great and cheap!). The attenuation with the mod was comparable with what I get with the er-6, but the sound quality of the Koss Plug really doesn't cut it, don't think I've read a review on this site by anyone who likes it.

Jeff had a different experience with the er-6, could be his ears or his tolerance for noise or the seal or all three. I'm in MacDEF's camp, there is no way block out all the jet engine noise, but the er-6 do a great job, and judging from the specs, I doubt if anything else will come close.

The seal issue takes some fiddling at first, but after I've inserted the er-6, nature takes over and a little sweat makes a good seal and I forget they are there. Some people are turned of by the seal thing but I don't even think about it anymore and the sound quality and attenuation is worth it for me for use on a plane.

I can't talk to the MP3 issue, don't have enough experience there. Buuuut,,, the etymonics are known to be very revealing and detail oriented. It's a blessing most of the time, but if the source is poor, I suppose it would be a curse.

good luck with your pick!

Q
 
Jun 13, 2002 at 4:12 AM Post #15 of 34

archosman

Songs From The Crystal Cave
Joined
Feb 19, 2002
Posts
3,633
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally posted by jlo mein
i was thinking that since hes listening to 160kps mp3's, etys might reveal the poor quality of the recordings? Does anyone thing it will do that?


Yes... they will. I re-ripped my entire collection from 160-192 to all of them at 256kbps. The Etys were that unforgiving... and wonderful.
smily_headphones1.gif
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top