Most noise isolating portable over ear phones
Sep 28, 2012 at 7:46 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

SweetLou

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Hey guys, havent been on here in a while, so I might have missed some new stuff. 
 
I'm really looking for something primarily noise canceling (I know a lot of people don't like the active canceling ones like Bose QC 15, [size=small]Sennheiser 450's[/size]Akg has one I believe). I like to block out as much noise as possible when reading/studying in library's home (tv) etc (so portability as well). I have a few sets up iems (meelectronics, ultimate ears) and some say they have better isolation, the constant cable noise can be maddening when not listening to music. I would also like to use them for music as well, so a bass heavy/punchy signature for electronic/rap/hip hop would be the most desirable.
 
I'm considering the 1) bose qc15 (I know, their cables are terrible, sound not analytic, dosen't work without battery). 
 
2). Offering from ultrasone 580 or 780. 
 
3). Beyerdynamic dt 770 (lowest ohm version, used only with laptop or phone.) 
 
4). Vsonic Gr07 (I know its an Iem, but its probably my first choice in that department). 
 
5). Possibly the Sennheiser pxc 450 (Noise canceling not rated very well). 
 
Basically I'm looking for a portable, very noise isolating (active or passive), bass heavy, comfortable set of phones (I know thats a lot to ask!). 
 
Thanks -Lou 
 
Sep 28, 2012 at 9:51 PM Post #2 of 15

fabio-fi

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Have you considered the HD-25 I II? they are on ear headphones, but their isolation is pretty good. It has enough bass. 
 
Sep 28, 2012 at 11:20 PM Post #3 of 15

Origin89

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The HD25-1 is a really killer phone. Light, rugged, isolating, and they sound good with nearly every genre.
 
Sep 28, 2012 at 11:59 PM Post #4 of 15

SweetLou

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I did look at the hd-25s, but I'm not sure they would provide enough isolation. I have a pretty good set of on ears already. I'm also considering the ath-m50 (a long time mixed favorite around here). 
 
If I had to guess it would be the bose or the ultrasone 580. The noise canceling of the bose is just too highly rated to overlook. Even with my 20$ meelectronic phones, I rarely wish I had clearer or better sound. More often than not its, tv noise in the background, people talking random noise etc that bothers me the most. 
 
I didn't think the beats sounded terrible either, but the build is the worst I've seen. The bonus of just using the nc without music is another factor. Vocal music especially is distracting, but so is pretty much anything with enough volume to drown out some background chatter. 
 
Sep 29, 2012 at 2:58 AM Post #7 of 15

obobskivich

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Bose QC15 are the final word in ANC imho. If you want isolation without ANC, the Beyerdynamic T70 are fairly decent (but I don't like the sound), and there's IEM options from Etymotic and UE that chart out better than the QC15.

Note that ANC will not defeat "random" noise very well - in other words talking, instantaneous pops or bangs, etc. It does better at defeating droning noise like engine whir or aircon hum. Whereas high-isolation IEMs (or the T70 to a lesser extent) will defeat both. For portable use I'd take IEMs any day of the week.
 
Sep 29, 2012 at 3:33 AM Post #8 of 15

SweetLou

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hmm. interesting. It would be mostly for studying, or just relaxed listening. Contrary to some here, I never analyze my music, just listen very casually and prefer a bass heavy (not muddy though) signature. If Etymotic made something more bass heavy (MC5? or HF5) It would be perfect. Even so, the HF5 might be a contender based on isolation alone, although microphonics from iems (even the nicest braided cables elicit some without music playing) is as maddening as any noise. 
 
If I were going with an on ear design- Sen hd-25 Adidas (I really have no use for on ears, already have some portables and they're great for what they are, just not isolating enough)
IEM- Gr07 Vsonic, Etymotic HF5, Monster Golds 
Over Ear- Bose QC 15s 
 
obob-So using the q15s in a library of talking people, or the noise of a tv or various household noises? 
 
Sep 29, 2012 at 3:41 AM Post #9 of 15

obobskivich

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I think the QC15 are probably where I'd go based on your description. You will still hear some noises sure, but they're nice for casual listening, they block out all of the more annoying "droning noises" that you're likely to encounter (that "din of people talking"), and are fairly comfortable (if a little smaller for some users).
 
Sep 29, 2012 at 3:51 AM Post #10 of 15

SweetLou

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I think I might as well. They're probably not perfect, but will more than likely tick most of the boxes. If portability becomes the issue, a 50$ set of the Ety MC5s could be in the future, but I already have a few good iems. 
 
obob- can you replace the cable with a better braided/coated option? The flimsy cable would be a major annoyance. 
 
Thanks again for the input guys. 
 
Sep 29, 2012 at 4:04 AM Post #11 of 15

obobskivich

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I think I might as well. They're probably not perfect, but will more than likely tick most of the boxes. If portability becomes the issue, a 50$ set of the Ety MC5s could be in the future, but I already have a few good iems. 

obob- can you replace the cable with a better braided/coated option? The flimsy cable would be a major annoyance. 

Thanks again for the input guys. 


The cable on the QC15 is user replaceable, but I'm not aware of any after-market options (I think part of the issue is they have an in-line attenuator at the termination). Honestly I'm not at all a fan of braided cables - they tend to be noisy, hard to manage, and they will fray or sheer eventually. They're a luxury item. Good old fashioned PVC works and works well. :)
 
Sep 29, 2012 at 9:51 AM Post #12 of 15

stokitw

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The newer QC15 come with cable which is a little bit more sturdy than the old one.
There is also someone on Amazon who's selling replacement cable which is comparable to the new cable.
I know these because I bought a replacement cable from the guy on Amazon for my old QC15 and I bought a new QC15 for my mom.
 
Quote:
I think I might as well. They're probably not perfect, but will more than likely tick most of the boxes. If portability becomes the issue, a 50$ set of the Ety MC5s could be in the future, but I already have a few good iems. 
 
obob- can you replace the cable with a better braided/coated option? The flimsy cable would be a major annoyance. 
 
Thanks again for the input guys. 

 
Nov 1, 2012 at 11:21 AM Post #13 of 15

kLevkoff

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I have one of the older Bose models.
 
The sound cancellation is top notch (the sound cancellation works at low frequencies and they do very well mechanically at blocking high-frequency noise).
They do well both with things like motors and lawnmowers, and with voices and office or plane noises.
As sound-blockers I highly recommend them.
(It's also handy that you can unplug the cable when you ONLY want ear protection.)
The downside is that they don't sound great as headphones - way too thumpy.
 
 
Quote:
I think the QC15 are probably where I'd go based on your description. You will still hear some noises sure, but they're nice for casual listening, they block out all of the more annoying "droning noises" that you're likely to encounter (that "din of people talking"), and are fairly comfortable (if a little smaller for some users).

 
Dec 10, 2012 at 12:07 AM Post #14 of 15

SethSil

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Does anyone have any more suggestions for closed-ear a sub $150 comfy pair of circumaural study headphones? 
 
I've never used active noise cancellation, but from what I read, they are mainly good at drowning out ambient noise-- what I'm looking for is something that can drown out ambient vocal music and conversation from a cafe or a library.  I think white noise often helps me relax/focus--- I often listen to white noise with  a combo of earbuds and earmuffs to achieve isolation. However, it's not as comfortable/practical as a good solution.
 
Any suggestions? I'm into the M50s, but they aren't circumaural from what I've read and not that comfy.
 
Dec 12, 2012 at 12:51 PM Post #15 of 15

stokitw

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You could try KRK KNS8400.
The memory foam pads is very comfortable, almost as good as QC15's pads.
It's isolation is pretty good as a pair of closed back phones.
 
The only complaint I have is that the pads are so comfortable that I sometimes forget I am listening to a pair of closed-back phones which requires rest after long session..
 
Quote:
Does anyone have any more suggestions for closed-ear a sub $150 comfy pair of circumaural study headphones? 
 
I've never used active noise cancellation, but from what I read, they are mainly good at drowning out ambient noise-- what I'm looking for is something that can drown out ambient vocal music and conversation from a cafe or a library.  I think white noise often helps me relax/focus--- I often listen to white noise with  a combo of earbuds and earmuffs to achieve isolation. However, it's not as comfortable/practical as a good solution.
 
Any suggestions? I'm into the M50s, but they aren't circumaural from what I've read and not that comfy.

 

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