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Noise Isolating Headphones - [budget $150-$300]

  1. randypetersen
    So I go from an office with a bunch of loud talkers to a home full of loud talkers and kids who love to make noise. I am looking for a pair of headphones that can passively reduce noise so that some reasonable volume of noise can drown out that ambient noise. So I am looking for some closed style headphones with decent noise isolation? Am I saying that correctly. I watched some videos and read some forum posts, but I thought I would sign up and ask so I can make a decent choice with the forum's help.

    I tried the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO headphones and they did nothing on blocking the sound. Also my co-workers could easily tell what I was listening to, even at low volumes. They sounded great to my non-audiophile ears. So do my cheapy sennheiser hd 439 phones. I do wear glasses so that might play into the seal/comfort.

    I would also like the capability to to be wireless. Sometimes I would be wired, but being able to be portable would be nice at times. So I thought about getting a bluetooth amp, but I haven't started my research on that yet.

    So looking at any suggestions for good noise reduction within the price range $150-$300, interested in anyone's experiences....

    Sound Isolation
    Sound Quality

  2. NovaFlyer
    Have you given any consideration to headphones with active noise cancellation? Beyerdynamic is coming out with the Lagoon ANC - listened to it a few weeks ago at CanJam and it did a pretty good job in cancelling the ambient noise on the show floor. Also tried the Sony Noise Cancelling Headhphones WH1000XM3, and they did a good job as well. Both headphones are wireless and were easy to connect to my iPhone. Both are able to be used "wired" as well. As for price, don't recall the projected retail for the Beyerdynamic's, but the Sony's are $350.
  3. Law87
    I mean for that price why not just go with Bose QC? if you value comfort and isolation over sound fidelity then I dont see any other choice. Bose basically got that noise cancellation down real good.

    if not I would look into sennheiser PXC 550...Sony is bloated bass to me :/
  4. Poesjuh
    If you can go upwards of $300 you’re almost in QC and 1000x range, afaik those two are considered the best NC headphones out there.

    A good pair of IEM would work as well I suppose.
    NovaFlyer likes this.
  5. NovaFlyer
    Agree that some good IEMs with a small bore for deeper insertion and foam tips can do quite a bit of sound isolation, plus people close to you aren't bothered by any music you're listening to. I use IEMs with foam tips for travel on planes - small, light weight and easy to deal with - and they work great. I use Shure IEMs and Fiio FA7 (US$300). Westone has IEMs comparable in size and sound isolation as Shure.
  6. Modo
    My vote would also be Bose QC. They are not audiophile gear, but they work, and the sound should be good enough.

    I have IEMs from Etymotic (HF2) with extra long foam tips, over 30 dB of isolation. We are talking industrial protection plugs levels. The sound quality is very good, but with pretty weak bass. The foam becomes uncomfortable after a while, which means they lose on comfort. You can get Comply tips that are more comfortable to use, but also isolate less. (Enough for an office, I think, but not enough e.g. on a train.)

    Full headphones that isolate well without active systems are likely to be heavy and/or clamp your head strongly, so again, bad for comfort -- especially combined with glasses.

    As always, try before you buy, or buy from a shop with a money-back return policy.
  7. randypetersen
    Thanks for the suggestions. I will check out those new Beyerdynamics and the Sonys... I had been looking at the Sony WH1000XM3 phones for a bit, but I had some old $100 studio monitors 20 years ago, and wasn't too impressed with them, but I will check these out for sure. Thanks!!
  8. randypetersen
    I will check those out too, I guess I was skipping the active noise cancellation at first. I guess I thought it was more for engine noise and not people talking / phones ringing / dogs barking / kids crying that sort of things... I will check the ones out you mentioned though. Also, it was my impression that ANC distorted the audio as well. Again, my only experience is from a $70 pair of ANC Seinheisers I believe, from 20 years ago. You flicked them on and you could hear a hum and the audio sounded really compressed. I know it's not apples to apples since that was cheap tech from 20 years ago, I am sure it's much better now. I guess that and my impression that it wouldn't help with the noise I was fighting I figured I would skip it, but I will review them.

    Thanks for the input!!!
  9. randypetersen
    Thanks for the input! I can go up if need be, so I will check those out.

    I used to use IEM but gave up. I used to use them solely. I used them at work at home and in bed. Unfortunately they really started irritating my ears. So I tried several different foam tipped ones, then silicone ones, but they always irritated me. The reason I think is that I have to take my headphones/iems off about 10 times every hour so that might have irritated my ears. Now I use over the ear headphones at office/home and just use the iem style before bed and they are fine. I agree they kick ass in noise isolation and no leakage to speak of.

    I'll tell my wife, Poesjuh said I needed to spend a little more... :)
  10. randypetersen
    Thanks!!! I was just saying that IEM started irritating my ears. Probably just because I had take them off and put them in 100 times a day. I need to tell everyone at work that they can't bother me throughout the day, then that problem would be solved. However I probably wouldn't have a job for too long.
  11. randypetersen
    Great info, thanks... Yes the IEM's I had with foam, were just like ear plugs with music. Mine also suffered from weak bass, but still impressed me and they were probably some pretty cheap ones.

    Thanks for the info, I will start looking at active systems.

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