Portable noise isolating / cancelling setup? - $500-1000
Jan 9, 2020 at 11:38 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

cardboardhome

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Hey All,

Currently I have:
  • Bose QC25,
  • micro iDSD Black Label + HD6XXs
  • DT770 32 Ohm (looking to sell)
  • UE900s (broken shell).
  • Samsung AKG headphones (came with my phone)
Unfortunately the setup is not fully covering my use cases (described below) so I'm considering selling everything and transitioning to custom IEMs. What do yall think? I know my use cases are extremely broad so it may not be possible to get one pair of headphones / IEMs that can cover everything.

Use cases:
  • Flights (strong noise cancellation / isolation, I travel frequently)
  • Phone calls (has a mic)
  • Working out (sweatproof, bluetooth to avoid cable yank)
  • At the office (can't leak noise)
  • At home (no specific requirements)
  • PC gaming (want ability to use aux to avoid bluetooth delay)
What I've considered:
  • I bought a pair of AKG N90Qs ,but while they sound great, I found they leaked too much noise to use them at the office without disturbing the person next to me. So I couldn't use them at the office and of course wouldn't use them while working out.
  • The UE 18+ CSX WITH FOSTEX TM2 allow me to work out and use them in the office / home. I'm also hoping the natural noise isolation of custom IEMs will be good enough to block out the drone of a plane. I think they have a mic for phone calls but they are bit above my price range
  • Sony wh-1000xm3 + pair of bluetooth earbuds: I feel I can still hear the difference between the Sony's and my current setup so would like to get a setup that sounds better than this if possible, but this is my backup plan

Additional context:
  • I have a pair of UE900s that the shell broke, not sure if I can get them reshelled.
  • While my current micro IDSD Black Label + HD6XX's is the best setup I've personally ever heard and I can hear the difference a good DAC & AMP makes, I'd prefer to avoid having to carry a DAC & AMP around. Essentially I'm looking for the best setup that isn't going to be limited by the fact that I'll be listening directly from my phone (android) / computer through Spotify. I fully understand that limits the sound quality I can achieve
  • Noise isolation / cancellation is pretty important to me. I don't necessarily need active noise cancellation, but how does custom IEMs' natural ability to block out noise compare?
  • Generally I'd like to simplify my setup (# of headphones) since I travel frequently and would like prefer to avoid bringing a bunch of different headphones.

Sorry for the long post, any/all responses are appreciated!
 
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Jan 9, 2020 at 11:47 AM Post #2 of 7

SilverEars

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You are asking too much. It's a toss-up between Bose NC 700 and Sony WH-XM3. NC 700 if call Mic is important to you, XM3 for better ANC performance, but mic quality sucks. They have Aux ports for no lag and ANC is no brainer for flights.

I use Airpods Pro for the gym and has ipx rating, but battery like is only 5 hrs and no Aux port, only wireless. ANC is fantastic, and can be used for flights, but no aux port for inflight intertainment, you'd have to get a BT transmitter. Wireless so there will be lag.

Gaming and flights with ipx rating are difficult to combine on one headphone. I don't game with headphones, so I can't help in that domain.

I wouldn't go custom if you use it for working out.
 
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Jan 9, 2020 at 11:52 AM Post #3 of 7

cardboardhome

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Is there a reason the UE 18+ CSX WITH FOSTEX TM2 setup doesn't work? I could use an aux cable with them, they should have good isolation, apparently the TM2 are IPX 5 rated and have a mic? I know they're above my price range rn though
 
Jan 9, 2020 at 12:01 PM Post #4 of 7

SilverEars

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Is there a reason the UE 18+ CSX WITH FOSTEX TM2 setup doesn't work? I could use an aux cable with them, they should have good isolation, apparently the TM2 are IPX 5 rated and have a mic? I know they're above my price range rn though
That could work if you don't mind risk using pricy iems that are not ipx rated for workouts or use use something else for workouts. If you fly a lot, ANC is the way to go, and I mean good ones by either Bose or Sony (has to be XM series). You should put most weight on what is important to you. I've also heard Sennheisers are good for gaming, but they are open.

An alternative is buy headphones that work well in each usage cases. I think that would work best. Some headphones work best on some areas over others.
 
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Jan 9, 2020 at 12:04 PM Post #5 of 7

cardboardhome

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Yeah that makes a lot of sense. I guess the IEMs themselves are not IPX rated and that's the expensive component. Have you compared how custom IEMs noise isolation compare to ANC? I understand ANC is nowadays top notch, but if custom IEMs can get close I'm willing to compromise for sound quality.
 
Jan 9, 2020 at 12:08 PM Post #6 of 7

SilverEars

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Yeah that makes a lot of sense. I guess the IEMs themselves are not IPX rated and that's the expensive component. Have you compared how custom IEMs noise isolation compare to ANC? I understand ANC is nowadays top notch, but if custom IEMs can get close I'm willing to compromise for sound quality.
It's clear that a good ANC is superior on cyclic engine noises, etc. Which is practical on flights as passive isolation suffer under low frequency isolation and airplane cabine noise spectrum shows high noise centered around 500hz, which is why the crappy inflight iems sounds the wway they do, they boost that noisy area I believe, but it can't be good for your ears to raise the volume over cabin noise. Because Cabin noise is loud!

ANC in itself makes up in sound quality because noise is reduced in noisy environments, therefore increase in fidelity.
 
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