You're saying they don't isolate outside noise well enough? That's something. Of all the headphones I tried at the last meet, these have one of the best isolation. Did your pads get hard? If they got too hard to sqwish on your head, there's probably air gaps between your head and the pads. I guess I should try reinstaling the plugs. I've been using, and enjoying, these without the plugs for months now. Maybe it's time I revisit their original sound. And I still haven't tried cutting a plug in half and using one half into each speakers. It could prove to be a good compromise.