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Sound Isolation or Active Noise Cancelling?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by SilverEars, Jun 10, 2018.
  1. SilverEars
    Have you guys been in noisy flights or vehicles (like trains)? You notice the high level of low frequency noise?

    Is active noise cancelling better at getting rid of most noise down to the lower frequencies or is just regular sound isolation just as good or even better?

    Sound isolation I understand seals from sound leakage/ingress, but even with the seal, there is the lower frequency air-plane noise. Can that be cancelled out as well with active noise-cancelling?
  2. bigshot
    I have some beater noise cancelling headphones at work. They do a good job of eliminating the low frequency rumbling of the AC.
  3. SilverEars
    This is what I'm interested in, but have no experience with active noise cancelling headphones, and thought somebody with plenty of experience in this domain can chime in.

    I'm looking for a good deal or cheap one since flight system doesn't have that great deal of SQ. I just need to get rid of that significant noise.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
  4. Steve999
    I have quite an old pair of Bose Quiet Comforts (from the pictures they look like QC2s) that I used to use on airplanes. I can't hear anything in hifi on airplanes anyway because my ears pop due to the lower[?] air pressure at the higher altitudes and everything sounds like it is coming through a tin can. If you listened to them off an airplane they have bass that goes unbelievably deep but unfortunately it is not that well balanced with the rest of the spectrum. It's not that bad but it's not commensurate with the price tag. I have read that the newest Bose noise cancelling headphones knock it out of the park for sound quality, but I don't have personal knowledge. The general answer to your question though is at least for the Bose, even in rather old incarnations, they got rid of airplane rumble very well. However, they are pretty expensive. I am guessing $300. As to a cheaper model in another brand, I just don't know how good the noise cancelling is. But the technology is certainly there to really help with airplane noise.

  5. bigshot
  6. old tech
    I have been using Bose noise cancelling headphones on air flights for years and trialled many others. I'm no fan of Bose products but as for noise cancelling headphones which still have reasonably good sound quality, they have no peers.
  7. ev13wt
    If swallowing a sip of water does not equalize your eardrums at flight cabin pressure, you really need to go see a Doc.

  8. pinnahertz
    You can't get enough isolation for that to do the job on its own, so active NC is the way to go. I have the Parrot Zik (now out of production, so you should find them cheap), the SQ is better than the Bose, the NC just a bit less, but they combine isolation and active NC. The Bose offers better NC, lesser SQ. Bose took their ANC product into some professional aviation product, so they're serious about it. And yes, it's the only Bose anything I have positive feelings of any kind about.

    Try the Monoprice first though. I've heard good things, but don't own a pair.
  9. Zapp_Fan
    My technical understanding of ANC is pretty limited, but my understanding is that it does perform better at low frequencies. HOWEVER, low frequencies are also good at passing through solid material compared to high frequencies - this includes solid material like your head. So, the nominal performance of ANC will be better at low frequencies. But if those low rumbles are loud enough they might pass right through your head anyway, leaving the ANC helpless to compete. On airplanes this doesn't usually seem to be the case, but if you were (say) on a construction site ANC might be easily outstripped by environmental rumbles.

    Anyway, if you really need serious noise cancelling, Etymotic IEMs have some of the highest technical noise reduction ratings. But most ANC cans today do make a noticeable difference too.
  10. Don Hills
    I've stood next to a large air compressor on a building site wearing a pair of ANC headphones (Blackbox M14). I could feel the sound in my chest, but not hear it. Quite a strange effect.
  11. SilverEars
    That's what I want.

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