What is the best imaging noise cancelling headphone?
May 21, 2020 at 10:52 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

edgeno

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Hi,

So I have had the misfortune of getting new neighbors, and they are redoing the entire appartment, which is unbelivably noisy. Since I'm working form home, I have so far been making due with earbuds, but since they grow uncomfortable after several hours, I find myself needing a good closed set of headphones.

Main requirements will be noise reduction, comfort and imaging (since they tend to go on at night, I'll also want to use them for gaming).

What do?

Thanks :)
 
May 21, 2020 at 12:08 PM Post #4 of 11

Relaxasaurus

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If you're on a budget check out Drop's offerings: https://drop.com/audiophile/tag/headphones-closed

I'd recommend them in this order: Ether CX, DT 177X, DT 770. There are more options in this price range but for comfort + isolation, and imaging performance these are hard to beat.

Of course if cost is no object just get yourself a Stellia and be done with it.
 
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May 21, 2020 at 12:24 PM Post #5 of 11

edgeno

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If you're on a budget check out Drop's offerings: https://drop.com/audiophile/tag/headphones-closed

I'd recommend them in this order: Ether CX, DT 177X, DT 770. There are more options in this price range but for comfort + isolation, and imaging performance these are hard to beat.

Of course if cost is no object just get yourself a Stellia and be done with it.

Always wondered about Ethers, maybe I'll go for that. Stellia might be a bit out there, haha :)

Thanks so much for the suggestions! :)

edit. Just seen Ethers won't drop until end of July, which would be when the work upstairs is at an end.. hmm
 
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May 21, 2020 at 12:46 PM Post #6 of 11
@edgeno, in terms of sheer fidelity, I still think the best sounding, best-imaging ANC headphone is the AKG N90Q. I still love this unique headphone (and may head up to the office to pick it up, now that you've got me thinking about it).

Keep in mind, though, it is not wireless.

The N90Q has a unique feature called TruNote. I talk about TruNote a bit in this video:


NOTE: The "Olive-Welti Curve" was a nickname we sometimes used to use for what we now (more appropriately) call the Harman AE/OE Target.

You should watch that short segment about TruNote to understand the measurement below:

9969544.jpg


NOTE: The measurement above was made using the GRAS KEMAR head and torso simulator which has a more human-like shape than the GRAS 45CA we've since used for most measurements. As a result, the measured bass for many over-ear headphones measures lower on the KEMAR than on the more flat-plate-for-a-cheek 45CA. In other words, there might be more bass shown in the measurement if I had done it on the 45CA.

What we did for this measurement was put the AKG N90Q on someone's head and then used TruNote calibration to tune/correct the headphone's frequency response for that listener (a human). With that calibration in place, we put the AKG N90Q on the KEMAR (a manikin with anthropometric pinnae) and measured it (dotted line). Then, taking care not to move the headphones while still on the GRAS KEMAR, I gently pressed the TruNote calibration button to then tune/correct the AKG N90Q for the KEMAR's ears/head and then re-measured it (solid line).

The AKG N90Q also has (among several other features) some options for spatialization. Most of the time I simply disregard these kinds of features, but in the case of the N90Q it works. Specifically, there are three settings: Standard Setting, Studio Setting, and Surround Sound Setting. The Standard Setting is just straight stereo, which is what I use most of the time. The Surround Sound Setting is too much for me, too unnatural.

The Studio Sound Setting, however, is, in my opinion, very cool. When I'm listening to a recording with a flat or narrow sound stage, the Studio Sound Setting can really help -- sometimes I'll set it there for a particular track, and then accidentally leave it on for an extended time. Even for recordings with nice soundstaging, you may still appreciate the effect of the Studio Sound Setting.

As for active noise canceling, the N90Q's works very well -- very well. So with the AKG N90Q, I think you have the best-imaging ANC headphone I've heard. Off the top of my head, I can't think of a better sounding active-only headphone I've heard. It's been around for a while, but it's still available. We have the gold and black version here, but I might prefer the appearance of the all-black version.

It's a unique headphone, to be sure, and I'm surprised it hasn't been more popular with our community.
 
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May 21, 2020 at 5:29 PM Post #7 of 11

edgeno

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@edgeno, in terms of sheer fidelity, I still think the best sounding, best-imaging ANC headphone is the AKG N90Q. I still love this unique headphone (and may head up to the office to pick it up, now that you've got me thinking about it).

Keep in mind, though, it is not wireless.

The N90Q has a unique feature called TruNote. I talk about TruNote a bit in this video:


NOTE: The "Olive-Welti Curve" was a nickname we sometimes used to use for what we now (more appropriately) call the Harman AE/OE Target.

You should watch that short segment about TruNote to understand the measurement below:

9969544.jpg


NOTE: The measurement above was made using the GRAS KEMAR head and torso simulator which has a more human-like shape than the GRAS 45CA we've since used for most measurements. As a result, the measured bass for many over-ear headphones measures lower on the KEMAR than on the more flat-plate-for-a-cheek 45CA. In other words, there might be more bass shown in the measurement if I had done it on the 45CA.

What we did for this measurement was put the AKG N90Q on someone's head and then used TruNote calibration to tune/correct the headphone's frequency response for that listener (a human). With that calibration in place, we put the AKG N90Q on the KEMAR (a manikin with anthropometric pinnae) and measured it (dotted line). Then, taking care not to move the headphones while still on the GRAS KEMAR, I gently pressed the TruNote calibration button to then tune/correct the AKG N90Q for the KEMAR's ears/head and then re-measured it (solid line).

The AKG N90Q also has (among several other features) some options for spatialization. Most of the time I simply disregard these kinds of features, but in the case of the N90Q it works. Specifically, there are three settings: Standard Setting, Studio Setting, and Surround Sound Setting. The Standard Setting is just straight stereo, which is what I use most of the time. The Surround Sound Setting is too much for me, too unnatural.

The Studio Sound Setting, however, is, in my opinion, very cool. When I'm listening to a recording with a flat or narrow sound stage, the Studio Sound Setting can really help -- sometimes I'll set it there for a particular track, and then accidentally leave it on for an extended time. Even for recordings with nice soundstaging, you may still appreciate the effect of the Studio Sound Setting.

As for active noise canceling, the N90Q's works very well -- very well. So with the AKG N90Q, I think you have the best-imaging ANC headphone I've heard. Off the top of my head, I can't think of a better sounding active-only headphone I've heard. It's been around for a while, but it's still available. We have the gold and black version here, but I might prefer the appearance of the all-black version.

It's a unique headphone, to be sure, and I'm surprised it hasn't been more popular with our community.

Oh wow, I have never heard of these before, but they look exactly like I want. The calibration feature looks super neat as well, as well as the other features.

Can't seem to find any in my area though. Would it be considered safe to get this set from a well rated seller on ebay? Or are they the kind of item that gets faked a lot?
 
May 21, 2020 at 5:44 PM Post #8 of 11
You can try Amazon, which will likely be fulfilled by one of the independent merchants.
On those pages, click on the "See All Buying Options" button.

As for counterfeits: I think this would be a headphone not likely to be counterfeited. It's huge. It's complex. It's not popular, and has never been in high demand.
 
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May 21, 2020 at 5:53 PM Post #9 of 11

edgeno

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You can try Amazon, which will likely be fulfilled by one of the independent merchants.
On those pages, click on the "See All Buying Options" button.

As for counterfeits: I think this would be a headphone not likely to be counterfeited. It's huge. It's complex. It's not popular, and has never been in high demand.

Had a go on Amazon, but noone wants to ship to me (I'm in Norway).

Think I'll give Ebay a chance if I can get someone to ship to me.

Thanks so much for the replies, much appreciated! :)
 

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