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  1. #1
    Forum Member jool's Avatar
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    noise cancelling headphones?

    Hi, does anyone have recommendations for relatively cheap-ish noise cancelling headphones? Maybe around $50 or $60? I don't travel by plane very often, so was hoping not to spend a lot of money. (Of course I want to save all my money for more TB bags!)

  2. #2
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    At that price point, my suggestion would be to consider noise-isolating in-ear earphones instead.

    They can be really effective at blocking out engine noise and cabin noise, provided you get a good seal in your ear canal.

    Added bonuses: far more portable than circumaural or supra-aural noise-cancelling headphones and no need to charge them.

    Etymotic Research is known for neutral sound and great noise isolation with their triple-flange tips.

    I always take the Etymotic HF5 ($100) or ER4 ($300) with me when I fly and have never wanted more sound isolation that they provide.

    I don't have any firsthand experience with Etymotic's entry level earphones, but they do have a couple of models in your $60 ballpark (MK5 and MC5).

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Forum Member bartleby's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Wirecutter tested both NC headphones and earbuds. While the headphones are all above your price range, one earbud model by Samsung seems to be quite good and costs around 50 $.
    ...spread joy in your neighbourhood
    current bags: Smart Alec, Guide's Pack, Guide's Edition S25, Aeronaut 45, Tri-Star, Daylight Briefcase, Small Yeoman Duffel, bits and pieces

  4. #4
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    I would second the isolating earbuds, I never had a pair of noise-cancelling headphones that worked better than isolation earbuds on the plane. Shure has been my go to for years, I find their eargel more comfortable than the triple-flange on the Etymotic. Their bottom range starts around $50 as well. The $100 pair I have has a replaceable cable, so I imagine they'll be with me for quite a while longer.

    I'm secretly hoping Shure will come out with a lightning cable with NC hardware built in that is powered from the phone. The biggest downside of NC is having yet more stuff to charge, or forget to.

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    If you don't travel on planes (or noisy subways) a lot, you might want to just use earplugs, if they don't bother your ears...
    If you want to listen to a movie/music, that won't work obviously, but if you're intending to relax/sleep/read, it's a simple cheap solution. I always travel with disposable earplugs. They're also great to have on hand for shared hostel rooms, loud bars/restaurants, etc.

  6. #6
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    I have these and like them. They do a good job of killing the background engine noise and hum you hear on airplanes and for only $46.

    https://www.amazon.com/TaoTronics-Ca...ing+headphones

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    Forum Member jool's Avatar
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    OK, noise-isolating it is. I am leaning toward the Shure over the Etymotic because of the plug material. I haven't found the triple flange to be very comfortable in the past, but maybe the material is a little different now. I decided to pay a little more ($99) to get a brand name. That puts both the Etymotic and the Shure on par. Thanks for all the recommendations.

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    The tips on the Etymotic can be changed. They generally come with foam tips in addition to the rubber flange tips. Also, you can purchase Comply-branded foam tips, which are more comfortable than the standard Etymotic tips. In terms of sound signature, my Etymotics have a much crisper high end than my Shures, but my Shures have more bass.

  9. #9
    Forum Member jool's Avatar
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    Well, I decided when actually buying that I would give the TaoTronics a try for less money. Hopefully they work out.

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    If the Tao Tronics don’t work out, Audio Technica has a pair of active noise cancelling ear buds for just under $80 on Amazon. The work on a single AAA battery and are eliminating about 80-90% of what Bose brand does. They also work as regular ear buds if the battery dies. I have used them on a number of airplane trips and find them generally better than noise isolating ones.

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    One more plug for noise isolating. I can attest the Shure in-ears do a wonderful job of reducing the sound from crying babies on a plane (even just one row away). I use the foam “olive” ear tips for a tight seal.

    I’ve read that some noise canceling headphones don’t do well cancelling babies, but I have no first hand experience with them.

  12. #12
    Forum Member jool's Avatar
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    Thanks for the additional recommendations! I just got to use the TaoTronics on a trip, and they worked pretty well. Weirdly, I could hear people on the plane speaking more easily with noise cancelling on. But I couldn't hear the background noise from the plane, which is what I wanted it for.

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    Glad they worked for you.

    I've noticed that effect also. One minor side effect though is when I'm having calls with someone, I don't always notice the background noise they are hearing.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by kioneo View Post
    I’ve read that some noise canceling headphones don’t do well cancelling babies, but I have no first hand experience with them.

    Correct, the circuitry really works only for constant lower-pitch noise like road or jet noise. Irregular sounds like speech or crying babies can't be filtered out. Isolating earbuds with NC circuitry are the best of both worlds.

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