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Noise Canceling Headphones

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Noise Canceling Headphones

Postby Bwis53 » Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:11 pm

I love my apartment. I have two sets of neighbors in neighboring houses.


Set one, likes to sit out on their back patio and converse about things I'd rather not hear when I'm trying to relax. It's like being stuck on a bus, next to a cell phone idiot.

Set two, waits til about 11:00 P.M., hauls in a drunken party, turns up the volume, and argues on their back balcony. They're dying to get arrested.

Luckily the later does not happen real often, although they have me dreading warm weather!

I'm thinking of trying the headphones, so I can relax, hold my creative mood and sleep. Can I get away with earbuds or I need the cushy full headphones?
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Postby TAsunder » Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:05 pm

How much are you looking to spend? For noise blocking I prefer in-ear canalphones like shure, etymotic, super.fi earphones. But those are generally $80+ They do a great job, though. I can almost never hear anything at the gym except my music, and my cats can rarely make enough noise to wake me if I sleep with them in.
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Postby Bwis53 » Tue Mar 20, 2007 11:37 pm

$50. or less. More than that, means its time to move. Wouldn't over the ear, be more noise blocking-canceling, than in the ear?
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Postby bluethedog » Wed Mar 21, 2007 7:25 am

I got a pair of Maxells from Walgreens for about $30. I ended up not even turning on the noise cancellation after a while as just being over the ears seemed to do the job.

There's a pair in this month's Men's Health for $450. Yikes.
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Postby tibor » Wed Mar 21, 2007 8:39 am

Might want to check Headroom's top-rated headphones < $40.

If you decide on the in-ear kind, I know a sound guy who's very happy with these plugs. The key seems to be the tape mod for them (described in the Amazon comments, or you can find tons of instructions online how to do it.)
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Postby TAsunder » Wed Mar 21, 2007 8:42 am

Bwis53 wrote:$50. or less. More than that, means its time to move. Wouldn't over the ear, be more noise blocking-canceling, than in the ear?


Not unless they are "sealed" and even then possibly not. In-ear phones are sealed and block about 35 db of sound (depending on the phones). Sealed over the ear phones block about 10db or so.

I've heard great things about these two in-ear phones:

http://www.amazon.com/CREATIVE-LABS-EP- ... 083&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-MDR-EX71SLA- ... 118&sr=1-3

But for a little over budget you could get these, which will block more sound and sound quite good:

http://www.amazon.com/Etymotic-Research ... 217&sr=1-3
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Postby Chuck_Schick » Wed Mar 21, 2007 4:21 pm

Just so everyone understands the difference, there are noise-blocking headphones and then there are noise-canceling headphones. They are not created equal.

The blocking variety are basically earplugs with speakers in them. And yes, they'll block maybe 22 to 30 db of noise, depending on the model and how well they fit your ear canal (which may also determine how comfortable you find them to be).

The headphones that fit over the ear (like the ol' skool cans) that are billed as noise-canceling phones are much more expensive because they employ technology that actually "analyzes" external noise and eliminates it by adding that same noise (you read that right) to the output of the phones in a reverse polarity configuration that takes advantage of a little physical property called phase cancellation. It's a brilliant concept, although I have no personal experience to be able to vouch for them. However, it does explain the drastic price difference between models. There's a lot more that goes into the one than the other.
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Postby mrak » Wed Mar 21, 2007 4:57 pm

Chuck_Schick wrote:The headphones that fit over the ear (like the ol' skool cans) that are billed as noise-canceling phones are much more expensive because they employ technology that actually "analyzes" external noise and eliminates it by adding that same noise (you read that right) to the output of the phones in a reverse polarity configuration that takes advantage of a little physical property called phase cancellation. It's a brilliant concept, although I have no personal experience to be able to vouch for them. However, it does explain the drastic price difference between models. There's a lot more that goes into the one than the other.

I have a cheapo pair (Aiwa, well under $100) that I bought a few years back for use during air travel. They're far from ideal - for one thing, they aren't big cans, the sit on the outer ear, so they're not made to seal you off from outside noise.

The thing is, the circuitry (as described above by Chuck) analyzes and attempts to neutralize sound waves that are consistent and repetitive - i.e., droning machine noises. Human speech and doors slamming, on the other hand - these are not the kind of continuous and predictable sounds the circuit can anticipate and counteract. So it doesn't work on them.

Bottom line: when I turn on the noise cancellation circuitry, it definitely goes a long way toward neutralizing jet engine noise, but doesn't eliminate it entirely. It also produces a little bit of electronic white noise of its own, which is only mildly annoying.

If you're going to use them on more than, say, a few flights a year, you'll probably want to spend the $$$ and get some good ones.
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Postby Mike S. » Sun Mar 25, 2007 6:49 pm

Do your OTHER neighbors a favor and have at the cretins. It's my observation that a short message can get through a break in even the loudest music, e.g. SHUT .. UP .. OR .. PISS .. BALLOON. Though I'm not sure how well that would work if the neighbors were on a higher floor...
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Postby nevermore » Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:29 pm

Am I the only person who thinks it's a bad idea to wear noise-canceling or noise-blocking earphones to bed? They're great if you don't want to hear intruders or the smoke alarm. Just sayin'.
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Postby Bwis53 » Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:18 pm

The good thing is, the neighbors don't party hearty every night. Actually, I think I've had enough to feel like I wanna move, but I can't afford it. The weird part is, the problem seems to be spreading. Ownership changed hands on a few places, on Franklin, between E. Wash and E. Mifflin. The owner rents just to fill up the places. There's trash citations on their doors. That'll last for a while and revert. My building is mostly grad students and working people. Several people in my building are ticked off, but there's only so much you can do. I can't help but think Brenda has got to be deaf.
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Postby depinmad » Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:47 am

i got a pair of sony in ear noise cancelling earphones for over a hundred bucks. i hate them, though i love other pairs of sony in ear that i have. but these have that noise cancelling technology which takes the form of these cumbersome plastic casings that run along the cords of the phones, and make the whole thing awkward to wear and keep comfortably in your ears. i bought them for a long flight i was going on and ended up not using them much at all.
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Postby iwiw99 » Mon Mar 26, 2007 8:41 am

What would people reccomend for the train whistles?

Thanks
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Postby Bwis53 » Mon Mar 26, 2007 10:17 am

I ordered the Fontopia's. We'll see how that works. For those stressful moments, I like chants,Bill Evans,or Chrystal bowl sounds. Even the courting bird songs are music compared to the partiers.
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Postby mrak » Thu Jun 14, 2007 7:53 am

Anyone still shopping for noise-cancelling headphones should check out the New York Times today. David Pogue tried out several sets on a flight and found some good, solid performers in th $100-$150 range:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/14/techn ... pogue.html
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