Hm, apparently "Noise cancelling" doesn't necesarily also mean "Sound Improving"

  • Expensive In-ear-phones.
    Last time I went from cheap to good earphones there was an immediate wow factor - “WOW this sounds amazing!”. Inevitably a good pair of earphones wears out, and one has to make do with a ‘kit’ pair (a pair you get with an MP3 player or other sound related device). My last good set of earphones were creative brand pair which cost about 45 quid. Once these died I reverted to the same set I used after my last good ones died. These backup earphones produce good sound but no bass and a little tinny. And you can hear…everything… that goes on around you. A bit of wind and immediately ‘Two Tribes’ is a whisper. So I had to buy some more good earphones.
    In hindsight I don’t know why I didn’t go with the same pair of creatives… I guess I wanted something even better and more to the point different. So I’d and found that these were the best all-round based on reviews.

I got them yesterday and tried them out.

Bit of an anti-climax. I was hoping to be wowed again, but not so. Musically I notice the extra bass but the overall sound experience isn’t much different (that isn’t to say it’s bad… my backup pair are good) They cancel out noise quite well (requiring an aaa battery) but I’m not wowed.

I am yet to test them in a noisy environment though. And, well they satisfy most of the requirements I have of headphones (good enough sound, stay in the ear, don’t allow me to hear a flea fart like a cheap pair) But for around fifty quid I want them to make a party happen in my brain.
I am sometimes not easilly pleased.

I can’t bring myself to try a pair of noise-cancelling cans. The idea that it alters the audio stream to try and subtract outside noise strikes me as impure.

I prefer going with the noise isolating IEMs. I’m currently all about the Shure line. Very good sound, excellent noise isolation (~30-35dB depending on the tips used. I use the foam tips, as my ears are a bit oddly shaped and tend to reject the silicone ones, but even those drown out about -30dB).

Well, good move not to buy before you tried.

Dammit, I’ve been waiting 10 years now for the “next generation” of tools and appliances which are supposed to have noise cancellation built into them at the source. I WANT my silent leaf blower – er actually, since I don’t have ANY leaf blower, I want my neighbor to have one.

Take a look at this page. I’ve heard mostly favorable raves for the high-end Etymotics:

Not that all of them are terribly cheap:

How do you try before you buy from amazon?
(or do I walk into HMV… “Excuse me… can I open one of your Sony MDRNC22 In Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones packets so that I can see what they’re like before I go and buy them from amazon? You don’t stock them? You’d have to order them?”)

I got exactly the same earphones for Christmas and I’m extremely happy with them.
But I’m not an audiophile by any means.

IME noise cancelling headphones are all about improving the sound in a noisy environment compared to other headphones also in a noisy environment. They may actually be worse in a quiet environment. Maybe there are ultra high end ones that are great for just sitting and listening, audiophile style, but I haven’t encountered them. What I find they are great for is improving the experience on a plane or at the gym, so I don’t have to blast my ears out with volume to hear the music.

Oops, on a second reading, you don’t. I misread the OP.

Bad OP! Bad, bad!

Or bad me. Whichever. :stuck_out_tongue: