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Noise cancelling headphones

Are there any noise cancelling headphones that cost $100 or less new. Honestly $50 would be better :)

Posted by
3243 posts

I have Sony noise cancelling headphones. I believe they were $59.00. I like them.

Posted by
7050 posts

I would try out everything yourself before buying (if not buying online) so you're not wasting your money. I have Bose Quiet Comfort 15 headphones (they were well over $100) and they don't work as well as I had hoped (they cancel out some frequencies but not others. So if someone on the plane was talking loudly, you'll hear all of it). Read the Amazon reviews, they're helpful.

Posted by
6788 posts

Nothing is 100% effective. Screaming babies, for example, will cut through anything.

Posted by
166 posts

I have the Bose noise canceling ear buds, they are wonderful on the long flights from Europe to the USA. I find that I sleep and rest better when I wear them. Also, they are effective on the trains.

Posted by
2788 posts

Since I fly from SEA to Europe every year and from SEA to Hawaii often, I splurged and purchased a pair of over the ear SMS noise cancelling headphones for $300. They were the second highest rated pair on CR and work great for me.

Posted by
61 posts

I got an off brand over ear noise canceling set for ~$65 on Amazon, after reading reviews. I'm not sure they're for sale now. They worked very well on a cross country flight, even using a splitter so my boyfriend and I could view a movie on the tablet (downloaded from Amazon prime on their app).

Posted by
1163 posts

I would recommend the earplug-type ones if you are going to get a set. The less you have to lug around with you the better.

As others have said, they cancel some types of noise pretty well (such as the loud hum and other low-frequency sounds on an airplane) but they don't do that good against conversation or music. So as long as you buy them knowing what you're getting...

Posted by
228 posts

This is an item where the old saying, "you get what you pay for" really is true. That said, I have used a variety of headphones and they have ALL worked to some degree, at least insofar as cutting out the more-or-less constant noise of engines. All NC headphones let in sudden, variable and sporadic noises to some extent, I guess because that's harder to do.

Currently, I am using a pair of Sennheiser BTC4.50 wireless 'Over Ear' headphones. These cost me AUD180 (USD133) imported and they work extremely well for the price.

One thing you should take heed of though, if you're going to be using them long-haul, is comfort. For some, in-ear 'buds' are the most comfortable, others prefer 'on-ear' while I prefer 'over-ear'. I find buds and on-ear types hurt after a couple of hours, due to localised pressure. Over-ear works best for me, and has the added advantage of offering the best 'noise isolation' - the noise reduction achieved simply through insulation from ambient noise, rather like the ear defenders/protectors worn by people who operate noisy machinery. Over-ear headphones sit around the ear and so should not compress the ear, though some are so small the ear might not fit comfortably inside - something you can only determine by trying them on.

Lastly, be aware that some outlets will try to trick you into buying headphones that you might think are 'noise cancelling' when in fact they are simple 'noise isolating' (the aforementioned insulating effect of well-sealed headphones). I think what you're looking for are known as 'active noise cancelling' headphones, meaning they have electrical circuits which listen to 'outside' noise and actually inject new sound that is 180 degrees different to the noise they're blocking, thus they cancel out and you - theoretically - don't hear that background noise. The former are sometimes described as 'passive noise reducing headphones' and should be very cheap (though often heavy) whereas the latter are called 'active noise cancelling headphones'. Needless to say, this isn't a trivial job, hence the high price of really good active NC phones.

Posted by
451 posts

I use Audio Technica Noise Cancelling Earbuds. Not a perfect solution but cancels out the engine noise. I have to take air sickness meds so I always sleep whether I want to or not ;D and I find earbuds are the only ones that are comfortable enough for that.
Have had them for a few years. They are online now for half of what I paid and are well within your budget. Bose didn't have buds at the time which is what I would choose now.

Posted by
5050 posts

Really good info from Steves_8. And I agree that you only get what you pay for.

I've got a pair of Bose Quiet Comfort 25s, and I really like them a lot. They're over-the- ear ( I find the ear bud style very uncomfortable after a couple of hours), and I've worn them comfortably on a very long trans Pacific flight with no problems. Also great on trains. The noise cancelling properties are excellent, although the sound quality when listening to music or movies is typical Bose: not bad but not great.

Posted by
5650 posts

I have some sony ones I got from Target years ago for under $50. Of course they are not as good as Bose, but they are pretty effective at blocking out the engine noise. At 1/7th the price of Bose, I have been quite satisfied. I’m sure the Bose are better.

Posted by
393 posts

I bought Audio-thecnica ear buds like these
(I paid about $70, so may have gotten a different model - they're in my 'travel' bin and not nearby to refer to)

1) the WAY more expensive Bose headphones work better
on a plane, I remove the earbuds and after a bit, re-insert them. I'd guess they get rid of 1/2 the noise.
2) I could afford headphones but I don't want to carry them around for 2 weeks after the flight to Europe (bulky)
3) I was in Madrid this spring and my app for the Prado doesn't allow bluetooth connection b/c they want to (try to) ensure that I don't have a noisy bluetooth speaker blaring out

Posted by
1221 posts

You might be able to find a pair of Bose QCs 25s on clearance somewhere yet with a little digging. They're apparently a discontinued model now and I paid $129 or so for them as an Amazon Prime special deal back in July and they are really good at making it quieter.

Posted by
1259 posts

The less expensive active noise canceling headphones reviewed at sites I respect are in the $150-200 range and are all over-the-ear styles. In-ear styles with active technologies are highly regarded these days because of advances in electronics, $150-500. At the lower end, passive noise canceling works because of tight fitting noise blocking designs that seal the ear canal. Not everyone can use in-ear designs safely for various physical or medical reasons.