As I understand it, $150 is well within the bounds of reason for Good Headphones.
My LJ-friend jwz
recently found a superior pair of in-ear headphones--not noise-canceling, but apparently quite good overall (and $80.) http://www.jwz.org/blog/2011/04/headphones/
I've seen Bose in-ear headphones for sale at the local VZW store for upwards of $130, iirc..
Oddly enough, there are some people out there who would refuse to spend anything less than $300 on headphones. But they tend to be the ones that think spending $6000 on a 3-foot length of speaker wire is very worthwhile.
I worked in a high end stereo store for a summer. The owner was a true audio lover, and tried to provide the best equipment to people for their needs without gouging them. That being said, he had to stock what he called "unpitchables" stupid things like wooden volume knobs, shielded power cables, gold plated optical connectors, and colour-coded in-wall audio cable, because audiophiles would look askance at his inventory if he didn't carry them. He called them unpitchables, because people who knew nothing, or knew a lot about audio, could never be convinced of buying such things, while those who were willing to buy such things would request them on their own.
I have noise-cancelling ear buds. You have to have them in a certain way before they actually cancel noise out, but when they're in, I love it. I used to have really noisy neighbors and the ear buds were a dream.
I use Shure in-ear phones, and I love them. they fit snugly into the ear canal, but don't irritate me (all the other in-ear phones I've tried do). I use the silicone buds, they are much more pleasant than the foam ones, and still block out an incredible amount of noise (there's some sound isolation wizardry being done). I have the SE110s, I think they now only make the more expensive ones, but they come with the added benefit of completely detachable cables, which means that in case of a cable break (something much more likely to happen than the actual earphones crapping out), you only have the cost of buying a new cable instead of a whole new set.
There are lots of other brands of really good in-ear phones, which will allow you to get special earbuds molded for your ear canals, like with hearing aides, which should block out even more noise. Shure's products used to also have that feature but I can't find it in the newer earphones' descriptions.
+1 billion for shure in ears.
I work on client sites a lot, and have two pairs of headphones. One is an over the ear pair of PX-100s. They're lovely, compact and have a nice open sound, but let in a lot of ambient noise. This is great when you need to hear other people in the room.
When I want silence (or to completely cut out the background), I grab the SE-210s. Miles more compact than the big over-ear things, and they create a physical seal between you and the outside world. Sound on them is excellent, and the noise-blocking (rather than cancelling) means that if someone needs to get my attention, they usually have to jump up and down in front of me a few times.
And despite how they looks, the compressy-foam the Shure's come with is *amazingly* comfortable for long listening. Once you're used to them (and they do take a few gos), I'm more than happy to sit with them in for seven hours at a time.
remembering this advice, I just got a set of ultimate ears -- i'll test them out on the plane this week.
I have to have a good pair of headphones. Sometimes when I'm tutoring people,(I do so on line for free to help people out) I sometimes need music to help while I go over their papers, give advice,etc.
I need to drown out the out side sounds. They will annoy me to hell and back.
I bought a pair of these
for mowing the lawn (4 acres, 6 hours) so I can listen to my iPod. You can't hear anything except your iPod.
aaaaah, I feel your pain! I love, love, love traveling. flying is pretty alright, too. but loud, obnoxious people...and crying babies. ugh!!!!
I should really find my old Aiwa noise-cancelling headphones. They were a bit smaller and lighter than the Bose ones at the time; you might find them less uncomfortable. They were half the price of the Bose version, too.
There are also noise-cancelling earbuds, and I've been keeping my eye out for those. I agree, traveling with something less bulky would be good.
2011-04-24 02:13 pm (UTC)
passive ear protection
i have used passive non-electronic ear protectors for years.
i initially got them to wear around power tools, including the lawn mower,
but quickly got a pair to travel with,
and keep next to my bed for those mornings the city
decides to jack hammer my street
the highest reduction i've seen is 30db,
which lets me sleep even with a crying baby in the row behind me
(i also bring an opaque extra large eye mask).
offered in most big-box home centers,
many friendly local neighborhood hardware stores,
and the occasional yard sale
bigger and bulkier than ear buds and the active electronic noise cancelers
no electronics to break
the ear muffs, being larger than the electronic versions, are much more comfortable to wear
2011-04-25 05:31 pm (UTC)
Re: passive ear protection
On advice from my SO, I've used very similar hearing protectors (the same ones I use on the range), and simply put them on over the earbuds. You look a little goofy, but it works *really* well.
2011-04-26 06:35 am (UTC)
I use noise-blocking in-ear plugs (Sure). Not normal earbuds. These are MUCH smaller than the headphones, and don't need additional power. Sound quality is great (I have the cheapest ones; the sound quality gets better). The big thing I noticed, that lead me to get them, was that I can play my music at much lower levels with them; this has to be good.
Mine cost about what your headphones cost, and they were the bottom of the line. It just goes up from there, to over $500.
I use a pair purchased at Radio Shack for far less than $150 at work to drown out my coworkers who don't seem to understand what an inside voice is. I pondered getting earbuds for an upcoming trip, but after reading this, plan to stick with my noise canceling headphones. Big, maybe, but the sanity they provide is worth it.
And, I bet if the plane starts to go down, you'll notice the commotion before you need the life jacket.....