For music enthusiasts and the average commuter with nothing to do to pass by time going to work, immersing yourself in music is a must. Unfortunately, most of the time, it’s quite impossible to achieve with all the noise coming from your surroundings. For those particularly bothered by the ambient noise, this is where noise cancelling headphones will be of valuable use.
Two types of noise cancelling headphones:
- Passive – this type of noise cancelling headphones provide some noise reduction by blocking out some sound waves, usually those at higher frequencies. Some of these headphones maximize their noise-filtering properties by using layers of high-density foam or other materials that absorb sound.
- Active – while passive noise cancelling headphones still allow some ambient sounds to interfere, active noise cancelling headphones works better. These types of headphones are structurally engineered to block high-frequency waves while also actively reducing low frequency sound waves by making its own sound waves and inversely mimicking the noise thus cancelling out each other.
How to choose the best noise cancelling headphone for you
Most models are able to handle the constant, surrounding noise from the buzz of conversations, air conditioning units to airplane engines while still giving you the peace and quiet you crave for with or without any music playing.
However, different models vary on their make, that’s why some are better than others. Additionally, they also offer a variety of features, aside from noise cancellation, that you may also want to consider checking out.
Here are some guidelines to help you choose:
- Decide on the type of headphone you want before heading out to buy one. Research on the major features you want your headphones to have and some additional features as well. Depending on your need and preference you should also consider whether you only want in-ear headphones, supra-aural headphones (also known as earpads), or a full-sized headphone that will fit your whole ear inside.
- Decide on your budget. While researching on the type of headphone you want, you can also check the price online so you’ll have an estimate on how much money you’re going to invest in a pair of headphones. Depending on the brand and quality, prices usually range from around $10 to high-end ones priced at $200 or more.
- Try them on. As much as possible, it is always recommended to try a product first-hand before buying it. Although you can read reviews from people who have tried using it, it would still be better to try it on yourself and see if it suits your preferences and fit you perfectly, especially if you’re buying an expensive one, as expectations may vary from one person to another.
- Test it. Whether you’re buying normal headphones or one with noise cancelling technology, test it out first to see if it works according to your liking.
- Check the battery life and warranty. Because noise cancelling earphones need a power source to operate, it is important to check the battery life. Some of the earphones will stop working entirely when you run out of battery so check on that too. The warranty is also important just in case the product has some problems after purchase.
What to look for in a noise cancelling headphones
- Noise cancelling headphones should block a majority of external sounds.
- A good noise cancelling headphone should let you listen to music with very minimal disturbances without having to crank the volume to high.
- With noise cancelling headphones, music intended to be listened to at a lower volume should still be clearly heard without ambient noise being heard.
- If possible, look for headphones with active noise cancelling instead of passive as its safer to use. Passive noise cancelling headphones usually isolates the user from the environment as it creates a seal on your ears through physical means which can make the user totally unaware of his surroundings. With the active type, the digital processor that comes with it constantly monitors background sounds and adjusts accordingly.
Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbud
For the ultimate experience when it comes to style and listening pleasure, the Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbuds gives you a custom-feel listening experience with its non-slip earpads available in three different sizes (small, medium and large) designed to give a perfect fit for every ear.
Features of the Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbud
Featuring a 9mm neodymium driver with a wide range of frequency response, the Panasonic’s ErgoFit headphones promise to produce high quality, crystal clear sound while effectively blocking background noise.
- In-ear headphones that conforms easily to your ears. The earbuds, mainly consisting of both soft and hard materials, offer a comfortable and snug fit designed for a worry-free and easy listening experience. The soft earbuds is also designed to improve the sound quality delivered by isolating the sound produced and also maximizing the bass output. Ambient noise is also efficiently blocked for a clearer sound quality.
- Color-matched cords. The Panasonic RP-HJE120 can be bought in eight different colors with color-matched earbuds and cords to suit every style. Available colors are: black, orange, pink, red, silver, violet, green and blue.
- 6-foot long cord. At 3.6-foot long, the headphone can be conveniently threaded through a backpack or jacket. The cords are also quite flexible and long which make it comfortable and easy to use when worn.
- The vibrantly colored headphones give itself a stylish flair perfect for everyday use. The wide range of colors available to choose from also gives you the freedom to pair it with different styles depending on your mood and the look you are going for.
- Decent sound quality. According to people who reviewed this product, the sound quality is quite good for a product at its price range.
- L-shaped plug. The Panasonic RP-HJE120 also features an L-shaped plug at the end of the cord which can also help in preventing the cord from getting bent and torn with daily use.
- According to some reviews, the sound quality of the headphones can be harsh when listening to music such as jazz, acoustic and also bass heavy material.
- Another problem that some users noted is that the cord was too thin and can get easily tangled when placed in the pocket.
- The headphones had no built-in microphone to be used for making calls.
The Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbud Headphones RP-HJE120-K (Black) is very affordable and has a good amount of positive reviews which makes it worth trying. Although it has some limitations that more expensive brands offer, its affordability makes it more appealing as you can use it frequently to listen to music without worrying of the price tag.
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The first in-ear headphone with noise cancelling features from the company’s line of headphones, the Bose QuietComfort 20 will allow you to immerse yourself in your music while giving you an option to simultaneously tune into your environment with just a press of a button.
Features of the Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones
The headphones are available in two versions, the QuietComfort 20 is compatible for use with Android, Blackberry and Windows devices while the QuietComfort 20i version is ideal for use with Apple products.
- Active noise cancellation feature. Using inbuilt microphones located in the earbuds, these mics monitor ambient sounds and block it by using inverse sound waves of that sound. This technology effectively removes low-frequency sounds although not as much when it comes to removing treble sounds.
- Sound Quality. Because of its TriPort® technology and Active EQ features, offer a decent balance between treble and bass with a solid bass response and depth. Although the noise cancellation feature may produce a slight mid-range hiss when activated, it’s not unusually loud as to really affect the sound quality which makes this earphones inline to some of the best commuter earphones available in the market today.
- Microphone and remote. The inline microphone/remote houses the buttons for answering and ending phone calls. It also has the Aware mode button if you want to let in noise from your environment. The remote has four control buttons for volume and music control and for voice-recognition apps like Siri.
- Built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Encased inside a rectangular but slim housing, the rechargeable battery can charge in just 2 hours via a USB cable and will last up to 16 hours of playing time per charge.
- Advanced StayHear+ ear tip technology. Soft-tipped silicone earbuds designed to conform easily to your ear and seal-off your ear canal provide a comfortable fit while isolating the sound for more clarity. It also has an extra fin-like part that adds stability by pressing against the ear.
- Unlike other earphones powered by batteries, the QuietComfort 20 will still function like any other normal earphones, but without the noise cancelling feature, if you get your battery drained.
- According to some users, they find the cord thick enough that it doesn’t bounce as much and more durable to use even during strenuous activities.
- The noise cancelling feature works well in blocking most ambient noise.
- For some users, the control module can sometimes get in the way while walking which can be annoying if you are in a hurry.
- The earphones are quite expensive.
If you are very particular when it comes to sound quality, the Bose QuietComfort 20 needs some improvement on that area. According to most reviews, it still delivers good sound quality, although not the best, the QuietComfort 20 makes up for what it lacks with its overall package and noise cancelling feature which works really well.
The Airsspu In-ear Earphones Hi-fi Stereo Earbuds Noise Cancelling Wired Headphones is made with professional equipment designed to easily capture the bass and other low-level sounds usually heard in rock music.
Features of the Airsspu In-Ear Earphones Hi-fi Stereo Earbuds
Made of 9.6 mm double magnetic pronunciation unit, the Airsspu In-ear Earphones Hi-fi Stereo Earbuds Noise Cancelling Wired Headphones also features a unique patented tuning technology.
- Delivers a clear voice and sound quality.
- For a lightweight build, the Airsspu In-ear Earphones Hi-fi Stereo Earbuds Noise Cancelling Wired Headphones is made with research-grade aluminum materials.
- A built-in, inline microphone is provided for hands-free talking while on-the-go.
- Included in the package are 6 pairs of earbuds with three pairs designed mainly to give you the option to choose which earbud size fits your ears snugly. The other three pairs are uniquely designed with the speaker on the front directly facing your ear drums.
- Ideal for watching movies. According to people who reviewed this product, voices and dialogues can be clearly heard when watching movies using these earphones.
- It’s easy to use and the integrated microphone gives you the option to multi-task even if you are talking with someone over the phone.
- The sound quality is decent for an inexpensive pair of earphones.
- The circular travel pouch included makes storing the headphones more organized and compact.
- According to some people who reviewed this product, some echo can be heard during phone calls mimicking how a person sounds like when using the speakerphone.
- A few people who reviewed this product complained of poor quality as the unit easily broke down on them after some use.
If you are on a budget or just want to purchase a pair of headphones with decent sound quality and the basic features, you may want to consider buying these.
The ActionPie VJJB-V1S High Resolution Heavy Bass In-ear Headphones boasts of two driver units with high performance dynamic driver systems of custom permanent magnet with high performance moving coil unit.
Features of the ActionPie VJJB-V1S High Resolution Heavy Bass In-ear Headphones with Mic for SmartPhones
The ActionPie VJJB-V1S also makes use of magnetic neodymium iron boron magnets in the construction of its unit drivers.
- High Resolution, Heavy Bass. This specially designed headphone consists of an exclusive driver design enabling it to deliver clear highs and clear lows from different frequencies.
- Reduced ambient noise. Focus and immerse yourself with the music you are listening to with reduced noise from your surroundings with the help of its silicone tipped earphones that conforms easily to your ear and fits snugly, effectively reducing ambient noise from being heard.
- Compatible with most smartphones, including Android phones and iOS devices, you can use the the ActionPie VJJB-V1S in-ear headphones on different devices without worrying of it not working properly because of incompatibility.
- Talk hands-free. An inline microphone is available to give you the freedom to hold conversations over the phone without actually having to hold it leaving your hands free to do other things.
- According to people who reviewed this product, the sound quality is quite good for an inexpensive brand of earphones. Tones are equally balanced with crisp high notes and clear deep lows.
- The silicone made ear plugs effectively seal off your ear canals thus efficiently reducing background noise from distracting your music listening.
- The integrated microphone gives you the freedom to multi-task while talking on the phone.
- A travel case is included for keeping your headphones in place and tangle free when not in use.
- A variety of different-sized earbuds are included in the package to provide the perfect fit.
- Some users found the product lacking in its control features as you can only pause music when you press the control button.
For a set of headphones under $30 with various earbuds included in the package, the ActionPie VJJB-V1S High Resolution Heavy Bass In-ear Headphones with Mic for SmartPhones is worth considering for people on a budget, looking for good quality earphones for everyday use.
The Panasonic Noise Cancelling In-Ear Headphones RP-HC56-K (Black) with Travel Pouch boasts of its noise cancelling feature which reduces outside noise by up to 92%. With this technology, you can enjoy listening to high quality sounding music with very minimal to no disturbances from the outside world.
Features of the Panasonic Noise Cancelling In-Ear Headphones RP-HC56-K
The noise cancelling feature works by an advanced smart sensor technology which helps it detect ambient sounds. Inverse sound waves of the background sound are then used to block it out. This technology effectively removes most low-frequency sounds.
- Integrated control buttons. An integrated and compact control switch houses the noise cancelling button which can be activated with just one touch. It also has the volume control slider to adjust sound volume according to your preference.
- Reduced background sound. When the noise cancellation button is activated, background sound is detected and thus blocked by the smart sensor technology which offsets most low-frequency sound waves preventing ambient noise from being heard.
- The Panasonic Noise Cancelling In-Ear Headphones RP-HC56-K has a pen-looking inline control which can be clipped on your clothing during activities or travel. It is designed to accommodate a person’s active lifestyle.
- Power source. The headphones operate on a single AAA alkaline battery. Average battery life has a span of up to 40 hours of music playing time.
- According to people who reviewed this product, they were quite impressed with the quality of the sound delivered by the Panasonic Noise Cancelling In-Ear Headphones RP-HC56-K. The bass is solid, as well as soaring high notes. Overall, it is a headphone that delivers a decent quality of sound.
- The unit stays in place when moving around because of its clip-on inline control.
- The noise cancellation technology works well in blocking off ambient sound that is continual and predictable, which works well during commute to work and other travelling around.
- It operates on disposal batteries which can easily be replaced when necessary.
- According to some people who reviewed this product, the cords and connections are quite thin and flimsy and can get easily tangled up.
- Just listening to music requires you to put on a battery because you have to activate the noise cancellation technology. The entire unit also doesn’t work without any battery.
- Some users also find the quality of the midrange notes to be quite muddy and distorted.
- Another drawback with the Panasonic Noise Cancelling In-Ear Headphones RP-HC56-K is its lack of an integrated microphone in its basic features. No buttons for taking phone calls are also available which makes this earphone mainly useful for listening to music only.
If you like to frequently immerse yourself with music when travelling or just plainly lounging, the Panasonic Noise Cancelling In-Ear Headphones RP-HC56-K comes recommended by most users. It has a decent sound quality and not too expensive for a pair of earphones with noise cancelling technology.
However, you may not use this for making phone calls as it is not designed to accommodate calls.
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