Noise Cancelling Headphones

Noise Cancelling Headphones

You’re sitting in the living room, trying to listen to music, but all you can hear is the loud humming of the refrigerator or the vacuum.  Daily, annoying noises make it very difficult to listen to the high quality music or audio that you wish to hear.  As the pure audio signals of your music get mixed with the ambient noises of the outside world, certain signals combine in a very ugly way creating sounds that are very messy.  The magic of the original music is lost when this occurs.  The signals you hear are no longer what you want to hear…they are a menagerie of various noises, influenced by white noise, pink noise, and other ambient noises.  Often times, it can be frustrating to hear such a distorted signal for extended periods of times.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could simply eliminate, or “cancel” out, those unwanted noises?

Dr. Amar Bose (of the Bose corporation) thought the same thing when he was on a plane in 1978.  The ambient noise on the plane was very disgustful and the headphones he was provided didn’t help at all.  He set out to create headphones that would actually effectively cancel noise.  We’ve come a long way since then and today, there are a plethora of options for choosing noise cancelling headphones which are perfect for you.

Some of the most popular models today include: Audio Technica ATH-ANC3, Sony MDR-NC500D, Bose Quiet Comfort 2, JVC HANC250, Shure SE420, Sennheiser PXC 300, Bose Quiet Comfort 3, Plane Quiet Platinum, Audio Technica ATH-ANC7, and many, many more.  The best noise cancelling headphones can cost up to $500, while you can get lower quality ones for around $100 or less.  The in-ear models are usually thinner and more portable, but often are not very good at reducing the noise.  One in-ear model that stands out with great reviews and fantastic noise cancelling is the Shure SE420-K Sound Isolating Earphones.  A new pair costs right around $230, which is definitely a steal for its quality.

Most of these headphones work by utilizing a system known as ANC, or active noise control.  By means of circuitry, “antinoise” signals are generated, which basically cancel out noise by means of destructive interference.  Because of the advanced circuitry involved in generating these signals, noise cancelling headphones require power, meaning that they need batteries or some kind of USB port in order to be charged.  The headphones on the market today do not consume large amounts of power and thus can stay charged for very long periods of time.

When deciding which noise cancelling headphones to buy, be sure to consider the following factors: price, portability, size, sound quality, comfort, and of course, noise cancellation.  Do not settle for low cost models because more likely than not, you will be unsatisfied with the poor noise cancellation they provide.  In terms of portability and size, ask yourself, “Do I need to carry this around with me everywhere or will I mostly be using it at home and on the airplane?”  If you do need to carry it around with you everywhere, try to find in-ear models, as these are generally the most portable.  If you’re going to use it just at home, in the office, and perhaps on airplanes, consider the models with the larger earpieces.  These are frequently more comfortable, better at noise cancellation, and provide a higher quality of sound.

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