The Search for Decent Headphones

My latest travel experience has convinced me that I need to invest in a good set of noise-cancelling headphones. I couldn’t turn up my iPod’s volume loud enough to drown out the voices of those two people sitting behind me on the two-and-a-half hour flight from Colorado Springs to Atlanta. It’s not that they were talking all that loudly, they just had those nasally voices operating at just the right frequency to pierce glass.

I knew that for a small fortune I could probably get some Bose headphones that would do a fine job, but I was hoping to find a compromise that would work almost as well. As it turned out, Googling for “noise cancelling headphones” led me to a recent review (by David Pogue) of some notable alternatives. The problem is that, so far, I can’t find two of his top picks in any local stores. There’s no hint on the Audio-Technica web site about where you can find their ATH-ANC7 headphones in stores, and it’s not clear to me that the Panasonic RP-HC500 headphones are even being made anymore.

I could order either of these off of (or some other online dealer), but I really want to try them out in person first. I have a history with headphones not fitting me very well.

Posted August 20th, 2007 in Miscellaneous.


  1. Rich Cavanaugh:

    I have these and I’m very pleased with them. They’re about $100 in BestBuy and I wore them on the flights to and from RailsConf and could only hear whatever my ipod was playing.

    They’re not active noise cancelling headphones but, I have a pair of Sony noise cancelling and I’m far more impressed with these Shure earbuds.

  2. Lyle:

    Thanks for the recommendation, Rich. I have also heard a lot of good things about the Shure headphones, but because of my apparently disfigured mutant ears, I have never found a pair of in-ear headphones (earbuds) that fit properly. They always hurt and/or fall out.

    I did pick out two sets of headphones at Circuit City today: the Bose TriPort over-the-ear phones (which aren’t noise-cancelling) and the Sennheiser PXC-250 headphones (which are). The Bose ones sound so much better, even without the magical noise cancelling, so I think those are the ones I’m going to keep.