Best Noise Cancelling Headphones or Earphones

stewsdjrescue

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I'm looking for the best noise cancelling headphones or in-ear monitors. Which type offers the best hearing protection? My main goal is to block out as much outside sound as possible. I'll take that over headphones that might have better sound quality but poorer isolation. Looking to stay below $200 if possible.

Thanks!
 

steve149

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My opinion ... Best noise cancelling: Bose QuietComfort 15. Best In Ear : Westone .. Best affordable in ear: Shure SE215 or SE315
 

ahoustondj

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stewsdjrescue

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How and for what would you be wanting to use these phones? Be very careful with the use of those devices. Lengthy use and loud volumes can cause irreparable harm to your hearing. Here are some articles that addresses this issue. http://medicine.stonybrookmedicine....-permanent-hearing-loss-what-you-need-to-know

http://www.berklee.edu/bt/121/intheear.html

Bose has a good one and I have not actually used the IEMs for the obvious reasons stated above.
My goal is to prevent hearing damage as much as possible. I'd like to be able to cancel out the sound from my system so I can hear the mix and cue at low volumes. Recently I've had to turn my headphones up loud to hear them which leaves my ears ringing after the event.
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

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My goal is to prevent hearing damage as much as possible. I'd like to be able to cancel out the sound from my system so I can hear the mix and cue at low volumes. Recently I've had to turn my headphones up loud to hear them which leaves my ears ringing after the event.
I've never had that issue in all my years DJing. Now there is a thing where you maybe have the volume so high that the sound in the headphones becomes distorted. So just watch your volume levels when cueing a song through your headphones.
 

DJ Wes

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What a lot of people don't understand is how noise cancelling devices work. They 'listen' for surrounding noise and create an inverse frequency to cancel out the noise. They can only cancel out noises that are 'constant', like the drone of an aircraft engine or road noise your tires create. They DO NOT cancel noises that are constantly changing, like from music.
 
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Proformance

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When I want noise cancelling - I just don't plug them in.
I suppose if the quality of current pop music improves, I will have to change my procedure. :)

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What a lot of people don't understand is how noise cancelling devices work. They 'listen' for surrounding noise and create an inverse frequency to cancel out the noise. They can only cancel out noises that are 'constant', like the drone of an aircraft engine or road noise your tires create. They DO NOT cancel noises that are constantly changing, like from music.
That's not true - we are not talking about how to build quiet engine rooms on marine vessels, or reflecting sound in a boardroom. Ours is a mechanical problem not an acoustical one. Noise cancelling in a set of headphones simply means exactly what you expect: you put them on and the insulation material prevents external sound from entering your listening space (i.e. your ear canal.)
 
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ittigger

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That would defeat the definition of 'active noise canceling' then. I do believe there to be some electronic component .. unless Bose and everyone else is performing a big scam.

FWIW:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise-cancelling_headphones

Noise-cancelling headphones are headphones that reduce unwanted ambient sounds (i.e., acoustic noise) by means of active noise control (ANC). This involves using one or more microphones placed near the ear, and electronic circuitry which uses the microphone signal to generate an "antinoise" signal. When the antinoise signal is produced by the speaker driver in the headphone, destructive interference cancels out the ambient noise as heard within the enclosed volume of the headphone. They should not be confused with noise isolating headphones.

Noise cancellation makes it possible to enjoy music without raising the volume excessively. It can also help a passenger sleep in a noisy vehicle such as an airliner. Research examining the benefits of noise cancelling headphones in the aviation environment has found that compared to passive noise attenuating headphones or no headphones, noise cancelling headphones significantly increases the signal to noise ratio, making hearing important information such as safety announcements easier.[1] The benefits of noise cancelling headphones also extend to situations involving concurrent task (dual task) performance, particularly mind-games (such as Sudoku) as well as listening tasks.[2]

Noise-cancelling headphones typically use ANC to cancel the lower-frequency portions of the noise; they depend on more traditional methods such as soundproofing to prevent higher-frequency noise from reaching the ear. This approach is preferred because it reduces the demand for complicated electronic circuitry that would be required for noise cancellation at higher frequencies, where active cancellation is less effective.[3] To truly cancel high frequency components (coming at the ear from all directions), the sensor and emitter for the cancelling waveform would have to be adjacent to the user's eardrum, which is not currently technically feasible.

-----------

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/audio-music/noise-canceling-headphone3.htm

Noise-canceling Headphones

Unfortunately for music lovers, many types of ambient sounds can interfere with or even block the sounds coming through their headphones. If you have ever tried to listen to a CD or MP3 player on a plane, then you know the problem well: The roar of the engines makes it difficult to hear what's being piped through the speakers -- even when those speakers are situated in or on your ear. Fortunately, noise-canceling headphones can provide a more enjoyable listening experience.

Noise-canceling headphones come in either active or passive types. Technically speaking, any type of headphone can provide some passive noise reduction. That's because the materials of the headphones themselves block out some sound waves, especially those at higher frequencies. The best passive noise-canceling headphones, however, are circum-aural types that are specially constructed to maximize noise-filtering properties. That means they are packed with layers of high-density foam or other sound-absorbing material, which makes them heavier than normal headphones. The tradeoff of all that extra weight is a reduction in noise of about 15 to 20 decibels (dB). But considering jet engines create 75 to 80 dB of noise inside the aircraft cabin, passive models have some serious limitations. That's where active noise-canceling headphones come in.

Active noise-canceling headphones can do everything that passive ones can do -- their very structure creates a barrier that blocks high-frequency sound waves. They also add an extra level of noise reduction by actively erasing lower-frequency sound waves. How do noise-canceling headphones accomplish this? They actually create their own sound waves that mimic the incoming noise in every respect except one: the headphone's sound waves are 180 degrees out of phase with the intruding waves.

If you look at the illustration below, you can see how this works. Notice that the two waves -- the one coming from the noise-canceling headphone and the one associated with the ambient noise -- have the same amplitude and frequency, but their crests and troughs (compressions and rarefactions) are arranged so that the crests (compressions) of one wave line up with the troughs (rarefactions) of the other wave and vice versa. In essence, the two waves cancel each other out, a phenomenon known as destructive interference. The result: the listener can focus on the sounds he wants to hear.
 
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Proformance

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My goal is to prevent hearing damage as much as possible. I'd like to be able to cancel out the sound from my system so I can hear the mix and cue at low volumes. Recently I've had to turn my headphones up loud to hear them which leaves my ears ringing after the event.
That has nothing to do with your headphones. You are essentially setting yourself up for a shouting match between your mains and your monitor.

You need to position your DJ Booth (setup) such that the volume from the house is isolated or at a lower level - then you won't need to turn up your headphones. If you are far removed from the house and your booth has a monitor - then turn it down!

You also don't need full intelligibility to mix. If you've picked your tracks appropriately you only need to hear the beats and you can discern them at a very low headphone volume.

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That would defeat the definition of 'active noise canceling' then. I do believe there to be some electronic component .. unless Bose and everyone else is performing a big scam.

FWIW:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise-cancelling_headphones

Noise-cancelling headphones are headphones that reduce unwanted ambient sounds (i.e., acoustic noise) by means of active noise control (ANC). This involves using one or more microphones placed near the ear, and electronic circuitry which uses the microphone signal to generate an "antinoise" signal. When the antinoise signal is produced by the speaker driver in the headphone, destructive interference cancels out the ambient noise as heard within the enclosed volume of the headphone. They should not be confused with noise isolating headphones.

Noise cancellation makes it possible to enjoy music without raising the volume excessively. It can also help a passenger sleep in a noisy vehicle such as an airliner. Research examining the benefits of noise cancelling headphones in the aviation environment has found that compared to passive noise attenuating headphones or no headphones, noise cancelling headphones significantly increases the signal to noise ratio, making hearing important information such as safety announcements easier.[1] The benefits of noise cancelling headphones also extend to situations involving concurrent task (dual task) performance, particularly mind-games (such as Sudoku) as well as listening tasks.[2]

Noise-cancelling headphones typically use ANC to cancel the lower-frequency portions of the noise; they depend on more traditional methods such as soundproofing to prevent higher-frequency noise from reaching the ear. This approach is preferred because it reduces the demand for complicated electronic circuitry that would be required for noise cancellation at higher frequencies, where active cancellation is less effective.[3] To truly cancel high frequency components (coming at the ear from all directions), the sensor and emitter for the cancelling waveform would have to be adjacent to the user's eardrum, which is not currently technically feasible.
I'm not saying that the active technology does not exist or that audiophile headphone aren't being manufactured. I'm just pointing out that it is intended for listening to Mozart in your busy city living room - not for DJing.

If you want noise cancellation at a gig... buy a cheap pair of Radio Shack Headphones - the big ugly old-fashioned ones with huge ear cushions! :)
 
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ittigger

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I'm not saying that the active technology does not exist or that audiophile headphone aren't being manufactured. I'm just pointing out that it is intended for listening to Mozart in your busy city living room - not for DJing.
If you want noise cancellation at a gig... buy a cheap pair of Radio Shack Headphones - the big ugly old-fashioned ones with huge ear cushions! :)
Not saying that I disagree (as I wouldn't be buying active ones anyways) - but all the advertising you see talks to 'active' noise cancellation and not passive (padding). I am a fan of the around the ear phones. Not so much on the ear or in the ear.
 
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ahoustondj

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Stewart,
Maybe there may be other solutions to your problem. If you would, can you tell me about how you normally set up your speakers. Are they on each end of your DJ Table (If you are not in a Club). How wide apart do you position them? Are they usually behind, at the side or in front of you? If your hearing is bothering you that much after a Gig, it probably means it is a sign of impending damage to your hearing. May I suggest getting it checked by a Doctor!

Here is a simple online test. http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/jw/hearing.html
 

stewsdjrescue

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I usually have them on either side of my DJ table. I try to space them out when I can but sometimes they are only a foot from each edge. This can happen with or without subs. When using subs I usually have them in front of the table.

Thanks
 

ahoustondj

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I usually have them on either side of my DJ table. I try to space them out when I can but sometimes they are only a foot from each edge. This can happen with or without subs. When using subs I usually have them in front of the table.

Thanks
Sorry to say that therein may lie your answer to the problem. Another one of the reasons why I stress the folly of wearing speakers like headphones. Seriously though, I would check first with your Doctor. You may end up having to visit a Specialist. This is not a lighthearted manner as it involves your well being. What speakers are you using anyway?
 

SoftJock Rick

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Why not just get some ear plugs? Heck you can get a pack of 50 for like $10 on Amazon -- we always used them in the bands -- It's not bright to stand in front of a 200 watt Marshall stack without them.

I haven't used phones since the vinyl days -- I don't even know why DJs use them in the digital age. You set your cue points ahead of time, prior to the gig.
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

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Why not just get some ear plugs? Heck you can get a pack of 50 for like $10 on Amazon -- we always used them in the bands -- It's not bright to stand in front of a 200 watt Marshall stack without them.

I haven't used phones since the vinyl days -- I don't even know why DJs use them in the digital age. You set your cue points ahead of time, prior to the gig.
Because that's what a lot of us real DJ's use. Plain and simple. It doesn't surprise me that this confuses you. I'll bet a lot of things confuse you since you're still stuck in the stone age.

I use them to beat mix with and keep things in line so I'll know what to do when the beat goes a little off.
 

SoftJock Rick

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Because that's what a lot of us real DJ's use. Plain and simple. It doesn't surprise me that this confuses you. I'll bet a lot of things confuse you since you're still stuck in the stone age.

I use them to beat mix with and keep things in line so I'll know what to do when the beat goes a little off.

If I was stuck in the stone age -- I'd still be using headphones, instead of cue points.

You should try getting Sound Forge, Acid or Vegas. You have to turn the bar, so the owner makes money off of drink sales. You do your mixes at home in your studio. You take an hour or two, to build 25 minute sets in one MP3 file. You load it, press play since it's already mixed, then head to the bar for a cold one.

Unless you want to pretend you're a rock star.
 
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Proformance

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If I was stuck in the stone age -- I'd still be using headphones, instead of cue points.

You should try getting Sound Forge, Acid or Vegas. You have to turn the bar, so the owner makes money off of drink sales. You do your mixes at home in your studio. You take an hour or two, to build 25 minute sets in one MP3 file. You load it, press play since it's already mixed, then head to the bar for a cold one.

Unless you want to pretend you're a rock star.
That's not DJing - that's a studio session.

It makes you an editor not a DJ.