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Best noise cancelling headphones for flying?

Best noise cancelling headphones for flying?

Old Oct 3, 2018, 6:14 pm
  #61  
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I've basically various BOSE QC products over the years and have been happy with them.
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Old Oct 3, 2018, 8:09 pm
  #62  
 
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As an audiophile, Ive long carried both Shure SE535s in my bag and Bose QC headphones (first the QC20s, and when they broke after 3 years, the QC25s.) Ive always found sound quality on the Bose QCs to be Toyota Camry grade... Not inoffensive in any manner to be sure, but not special in any way shape size or form. Nevertheless, the QC25s were my go to for air travel... The over-ear comfort and active NC were more important to me than getting superior sound qualityand since I mostly watch TV or movies on aircraft, sound quality wasnt of paramount importance. (The Shures are for when Im on the ground.)

Well, the QC25s just gave up the ghost after 3 years and now Im sporting a pair of Sony WH-1000XM3s. (I picked them up at DTW for list price... everyone is selling them for list price today, and they are quickly becoming very difficult to find. Amazon is on a 1-2 month back order. 95% of Best Buys are sold out... B&H is sold out... even Crutchfield is sold out... I got lucky!)

My gosh the WH1000XM3s are amazing. The NC is as goodif not betterthen the Bose (the NC even adjusts dynamically to atmospheric pressure) but most importantly, the sound quality is fantastic. It may not be Shure SE535 level, but it does come very close. Whats crazy is that they are the same price as the Bose QCs.

Its a rather unique and amazing scenario: If you were presented with the choice of a brand new Toyota Camry or a brand new BMW 5-Series for the exact same priceand you knew that they would cost the same to maintain and upkeep, what would you pick? Thats the scenario we have between the Bose QC 35s and the Sony WH1-1000XM3s. I would pay $100-$200 more for the Sonys. I certainly get more value and enjoyment out of them. But I dont have to... they cost the same as the Bose. If you are in the market for a $350 NC headphone, dont get the Bose until you have at least tried the Sony WH-1000XM3. Its a fantastic release!
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Old Oct 5, 2018, 4:02 pm
  #63  
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Originally Posted by theYipster
As an audiophile, Ive long carried both Shure SE535s in my bag and Bose QC headphones (first the QC20s, and when they broke after 3 years, the QC25s.) Ive always found sound quality on the Bose QCs to be Toyota Camry grade... Not inoffensive in any manner to be sure, but not special in any way shape size or form. Nevertheless, the QC25s were my go to for air travel... The over-ear comfort and active NC were more important to me than getting superior sound qualityand since I mostly watch TV or movies on aircraft, sound quality wasnt of paramount importance. (The Shures are for when Im on the ground.)

Well, the QC25s just gave up the ghost after 3 years and now Im sporting a pair of Sony WH-1000XM3s. (I picked them up at DTW for list price... everyone is selling them for list price today, and they are quickly becoming very difficult to find. Amazon is on a 1-2 month back order. 95% of Best Buys are sold out... B&H is sold out... even Crutchfield is sold out... I got lucky!)

My gosh the WH1000XM3s are amazing. The NC is as goodif not betterthen the Bose (the NC even adjusts dynamically to atmospheric pressure) but most importantly, the sound quality is fantastic. It may not be Shure SE535 level, but it does come very close. Whats crazy is that they are the same price as the Bose QCs.

Its a rather unique and amazing scenario: If you were presented with the choice of a brand new Toyota Camry or a brand new BMW 5-Series for the exact same priceand you knew that they would cost the same to maintain and upkeep, what would you pick? Thats the scenario we have between the Bose QC 35s and the Sony WH1-1000XM3s. I would pay $100-$200 more for the Sonys. I certainly get more value and enjoyment out of them. But I dont have to... they cost the same as the Bose. If you are in the market for a $350 NC headphone, dont get the Bose until you have at least tried the Sony WH-1000XM3. Its a fantastic release!
I really liked your Toyota Camry or a brand new BMW 5-Series comparison but I have been a Mercedes driver for the longest time which is why I selected the Bowers & Wilkins PX headphones in the gold/blue combination. In this $300-$400 price range the materials used on the PX are definitely superior to the other brands, the sound & NC are excellent and IMO their design is outstanding. In addition it has a USB-C charging cable and the ear pads are replaceable. Best Buy recently had them on sale for $359 and I am sure that you will see some deals with Black Friday right around the corner.
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Old Oct 10, 2018, 7:18 pm
  #64  
 
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Originally Posted by theYipster
My gosh the WH1000XM3s are amazing. The NC is as goodif not betterthen the Bose (the NC even adjusts dynamically to atmospheric pressure) but most importantly, the sound quality is fantastic. It may not be Shure SE535 level, but it does come very close. Whats crazy is that they are the same price as the Bose QCs.
Nice, I've been looking for a good unbiased review. I love my QC35 but wish they had the touch capability the Sony's do. Still looking for a technical review to show how good the NC compares to the QC's (Wirecutter has a setup for this and its always showed the Bose far ahead).

Was hoping to find a deal on the Sony's, but you're probably right, if they can't keep them in stock I'll just be lucky to get a pair.

I just put on new earpiece foam on my Bose, seems a shame to get rid of them (sell?) but might as well do it while they're still worth a lot.

Any idea when new Bose are coming out? The QC35-II upgrade didn't add much but surely the QC-"45" will be? Dare I wait?
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Old Oct 10, 2018, 7:21 pm
  #65  
 
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One question: The reviews I've read said it can only pair to one device, while the QC35 can pair to two. This seems impossible to believe as two-device pairing is not that difficult, and very common. Can you comment on this? How is switching from your phone to your laptop? I also use mine with my AppleTV, and seems like I had all three "paired" and could switch easy enough but don't recall exactly how I did it.
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Old Oct 11, 2018, 7:47 am
  #66  
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Originally Posted by ryandelmundo
Nice, I've been looking for a good unbiased review. I love my QC35 but wish they had the touch capability the Sony's do. Still looking for a technical review to show how good the NC compares to the QC's (Wirecutter has a setup for this and its always showed the Bose far ahead).

Was hoping to find a deal on the Sony's, but you're probably right, if they can't keep them in stock I'll just be lucky to get a pair.

I just put on new earpiece foam on my Bose, seems a shame to get rid of them (sell?) but might as well do it while they're still worth a lot.

Any idea when new Bose are coming out? The QC35-II upgrade didn't add much but surely the QC-"45" will be? Dare I wait?
The build quality of the Sony headphone line has always been suspect. All one has to do is a Google search and you will see many complaints. IMO at some point in time one really needs to take that into consideration when making their selection which is why after returning the Bose QC35ll I went with the Bowers & Wilkins PX. The sound quality of the PX is amazing, their NC while not as good as Bose is fine and when you look at the materials they use their build quality is definitely the best in class. Also one last factor which some of us take into our decision making process is that their design (especially the gold/blue version) is absolutely beautiful!!!.
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Old Oct 11, 2018, 11:21 pm
  #67  
 
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I received my Bose QC35 and they feel great, and sound great. I paired them to both my iPhoneX and my iPad. No trip until November but enjoying them at home.

I think maybe the B&WPX were just heavier, they probably would have been great except for hurting my head.
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Old Oct 12, 2018, 1:41 pm
  #68  
 
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WH1000XM3

Not comfortable when resting on neck. Not sure if any other big headphones do it better. Also when my chin brushes the touch-sensitive pad it re-starts playing media, which is annoying. (And why physical controls are better).

The touch-to-allow-ambient mode is also a bit of a gimmick. It responds fast, and decently good at piping in voice. But still feels gimmicky in use.

The multi-mode noise cancelling is the same sort of feature overkill. When music is playing, honestly it doesn't matter too much how much background noise filters through...unless one listens to music at a very low volume, the end effect is the same -- my brain just tunes in on the music.

And as far as using the best in class noise cancellation just to tune out exterior noise w/o music playing....I don't really do that because it creates a slightly disturbing sound pressure.

So there's not a great use-case for it at the moment.
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Old Oct 13, 2018, 3:21 am
  #69  
 
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In an effort to further lighten my bag, I recently gave up my Sony MDR100ABN headphones. Looking for a true wireless pair now - the Sony WF-1000X was available for just 74 yesterday but the connectivity issues kept me from buying.
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Old Oct 14, 2018, 6:38 am
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Are there supply issues with the Sony 1000xm3's at present?
Seems to be zero availability for maybe 1-2 months in the UK.

Is it just supply or is there some other issue?

Got a load of flying in just over a week and might just have to buy the Bose QC35ii instead.

Might be around in the US but seems pointless flying there to get a pair and not have them for the bulk of the time they are required.
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Old Oct 14, 2018, 8:17 am
  #71  
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Originally Posted by deniah
The multi-mode noise cancelling is the same sort of feature overkill. When music is playing, honestly it doesn't matter too much how much background noise filters through...unless one listens to music at a very low volume, the end effect is the same -- my brain just tunes in on the music.
You just said that NC is useless for you. NC is important EXACTLY because you can listen to your music at a much lower volume, without having to drown out the background noise. I have measured 80+ db on board an A333, so if the ANC cancels just 20 db (admittedly a low value, just for argument's sake) that would cut the ambient noise by 75% - you can enjoy your music without blowing your eardrums.

A good noise isolating earphone (etymotic, klipsch12) isolates even 35db, practically putting you in a silent roam onboard a jet.
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Old Oct 14, 2018, 2:43 pm
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Originally Posted by WilcoRoger
You just said that NC is useless for you. NC is important EXACTLY because you can listen to your music at a much lower volume, without having to drown out the background noise. I have measured 80+ db on board an A333, so if the ANC cancels just 20 db (admittedly a low value, just for argument's sake) that would cut the ambient noise by 75% - you can enjoy your music without blowing your eardrums.

A good noise isolating earphone (etymotic, klipsch12) isolates even 35db, practically putting you in a silent roam onboard a jet.
circum-aural closed-back headphones would work well enough to not need NC.... i.e. most wouldnt need to crank up the volume to overcome the noise.

the Etymotic ER4 series (which i previously championed...although HF3/5 work just as well) measure upwards of 40dB+ of isolation.

what im concluding from personal experience, is that what i would love is a wireless pair of ER4/HF3. same drivers, same housing, just a length of cord to go across the neck and to house the battery + BT module.
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Old Oct 14, 2018, 3:58 pm
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I am on my second set of Bose. The main reason is that my old QCs were in bad shape from a lot of travel. I took them to Bose and they gave me a trade in allowance to get the QC25. I will have had these for 4 years soon. All I have done is replace the earpads once (get compatible cheap ones from Amazon).

I wanted wireless and got a cheap pair of Cowin E7s. Noise cancellation and sound quality is the same as the Bose. But for $50.

However as someone above said, these are Camrys.

But now my eyes are on the WH1000XM3. This will be a gift to my self once I get a new phone, new watch and become more available. But who knows. Maybe the XM4 will be out by then.
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Old Oct 14, 2018, 4:52 pm
  #74  
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Originally Posted by Cozmo456
I am on my second set of Bose. The main reason is that my old QCs were in bad shape from a lot of travel. I took them to Bose and they gave me a trade in allowance to get the QC25. I will have had these for 4 years soon. All I have done is replace the earpads once (get compatible cheap ones from Amazon).

I wanted wireless and got a cheap pair of Cowin E7s. Noise cancellation and sound quality is the same as the Bose. But for $50.

However as someone above said, these are Camrys.

But now my eyes are on the WH1000XM3. This will be a gift to my self once I get a new phone, new watch and become more available. But who knows. Maybe the XM4 will be out by then.
Ok, I really need to check these Cowin E7s out!
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Old Oct 15, 2018, 7:19 am
  #75  
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Originally Posted by deniah
circum-aural closed-back headphones would work well enough to not need NC.... i.e. most wouldnt need to crank up the volume to overcome the noise.

the Etymotic ER4 series (which i previously championed...although HF3/5 work just as well) measure upwards of 40dB+ of isolation.

what im concluding from personal experience, is that what i would love is a wireless pair of ER4/HF3. same drivers, same housing, just a length of cord to go across the neck and to house the battery + BT module.
Ety's are one of my favourites. I think the manufacturer doesn't go up to 40db in their spec sheets, IIRC it's 35db. Either figure means that you're in Nirvana, be it crying babies or engine noise.

Don't care about the BT - the same cord that would go around the neck could instead just be plugged into the player. Nothing to be charged, everything just works.
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