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If you want to have some peace at home or in the office, but it is still too loud despite all the sound insulation measures, noise canceling headphones may help.
Headphones like these show their strengths particularly when they are on the move. Whether traveling or just on the way to work – noise canceling headphones can protect you from the annoying ambient noise and at the same time give you carefree music enjoyment.
What are noise canceling headphones?
Noise canceling headphones are noise-reducing headphones that serve as hearing protection and at the same time eliminate background noise and reproduce useful sound.
Such headphones are mostly used where sound signals are to be transmitted to the ear in noisy environments.
The term interfering sound stands for all unwanted noises that interfere with an intended sound recording, while useful sound is the exact opposite of interference sound. Useful sound can be music, for example, but also voices from a conversation.
For example, if you are in a vehicle with loud ambient noises, you can still listen to music in a relaxed manner with noise canceling headphones, because the loud ambient noise is reduced while the music is transmitted to the ear at the same time.
However, noise-reducing headphones can also simply be used to reduce noise without playing music at the same time.
With such headphones you have an effective means to hand to effectively reduce disturbing noise in noisy surroundings.
How do noise canceling headphones work?
For one or the other, such noise-reducing headphones sound almost like a small miracle. However, there is sophisticated technology behind this.
But how do noise canceling headphones actually work?
Roughly speaking, there are microphones in these headphones that pick up sound from outside. With built-in amplifiers, an attempt is now made to eliminate this disruptive sound with a counter-sound (anti-sound).
In addition, passive insulation (noise insulation) is used by insulating materials on the housing of the headphones.
Now a disadvantage of these devices is already clear. Because of the built-in electronics, noise canceling headphones require their own power source, which usually comes as a rechargeable battery.
If the battery is empty, the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) can no longer function.
Recommended noise canceling headphones
If you look at some noise canceling headphone tests and the customer reviews and ratings on Amazon, then some favorites quickly emerge, which you can take a closer look at.
These include the following models:
The Sony WH-1000XM3 has very good noise canceling, a warm sound, rich sound, powerful bass and is comfortable to wear. That sounds promising.
➔ You can find the Sony WH-1000XM3 here on Amazon. *
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i is said to have a high-quality workmanship and awards plus points for sound and functions. In addition, an effective ANC should work in these headphones. The exterior is described as luxurious.
➔ You can find the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i here on Amazon. *
Bose QuietComfort 35 II
The Bose QuietComfort 35 should score with a beautiful sound and effective noise canceling. Treble and bass should be crisp and balanced. The wearing comfort is also highlighted positively.
➔ You can find the Bose QuietComfort 35 II here on Amazon. *
The Sony MDR-1000X is supposed to shine with effective noise reduction and a particularly realistic and balanced sound. The wearing comfort is also positively emphasized.
➔ You can find the Sony MDR-1000X here on Amazon. *
Bowers & Wilkins PX
The Bowers & Wilkins PX should score with a clear sound and first-class workmanship. The well-functioning noise canceling is also praised.
➔ You can find the Bowers & Wilkins PX here on Amazon. *
Beats by Dre Studio 3 Wireless
Those who love powerful bass are well served with this model. Battery life, comfort and stability in terms of Bluetooth are also positively highlighted.
➔ You can find the Beats by Dre Studio 3 Wireless here on Amazon. *
But of course there are many other great noise canceling headphones on the market. It is definitely worth checking out the wide range on offer.
In particular, the customer reviews on Amazon can give a good indication of the quality of these headphones, as customers describe their experiences with the respective model here. Good as well as bad.
How Well Do Noise Canceling Headphones Work?
If the anti-noise of noise canceling headphones can eliminate the unwanted sound, then there should actually be heavenly peace, right?
Unfortunately, that’s not entirely the case. Such headphones can usually not ensure absolute peace.
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is particularly well suited for low frequencies, while high frequencies are more likely to be absorbed by the passive damping, i.e. by the insulating materials in the headphone housing.
In this combination, however, a lot can be achieved.
Those who use such headphones for the first time are often amazed at their positive effect. Because when you turn on Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), it usually becomes much quieter.
However, it is the case that the noise canceling of the individual models can sometimes differ significantly.
The same applies to the insulation of the headphones.
For this reason, it makes sense to inform yourself a little about the qualities of the individual models before buying and continue to keep an eye on the customer reviews.
There you can often find valuable information about the quality and performance of individual headphones.
In which situations can noise canceling headphones help?
Of course, nobody wants to wear headphones at home all the time. That is also not the point.
But there are special situations in which, despite all the sound insulation measures, it is still too loud in your own four walls.
For example, when renovation work is taking place in the house or the dear neighbors are celebrating a dissolute party.
Of course, there are also occasions when you really need a lot of rest. For example, if you want to work or learn in a highly concentrated manner.
In the last two situations in particular, you often want to isolate yourself from the outside world as much as possible and enjoy maximum peace and quiet in order to concentrate as best as possible.
Noise canceling headphones for on the go
Noise canceling headphones are particularly popular on the go and when traveling. In the train, subway, suburban train, bus and plane, we are constantly exposed to loud and annoying background noise that we would like to block out as best we can.
This is possible with noise canceling headphones.
Noise canceling headphones in the office
It can be very noisy at work. Anyone who does not have a single office knows the problem. Colleagues who speak and telephone loudly can sometimes be quite annoying.
Noise-canceling headphones can help you get through the working day calmly and relaxed despite such situations.
Noise canceling headphones in the library
Some people go to the library to study or to read. There you want to find peace and concentrate. The same applies to specially designated learning areas.
But unfortunately there are also situations there in which it is simply too loud. Even quiet noises can be very annoying, especially in quiet surroundings.
Here, too, noise-reducing headphones can help immensely.
Noise canceling headphones test
Due to the high popularity of this type of headphone, there are already some published noise canceling headphone tests.
The Stiftung Warentest has already tested noise-reducing headphones.
However, hearing is a very subjective matter, which is why you should not always blindly rely on a noise canceling headphone test.
While one likes it very bass-heavy, the next may prefer the higher notes.
In addition to your own listening habits, it is also important to consider the intended use.
What should you look out for when buying noise canceling headphones?
If you want to buy a new noise canceling headphone, you should do a little research on the features of the device before buying it.
Overall, you should pay attention to the following properties:
No question about it, the sound of headphones is one of the most important criteria. There are clear differences between the individual models.
And of course at this point it also depends on what kind of music you want to listen to with the headphones, or whether you just want to use them to watch TV.
Are the headphones more bass-heavy? Are the highs clearly transmitted? How does the midrange sound?
When you buy noise canceling headphones, the ANC (Active Noise Canceling) is of course very important.
How well does the noise cancellation work? How effectively are annoying outside noises attenuated? Is there an unpleasant noise? These and other questions should be considered.
It is also worth noting whether, and if so to what extent, the background noise caused by the technology used appears. But also in this point the perception is very subjective. Not everyone finds this background noise disturbing.
Noise canceling headphones are available in three different designs. Namely in the on-ear, over-ear and in-ear designs.
These constructions differ as follows. On-ear headphones rest on the ear, over-ear headphones surround the ear and in-ear headphones are plugged into the ear.
Most customers opt for the over-ear version of noise canceling headphones, as this design usually promises the best insulation.
With over-ear headphones, the entire auricle is enclosed.
Wireless or wired
Noise canceling headphones are available in the classic wired or bluetooth version.
With wired headphones you should always pay attention to the length of the cable and the connection provided. If you want to connect the headphones to the smartphone or other devices, the type of connection is important.
When it comes to wireless headphones, manufacturers usually rely on Bluetooth technology. This allows the headphones to be conveniently connected to a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone.
Before you start to compare individual models with each other, the question should be clarified whether you would rather use wireless or wired headphones. Some models also offer both options.
If the headphones are wireless, the transmission is usually done via Bluetooth. Then, of course, a Bluetooth-capable transmitter must also be available.
In this case, you should also find out about the Bluetooth stability of the model before buying. If there is no corresponding stability, then the connection can be interrupted even at a short distance.
If there are repeated failures and stuttering music while enjoying music, then this is more than annoying.
Ideally, the connection should not break even if the wearer moves into another room within the apartment and there is no longer any visual contact.
The individual models also differ in terms of functionality. So here you should take a closer look at what the respective manufacturer has to offer.
One of these functions can be, for example, a built-in proximity sensor that automatically pauses the music when the headphones are removed.
The headphones are usually controlled either using mechanical buttons or touch controls. For convenient operation, it is important where the controls on the headphones are located and whether they can be easily reached and switched.
The wearing comfort is of course a very individual matter. Ideally, the headphones should sit comfortably and sufficiently firmly on the head and have soft ear cushions.
Wearing the headphones should be felt as comfortable and not annoying.
This property is becoming more and more important, especially when worn for longer periods. Weight also plays a role.
Many users use their headphones almost every day. Accordingly, the headphones are often put on and taken off during the day and the controls are used.
If you want to have fun with your headphones for a long time, you should pay attention to good workmanship.
Opinions are divided on the material. Whether leather, synthetic leather or polyester – every material has its friends. It is still worth taking a look at the material of the upholstery.
Since the ANC needs its own power supply, battery life is an important property. A long battery life is particularly noticeable on the go and on long journeys.
With wired headphones, when it comes to accessories, care should be taken to ensure that all the necessary cables (audio cables, charging cables, etc.) are included in the scope of delivery.
Batteries, transport bag and possibly an adapter should also be included in the scope of delivery.
If you want to listen to music with noise canceling headphones, you of course have to connect the headphones to a device that sends the music. This can be done either by cable or via Bluetooth.
As a rule, such headphones are used together with a smartphone, especially on the go. At home, however, the situation may be different, and you may want to connect the headphones to the stereo or television there.
Depending on how and with which device you want to use the headphones, you should inquire in advance whether the desired use is possible.
Wireless headphones are usually popular, especially when used with a television or stereo system.
Last but not least, the price naturally also plays a major role. This can in fact vary greatly with such headphones.
Of course, it makes a difference whether you spend 100, 200, 300 or even 400 euros on such headphones.
What do noise canceling headphones cost?
Due to the relatively complex technology, noise canceling headphones have their price. Premium models can already cost a few hundred euros.
Of course, it doesn’t always have to be the most expensive model. However, if you want to use your headphones often and regularly, you should of course pay attention to the appropriate quality.
Noise Canceling Headphone Manufacturers, Brands and Suppliers
There are now noise canceling headphones from all sorts of different manufacturers and brands.
Well-known brands include AKG, Audio Technica, Bang & Olufsen, Bower and Wilkins, Beats By Dr. Dre, Blaupunkt, Bose, Creative, Denon, Libratone, JVC, JBL Audio, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Plantronics, Sennheiser, Sony, Teufel, Taotronics, Vivanco and others.
Conclusion on noise canceling headphones
Whether at home, in the office, on the plane, on the train or wherever – with noise canceling headphones, annoying and stressful noises can be significantly reduced.
This not only helps concentration, but can also be beneficial for relaxation.
Those who love the quiet and would like to leave ambient noise aside as possible should take a closer look at such headphones. It might be worth it.
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