Headphones to cut me off from the world.
July 9, 2012 10:54 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking to spend about $100 on headphones that deliver excellent music, and with superb passive noise isolation. I will mainly be using this at home, for music and movies. But I'd also like to take them on long-haul flights, to block out engine roar. Difficulty: must be comfortable, no in-ears, and no active noise-cancellation. Argh! Do these headphones even exist?
posted by Xere to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Sony MDR-V6. They're a bit big to take on a plane, but I've seen people do it. I use them to shut out noise at work. They're comfortable.
posted by dws at 11:05 PM on July 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Earlier. There's even more if you search. I'm very happy with my Sennheiser HD 280 Pros.
posted by chairface at 11:09 PM on July 9, 2012

Seconding HD280 Pros.
posted by bensherman at 11:10 PM on July 9, 2012

I've had good success with Audio Technica ATH-M50's. They still get good reviews everywhere and can be had for ~$125 online.
posted by o0o0o at 11:10 PM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Beaten (twice!) to a recommendation for the Sennheisers.
posted by junco at 11:14 PM on July 9, 2012

dws said exactly what i was going to say. i spent hours researching, reading reviews and the snobbier gear sites, and it came down to the hd 280 pros or the sony mdr-v6. we went with the v6 and they've been absolutely suburb. as for noise isolation, if my husband is wearing them, i have to tap him on the shoulder because he can't hear me speaking directly to him.

surprisingly, the panisonic rp-htx7 headphones are way better than they have any right to be at that price. i like them, but i will admit that the mdr-v6s blow them out of the water.
posted by nadawi at 11:19 PM on July 9, 2012

Seconding the Audio Technica ATH-M50 'phones over the Sennheiser HD 280.

I was going to buy the Sennheiser's myself, but I changed my mind after reading The Wirecutter's review and all linked articles.
posted by fakelvis at 11:23 PM on July 9, 2012

Right now I have an HD 280 Pro sitting on my desk and an MDR-V600 (descendant of the MDR-V6) sitting on my head. The Sony's more comfortable, but I haven't decided which sounds better.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:47 PM on July 9, 2012

Like others have suggested, I'd go with the ATH-M50's . . . even if they're a little more than $100.

If you get them, get the sexy new limited edition white ones.
posted by GlassHeart at 12:13 AM on July 10, 2012

I was going to recommend those Sennheisers. I have a pair, I always just fold up and throw them into my backpack. They're very durable.
posted by victory_laser at 12:22 AM on July 10, 2012

If you want a ridiculous selection to pick among with incredibly detailed audiophile reviews (and plenty under $100), get yourself to Headroom. My appreciation for the nuances among different kinds of headphones has increased exponentially since being introduced to this site. So has my headphone collection.
posted by sweltering at 12:29 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Sennheisers did it for me. I only began to notice how ubiquitous they are in tech circles after losing my pair. That said, you will be pleased with any of the options mentioned above. Circumaural headphones are the commute, cafe, and colleague cure.
posted by nominal at 1:16 AM on July 10, 2012

as my wife has stated already, i love my mdr-v6. comfortable, good range, enveloping. and i'm a sucker for the curly cord.
posted by radiosilents at 2:10 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'll go ahead and second/third/eighth the HD 280 pros, you can find them pretty cheap too.

Not sure why you wouldn't go the active route for plane use, I have a pair of Sony in-ears that are both the only comfortable in-ears I've ever had, and have completed changed my experience of plane travel, they're like magic.
posted by The Monkey at 2:19 AM on July 10, 2012

My dad gave me a pair of the Sony mdr-v6's about 25 years ago. I replaced the cushions recently, and still use them every day. I use in-ears for flights, though, so couldn't really say how well the Sony's would do with the noise.
posted by bfields at 3:18 AM on July 10, 2012

There are a lot of previous questions with similar requirements--the MDR-V6 (or 7506) and HD-280 Pro are the usual recommendations in this category. Conventional wisdom is that the Sonys are a little comfier and the Sennheisers isolate a little better.

Check out the Beyerdynamic replacement pads (for the Sonys) and/or Headphone Softies (for either) if you want a little more cushiness.

Lots more information is available at Headroom and the head-fi forums.
posted by box at 5:42 AM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Active noise cancelation is compulsory for any kind of good experience in the air. You can always turn it off when on the ground.
posted by w0mbat at 12:30 PM on July 10, 2012

I gave up on active noise cancellation in the air. It works unless you turn your head (say, to look out the window). Then you get a big 'Woooo Woooo' that's bad enough to make me airsick. YMMV, but it's not for everyone.
posted by dws at 4:23 PM on July 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have Sennheiser 202s which are probably the cheapest Sennheisers you can get and they're so comfortable I wear them all day. I use them to block out that loud co-worker who never stops talking, and I'm pretty sure that sound doesn't leak out either. I haven't tried them on a flight, so I can't say for sure, but if I turn the volume up on my iPod to about 60% I can't hear any office noises at all.
posted by bendy at 11:35 PM on July 10, 2012

It's a little more than you want to spend, but the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 is another very popular choice.
posted by box at 9:11 PM on July 16, 2012

« Older Now that my trip is over, what *would* it have...   |   The first book in this language Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.