Give me quiet! Bluetooth Noise isolating headphones/headset needed
October 16, 2014 11:11 AM   Subscribe

Do you own headphones with these qualities? Tell me the specs! Please help me find wireless noise isolating headphones in the $50-$150 range. I will only pay near the upper end if there's a sufficient warranty and they isolate EXTREMELY well! I want these for using at home to study and relax. Extremely snowflakey details inside:

These are the essential qualities my dream headphones ideally possess:
1. Wireless/bluetooth capacity(pets chew on wires, I've covered them in plastic tubing, but it makes them heavy)
2. Noise isolating(isolates outside sounds especially VOICES, not noise canceling)
3. Fit with glasses
4. Not bass heavy(balanced)
5. The highest sound quality available for the price range

I want to block out annoying sounds which include tvs, talking, boom cars, throat clearing(especially this one), my roommate's tv. Muffling sounds reduces stress with the added benefit of enjoying my own music or film. I always watch movies with my ear buds. I would wear them at work if they worked without music for blocking out coughing and the many "ahem ahem" sounds. Whether it's misophonia or ADD or both--I sometimes need to cut down on excess irritating noises.

I've already searched for this perpetual unicorn in audio existence and have come up dry. I will be very grateful to the individuals(s) who can let me in on anything remotely resembling this description.
posted by bibliophilia to Technology (9 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
You don't say what style of headphones you want, but for noise isolation (vs cancellation) you're probably stuck with something in-ear. I don't know of any good wireless options, but if you can compromise on that, I like my Etymotic HR5s (~$130). They did a pretty good job for me when my officemate liked to yell at his parents over Skype.

For the work part, if you're not intending to listen to music through them, is there a reason you're not just considering earplugs?
posted by dorque at 11:39 AM on October 16, 2014

Best answer: I've been reasonably happy with the JAM Transit Bluetooth headphones for maintaining concentration while working in a cubicle. They're at the lower end of your price range, so might be worth trying. (And since they're from Bed Bath and Beyond, if you don't like them you'll be able to return them with no trouble.)
posted by Lexica at 11:42 AM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, if you're ok being the office weirdo, you can rock the eSports look and wear industrial hearing protection earmuffs with earbuds underneath. Grainger has them for pretty cheap and I'm pretty sure their shipping actually uses a teleporter or possibly a time machine.
posted by dorque at 11:50 AM on October 16, 2014

Do you need them to be portable and potentially usable outside the home or between rooms or would home theatre wireless headphones (which have a base station they charge and connect with) be ok?
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 12:35 PM on October 16, 2014

Best answer: Jaybird Bluebuds X with Comply Isolation Plus tips. I find I don't even have to use the strange ear support doo dads when I use the comply tips. They have about eight hours of play time per charge.

They fit with glasses. You will need still be careful where you leave them in terms of pets chewing. The charger is a standard micro usb charger and is easily replaceable. My cat that chews hasn't touched either yet.
posted by poxandplague at 1:16 PM on October 16, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I've had a pair of Sennheiser 130's for 5+ years; and they still do well; I believe the RS 160 is the current model.
posted by buzzman at 2:22 PM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Seconding the Comply tips. They make even my cheapo earphones from Monoprice usable and audible on public transit with the sound at the same volume level (one or two notches above mute) I use in a quiet room at home. Maybe one or two notches more if the sound's particularly quiet or the outside noise is particularly loud. I don't go further than that because it hurts (I've got stupid sensitive ears) and I can always wait to listen rather than court tinnitus and hearing loss.

They're pretty comfortable, but don't block outside noise quite as well as actual earplugs, so I'd recommend earplugs for when you don't want to listen to anything. I like the pink and yellow swirl kind and buy 'em in bulk at building supply stores.

Both the Comply tips and regular foam earplugs should be inserted using the "roll, pull, hold" method, which makes earplugs more comfortable, more effective, and less likely to fall out.

If you haven't already looked at the headphone reviews on the Wirecutter, they're useful and worth reading but don't really cover noise isolation issues very well. I'd love someone to put together a list of the best earbuds to use with Comply tips, though I've been eyeing the HD5 Safety Earphones from Etymotic, which aren't super-expensive by headphones standards and might be an improvement on the Comply tips. (Or might not. Haven't found anyone else testing it.)

I'd also be very interested in which Bluetooth ones work well with the replacement tips, since noise from brushing the wires can be a problem, and going wireless should eliminate that.

For completeness (even though it's not Bluetooth, sorry): I tried on a couple pairs of Extreme Isolation headphones from Direct Sound and didn't feel I got as good isolation with those as I do with my earbuds + Comply tips. Mileage almost certainly varies with head shape on those.
posted by asperity at 3:04 PM on October 16, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you so much! I knew that I could count of the audiophiles of Askmefi-- I'm probably going to try the Sennheiser AND the Jaybird Bluebuds X with the comply tips--probably by getting one or both refurbished/used. The idea of getting both that one is for relaxing and working and the other is for cleaning and working out.

dorque: I am admittedly interested in both styles for different purposes. It's funny that you mention the ear muffs, because I own them! They are mandatory when the leaf blower guy is on patrol. Well, ear plugs block out my boss' voice, that's why I don't use them at work. I need to hear her when she's nearby.

Another Fine Product: Ideally, yes, but it's not necessary. I like being able to clean or work out while I listen to music/tv.

asperity I use the swirl earplugs to sleep in--they're very effective.
I have looked at the direct sound models as well, but I can't pay $160 for something that could get chewed in an instant.

I could use a few more budget level suggestions. I am a student, but I do appreciate the high end recommendations, because I will graduate next year.
posted by bibliophilia at 7:37 AM on October 17, 2014

It sounds like the other choices mentioned are probably the best idea for you then - I would not get home theatre headphones unless I really knew I wanted them - they are a niche product for using in a specific environment. Good luck!
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 2:42 PM on October 17, 2014

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