Stop noise bleeds before they start
May 27, 2008 11:14 AM   Subscribe

I like to listen to my music loud, but out of respect to others I'd like to keep the noise bleed to a minimum. (Think: riding in the subway.) Are their headphones that are built specifically to reduce the amount of noise pollution given off?

I almost bought a pair of Etymotic ER-4Ps, but waited in hopes of finding this magical pair of earbud headphones that do a good job of cancelling out outside noises, reproducing sound, minimizing noise bleed, and are comfortable to boot. Do they exist?
posted by nitsuj to Technology (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The 4Ps work fantastically well for all of your criteria. They're pricey, but when I lost my first pair I didn't hesitate to replace them right away.
posted by piro at 11:18 AM on May 27, 2008

Any earphones (in ear-phones) of that genre you linked are pretty good at reducing noise bleed, and they give the added affect of "increased volume", meaning you can keep your level on your mp3 player low but it will still sound loud in your ear, reducing battery usage.
posted by sandmanwv at 11:27 AM on May 27, 2008

I use ER-6is and they certainly fit those criteria at a much nicer price point than the 4Ps. They are not going to give the same sound quality as the 4Ps but they are far better than anything else I listened to in the price range.

I didn't try the 4Ps but my understanding is that the 6is are actually more comfortable.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 11:31 AM on May 27, 2008

What about over the ear headphones (cans)? Or do you prefer in the ear?
posted by electroboy at 11:42 AM on May 27, 2008

I use a Sony earbud that does a great job at minimizing sound leakage: the MDR-EX71SLA. The squishy cones that fit into your ear are very comfortable, to me at least; they're soft rubber. I can wear them for much longer than the harder, shaped ones or (god forbid) the ones that are just a showerhead-looking disk.
posted by dammitjim at 11:53 AM on May 27, 2008

If you like jazz and classical, the ER4P are great. If you like rock and lots of bass, not so much.

I like the westone dual driver earphones, but the shures are good too.

Any in ear canalphone will do what you want, and makes riding on the subway or buss a million times better
posted by markblasco at 11:56 AM on May 27, 2008

While I wouldn't recommend my shures (returned twice in 2 years for fatigue, the warranty is great though!) I'd definitely say the in ear buds do a great job at blocking out and keeping in noise, and they sound pretty good too, so go for those if you don't mind them (they can get tiring to wear after an hour or two though)
posted by Large Marge at 12:10 PM on May 27, 2008

Seconding those Sony in-ear buds dammitjim mentioned, they are relatively cheap and durable, and they cancel almost all outside noise out by virtue of the seal they create in your ear (by which I mean they are not actively 'noise-canceling' headphones, but do the trick). In fact, it took some getting used to when walking around with them because it would be easy to be blindsided by a bus and not hear it until it was on top of you. Also, very little sound bleed.

My only complaint is that since your ears are completely sealed, they are not ideal for jogging/movement because any rub against the wires transfers the sound directly to your ears. Great for sitting in subway/airplane/walking around though.
posted by rooftop secrets at 12:39 PM on May 27, 2008

As noted above, the ER-4Ps are everything you want. They come with a few different kinds of inserts, from flanged rubbery ones to earplug-like scrunch-then-expand foam doodads, so it's a good bet that at least one pair will feel comfortable to you.

The ER-4 series is known for its studio-quality flat, accurate frequency response, but you can mess with it intentionally with most music players.
posted by svolix at 1:07 PM on May 27, 2008

Previously (headphones, not earbuds).
posted by harmfulray at 4:49 PM on May 27, 2008

I've been reasonably pleased with the Shure SE210 earphones, which I got on eBay for a better-than-the-manufacturer's-listed price. I'm sure they aren't as good as some of the more expensive models, but so be it.

At work, I love listening to my Audio Technica ATH-ANC7 QuietPoint Active Noise-cancelling Headphones (phew, that's a mouthful, er, keyboard-full). They sound way better than the earphones; it just depends whether you're willing to carry that bulk around with you.
posted by poulet at 9:07 PM on May 27, 2008

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