When using headphones, turning up the volume to block external noise is never good for your hearing. A great alternative is a noise cancelling headphones which work to isolate and suppress these unwanted sounds while preserving the original audio signal. This means that you can listen to music, movies, audiobooks and podcasts at much lower volumes than you would otherwise have, anywhere.
But before choosing a pair, it is important to understand some important factors. There is a multitude of noise cancelling headphones on the market, which can make the choice difficult. To help you make a good choice, we have in addition to this complete buying guide established a comparison of the best noise cancelling headphones.
The best noise cancelling headphones in comparison
Here we must be very careful since we are talking about two very different things. The over-ears that really make you not hear anything from the outside are those that have noise cancellation, the others simply isolate you a little better from the surrounding noise. In practice, neither system is perfect. Noise cancellation is effective against low-frequency noise but is not as effective against the sound of a voice. Noise isolation dampens noise so that it is less noticeable but does not disappear completely.
- Noise-cancelling headphones have a built-in microphone that picks up sounds from the outside. The headphones then produce an inverted sound wave that cancels out all the ambient sound. This process requires additional power, so most noise-cancelling headphones have an on-off switch to activate the function.
- The headphones with noise isolation work in a very different way, ‘isolating’ the external noise. In-ear helmets virtually seal the ear canal outside and do not require any other function to function.
1. Bose QuietComfort 35 noise-cancelling headphones
- Dual microphone with noise cancelling for sharper calls
- Control through the Bose Connect application
- A balanced sound at any volume
- Bluetooth and NFC pairing
- Cancellation of first-class noise
- Battery with a duration of up to20 hours
- They have cable
We’ve already talked about these new Bose headphones before. They are really good. They have excellent manufacturing quality, exceptional sound, noise cancellation, lightness and comfort so they are perfect to carry on the street or on public transport for active noise cancellation or to use with home sound equipment thanks to the tremendous fidelity of the sound they offer. They have the same sound cancellation as QuietComfort 25, but they add Bluetooth connectivity.
2. Plantronics BackBeat PRO noise-cancelling headphones
- Up to 24 hours of continuous wireless transmission
- DeepSleep mode that causes the headphones to enter hibernation mode when they move away from the device to extend battery life up to 6 months
- 3.5 mm jack device interface
- Frequency: 20 – 20000 Hz
With an impressive battery life of up to 24 hours with activated noise cancellation and 60 hours if you deactivate it. Awesome. Its sound quality is tremendous and its controls are very useful. They may be a little more uncomfortable than the Bose models, but it’s all a matter of getting used to. Also, they are cheaper.
There is a new version, the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2, a model somewhat renewed in design and perfect for travellers. It fixes many of the failures of the first version, keeping all its strengths. They have incredible battery life, the comfort is spectacular, they can pair with two devices at once and offer a good sound quality for less than £200. They are price driven.
3. Noise cancelling headphones Bose QuietComfort 25
- Noise reduction
- First sound with realistic clarity
- Comfortable and lightweight closed external fit to wear all day long
- Microphone / online remote control for easy control of your music and calls
Noise-cancelling headphones that have been with us for a few years and that are still the best you can buy, especially since they are now much cheaper than before. They are very light, they have active noise cancellation that works like a charm for approximately 35 hours and the design is a success. They can be used without the battery, a big point in their favour. Both low, medium and high are heard with incredible clarity.
4. Sony MDR1000X noise cancelling headphones
- Ambient Sound Mode and Ambient Voice Mode to listen to your surroundings without having to remove your headphones
- Digital wireless noise reduction with customized optimization
- The frequency response of 4Hz – 40kHz
- Controls using the touch sensor on the headset itself
- 20-hour battery life
The clear competitors of the Bose QuietComfort. They have LDAC, AAC and aptX so they sound better than Bose models, but their noise reduction is somewhat less effective. If you have a Sony Xperia smartphone they are the perfect headphones for you. The battery life is spectacular. Its price is very good at this time because they already have an older brother.
5. Sony WH-1000XM2 Wireless Bluetooth Over-Ears
- Wireless noise cancellation technology
- Up to 30 hours of battery life
- Response frequency: 4Hz – 40kHz
- One of the Extras Immediately reduces the volume to listen to a conversation
- Easy touch to control music and volume
- Smart-settings based on user behaviour to improve auto-audio settings
Another of the great wireless headphones. They sound really good and their noise cancellation technology is from another planet, as well as its price, which is somewhat high (buy them blank, which are cheaper). They are better than the Bose.
Sony WH-1000XM2 provides surprising noise cancellation. Other cool futures such as an ambient noise mode that only allows medium to high-frequency tones. Quick Attention mode that allows you to hear all external noise without removing the headphones. They also have the LDAC codec for high-resolution audio playback and aptX HD compatibility. You won’t be disappointed buying this pair of headphones.
6. Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC in Black
- Active noise cancellation
- Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connection with aptX
- NFC for fast pairing
- Integrated microphone for mobile use
- The frequency response of 18 – 22,000Hz
- Up to 20 hours of battery life
Another spectacular model with scary features: 20 hours of battery life, active cancellation of noise that rivals the Bose models and a much more accomplished sound, this model is one of the best of the year. It weighs very little and its price is lower than 170 pounds. Perfect It’s just a tricky thing to activate the NoiseGuard and the ventilation of the ear cups is scarce.
7. Bowers & Wilkins PX PERFORMANCE
- over-ear headphones of supraural type
- Noise cancellation modes selectable by applying with iOS and Android
- Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX-HD
- It has sensors to stop the sound by lifting one or both headphones from the ears.
- Response frequency: 10Hz – 20kHz
- Rechargeable battery up to 22 hours long
A few noise-cancelling headphones that are not cheap, but have a really good design and a few tricks that will surprise you: They will turn on and off automatically depending on whether you wear them or not and have USB-C connection, something that is not usually found in the current headphones. It does not have the same sound quality as the Bose or Sony headphones, but its noise cancellation is very good.
8. Sennheiser PXC550 NoiseGard
- Frequency response: 17 – 23,000 Hz
- Compact and foldable
- NoiseGard adaptive noise cancellation
- Up to 30 hours of battery life
- With high-quality microphone
- Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, Cable with remote control
- 227 grams of weight
These headphones have a spectacular sound, something that has us well used Sennheiser. In addition, they have aptX to improve wireless sound and perfect controls to have everything to our taste (the tactile response is not perfect). They are somewhat expensive, so possibly some of the above options come better.
Active Noise Cancelling
Before going through a specific description when buying earmuffs, you should explain what this technology is. It was invented in the 1950s and refers to a theory that in order for noise to be erased, it is necessary to produce a complementary and opposite sound.
Thanks to the devices created today, it is possible to do all this thanks to a microphone placed near the headphones in order to decode the ambient noise. The latter is detected by a processor which automatically reproduces the sound with the music that you listen to and consequently, the human ear does not perceive any noise.
It is a very refined technology and today it is not used only for audio reproduction: many car manufacturers have created cars equipped with an integrated active noise cancelling system so that passengers are not forced to travel listening to the annoying noises produced by the engine or other mechanical parts.
This study of active noise elimination is also used for environmental soundproofing systems, but in this case, the source which cancels the sounds must be placed near the listener otherwise the effect is not guaranteed. This is why the invention of earphones and earphones with Anc technology remains the devices which have obtained the best results ever obtained.
Two Technologies Currently Exist
More precisely, it is possible to distinguish first of all two types of technologies to classify these devices:
The first is called “active cancellation” which, using an algorithm, measures, compares and compensates for external noise by suppressing it. Originally, this type of helmet was created in the aviation field to reduce the annoying noises produced by aircraft engines so that pilots can preserve their hearing, but today, although it is a niche product, it is gaining ground and is highly sought after.
The second technology used is what is called “passive cancellation” which develops through the materials that create the structure of the headset: pads that adhere to the ears or caps that more or less effectively block external sound waves. Obviously, a device from the first category will have a higher cost than the second, but you can find quality products on the market at affordable and competitive prices.
Three Types Of Headphones
Another point to address is the need to distinguish between the models of headphones available and which are mainly three: in-ear headphones, that is to say, which are placed in the ear of the ear, the supra-auricular which rest on the ear and finally the circum-aural. The three models listed all include active or passive noise cancellation, but the best are certainly the over-ear precisely because they surround the entire ear ensuring maximum efficiency and sound diffusion.
How to choose noise cancelling headphones?
Before buying the headphones, if you can, it is recommended to try them in addition to checking the quality of the sound they produce, it is essential to test their comfort especially if they are to be used for a long time, maybe when travelling or for several hours a day: the model must be absolutely comfortable and practical according to your needs.
The use of headphones with noise reduction is very simple and varies according to the type of product you decide to buy, in most cases it is enough to wear them and adjust their functionality or by the application free for iPhone and Android, or by gently touching the headset with the palm of your hand to ensure that noise cancellation is turned on or off, or finally press the buttons on the headset itself.
The users who buy these devices can also decide what type of noise to filter so as not to be completely isolated from their environment, let me explain: if you are at the airport, you can be comfortable listening to your music without run the risk of not hearing the flight announcements.
As for the battery life, it is also subject to variations: almost all models tend to exceed twenty hours of autonomy, even if it depends a lot on the use and it takes on average three hours to recharge it. Inserting the batteries means that the weight of the device is greater, which is why it is always important to carry it in order to be aware of its handling. However, for the most demanding customers were made wireless headphones: here the amount of energy required for operation is taken care of by the built-in battery available in these models.
On the market, many well-known brands of electronic products make headphones with noise reduction and in fact, there is really something for all tastes and needs, of course, the quality you pay for and it is normal that this type of headphones have a higher cost than normal headphones, it is therefore advisable to do thorough research before making the purchase and especially to know all the features of the different models. I hope this article will help you choose your helmet to be satisfied and enjoy your favourite playlist.