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The Trombone ForumHorns, Gear, and EquipmentTechnology(Moderator: john sandhagen) Need some sound isolating headphones
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timothy42b
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« on: Sep 19, 2017, 05:56PM »

I was just on one of those traveling inspection teams, and had to work on writing my reports in a noisy room with loud conversations going on.

I am not good at multitasking and found it distracting and frustrating.  But, I can't just tell the team to shut up, much as I was tempted.

So I'm thinking either ear buds or ear muffs, that could kill some of that outside noise and also play music.

Does anybody have any suggestions? 
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« Reply #1 on: Sep 19, 2017, 06:17PM »

These are not cheap but they're great.
https://www.etymotic.com/consumer/earphones/er4.html
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« Reply #2 on: Sep 19, 2017, 06:23PM »

Those are nice and very compact. My only complaint is that they don't have a mini coaxial connection for use of different cables.
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« Reply #3 on: Sep 19, 2017, 06:31PM »

I have had one pair for about 15 years and they still work fine.  The cables it comes with are indestructible.
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« Reply #4 on: Sep 19, 2017, 07:20PM »

for convenience only. I use a cable with an inline mic for working out and all that and also just a single connector cable in a studio so I don't have a dangling earbud.

Those triple flange ear nubbins are perfect though. They really help with blocking outside noises. Comply foam sips are close, but they seem to tear after too much use. If you have a decently isolating pair of earphones then a different set of tips may bring you the rest of the way.
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« Reply #5 on: Sep 19, 2017, 08:05PM »

Tim

how much do you want to spend and do you want in-ear monitors (IEM's) or headphones.

If you want to go the headphones route you can get noise cancelling headphones (eg Bose or Sennheiser) which are great or just use over-the-ear headphones which are not as good at reducing noise, but are cheaper and better value of you are concerned about sound quality.

IEM's go into your ear like hearing aids and can be excellent at blocking external sounds and giving you high quality sound.  Muso's wear them in high volume performances, eg rock bands and orchestral wind players who sit in front of the trombones.  It depends on whether you like putting things in your ear or not.  I've got Ety's like Doug and can confirm their greatness.

Naturally there's a forum for these: https://www.head-fi.org/forums/ which you can spend way to much time at if you want.  But if you tell me how much you want to spend I'll make some suggestions for some that are suitable for trombones and hand bells :).  I'd recommend that you try them out if you can but that's up to you

cheers
Martin

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« Reply #6 on: Sep 19, 2017, 10:58PM »

Keep in mind that noise cancelling and noise isolating are two different things.
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timothy42b
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« Reply #7 on: Sep 20, 2017, 04:41AM »

Keep in mind that noise cancelling and noise isolating are two different things.

Can you expand on that a bit?

I had a set of "noise cancelling" ear buds, Sony I think, that I used for airplane trips when work had me travelling more often.  I never thought the cancelling feature really worked, but just having earplugs in took care of the noise headache I got from flying.  The sound quality wasn't bad either.  Those ran about $80 if I remember right, but they were on sale half price.  I never tried using them for the current purpose.  They long ago self destructed. 

I don't have a preference for buds or phones, don't know enough about it, that's why I asked.

I had hoped for a solution a little cheaper than Doug's suggestion but they do look like they would solve the problem. 
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« Reply #8 on: Sep 20, 2017, 05:47AM »

Hi Tim,

My office is an open floor plan layout, and can get quite noisy.  We also use Google Hangout and a Polycom product for video conferences/virtual meetings.

I had a set of Bose over the ear noise cancelling headphones that I used for travel, and started using them to both blockout the background and listen to music when working, or for the video calls.  Worked well, but were a little too isolating.  I use them for video calls from home mainly now, when I don't need to wear them all the time.

I then cashed in a bunch of American Express points and got the Bose QuietComfort 20 in-ear version.  They are also a generation newer than my over the ear.  They work perfectly for what I need and I can also use them on my commute.  They have a button that reduces the noise cancelling effect some when you want to balance awareness of your surroundings and what you are listening to - good for walking in Manhattan.

A bit pricey, but for my daily use (and they work well on planes too), I'm very happy with them.

Good luck.....

Peter

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« Reply #9 on: Sep 20, 2017, 06:57AM »

Can you expand on that a bit?
 

Bose and other companies use active noise canceling, using software and powered hardware to change what you hear through the headphones. It's great at what it does most of the time.

Noise isolation is just blocking out sound, usually in an earplugs-like fashion.

I prefer isolation, since the sound of the 'phone is not changed- Bose and other active noise canceling setups don't sound nearly as good as top end headphones or IEMs.

I use Etymotic IEMs (can't remember the model number) with foam tips, which makes the world silent. They also sound great.
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« Reply #10 on: Sep 20, 2017, 07:52AM »

Another option - I use an LG bluetooth headset with my phone that is very isolating and has great sound.  They now make some different models but I haven't checked them out. 

The older ones like mine can be found for not much money.  It hangs around your neck and has wires to the earbuds, which are just round balls.
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« Reply #11 on: Sep 20, 2017, 08:41AM »

Noise isolating means blocking the ear canal and preventing sound waves from entering. Like putting your fingers in your ears. (which you should never do)

Noise cancelling means your headphones identify a sound wave and create a sound wave that cancels it out. So, on a plane, it creates a wave that cancels out the drone of the engines.

If you're in an office with people chattering, the noise cancelling won't work because the algorithms can't identify random, intermittent noises. What noise reduction occurs is likely the effect of the over-the-ear earpads. Like putting your hands over your ears.

I personally am after some noise isolating ear buds for bike rides. It's way too loud in traffic. And to deal with the chatterbox in the next office.
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« Reply #12 on: Sep 20, 2017, 09:17AM »

Are there noise-cancelling earphones that really work?

Work, such that you wouldn't hear a person talking next to you or traffic or the sound of a plane you are on?

I've tried a few under-$100 devices and found the dire warning in the instructions that it was hazardous to walk the streets using them to be quite laughable.
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« Reply #13 on: Sep 20, 2017, 09:26AM »

I'm surprised at how effective they can be, in concert with the volume of what you are playing through them.

In the office, concentrating on a task with soft music playing, I am quite unaware of any distracting activity, and have been surprised when a colleague all of a sudden appears next to me.

Walking from the subway to PATH, it can be hard to hear ambient noise, especially coming from behind or along side.  That's where, on my headphones, the button that backs the noise-cancelling technology off a bit is quite helpful in being more aware.

The dire warnings apply to those who blast their conventional ear-buds as well!

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« Reply #14 on: Sep 20, 2017, 10:05AM »

I've been on a quest to find a good sound-isolating (not cancelling) IEM for concentrating at work, plane trips, and for driving 100dB+ racecars between events.

Aside from true earplugs, I've found the Shure and Etymotic IEMs work wonderfully and sound great too. I first had a used set of the Shure SE530s, which lasted a good 8 years before disintegrating, and currently have a pair of the Etymotic HF5s. The Shures sound better, but their new price is pretty ridiculous, so I replaced them with the Etymotics (the model down from what Doug recommended). They don't sound as good as the Shures, and don't really have much bass, but they work amazingly well at isolating me from the world. I've been wanting to try the Shure SE215s, the competitor to the Etys, but....that's money I'd rather spend elsewhere. I'll just recommend either the Shure or Ety IEMs for sound isolation with sound quality.
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« Reply #15 on: Sep 20, 2017, 03:25PM »

The 215s are definitely good. $99 on Amazon. I also have a pair of M6 PROs that I keep next to my bed. Half the price and you get what you pay for, but they're clean enough sounding and very comfortable.
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« Reply #16 on: Sep 20, 2017, 03:51PM »

I've had my eye on the 215s also.
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« Reply #17 on: Sep 20, 2017, 08:08PM »


Something to keep in mind when considering price, especially if you expect to wear your ‘phones for long periods, is comfort.  Everyone’s ears are different, and ‘phones that are comfortable for one person may not be comfortable for you.  Personally I’ve never found any in-ear ‘phones I would want to wear for a long time, and I would certainly want to “test drive” any on-ear or over-ear ‘phones before making a decision.  Needless to say, the more comfortable ‘phones often cost more.  As with selecting a trombone, try before you buy if at all possible.

As for active noise cancelling, both my Here One “smart” earbuds mand my Parrot Zik over-ear phones do a pretty good job.  They remove fixed freauencies like airplane noise, the hum of an old refrigerator motor, the buzz of a lawnmower outside, etc. almost completely.  They also do a decent job of attenuating random noise, like a TV in the background; you can still hear it but muted and at a much lower volume, as if it’s behind a closed door in the next room.  Add some music at even just a moderate volume and background noise is pretty much inconsequential.


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« Reply #18 on: Sep 21, 2017, 01:59AM »

http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/272855573869?chn=ps&dispItem=1

These have several advantages in addition to being very cheap now - they go for $7.99 to $20.  I think they were about $79 or $89 when I got them.

Extremely comfortable
They block your ears from the outside, they don't go in much at all
Bluetooth pairing to your phone
They vibrate when you get a call
You can answer the phone from a button on the headset
Volume control on the headset
Sound quality is excellent
You won't get a ticket if you're on your phone while driving

The earbuds are magnetically stored on the ends of the neckpiece
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« Reply #19 on: Sep 23, 2017, 02:30PM »

Are there noise-cancelling earphones that really work?

Work, such that you wouldn't hear a person talking next to you or traffic or the sound of a plane you are on?

I've tried a few under-$100 devices and found the dire warning in the instructions that it was hazardous to walk the streets using them to be quite laughable.

I hvae a pair of Bose Q15s that work really well. As others have mentioned, cancelling won't cancel the sound of a person talking because it is random intermittent sound. But it can identify continuous sounds such that when walking through a city, such as the cacophony of traffic, chatter, and other random noises, and really cut down on the noise you observe.  On airplanes, I combine them with silicone in-ear protectors... which effectively gives me noise isolating and noise cancelling which covers you on the 'people talking' front and the 'continuous noise' front doubly.  I couldn't tell I was on an airplane (at least from hearing  ;-)) the last time I flew using this combination.
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