Noise cancelling headphones - what do you recommend?

5 replies


Member since 13 Aug 2013

Total posts 92

Noise cancelling headphones:

1) Which do you recommend?

2) Over ear, On Ear, or In Ear? have some amazing prices, and you can obtain them if using a shipping company like Shipito


Member since 22 Jun 2013

Total posts 90

I would recommend over the ear noise-cancelling headphones because 1. they are the most comfortable option and 2. they block out the most noise before you even start taking into account the noise-cancelling/anti-noise element. Sennheiser PXC 450s are very good. Expensive but worth every penny if you're flying reasonably long distances reasonably often. They are also better than anything you will ever be given in First, Business or Premium Economy across any airline.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 10 May 2011

Total posts 249

Over ear definitely, as trevor mentioned, they block out noise without activating the noise cancelling ability. Try out PSB M4U2, paid $350 and have no regrets. I used to own a pair of Bose but these PSB headsets are much better. I bought mine from an Australian store and used a discount code to get the price.


Member since 19 Jan 2012

Total posts 138

Sennheiser PCX310 - lighter on the ears for long journeys. Pricey but excellent. Worth the extra dollars if you can afford it. A more "real" sound than Bose to my (classical music trained) ears and will still work as non cancelling headphones if the power runs out - others may prefer Bose, it's a personal choice.

If you're using headphones with a device (iPhone etc) it's a good idea to check them before purchase to ensure sound plays at acceptable volumes.

Note that the Virgin Australia Galaxy pads in domestic business class tend to have a low volume output with BYO headphones.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 01 Oct 2013

Total posts 31

Each of the NC headphone types all have different qualities and disadvantages.

Over-ears are quite comfortable and provides good noise isolation (different from active noise cancellation) but your ears can get very hot and sweaty which is a big issue for some.

On-ears are also very comfortable, and the BOSE NC features excellently with this type (QC3). But it does not offer the same noise isolation as the other types (most noticable when the active NC is off) and some people have issues with them "squeezing" their head, which gives them headaches.

In-ears offer the best noise isolation by design, but the active NC features can go from craptastic to very good - there's a big gap in terms of quality for NC in-ears. In-ears are the hardest type to sleep with (in my experience) as the ear pieces are typically substantially larger than non-NC in-ears, but they're extremely portable.

I'd look what you personally prefer in everyday use and get an NC of that type, as at the end of the day, it's your comfort and preference. If you wish to do it on a budget, and do more short/medium-haul then long haul, then the Audio Technica ATH-ANC23 in-ears offer good noise isolation & NC, with pretty good mids and highs. If you've got more money to spend, look at the Sennheisers for brilliant sound quality with effective NC. If you want the ultimate in NC and not searching for exact sound reproduction, get BOSE. Arguing different models would be nitpicking - you're going to get a good pair either way from Sennheiser/BOSE.

I personally carry an ATH-ANC23 or Sony MDR NC-100D for all my flights. I used to carry a QC3 for long hauls because I can sleep well with them on.

You don't nessessarily have to buy a pair of NCs if you're doing infrequent medium/long hauls in PE, J or F. AA, for example, offers BOSE QC15s in J. QF also offers a decent battery-less NC set in PE/J/F - it may not offer the best NC, but it really does the job.

Good luck with finding that right pair for you... they really do wonders in taking the edge off travel fatigue!


Member since 11 Mar 2012

Total posts 160

I find I can sleep with the earbud or in ear type whereas I'm no chance of sleeping with the over the ear types.

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