Noise Cancellation Headphones - Consumer Report

Submitted on Mar 04, 2007, 11:22 a.m.

… well at least my version of a short consumer report.

I fly long-haul at least once a year. On the last trip I borrowed a set of noise cancellation headphones from a friend. Noise cancellation headphones contain a little battery powered receiver, usually in the headphone cord near your chest. It picks-up constant ambient sound noise and generates an inverse signal that cancels out a large portion of the ambient background noise. You don’t actually have to be listening to anything for them to work. Great when you want to sleep.

My friends set were a pair of Sennheiser PXC 250 – they were ok – although the regular headphone style is a little cumbersome. I was hoping to find a set of earbud-style noise cancellation headphones for my next trip in a week’s time. I normally do just enough research on the web before making any electronic consumer purchases to be ready and armed to shop and compare. And most times when I’ve failed to do that I’ve paid the price. Sadly this occasion was no exception. While in the local shopping center yesterday I came across a set of Philips SBC HN060 Active noise canceling headphones - earbud-style – and so I thought what the heck – time was limited – I picked them up.

First disappointment was that the battery supplied had leaked and was unusable (fortunately not inside the headphone battery pack). Second BIG disappointment was the sound quality. I have a really great set of Sony MDR-EX71 earbud style headphones (in my diminishing collection of Sony gear) and they are the best I’ve used to date – sound quality is excellent – good range and good low frequency response. The Philips active noise canceling headphones sounded tinny and weak. In fact the overall impression of poor manufactured quality and poor sound quality meant that this was a mistaken purchase for sure.

Although a little over a year old – here’s a good CNET review of noise cancellation headphones. Will be looking for the Sony set soon.