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Closed headphones with high isolation
distill
post Oct 24 2011, 15:13
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What's the most isolating (high quality) head phones available at $200-900?

I have Sennheiser HD-280 Pro and Sennheiser HD-25 II. The latter is not what I can use due to too much pressing against ear (hurts after a while). But HD-280 Pro, is it actually a good choice or is there some other choice with (considerably) better isolation available?

Or, can noise cancelling head phones be recommended? I haven't looked that way and don't know about the sound quality of those.
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DVDdoug
post Oct 24 2011, 21:22
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What's your situation? Do you need maximum isolation? Are you trying to keep the music in, or keep noise out? How much noise is there?

I see lots of advertisements for these.

You might also try contacting a "headphone store" such as GoodCans/ListeningStation.

I've also got a pair of HD280s which are adequate for my occasional DJ gigs, but I don't have any other closed headphones to compare them to. As you know, they don't block out all sound... They block-out enough of the "house mix" so that I can cue/preview the music in the headphones.

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distill
post Oct 24 2011, 22:22
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Thank you for the suggestions! At this moment I'm interested in closed ones because of chatting noise in a working place. So basically I want to keep noise out, and it's a bonus if the music is kept in.

Super hyper isolation is not necessary, but Sennheiser HD-280 Pro is not enough isolation.
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xnor
post Oct 25 2011, 09:32
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You should know that the HD280 does a pretty good job at isolation. The catch is that headphones without active cancellation tech. will only isolate treble frequencies well, mids so-so and bass is passed through almost as if there was close to no isolation at all.

SHR840 does a similarly good job at isolation if you get the seal right, but those are not the most comfortable headphones. The Denons (AD-Dxxx) are pretty bad at isolation since they're semi-closed (there are holes in the cups). The DT770 also isolates pretty well, especially the Pro version with higher clamping force. Another option: the MDR-ZX700.
For on-ear there's the HD228, but I don't know how these sound, AKG K81dj (not very comfortable) and probably some others I don't know.

If you need better isolation than that, especially at lower frequencies, consider taking a look at in-ears and/or headphones with active noise cancellation.

This post has been edited by xnor: Oct 25 2011, 09:40


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Martel
post Oct 25 2011, 19:15
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If you want to be isolated from a non-stationary noise, noise-cancelling headphones are not going to help much. Perhaps the tech advanced a bit in time but I tried some Bose Quietcomfort (around-the-ear) and they did remove only noise (like the one from air conditioning), you could still hear someone talking, music playing etc. (basically any non-noise sound).

I have Sennheiser HD 380 and their passive isolation is really good. Unfortunately, I don't have HD280 to compare to so I can't tell whether they isolate equally well, better or worse. The only problem is that the lower-frequency the outside sound, the less attenuation (they don't work against jet engine hum on a plane, this is where active noise-cancelling headphones rule).


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markanini
post Oct 25 2011, 22:11
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I love my Beyer DT250.
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distill
post Nov 1 2011, 14:03
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Reporting. Beyerdynamic DT-1350 seems very interesting as well, but unfortunately I don't have them to test here. I do have Beyerdynamic DT-770 M and it has superior isolation compared to Sennheiser HD 25-1 II (of course much better than Sennheiser HD 280 Pro). However, DT-770 M doesn't seem so much more comfortable than HD 25 even the cup is big.

But, since DT-770 M has much less clear sound than HD 25-1 II, I can't choose them.

This is a great comparison HD-25 vs. DT-1350: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aahpv0_DDFE
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xnor
post Nov 1 2011, 16:18
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Interesting, yes until you find out the price. :/


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distill
post Nov 17 2011, 15:04
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Reporting further. I got Beyerdynamic DT 1350. The above YouTube comparison is pretty spot on, but I'll just confirm the important points about DT 1350:

- the plug being straight instead of L shaped is not so good for portables
- the less sensitivity means just a bit less sound volume at highest volume setting compared to HD 25 (however the difference is not much)
- the sound is just slightly better than HD 25 but only when very carefully positioned
- sound proofing is pretty similar to HD 25, the EQ curve of the damping is different
- build quality fine, rotating muffs fine
- reminder, sound on DT 1350 is quite off until muffs are carefully positioned on the ears

All in all DT 1350 and HD 25 are both excellent. I shall continue using HD 25 for public transportation due to the L plug and otherwise I'll probably use mostly DT 1350.
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distill
post Apr 5 2012, 11:33
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Reporting yet further. I've got Extreme Isolation EX-29 headphones now too. Just a short review: A bit better isolation than the others mentioned, a bit worse sound quality than HD 25 or DT 1350. The cups get quite sweaty on EX-29. So it's nothing mindblowing, just a piece of cheap plastic etc. Does its job acceptably, but EX-29 is built cheap.
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markanini
post Apr 5 2012, 12:55
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If you're really picky about sound quality along with isolation consider custom fit IEMs.
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mzil
post Apr 5 2012, 16:56
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QUOTE (markanini @ Apr 5 2012, 06:55) *
If you're really picky about sound quality along with isolation consider custom fit IEMs.
They don't necessarily have to be custom ones. I have standard Etymotic headphones which are essentially re-expanding foam earplugs (which as we all know do a bang up job of keeping external sound out, 20-30 dB or more if I recall correctly) with transducers inside. The foam , when it re-expands in your specific ear canal, after having been squished into a tight cylinder for insertion, has an airtight seal and kills most room noise quite well.

The sound is spectacular, to boot. David Ranada, chief technical editor of Stereo Review/Sound and Vision magazine, wrote that he considered them the best (most accurate) headphones on the market, regardless of configuration (circumaural, supra-aural, etc) and NRR (noise reduction rating).

Common assumptions about custom molded inserts, which aren't always true, are discussed in some detail here.

Most of us aren't used to living in completly noise free environments, but I can tell you that if not for the music being played acting to mask other noises, the isolation is so good that you start to be able to hear your own heartbeat and digestive peristalsis under some conditions. Eating a potato chip seems "deafeningly" loud; dont eat while wearing these. It's a freaky experience.

This post has been edited by mzil: Apr 5 2012, 17:15
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soundping
post Apr 6 2012, 20:48
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My Sony MDR-V6 is good at keeping out outside noise and it has good quality sound.
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mzil
post Apr 6 2012, 21:27
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QUOTE (soundping @ Apr 6 2012, 14:48) *
My Sony MDR-V6 is good at keeping out outside noise and it has good quality sound.

^I use those almost every day and think they are a great value, (however they pale in comparison to my Etymotics in terms of noise attenuation).

A headphone designer once taught me that the chief way external sound enters such designs is not so much due to air gaps/leaks in the circumaural cushion (ear pad) around the ear, but rather the noise from the room (or cockpit) vibrates the outer shell and this then transfers to the ear. Two ways to lessen this is to greatly increase the mass of the headphone shell (but then they are annoyingly heavy and more like wearing a helmet) and to replace the ear pad foam, which is an inherently springy material, which is exactly what you don't want, with a gel material that's not springy.

There are companies which modify the MDRV6 (and/or the pretty much identical MDR7506) for airplane cockpit use, complete with added boom mic, and indeed what they do is replace the Sony foam ear pad with a heavy gel ear pad. As far as I know these pads, which aren't that expensive, can also be placed on stock MDRV6/7506s with similar results!

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/3678...ed_Earpads.html

This post has been edited by mzil: Apr 6 2012, 21:50
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limahuli
post Apr 6 2012, 23:27
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I've been using the HD-280 Pros on 45 minute train commutes every day for the past year or so and I'm really happy with them. During quiet songs I can hear background noise, but nothing bothersome. They seem to provide pretty good value for a relatively inexpensive headphone. My main concern is how much longer they're going to last after getting stuffed into my backpack twice a day...so far so good.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Apr 8 2012, 12:55
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QUOTE (soundping @ Apr 6 2012, 15:48) *
My Sony MDR-V6 is good at keeping out outside noise and it has good quality sound.


Really? IME they are little better than many open ear types.
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Ed Seedhouse
post Apr 8 2012, 16:35
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I feel like a traitor because after my Sennheiser PCX 450 headphones fell apart I went and bought a pair of BOSE Quietcomfort 15's. But I ride buses a lot and they quiet the engine roar better than anything else I've had and, actually, they don't sound half bad on their own. Of course if I also want some higher end sound I can pull the plug out of the BOSE set, stick my IE8's in my ear canals and then put the BOSE pair over my ears and turn on the cancellation. Best of both worlds as long as it isn't too hot on the bus.

Gotta take the IE8's out when I eat because of annoying bone conduction of eating sounds, but the BOSE sound (and this is heretical since every BOSE transducer I ever heard before sounded lousy to me and I always thought of them as just a maker of junk with a great add budget) for the 15's is pleasant enough to listen to music with full enjoyment even on classical music. They have a decent midrange, bass extension, and a somewhat ragged treble but at a high enough frequency not to bother my rather ancient ears.

I never really liked the sound of the Sennheiser 450's but I did get used to it and they were "good enough", but the earpads wore out and I didn't want to go the the trouble of ordering new replacement parts from the Canadian dealer 4000 miles away. The other day I was out for a good while and listened to all of Mahler's second conducted by Bernstein on an ancient recording, using just the BOSE pair, and it was just as thrilling and enthralling as my main system at home so far as musical involvement went. Of course one misses the imaging from the home system, but not as much as I expected. Of course the Bernstein version was multi-miked.

Of course they cost a lot, but as for pure sound isolation I've never heard anything that approaches them. Makes for much more pleasant bus rides and nice quiet walks around the downtown core.

So, am I a heretic? Will I be drummed out of the high end community? But then I suppose I never really belonged to it in the first place anyway.



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