Errm, why spend
upwards of £150 on these, when you can get a Sony NWZ-A845 16GB walkman with the exact same functionality...
Based on technology developed in the 1980s for airline crews, noise cancelling headphones are getting better every year. They are no longer luxury items but essential for frequent travellers, making journeys more tolerable. Built-in microphones detect extraneous sound, such as aircraft engine hum or noise from trains and buses …
I bought a pair of the Sennheiser headphones a couple of months back when I was traveling, I've used them on a couple of long-haul flights since and they work surprisingly well. My ears got a little fatigued after 4-5 hours of use but that's hardly surprising. I am really glad I make the purchase because it takes the edge off of an 11+hour flight (and a fair bit of the engine noise as well).
And probably the best choice, if like for me, you find the in-ear buds cause excessive wax build-up (euw!). I fly a lot and I've tried other noise cancelling 'phones (avoiding the Bose's because of cost). None have come anywhere close to dealing with airline cabin noise as well as the Bose's. They are also extremely impressive when used on the London underground.
... or for a set of phones that aren't "mission critical" - for example, listening to music at work ...
You can't go far wrong with these puppies:
Sennheiser HD201 Closed Back Headphones
Got myself a set for home office and one for work, such is the cheap price.
For the price, under £20, the build and sound quality is good enough for everyday entertainment usage, plus they've got an exceptionally long cable.
No, they are not "noise-cancelling" in the modern sense, but are rather noise cancelling in the old fashioned "cover your ears completely" way :)
Obviously, if your looking for phones for music production, or for some serious music appreciation, these won't fit the bill, but for casual usage, excellent.
Sennheisers seem to be indestructable. When you walk on the lead all that happens is you get cracked on the skull as the head band is jerked down. Has anyone ever broken a Sennheiser without using machinery? I know that you can buy spare leads, but I imagine that's for if you lose them. As for longevity, I have some HD414s, bought secondhand, still sounding good after over 40 years! (You can still buy replacement earpads). (My other Sennheisers and Sonys are all less than 10 years old, so it's a bit early to comment.
It is just too expensive to employ skilled people to tinker around trying to repair these devices - much cheaper to throw them in the bin and give you another pair which are dirt cheap to make (you have paid the markup once for the Pose label).
I'm a bit disappointed that you didn't have more over-the-ear models. I find that, with careful selection of earpiece moulding, that in-ear 'phones hardly need noise reduction, but are too uncomfortable to wear for several hours. I have closed, over-ear headphones from Sony (MDR-Vsomething) and Sennheiser, they offer good noise shielding and are comfortable, so comfortable as to make it worth going for the expense of noise cancellation. I've owned Sennheiser PCX-250s in the past, but though the noise cancellation is reasonable, they sit on the ear, block less sound and aren't as comfortable. (Over-the-ear headphones can block out sounds that the noise cancelling circuitry doesn't affect)
I've tried the Bose, but while their noise cancellation is good, I don't like the way that they sit on my ears rather than over them. How about including the Sennheiser PCX450 in a future test?
Incidentally, why do these devices only cancel low frequency sound? As a layman I just expect them to reverse the phase of the signal from the microphones and thus subtract noise from the input. Ok, there needs to be some adjustment to compensate for the response curve of the microphones and the driver. Can't a simple analogue circuit do this? Wikipedia suggests that you'd need to have the microphone next to the eardrum. As I see it, you need the microphones to be at exactly the same distance from the eardrum as the acoustic driver, yet isolated from it so they only pick up ambient noise. Tricky, but not impossible at these prices? If the microphone is further away then you'd need to go digital and introduce a delay line in the signal path. Am I on the right lines here?
... all the flashy tech and noise-cancelling tech in the world is never any substitute for comfortable headphones.
I've got some high quality sennheiser in-ear buds that set me back £90 - the audio quality is outstanding, but after anything more than 30 minutes, they get *Really* uncomfortable. In fact, ear bud phones in general really don't suit me. I use those when I dabble with creating music.
The phones I mentioned in my post above are great, however, I will admit they make my ears uncomfortably hot after a while. Very useful for work when developing audio related stuff, or listening to video tutorials - maybe an hour tops, then I need a break.
The most comfortable phones I've got, for my iPod, are ... once again senheissers ... but are standard old fashioned style over-ear - like the old walkman ones - I can wear them for hours, so they are perfect for listening to my iPod at work.
(Px 100-II) - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sennheiser-100-II-Foldable-Open-Headphone/dp/B002VPDOH8/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1321705934&sr=1-1
Yeah, I've got a *lot* of headphones - for different purposes - one set doesn't suit all tasks, least ways, not that I've found yet.
If it's comfort you want, over ear (not covering the ear), light weight phones are the best, but sure, they don't have the best audio quality.
the problem with a simple analog circuit is that our ears are so damn sensitive, that electronically is a high challenge and I really can image you need a 16bit A/D converter, signal processor and 16Bit D/A system to do it properly.
I believe our ears are capable of picking up sound in energy as low as a couple of picowatt (that's a millions of a millions of a watt)
For a noise cancelation headphone you need to consider that sound can come in through various areas, even through the scull sound will come in. And you can imagine that sounds comes 'different' through the back and front of a headphone and it scatters different in a humans ear, person by person.
So it's not a easy problem to crack
Is that these 'phones all still like to dal with constant, unvarying noise. Irregular stuff like speech or crying babies still gets through, forcing you to rely on conventional 'brute force' noise cancelling tech.
When they introduce some with "wife/baby cancelling" technology, I'm definitely sold.
I've had at least 5 pairs of noise cancelling headphones in the last 5 years, including Sennheiser, Sony, Bose, Philips and Koss.
None of them ever came close to beating ear plugs + over ear std headphones. I used to do around 150k miles of air travel a year, and that combination left me much less tired after longhaul flights than anything else I tried.
Oh, and the type of ear plugs makes a difference. If you can find them, Hearos are fantastic, with an NRR of 33db+ and very comfy. They are also very useful to block those noisy hotel HVAC units so you can get a decent nights sleep....
As an aside, I find that wearing headphones in public places just bothers me, I feel less in control. It's alright while sitting down for a while, but I tend to take them off as soon as I stand up.
I recently bought the Bose QC15s, and then flew 24 hours. Amazingly, the leg from Dubai to Melbourne was 14 hours straight, and the Bose stayed on pretty much the entire time. I arrived the next day, showered, changed, and went straight to my client and did 10 hours of work. I could NOT have done that without them...which totally justified the price tag in one flight. And I've always disliked Bose before these...
Personally, I prefer 'passive' noise-isolating, as my in-ears Shure SE530. I've had other/cheaper Shure in-ears, and their noise-isolation is just as good. I know it's a taste thing, but I believe sound-quality of the Shures is the best.
However, I can find myself in the recommendation for the Sennheisers. I had a pair of bluetooth Sennheisers for my son that had a loose internal wire, and they sent me a replacement immediately (even though there's no distributor for the model here and they had to send it from another country!) That's what I call service!
Over the years and after maybe buying 20 pairs i started to use at home what i did at work and it really turned out to be the best solution for my use.Got a simple pair of Beyer headphones we use with ClearCom equipment for on stage / studio use. It has a flip up microphone and are designed for long hours of use in comfort. Drawbacks ? It sheilds the user from noise so well you wont even hear your wife anymore .. oh that may be a bonus plus. Thing is that those are meant for heavy use and will survive you sitting on them. That can be interresting to some folks. DT190 is what i been using and will be using for quite a long while still .
If you can afford them: http://www.bose.com/controller?url=/shop_online/headphones/aviation_headsets/a20/index.jsp
The A20, as fitted in helicopters (where I had a chance to use them) and planes. Pretty damn amazing, and a nice mic too for teamspeak :)
Had them for 2 years now. I like them. They work perfectly on the train and plane, but I don't use them outside because i feel too isolated from the outside world - dangerous. They don't block the baby crying or unusual noises unfortunately. They can make your ears sweat after a couple of hours especially in the summer. My wife also got one of them for the long vacation flights and she's happy with it as well. After comparing my old one with hers, I have the impression that hers blocks outside noise a tad better, maybe my noise recording microphone got clogged, i don't know. In-ear is not for me because it hurts in a weird way after a couple of hours...
Is how any of these compare on noise reduction to just a simple pair of over-ear ear defenders from B&Q for under ten quid? I use a pair of those over some fairly decent Sennheiser earbuds and it works a treat on flights, even against screaming children. They seem to survive a lot more abuse than any headphone set I've bought, too.
I've got a pair of these (white ones from play.com were £90, black ones were £150, now the prices are £160 and £130 respectively, wierd ??) anyway these are bluetooth ones, so no cables at all, which is nice.
There are a couple of problems though - sounds can leak around the pads, since they only sit on the ears, and wind noise sounds a lot worse that on my cheap goldrings.
However they do work well, I can make and take phone calls as well as listening to music, and pausing, forwarding tracks etc.
Good for the commute on the trains and underground and of course I'm damaging my hearing through loud volumes either, though I can often hear others music since they have theirs so high.
What's old is new again with reboots of classic devices for gaming and music coming out all the time. But that kitsch value comes at a cost, even if the tech is from the current era.
Audiophiles want digital music players that leave out cellular components in favor of sound-quality-maximizing gadgets – or at least that's what Sony appears to be betting on with the introduction of a $3,700 so-called Walkman this week.
Before you ask, no it can't play actual tapes, which means it's not really a Walkman at all but rather an Android 11 media player that can stream and play downloaded music via apps, much like your smartphone can probably do. But we won't talk about that because gold plating.
Sony on Friday launched a subsidiary dedicated to optical communications – in space.
The new company, Sony Space Communications Corporation (SSCC) plans to develop small optical communication devices that connect satellites in low Earth orbit using a laser beam, and provide the resulting connection as a service.
These small devices can provide high speed communication more effectively than radio, because they do not need a large antenna, high power output or complicated licenses, said Sony in a canned statement.
Panasonic will invest ¥600 billion ($4.89 billion) in electronic vehicle (EV) batteries, hydrogen energy, workplace digitization and supply chain software in a strategy shift for the 104-year old Japanese multinational.
The money is slated for spending over three years from 2023 until 2025. Of the total amount, ¥400 billion ($3.2 billion) will go to "growth areas", like supply chain software and automotive batteries among others, and ¥200 billion ($1.6 billion) to "technology pillars," including hydrogen energy and cyber-physical systems.
CEO Yuki Kusumi said in an online news conference on Friday that Panasonic wants to improve battery cell performance and safety while cutting costs, and that mass production of 46mm-diameter EV batteries, otherwise known as 4680s, would start in FY24 at its Wakayama Factory in Japan.
Sony Computer Science Laboratories (CSL) and the Japanese space agency have conducted an experiment to transmit data from the stratosphere to space and declared the results promising as a complete file was delivered at 446 megabits per second.
Data networking is hard in space, because distances and latency are substantial and radiation can impact transmissions. Those challenges have led to efforts like the Interplanetary networking SIG and its delay-tolerant networking (DTN) tech that makes internet standards work despite the challenges of space.
DTN also addresses the problem of network nodes disappearing over the horizon – and therefore beyond the reach of radio or optical signals – by (as its name implies) not getting grumpy if packets take a while to reach their intended destinations.
Retired Microsoft engineer, Dave Plummer, offered a blast from the past last week with a look back at the infamous Sony Windows "rootkit" scandal.
Japanese industrial giant Panasonic has admitted it's been popped, and badly.
A November 26 statement [PDF] from the company admits that its network "was illegally accessed by a third party on November 11, 2021". That date has since been revised – the company now says it became aware of the intrusion on the 11th, but that unknown entities had access to its systems from late June to early November.
"After detecting the unauthorized access, the company immediately reported the incident to the relevant authorities and implemented security countermeasures, including steps to prevent external access to the network," the statement adds.
Sony has detailed plans to expand its sensors business and make it more relevant to edge computing and the internet of things, while also outlining growth plans in gaming, anime, and electric cars.
In an outline [PDF] of a new strategy outlined yesterday in Tokyo, Sony said in the past eight years it has concentrated resources particularly towards CMOS image sensors to secure a dominant position in the imaging applications and sensing market.
Positioning its investment as a contribution to the “evolution of IoT technology,” Sony said:
Panasonic's Toughbook G2 tablet will feature 10-finger touch even with gloves on and full Windows 11 compatibility.
The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. In May, the industry finally pushed some hot properties out the door including Resident Evil Village, Biomutant, and the Mass Effect remasters. But we opted to check out something just a little bit older.
Though pop culture might have reached peak zombie almost a decade ago, Oregon-based Bend Studio still managed to walk away with a decent game in the 2019 PlayStation 4 "exclusive" Days Gone. We say "exclusive" because we've been playing the PC port, which came out on 18 May. This follows a recent trend of titles made specifically for Sony's last-gen console being re-released for PC a couple of years later including Death Stranding and Horizon Zero Dawn.
Yes, the world stopped giving a toss after the eleventy-first season of AMC's flagging comic book adaptation The Walking Dead, but somehow surviving a zombie apocalypse remains a gripping setting for many – yours truly included. Even if it's one of the most done-to-death concepts under the sun, Bend has done a fantastic job of rendering an Oregon scorched by a mysterious viral epidemic that has turned 99 per cent of the population into rabid, shambling cannibals.
Sony and Kawasaki Heavy Industries have created a new joint venture to build a platform that allows remote work through teleoperated robots.
The pair last week announced that they’ll pump ¥100,000,000 (US$920,000) into a company that plans to build a “remote robot platform”.
The Register prefers to call it a “Workman”.
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