Best headphones for Travel?

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by flacey8, Feb 9, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. flacey8
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    flacey8 Silver Member

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    What's your favorite headphones for travel?

    I don't mean the ones from the airlines, but what do you currently own / would buy? Thanks.
     
  2. Chimpy
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    Chimpy Gold Member

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    I have the Sennheiser PXC 310 Compact Noise-Canceling Travel Headphones, a little bit bigger than my last Sennheiser but seem to be more comfortable and a bit better with the noise canceling. They also have a talk through function which works well, you just press the button and it shuts off the sound from the movie so you can hear through a built in microphone. They were probably a bit more expensive than I would of liked to pay especially since I have since seen them on sale (online)for quite a bit less but I like them and try to justify the expense to my wife.
     
  3. I used to carry a pair of noise cancelling headphones that were a Bose knockoff (made by Jabra, they were cosmetically and functionally identical to friends' Bose sets, including the carrying case). I also found that the cancelling noise generated by the headsets (Bose or Jabra) gives me a headache if I keep them on for more than 6-7 hours. I've heard comparable comments from some other users, but obviously YMMV.

    I ultimately found them really bulky, and not worth carrying an additional set of batteries (or a charger, in the case of Bose).

    I've shifted to noise-isolating earbuds, as they fit my current preference for size/weight/quality trade-off. I tried the Shure ec2, but ultimately found that the noise isolation was so-so for the price, so I returned them.

    Right now, I'm really happy with my relatively cheap Sennheiser CX-300s. You can get them for $35 on Amazon, they do a good job isolating in-flight noise, and they sound quality is decent. I've heard rave reviews of the Klipsch S4, but haven't spent the money to test them out.
     
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  4. sleepyintheair
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    sleepyintheair Silver Member

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    Bose QC all the way for long flights (I'm of the 'QC2' generation...), although personally I don't find the size and bulk justifiable for short trips. I picked up a pair of Etymotic noise isolation earbuds last year with the intent to use them for flights <2hrs, but without thinking about it I seem to only pack the QC2's for flights >4-5 hours now....
     
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  5. How do you like the sound quality of the Etymotics? Also, are they uncomfortable in the ear? Coworker of mine has mixed impressions...
     
  6. Fredd
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    Fredd Gold Member

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    In headphone discussions there's usually a debate between the in-ear advocates and those who aren't comfortable with thingees stuck in their ears. [​IMG] There are also comfort disadvantages to the on-the-ear and over-the-hear headphones. One of your first steps could be to decide which type you might prefer. We've only used on-ear and over-the-ear headphones and currently use Bose, but I certainly see the potential advantages to the in-ear type. I really think you have to answer the "comfort" issue for yourself, although you'll find of plenty opinions in each "camp." [​IMG] One way would be to start with the cheapest pair you could find, such as those noted by FlyMeAway above and try them out before considering an investment in the more expensive ones.
     
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  7. flacey8
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    flacey8 Silver Member

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    i personally use Sennheiser HD202 - reasons
    1) comfortable
    2) cheap - could careless if it breaks ($20) or loss
    3) prefer ones that cover the entire ears (bad is if you try to sleep, it could be in the way when you turn your head)
     
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  8. I am currently using Shure in-ear earphones with custom made ear plugs. They are compact and quieten down the external noise, so I like them a lot. The sound quality is quite decent too.
    I have been meaning to get Etymotic pair and have custom ear plugs made for them but I have not yet got round to them.
     
  9. Rich
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    Rich Silver Member

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    I have a pair of Shure earphones and a set of Bose QC15s. On short trips and/or on trips where I want to conserve space, I take the Shures. When I have the room or if it's a long flight, I take the Bose. I like both, but I'd rather not have anything stuck in my ears for more than 2 hours or so.
     
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  10. These are the headphones I keep at my desk at home. I love them.
     
  11. karenkay
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    karenkay Gold Member

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    i have a pair of shure in-ear headphones that have traveled all over with me, and i love them. i'm embarrassed to say i don't know which ones they are. i prefer them to the bose 'cause the bose mess up my hair and press against my earrings. ;)

    for very long flights, i find them easier to sleep with than the bose, although my ears are a bit sore after more than about six hours wearing them. still, i'd buy them again.

    one other note about the in-ear phones, the foam part does start to look gunky after awhile, but you can buy replacements on ebay.
     
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  12. kiwi
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    kiwi Gold Member

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    I have phitek (over the ear) but a lot of the time I don't bring them either due to space constraints, short flights or flying an airline in a class that provides noise cancelling headphones.
     
  13. sleepyintheair
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    sleepyintheair Silver Member

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    I went with one of the cheaper models to try out the comfort factor - doing what Fredd advocates - because I was worried about the comfort factor. In some sense you get to choose: shove 'em in a little way, sound quality/isolation isn't great but pretty comfortable; shove 'em in 'properly' and sound quality/isolation improves but I find uncomfortable for an long go. Still very happy with the purchase though, as which camp I fall in varies for 4-5 hr flights & I like having a lightweight option at hand.

    All that being said though - if MrsSleepy's along and I can stick them in her bag I go with the QC's!
     
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  14. Pizzaman
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    I've been a Bose advocate for quite some time. My first set of QCs lasted a decade. When they finally broke, Bose replaced them at a discount through their repair program. I tested a bunch of headphones at that point to find a pair my wife could wear. I tried quite a few, including Sennheiser, Sony, etc.

    I do think this is a YMMV thing, and Bose gets a bad rap for being the big name in the space. The feel of headphones that you're going to be wearing for hours on end is one of the most important factors to me. For me, that's Bose.
     
  15. tomv
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    tomv Silver Member

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    I had been a big fan of the Bose over the ear noise cancelling headphones, but I eventualy grew tired of the bulk. I recently switched over to the Bose ear buds and absolutely love them!
     
  16. nomflyer
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    nomflyer Silver Member

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    I borrowed a pair of Bose QC15 and Sennheiser PXC 250-II headsets and was able to compare them on a flight. The Bose had noticeably better noise cancellation. My music sounded better with the QC15 (I'm not an audiophile, so I'm not sure if this was simply due to the better noise cancellation). However, where the PXC 250-II win is size. They are much more compact and fold up into a smaller case. I have to admit though, they do feel a bit fragile and I'd be concerned about them breaking at some point. I can't comment on battery life, but one thing to note is you can still use the PXC 250-II to listen to music without the noise canceling feature turned on, while you cannot do this with the QC15. At less then half the price of the QC15, the PXC 250-II is not a bad value.
     
  17. Junca
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    Junca Silver Member

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    I have the Sennheiser PXC300. Got them a few years back now. Love them. Comfy, great case, noise-cancellation good enough for me.
     
  18. noam
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    noam Silver Member

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    I use a pair of UltimateEars TripleFi 10s, which are in-ear headphones. Before these I used a pair of Shure in-ears. On my really long flights (LAX-SYD, ORD-DEL), I will sometimes switch between my in-ears and the QC15s or other noise canceling headphones the airlines give out. I do quite like the QC15s, although I haven't been able to convince myself it is worth the space to carry them as well.
     
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  19. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    I'm currently using the new Denon .. biggest need I have is getting decent sound out of my laptop while cancelling aircraft noice, and it seems to get crisper and louder sounds than the Bose. (Laptop just doesn't produce loud enough sound)
     
  20. IMGone
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    My QC 2s are still going strong (they were replaced at least once due to the weakness) ... I love them and definitely expect any replacement to be a Bose either bud or another pair like these. The size and weight has caused me to leave them home for shorter trips. They make such a difference!
     
  21. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    I have a pair of Shure in-ear earbuds, they are very comfortable and replaced a pair if QC2s that the plastic broke on. Been using them for almost two years and think they sound better than the bose even and the footprint is much better too :)
     
  22. tw116
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    tw116 Gold Member

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    considering i lose mine (or my kids take them) i use the brookstone retractable in-ear plugs. i think they are comfortable and keep other noise out. and not much of an investment but a must have for me on trips.
     
  23. arkleseizure
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    arkleseizure Silver Member

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    I've had the Etymotic Research ER4s for a while, and they are excellent. But on long trips, they get a little painful. I've been bringing my Sennheiser CX-300 as backups, and I may just start taking them as my primary headphones. For the $20 to $25 I paid on Amazon, they are really impressive headphones, and I don't have to worry as much about losing them on the trip.
     
  24. joanek
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    joanek Silver Member

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    I love my bose qc2, but also love the Shure SE530 in-ear earphones I have. I disliked in ear models, until a musician friend suggested I try the Shure's and get a pair of tips custom made. That was the key---the best 150 (or so) dollars I ever spent. They fit perfectly in the ear canal and are very comfortable. Had to have the right one replaced when it cracked after 3 years, but have been very happy with both the tips and the earphones. I checked the sound of various other shure models and other brands, but settled on these. Great for music and spoken word.
     
  25. Coathanger
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    Coathanger Silver Member

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    To keep my travel kit light my standard earphones are the Sennheiser CX 300 II.

    Good sound quality, fits into jeans pockets and it's not the end of the world if they broke at less than US$100.

    I had a look at the Bose QuietComfort range but the cost/benefit didn't stack up for me.
     

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