Tip to improve your noise canceling headphones....

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by Lufthansa Flyer, Dec 30, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    For those of you who travel with your trusty Bose QC’s, Sennheiser, Sony or any other noise canceling headphone, try this the next time you’re flying. This idea creates about as much noise elimination as you will ever have on a flight (yes, including the teething baby sitting in the first row of economy while you are in the last row of First….ask me how I know). It almost gives you a sense of vertigo with the silence while still travelling at 350-400mph!

    What I have discovered is by combining the strengths of 2 technologies, I’ve virtually eliminated background noise and dramatically improved the sound quality that I get from my iPad. What I have been doing is using my earbuds (Bose Mie2i’s) and my noise canceling headphones (Bose QC15) in tandem. It wont matter what brand of earbuds or noise canceling headset you use but the difference will amaze you.

    I basically insert my earbuds as I normally would, and then cover them with the Noise Canceling Headphones. In the case of the Bose Headphones, I remove the cable from the headset since I don’t need it and just turn them on for their noise canceling ability while using the earbuds for the music input. If you can’t detach your wire for the the headphone, simply coil it up and attach it to the side of your headset with a zip tie.

    This accomplished a few things for me. It dramatically improved the sound quality by improving both bass and treble and it also eliminated what I would say is about 95% of the background noise.

    Yesterday was a perfect example. My wife and I were traveling home from SNA to GRR and during our SNA-ORD leg I was seated in the last row of 1st (3B on a CO 737), and behind me was a baby having trouble with teething. She cried for about 70% of the flight. I only ever noticed the screaming when I took off my headset to speak to my wife (who I couldn’t hear at all with the headset/headphone combo on) or the flight attendant during meal service.

    The drawback is that you need to carry another piece of equipment on board, but since earbuds are such a small item that fits into the headphone case anyway, it seems like a small inconvenience for what amounts to almost total elimination of ambient noise when you are on an airplane. You’ll also gain more battery life from your noise canceling headphones since you’re not using them for the music. Try it next time you’re on board……
     
  2. TAHKUCT
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    TAHKUCT Gold Member

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    Interesting idea. I will give it a try on my way back home in a few days. Do have with me my noise canceling headphones and my earbuds :)
     
    rwoman and Lufthansa Flyer like this.
  3. man on the move.

    man on the move. Silver Member

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    Better are a pair of etytomic 4p with a pair of passive hearing defenders over the top. I get probably 36 db reduction with this set up. Good enough for high noise environment. For sleeping I use quality foam plugs - soft green ones Howard Leight.
     
  4. Tivoboy
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    Tivoboy Milepoint Guide

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    I've done this before with some ety's and one thing one can do is keep the volume on the ety's SO LOW since there is nothing around them to compete with.
     
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  5. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Sometimes I wonder why noise cancelling headphones, which do attenuate nearly as well as IEMs and do not provide the same sound quality, are so much more popular. It sure seems like there's an opportunity for the IEM vendors to come up with a marketing message to bring more people to their product. While there's always the "can't stand stuff in my ears" crowd that will never try IEMs, there are also a lot of people who equate IEMs with cheap, nonisolateing "earbuds".

    I'd say set up a demo, but it's not trivial to do that in any sort of sanitary way.
     
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  6. moa999
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    moa999 Gold Member

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  7. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I have both. I like the size of my Shure "buds" and the comfort of my BOSE QCs :) On domestic trips, I nowadays always take the in-ears, but on TPACs or TATLs I take the BOSE if I can squeeze them in my carry on.

    But yes, setting up a demo that would let me try different in-ears and try to find some that are really comfortable would certainly help.
     
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  8. man on the move.

    man on the move. Silver Member

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  9. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    With the fit of IEMs so individual, it'd be great if there was a way to try them on. I have Ultimate Ears TripleFi that I know are just too big for many ears, and just barely work in mine, as long as I use foamies. I've yet to get a good setup with silicone tips - can't get any of the options to seal properly.

    The logistics of trying to accomplish such a demo without swapping ear wax are somewhat daunting, although mostly doable. It'd pretty much take a specialty store to do it.

    Fortunately for me, I find IEMs very comfortable over long periods, once I've adapted to a specific pair. The performance is tough to beat.
     
  10. gobluetwo
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    gobluetwo Silver Member

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    Hmm, never even considered that! Maybe I'll look for some lower profile shooting ear muffs.
     
  11. TAHKUCT
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    TAHKUCT Gold Member

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    744,

    I have tried your suggestion, however I cannot confirm that it blocked noise 100% in my case, but probably decreased it by 20%.
     
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  12. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    i never said 100%!!! I said 95%! :)

    but I am glad that you noticed an improvement.
     
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  13. TAHKUCT
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    TAHKUCT Gold Member

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    There is for sure an improvement. Plus being in F helps tremendously :D
     
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  14. autolycus

    autolycus Gold Member

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    My etymotic ER-6's do a very good job of attenuating sound. I think much better than any of the active systems. I almost wish I'd gone for the 4p instead because I know they're even a step up above mine for attenuation. And then there's the option of custom earpieces to go with the etymotics...

    I wonder if anybody on MP has any experience with the custom IEMs to say if the improvements in comfort and noise attenuation are worth the time and money involved with getting the custom fit. Anyone?
     
  15. emajy
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    emajy Silver Member

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  16. autolycus

    autolycus Gold Member

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    Yikes. I don't know that I would trust myself with that project. You at least had all the tools and experience necessary to make impressions. I can be handy, but I would not trust myself shoving stuff in my ears. My dad always told me to never stick anything other than my elbow into my ear. Not that I've always followed that advice--clearly, seeing how I use IEMs regularly.

    I would probably use a professional audiologist through etymotic's own program: http://www.etymotic.com/customfit/index.html
     
  17. emajy
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    emajy Silver Member

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    Pushing your limits is learning but knowing ones limits is the most important thing!
     

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