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permalink   Sat, Apr 10, 2010 @ 6:24 PM
Hi all. I need to get noise canceling headphones. I’ve been mixing/listening on vintage sennies that don’t cancel noise at all, although I love the sound of them and the fact that they are very light.

I wish I knew the specs on them but they are so ancient I can’t even get tech stats on them. I like my bass warm and full and my treble crisp but not too chilly. My price point is around $100-150 and weight is a serious consideration. I don’t know if it matters but I mix right out of my laptop. I run sound from the laptop to a small stereo unit too which I suppose adds some amplification to the sound, but I have no other hardware, nor am I ever likely to have any.

I wanted to audition some headphones but I can’t find anywhere that had a decent selection and would let me try them out (seems nuts - how the hell are you supposed to know if you like them, like buying a car without driving it). Thanks in advance for your suggestions. I am hoping to get these off my family for my birthday in two weeks so time is of the essence :-).
permalink   Sun, Apr 11, 2010 @ 12:58 PM
Avoid bose, they sound nice, but they break very easily (and are likely out of this price range anyway)

I use this set when I want to block out the outside world:

These might be a bit different from what you are expecting in that they have no active electronics, they achieve 32db of sound reduction through being thick/insulated/tight. They are not incredibly heavy, and are in fact pretty light as far as ear-cups go.

The tightness is uncomfortable for some, it’s a necessary evil for this style of noise reduction though, and these sit completely around the ear, so it’s not pressing on your ears, just your head.

Benefits are that it works better for non-constant noise (great for live recording situations). And with the noise reduction being passive it works both ways, you can crank things pretty loud without disturbing others. Also, if you’re sensitive to very high frequencies, sometimes you’ll notice a high pitch whine with active cancelling sets, this of course isn’t an issue here, nor are batteries.

Downside is mainly comfort (compared to active sets), but if you like a full cup headphone with a tight fit these are a good choice. I’ve seen them priced new anywhere from $60 to $150.
permalink   essesq Sun, Apr 11, 2010 @ 2:12 PM
Thanks for the reply and the suggestion. I took a quick look at some reviews on the net for these and they seem to be very positive. I’m glad you mentioned the whine on the active headphones because that would indeed drive me bananas. My ears are very sensitive to upper frequencies.

I’m a little concerned about how tight these guys are but I know I can’t have the comfort of my HD 424s in a noise canceling set - yes they are over 20 years old and have only ever needed the ear pads replaced - they were actually made in Germany - I’m pleased to see that even the new models of the phones you suggested are made in Ireland.

I think getting real noise cancellation will transform my listening experience dramatically and will make remixing a whole lot easier for me. Last night I had to give up in a huff when I was working because I could hear a Tv going and all sorts of other nonsense while I was trying to listen to and play along with something. I also find that with my headphones trebles are a bit too sharp at times and I think that’s down to the sound escaping out the sides.

Thanks again.
permalink   go1dfish Sun, Apr 11, 2010 @ 5:08 PM
You can just barely make out the specs on the HD 424s on the manual pic here:

If they still make any headphones in germany, it must be their ultra high end ones, my (incredibly comfortable) HD 595s were made in Ireland as well.
permalink   essesq Sun, Apr 11, 2010 @ 5:20 PM
Hey that’s awesome! I also found the rest of the article helpful because it helped explain why the headphones might fall a little short when plugged into my laptop and newer stereo unit versus the amplifier/receiver they were bought with.

I like the washing instructions for the pads. Mine turn rosy with makeup :-). The pads cover half my face.
permalink   essesq Wed, Apr 14, 2010 @ 9:36 AM
Hey just wanted you to know I picked up my HD 280s today. Another major added benefit of them is that since they need a lot less power I now have VOLUME - woo hoo !!! Thanks for the advice.
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permalink   essesq Wed, Apr 14, 2010 @ 1:18 PM
Yes in an ideal universe we’d all download our mixes onto portable media and play them in our cars, our kitchens, our kids iPods etc. I have systems with such disparate personalities that I don’t think I’d be able to decide what to change.

These new guys are just so I can listen to what I’m playing on my digital piano and through my laptop which on the old ones I could barely do at all. They are very open and totally underpowered. As for the bass on the new ones, most reviewers say it’s a little weak, so I probably will have to run the mixes out on my real speakers to check for public consumption and adjust as necessary.

I have to get used to these guys. It’s like getting new glasses.
permalink   go1dfish Wed, Apr 14, 2010 @ 5:35 PM
Glad to hear they are working out for you =)

My 280s feel a more bassy to me than my 595s, but less so than many full cup sets. The 280s are aimed to be more on the reference set side of the headphone spectrum, so they have a flatter response curve than your average consumer set.

One thing to note though, I do recall these headphones having a wearing in period of their own over a few weeks, but don’t remember exactly what changed (they still sound great). Also, for this period you may not want to crank them *too* loud.

It’s always a good idea to check through multiple speakers/headphones particularly when first using new gear.
permalink   debbizo Tue, Mar 13, 2012 @ 5:02 PM
Hi essesq, How are you going with your HD280s a couple of years down the track? I have recently (almost) decided on buying a set of these and just came to the forum to look for any recommendations before committing. Thanks in advance, Deb
permalink   essesq Tue, Mar 13, 2012 @ 5:18 PM
I like my headphones a lot. I don’t use them nearly as much as I would like to. As I said in prior comments, they sound “better” to me when run through the additional amplification supplied by my little stereo, rather than just the sound out of my Macbook (which is a little thin on the ground).

They are very clear and uncuddly. I think that may be true of a lot of modern gear versus the kind of stuff I grew up using (I still have an old Onkyo receiver and my old turntable and when I put my old vinyl on there and listen through the old Sennies or the JBL speakers I had with it, it’s a whole other universe.)

For the money I don’t think you can go wrong with these guys. They are a little heavy and warm on the head (nice in the winter.. a little sweaty in the summer). For spoken word stuff you’ll probably find yourself feeling a bit more critical of yourself, but just let it go :-). Good luck.

P.S. It’s really nice seeing all your stuff on FB. I have to take the time to watch all the video and listen to all the poems, etc. I also love the pictures of your garden. :-)
permalink   debbizo Tue, Mar 13, 2012 @ 5:29 PM
Thanks so much for the really quick reply and I’m pleased that you are still happy with them.

Thanks for liking my stuff on FB and pictures of the garden. :-)
permalink   Kara Square Thu, Mar 15, 2012 @ 2:07 PM
Hey Deb- I happen to use HD 280’s as well… I’ve used them for years and have nothing negative to say about them. Just thought I’d chime in… :)
permalink   debbizo Thu, Mar 15, 2012 @ 3:47 PM
Hey thanks Kara. I actually got to try on a pair last night and found them comfortable, but didn’t have time to listen through them (it was during my singing lesson LOL). I still have one question in my mind about whether a pre amp is needed when used with a laptop / soundcard…because there isn’t a volume control (something I’ve been used to having).
permalink   Kara Square Fri, Mar 16, 2012 @ 6:08 AM
A preamp isn’t needed, but yeah, you’ll have to adjust the volume using the volume control on your computer. You could use a headphone amplifier or a monitor mixer, but both are probably unnecessary expenses. The headphone amp is great if you’re recording other people and need multiple headphones plugged in (after a quick search, there are cheaper options, but I own both of the things I linked). The monitor mixer is what I use to plug in my main monitors and it has 2 headphone inputs. If you aren’t using other monitors, I’d probably just get used to using the computer’s volume.
permalink   debbizo Fri, Mar 16, 2012 @ 2:52 PM
Thanks again Kara. I bought a set of HD280s yesterday but due to a miscommunication they weren’t ready to pick up when I got into the city. So I can’t play with them until earky next week…hopefully they’ll arrive on Tuesday.
permalink   debbizo Fri, Mar 16, 2012 @ 2:53 PM
permalink   debbizo Fri, Mar 23, 2012 @ 4:47 PM
They’re great!Definitely no pre-amp needed, they are loud!
permalink   Fri, Sep 28, 2012 @ 5:58 AM
I’ve heard of that last week and I am also interested in noise cancelling headphones!