Noise cancelling for flights only

The type of headphone I am looking for is (Closed-back, open-back, in-ear, wireless, etc):
Closed back or IEM with noise cancelling.

My price range is:
Would like to keep it as close to 100€ or as possible but certainly under 200€ or

I like to listen to:
Music! Everything from rap to opera, rock to flamenco, reggae to classical.

I will be using them for: (Travel, commuting, home, gym, etc…):
These are for use on flights only.

As I have mentioned elsewhere, due to having a heavy increase in work lately and also a young son (14 months now) I have been disconnected from the headphone world for a while now (4 or 5 months that seems like 4 or 5 years).

My increase in work also means am increase in flights and I am tired of the drone. I am looking for something with active noise cancelling to use on regular flights.

I am not searching for the best possible sound, although I would like to keep it as tolerable as possible for 3 or 4 hour flights.

I have tried the Bose offerings and whilst they were “ok”, there is nothing about them that makes me want to run out and drop that amount of cash on them.

I would prefer over ears (must fold) but I am open to IEM also.

My source would be the Shanling M2x and a Lenovo tablet (in the case of video content, although this is a secondary thing). I prefer to use cable where possible.

So, any recommendations on what to try out in the 100 to 200 bracket (closer to 100 would be better)?

Thanks in advance!

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I think most ANC headphones will cut the ANC off when you go wired. I could be wrong.

I know the Bose QC25 is in that price range. Kinda.

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Thanks @ProfFalkin, I’m not overly keen on the QC25 (I suppose I am pretty biased against Bose from the start :wink: )

As far as the ANC while wired, the models I have tried have all had ANC when using wired also, as long as the battery has charge. I automatically assumed they were all like that but I may be wrong of course).

Edit: I just checked the price of the QC25 just out of curiosity, they are only available used here and they are 250€!! :open_mouth:

Hi @SenyorC,

I would look for a pair of used over ears ANC

  1. Sony MDR-1000X
  2. Sony WH-1000X MK2
  3. Sony WH-1000X MK3

I have both the MDR-1000X and the WH-1000X MK3 both are really good for what they are, the MDR-1000X has better overall sound quality(in my opinion, audio is very subjective) than the MK3 however the MK3 has more features and is more comfortable, plus the MK3 has ‘rough’ eq functionality on the app.

I did a quick check of eBay and they have several offerings of the 1000 series, the MK2 version will also have the same app functionality as the MK3 but the original 1000 is not compatible with the app.

Also all three can operate wirelessly or wired (wired will sound a little better) and using them wired you still keep the noise canceling functionality.

Hope this helps, BTW the price range I saw on eBay for the original 1000 was around $75 American so the should be around 68 euros

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Thanks, I will see if I can find anything in eBay around here.

To be honest, I am not really bothered about apps as I would mainly use these wired, only on planes and I can eq from the DAP if needed.

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In that case I would check more for the original 1000X.
Also the battery life on the 1000 series of Sony’s is really good and mine have held up well, plus they have a quick charge feature that gives you “X” numbers of hours of listening on a 10 or 15 minute charge.

The ANC capabilities on these headphones is good, plus they have some interesting features, such as covering the right earcup with your hand will cut off the ANC so you can hear people, amoung others, if you end up getting a pair and have questions, send me a PM and I’ll try and help out.

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for iems er2/er2xr is in your price range and the isolation is as good as or better than the best of anc.
upside is they actually sound good

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The Bose QC20 IEM has better noise reduction than my QC25s, less bass but much easier to travel with, used on eBay they run 100 USD. I haven’t tried the Sony WH but some say they have better ANC than Bose.

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I recommend the Sony WH-H900N H.Ear On 2. It’s the baby brother of the WH-1000XM series and has, in my opinion, better sound quality but only slightly worse ANC capability.

I also just recently bought the AKG N700NC M2, though you can probably find the original version for much less now.

Both are somewhat Harman Target like headphones.

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Pretty sure Sony will Release their new version of their flagship ANC in the next several months which means current ones will go on sale or you could check out the new ones to see if there has been improvements made. I had the Sennheiser 550XII and they were decent but not at the price. For me ANC headphones will be something I look at as my air travel season approaches but for now closed backs are doing great.

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Seconding @Individual (edit: assumed @antdroid wrote that post - he’s the one who got me to buy the ER2XR!) here - I have the AirPods Pro, Bose QC25i, Bose NC 700, and Sony WH-1000XM3 and the ER2XR provides as much - or more - noise isolation as any of those options.

Comfort is an issue but power isn’t since it’s passive - only the QC25i in that list allows you to charge while using them. The ER2XR comes with a carrying case that’s on par with the AirPods Pro in terms of size. The Etymotics cable, I’m told, isn’t the most durable - no issues with mine.

I’ve tried cheap ANC options and they just don’t come close, which is why I bought the QC 25i 5 years ago. I picked up over ears to send a message to people trying to talk to me and for convenience (iOS user here, no headphone jack). I slightly prefer the NC 700 over the WH-1000XM3 but it’s almost too close unless you need a microphone for calls, at which point the NC 700 is the clear winner.

If it matters to you, know that charging type changes from year to year - only the most recent Bose and Sony offerings are USB-C.

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Thanks @abl (and all that have contributed so far).

I like the look of the AKG as it would certainly be handy to use them for calls (that way they don’t just get used for flights) but I can’t find any place that sells the M2 here, they just list the N700NC, which I am guessing is am older model.

After reading and listening to some demos, it seems that there is a ton of difference between the high end ANC and the others, so I guess I had just bite the bullet and buy once. I am avoiding Bose as I don’t really like how anything of theirs sounds, so I don’t think this will be any different.

I’ll keep looking to see if I can find the AKG anywhere, if not, I may have to buy from the US but then I have to add at least 25% for import, shipping etc.

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If I could recommend anything as a person who just went through the same thing your are doing then ended up returning the ANC headphones all together. Make sure the Noise cancelling feature on whatever you purchase works well enough to really handle airplane noise. It seems as if some of manufactures when making the their ANC headphones do a much better job with ANC than others. Then I would also consider the fact if you own mid fi or high fi headphones you will likely always turn to those for listening as most ANC headphones just won’t cut it sound wise compared to the other headphones you own.

So just keep that in mind with the money you are looking to invest in them. For me I think this time around when I look to get ANC cans I will look for a reasonably priced set that does well with ANC for airplane noise and mowing the lawn etc, and has a good sound signature with EQ built into their app without breaking the bank. This way my audio budget can be put into things that will see more use.

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Thanks for the input, I agree with you totally. I don’t expect these to replace my current headphones for music.

If the mic wasn’t so crappy on the Sony M3’s then at least I would use them for conference calls etc. and they wouldn’t be exclusively for flights. If I could find the AKG’s here I would certainly give those a try also based on the reccomendations above.

However, I have thought about just getting a cheaper pair for use on flights only, the problem is that there are so many options and so many reviews (mainly by reviewers that I have no experience with) that it makes it difficult to try and choose what may work.

I obviously have the option of just choosing a set from Amazon, trying them, returning if I don’t like them and trying different ones. However, every time I travel is a risk that I can’t return them for whatever reason (travelling for too long and missing the return window, article gets damaged etc.). I could also just donate the ones I don’t like to other people but once I have gone through 3 or 4 pairs, I could have just gone straight for the M3’s (as an example).

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Take a look at gaming headsets. They sound good, and are designed to keep out the baboon sounds at a gaming LAN party. They have long battery life.