Since being cooped up in a confined space for some time is normal on flights, noise-canceling headphones have become standard for many professional airline passengers. Flying transcontinental subjects you to noise like that from a crying baby, from the galley, or the plane’s engine drone. Here are a few in-flight noise-canceling headphones for your use available in the market.
1. The Bose Quiet Comfort 3
The engineers at Bose crafted a small, in-the-ear headset with improved noise-canceling functionality over previous models. The craftsmanship of the device is high and the leather used is soft to the touch. The only problem with the unit is its rechargeable battery that is exclusively made by its manufacturers. This limits the length of use of the headset to the charge of the battery, as in-flight battery charging is impossible. The only way to get around this is to have another battery available for use. Fully charged, battery life is up to twenty hours.
All in all, the Bose Quiet Comfort 3 is a high quality headset. Basing on ratings of between 1 to 10, with 10 the highest, its noise cancellation functionality rates a high 9, comfort an 8, and sound quality a 9. The only passing mark is its portability, rating a 6 because of the battery issue. The list price of a pair is worth $349.00 retail.
2. The Audio Technica ATH-ANC7
The Audio Technica ATH-ANC7 is a unit with excellent sound quality and above-average noise cancellation capacity. The size of the unit amply covers the ears with leather cushioning, providing comfort despite extended use. The unit comes with its own carrying case and one detachable wire that can easily be attached or disengaged while on the plane. The switch for noise cancellation is located on the left earphone for ease of control. The quality of sound output is greatly enhanced when the noise cancellation function is turned on.
The Audio Technica ATH-ANC7 headphones are comparable to many top-of-the-line units. Its noise cancellation capacity scores a generous 8, the comfort is 8, sound quality is a high 9, and portability rates a 6. Its cost is a reasonable $219.95.
3. The Plane Quiet Platinum
The Plane Quiet Platinum is best suited for long-haul flights. The ample size and the plush leather of the headphones make the unit the most comfortable pair available on the market. Its sound output provides a great balance between the bass and other tones. The full-sized model, although a bit cumbersome to carry, comes with a detachable cord, making it easy to attach and detach. Another drawback is the noise cancellation switch, which located on the cord and is quite uncomfortable.
The Plane Quiet Platinum is a high quality and comfortable headphone that is reasonably priced compared with other full-sized models. Its noise cancellation capacity rates a high 8, the comfort rating is 9, sound quality checks in at a reasonable 7, and portability rates a 6. The retail price of the headphones is an inexpensive $99.95.
4. The Shure SE420
The Shure SE420 is one of the passive noise canceling headphones available on the market. The noise canceling function of the unit is at par with many active noise-canceling models. The unit produces a clear sound that ranks as one of the best ones in its class, but bass capacity is severely limited because of its design.
The headphones from Shure fit in your pocket but this convenience has an accompanying cost. The noise canceling function scores an 8, with comfort ranking at 7. The sound quality of the unit is a high 9, and portability ranks a 9. Its sticker price is a steep $399.99 retail.
5. The Sennheiser PXC 300
The Sennheiser PXC 300 fits snugly into the ear and is the most portable earphone on the market. The size makes it very comfortable to sleep with, especially when on red-eye flights. The unit though has two inconveniences because of its design. The first is that the noise cancellation electronics are contained in a separate unit that cannot be disengaged from the headset. The second design inconvenience is its below par capacity to cancel out propeller plane sounds as it only has the power output of two triple-A batteries to energize the noise cancellation functions. Even if batteries for the noise cancellation function are dead, the music function can still be used.
In review, the Sennheiser PXC 300 is a good noise cancellation unit in a conveniently small package. Its noise cancellation functionality rates an 8 out of 10, an 8 for comfort, a 7 for sound quality, and only a 6 from the separate noise cancellation electronics. The retail price of the unit is $199.99.
6. The JVC HANC250
The small package and design of the JVC HANC250 provides for adequate noise cancellation functionality and sound output quality. Like many other ear-designed headsets, they can be quite uncomfortable for long-term use despite the light pressure on the ears. The portability of the unit makes it easy to carry wherever you go, making it an average unit in its class.
Overall, the unit rates average functionality, with limited noise cancellation capacity rated at 7, average sound quality rated at 8, a rating of 7 for comfort, and an average of 7 for portability. The unit retails at $199.95.
7. The Sony MDR-NC5000
This headset offering by Sony is a disappointment, as its noise cancellation functionality and sound quality comes in at average. This conclusion was reached because of the need for high volume levels for effective sound cancellation function. At lower volume levels, the surrounding sound is still audible yet faint at best. The unit comes in a large and cumbersome design, with multiple cords for its functioning and two basic cords that need to be attached at all times. The saving grace for the unit is the ease of rechargeability as it has an adaptor capable of drawing power from an ordinary wall socket.
Overall, the Sony MDR-NC5000 provides adequate noise cancellation functionality, but its overall design makes portability difficult. It rates a 7 out of 10 for noise cancellation and sound quality. It rates a high 9 for comfort but flunks with a 4 in portability. The retail price of the unit is $399.99.