There’s nothing fancy about Panasonic’s HC500 headphones. They’re a big fat set of phones that produce a big fat sound. The noise-cancelling feature isn’t the most effective in this group, and Panasonic admits that it’s really only effective with quite low-frequency sounds, such as the rumble of an airplane engine. However, the headphones produce a nice, punchy sound that works well with rock music. More expensive rivals such as Denon and Bose produce a more finely detailed sound, but the HC500 is a good choice if you’re on a budget and you just want a nice loud set of headphones with a noise-cancelling option.
Reg Rating 75%
More Info Panasonic
We’ve indulged Audio-Technica with a second review as we don’t see many noise-cancelling – as opposed to ‘noise isolating’ – in-ear headphones. Of course, jamming the rubbery earpieces into your ear canal provides an additional element of noise-isolation too, with the result that the ANC3 does a very good job of cutting out background noise. The sound quality was pretty good too, especially on higher frequencies where you could hear all the layers of vocal harmonies on some of those old Queen epics. We also like the little ‘monitor’ button on the cable, which allows you to quickly mute the audio when – as happened to us – someone stops you in the street and asks for directions. ®
Ten of the best... noise-cancelling headphones
Nokia Bluetooth Stereo Headset BH-905, altough a lot pricier (?), would seem still to be the pair for me. It works with cable also. Shame you didn't review them here as well. They seem to beat all of your choices.. Atleast in pr-speek.. :P
Poor Quality Bose
If you go out and spend all that money on the Bose product, don't expect them to last. I spent the money on some Bose QC2s which fell apart at the cheap plastic part joining the headband to the cups. I'm not alone. See here http://getsatisfaction.com/bose/topics/warning_bose_will_not_repair_or_replace_broken_qc2_headphones. Bose will tell you that they have improved the design in this area - they won't repair my pair because they are the improved design!
How about passive cancelling?
Etymotic ER4p FTW.
Although, not everyone gets on with the inner-ear headphones.
But, amazing sound reproduction. Top-notch noise-cancelling. No bulky ear-pieces. And no batteries required.
The last round-up failed to consider...
...the more bearable over-ear types. And this one doesn't make it clear if these active ones perform any better at noise reduction, nor whether a single-cell MP3 player then has enough power to drive them.
Or why it's worth spending any more than some regular ear buds with a £10 pair of B&Q (or even cheaper Wickes) ear defenders over the top. Unless they're hugely effective at noise cancellation on an aircraft then sound reproduction quality is hardly an issue; you might as well use the free ones.
Various questions... and answers
A question to The Reg: Why not add the Bose QC2 headset? They are different to the QC3 in size and powering method.
Those asking about carrying cases, Bose ships a semi-rigid case for theirs that fits the QC2 and QC3 perfectly.
And the customer service you get from them is definitely worth the money... And yes, their headphones ARE worth that much for the quality of sound and quality of noise cancelling.