Ten of the best... noise-cancelling headphones
World, shut your mouth
Sennheiser PXC 450
Sennheiser’s PXC 450 headphones won’t win any awards for elegance. They’re bigger and bulkier than any of their rivals, and the button that activates the noise-cancelling feature is in a stupidly awkward position. It’s also disappointing that such an expensive set of headphones doesn’t even include a rechargeable battery. However, Sennheiser’s NoiseGard technology was designed to protect the hearing of professional airline pilots and does a fine job of cutting out background noise – certainly coming close to the 90% reduction that Sennheiser claims. The sound quality is firm and strong, with plenty of detail, and they didn’t falter or start to distort the sound when we cranked up the volume on a few old Phil Spector ‘wall of sound’ epics.
Altec Lansing UHP805
The UHP805 headphones are nearing their ‘end of life’, which is how manufacturers quaintly refer to their old stuff. However, you can still pick them up at various online stores for less than £50, so they’re worth considering if you want a set of noise-cancelling headphones that don’t require you to take out a second mortgage. The noise-cancelling features work well, and the phones produce a nicely detailed sound. However, we would have liked a little more raw volume – especially on the higher frequencies – which could sometimes be a bit overwhelmed by the slightly bass-heavy sound.
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