Feeds

Ten... noise-cancelling headphones

Ditch that din

High performance access to file storage

Product Round-up Based on technology developed in the 1980s for airline crews, noise cancelling headphones are getting better every year. They are no longer luxury items but essential for frequent travellers, making journeys more tolerable.

Built-in microphones detect extraneous sound, such as aircraft engine hum or noise from trains and buses. The headphones actively reduce the noise by emitting a counteracting waveform. Almost all use a AAA battery, on average providing about 40 hours of use.

In-ear headphones offering greater sound isolation get you off to a good start, while over-ear designs may improve soundproofing with padded ear cups. Extras to look for include cabling with an in-line mobile phone microphone, volume controls and a monitor or ‘talk-through’ button if you need to mute sound and cut noise cancellation briefly.

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC23

RH Numbers

The main issue with in-ear headphones is that a proper fit depends significantly on your own ears. For me this pair was not as comfy as the others. The features are standard: a AAA battery housed in a control unit plus volume adjustment, but no phone mic or monitor mode. Its noise cancellation is agile at reducing background hubbub and it works as a normal pair of headphones with cancellation off. Sound quality is well pronounced but it tends to be cold and clipped as opposed to rich and resonant. Its springy wires also cause the ear-bud mics to interpret head movements as ‘noise’ to try and cancel out, causing distortion.

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC23

Reg Rating 55%
Price £59
More info Audio Technica

Blackbox M16

RH Numbers

If you’re not committed to travelling light, these chunky, over-ear headphones wipe out most exterior sound even before noise cancelling. They also work as standard headphones without cancellation being on. When you do activate it, the worst of the outside world’s sonic distractions are lifted largely away. A single AAA battery fits inside the right ear can. There’s no talk-through button but the removable cable includes volume controls and a phone mic (a rare feature). Audio quality is good overall. Its characteristics change subtly when cancellation is on – not better or worse – just different. The bass is strong without being overbearing, while vocals and higher notes are light and airy.

Blackbox M16 noise-cancelling headphones

Reg Rating 70%
Price £165
More info Blackbox

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
Too much pixel dust for your strained eyeballs to handle
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nvidia gamers hit trifecta with driver, optimizer, and mobile upgrades
Li'l Shield moves up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, GameStream comes to notebooks
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android
Fake kit in the hermit kingdom? That's just Kim Jong-un-believable!
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.