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After having just returned from a long trip on a very noisy airplane, what are the best headphones with noise cancellation? Since they must have active circuits, do any amplify the signal as well as do the noise canceling?
 

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It's a toss up between the Sony WM1000XM3 and the Bose QC35 II, both are around $300 or less on sale.

And yes, both have volume controls so you can add amplification.
 

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Second question: do either of these have a microphone, so that it can be used for video conferencing? And, what size audio connector do they have? 1/4" is a little inconvenient. For part of my air trip last week, I used the built-in, seat-back video for which I had to use the 3.5mm connector on the arm rest, and the other part, I had to use my iPhone, which required the Apple-supplied lightning-to-3.5mm adapter.
 

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Second question: do either of these have a microphone, so that it can be used for video conferencing? And, what size audio connector do they have? 1/4" is a little inconvenient. For part of my air trip last week, I used the built-in, seat-back video for which I had to use the 3.5mm connector on the arm rest, and the other part, I had to use my iPhone, which required the Apple-supplied lightning-to-3.5mm adapter.
The Bose used 3.5 mm connector when not using wireless. One problem with Bose. I started to update my headphones to the latest version of FW. As it was downloading I read on line a ton of complaints that the NC capabilty suffered with the latest FW update. I promptly stopped the download. I've found on planes NC headphones are ok, but not the end all for noise. You'll still hear the airplane (aeroacoustics predominately), it'll just be lower. I find the cancelling waves the device puts out can also be uncomfortable for long duration. I've gotten to the point I wear ear plugs and read. Small commuter jets are particularly bad. The larger planes are better noise insulated.
 

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Second question: do either of these have a microphone, so that it can be used for video conferencing? And, what size audio connector do they have? 1/4" is a little inconvenient. For part of my air trip last week, I used the built-in, seat-back video for which I had to use the 3.5mm connector on the arm rest, and the other part, I had to use my iPhone, which required the Apple-supplied lightning-to-3.5mm adapter.
They do have a mic you can use as a headset, but quality can be iffy since they are more for phone calls. I believe it requires Bluetooth to use this.

They come with a standard 3.5mm cable, and both have excellent Bluetooth support for connecting with phones and such. Might be better than getting tangled up at your seat.
 

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The WM1000XM3 are excellent at noise cancelling and sound great BUT they are rather heavy and warm after a few hours on the plane.

One thing I don't like about them is the NC will turn off after 5 minutes if you aren't using them to listen to something.
 

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After having just returned from a long trip on a very noisy airplane, what are the best headphones with noise cancellation? Since they must have active circuits, do any amplify the signal as well as do the noise canceling?
I think one could easily add the Bower & Wilkins PX7 to the mix.

https://www.techradar.com/reviews/bowers-and-wilkins-px7-wireless-headphones

https://www.whathifi.com/us/reviews/bowers-and-wilkins-px7-review

I have a pair and think they're terrific.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
How do wireless ones work on a plane? Is there a separate transmitter? Also, if they don't use replaceable batteries, how do they last for a 20 hour trip? I would assume wireless ones would use more power than wired.
 

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How do wireless ones work on a plane? Is there a separate transmitter? Also, if they don't use replaceable batteries, how do they last for a 20 hour trip? I would assume wireless ones would use more power than wired.
The Sony's have an included detachable headphone cord and dual-pronged airline adapter to allow wired usage, the battery is rated for up to 30 hours and I've used mine on a 14 hour flight with no problems. Also most airlines let use use bluetooth these days, I have a bluetooth enabled MP3 player.
 

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Also most airlines let use use bluetooth these days, I have a bluetooth enabled MP3 player.

I have the previous version of the Sony mentioned above. It does get warm on the ears. The noise cancellation is very good. The audio quality is quite good, and there is a Sony phone app that includes an equalizer and other settings you adjust to your taste.It has a built-in mic that I've used for phone calls--the sound quality isn't great.



Concerning bluetooth, it's possible to put your phone into airplane mode and turn on just the bluetooth transmitter; airlines generally allow this. You can then play any audio files you have in your phone (music or podcasts) wirelessly to your headphones. Alternatively, you can use the cable to connect the Sony headphones to your smartphone.
 

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I own Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 wireless noise cancelling headphones. They sound better than Bose and have nearly as good noise cancelling. They have a built in microphone for phone calls. I've never used them on a long flight but I have used them on many flights between charges. (12-16 1-2 hour flights.) They're selling around $100 now which is much less than I paid for them.



Martin
 

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I am a big fan of Sony WH-CH700N headphones. Though, they are almost 1/3rd the price of the Sony WM1000 and WM3000, the sound quality is definitely not 1/3rd. I have used them for 10+ hours flight and they were really comfortable throughout and did pretty good job in keeping the outside noise outside. :)
 

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I own Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 wireless noise cancelling headphones. They sound better than Bose and have nearly as good noise cancelling. They have a built in microphone for phone calls. I've never used them on a long flight but I have used them on many flights between charges. (12-16 1-2 hour flights.) They're selling around $100 now which is much less than I paid for them.



Martin

I can second the recommendation for the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 headphones. I had a set before buying my Sony WM1000XM3 headphones. I only replaced them because they were worn out from usage.


The Sony's are better sounding and at cancelling noise but at 1/3 the price the Backbeat's are a bargain.
 

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How do wireless ones work on a plane? Is there a separate transmitter? Also, if they don't use replaceable batteries, how do they last for a 20 hour trip? I would assume wireless ones would use more power than wired.
Oh yes they do. The genius of my Bose QC25 are they use a AAA and have a spot in the case for a spare. No worries about running out of juice (especially as many will not charge while playing wireless &/or ANC)! As for a 20 hour trip, I guess a few might manage that, you have to check reviews.

So far, there is no perfect model with great lovely sound and killer noise canceling. I've been looking and looking, as has my old business who was traveling to Asia repeatedly. He started sending me samples of different stuff (the best so far, something labeled "ABs" or "AEs"; the worst non-understandable logo ever).
- My Bose QC25 sure kill a LOT of noise, however sound flat or dull or I don't know how to describe it. Like 160k MP3: nothing obviously wrong, but just not fun.
- TaoTronics SoundSurge 46 sound pretty good and clear except the bass is really really heavy. Not boomy thank goodness but only listenable with "bass reducer" EQ on iPhone. Case nearly double as big as QC25.
- JBL Everest Elite 750 sounded OK passive but with amp/ANC on were awful boomy garbage. Barf, BAD DOG on yer James B. Whored Your Brand Out Lansing. Case maybe 25% bigger than QC25.
- My experience with Sony WH-1000XM3 was mixed. ANC on, I could not even hear the salesperson talking to me! But they were somewhat tight on my head so I thought "eh, to Asia? NOT!!" and the sound was still not open and lovely like I want.
My partner says he thinks the best mix of sound vs ANC is some Sennheisers he is sending me. I'm crossing my fingers!
 

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I can second the recommendation for the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 headphones. I had a set before buying my Sony WM1000XM3 headphones. I only replaced them because they were worn out from usage.


The Sony's are better sounding and at cancelling noise but at 1/3 the price the Backbeat's are a bargain.
Totally agree with this.
 

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I am a big fan of Sony WH-CH700N headphones. Though, they are almost 1/3rd the price of the Sony WM1000 and WM3000, the sound quality is definitely not 1/3rd. I have used them for 10+ hours flight and they were really comfortable throughout and did pretty good job in keeping the outside noise outside. :)
Agree. Sony WH-CH700N has good performance in denoise.
 

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I've tried a few different brands over the years and have recently swapped to B&O H9i's for my air travel.

I had 2 different Bose noise cancelling but the most recent were the QC25's and while these were really good, I found them quite uncomfortable after a few hours with my glasses on. While in the airport, I was walking past a B&O store and tried their H9i's. There were a few features that I really thought were a step up from the Bose and while I know that these were replicated in the QC35's I prefered the sound and flexibilty of the H9i's.

The B&O app is really good, allowing you to adjust the EQ in a number of different ways not just into the dedicatd pre-sets but also to adjust the soundstage which gives a wonderful expansive experience. I haven't been able to compare this to the Bose Connect app but I understand they have a similar offering but I'm not sure of the functionality. One thing I have found really helpful is the additional battery and how this can be swapped out when travelling. For me, this is a real benefit and something that wasnt available in the Bose equivalent.

The only down side of the B&O offering is the case that's supplied. From Bose, there was a hard case which when you're travelling is prefect. B&O's was a (rather nice, but) soft material bag with a draw string closure, not exactly the same level of protection & security offered by the Bose equivalent.
 

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I have 2: I use Apple Airpods Pro for calls and commuting (their connectivity and ease of use has been fantastic). For flights or longer listening where I don't need to do calls, I use Sony's wf-1000xm3. Both are wireless bluetooth earbuds.

Unfortunately, I've found the Sonys to be useless for calls, hence the Airpods, but they've got far better sound than the Airpods.

My #1 tip for noise cancellation is actually ISOLATION - I swear by Comply Foam tips. Absolute game changer for comfort and isolation.
 
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