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I need noice cancelling headphones for the office

digitalfrost

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So the company decided we would all be much better off in an office without walls. The whole building is still under construction and will be for some months. Also, I have a lot of people in the office that I can hear through my closed-back NAD HP50.

I like the HP50, however I've calibrated it to close 1db/oct falling frequency response using AutoEq. At home I have a Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro that I also calibrated accordingly. That said, the HP50 still lacks bass in my opinion, and the DT990 is still a tad bright. Oh well. They both sound great to me. The HP50 were first closed-back headphones that didn't have that can sound to my ears.

So I've made a shortlist:

- NAD VISO HP70 375€
- Sony WH-1000XM3 250€
- beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC Explorer 272€
- AKG N700NCM2 295€
- Shure AONIC 50 400€

The HP70 is obvious, I already have the HP50 in the office and I like it. However, for office headphones, they're really expensive. The Sony is currently being replaced by the WH-1000XM4 (380€), so you can get the XM3 for "cheap" and it seems to be the standard choice (aside from Bose QC35, which I don't care for). Seems like a good opportunity. The beyerdynamic is on the list because I like my DT990 at home, and the AKG is on the list because they belong to Samsung/Harman and should be close to Harman target out of the box.

Now. This is the office. I don't need audiophile dreams. I mostly need not to hear my co-workers. Also, it would be nice if I could use the headphones as a headset for meetings. Any advice?
 
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raindance

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Note that noise cancelling only works on constant noise; momentary sounds like speech aren't cancelled. You likely need noise isolating earbuds or headphones.
 

valerianf

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AKG N60NC.
Very light and reliable headphone.
Advantage: it is working well with Microsoft Teams.
US price: $99 promotional price
 

Racheski

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So the company decided we would all be much better off in an office without walls. The whole building is still under construction and will be for some months. Also, I have a lot of people in the office that I can hear through my closed-back NAD HP50.

I like the HP50, however I've calibrated it to close 1db/oct falling frequency response using AutoEq. At home I have a Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro that I also calibrated accordingly. That said, the HP50 still lacks bass in my opinion, and the DT990 is still a tad bright. Oh well. They both sound great to me. The HP50 were first closed-back headphones that didn't have that can sound to my ears.

So I've made a shortlist:

- NAD VISO HP70 375€
- Sony WH-1000XM3 250€
- beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC Explorer 272€
- AKG N700NCM2 295€
- Shure AONIC 50 400€

The HP70 is obvious, I already have the HP50 in the office and I like it. However, for office headphones, they're really expensive. The Sony is currently being replaced by the WH-1000XM4 (380€), so you can get the XM3 for "cheap" and it seems to be the standard choice (aside from Bose QC35, which I don't care for). Seems like a good opportunity. The beyerdynamic is on the list because I like my DT990 at home, and the AKG is on the list because they belong to Samsung/Harman and should be close to Harman target out of the box.

Now. This is the office. I don't need audiophile dreams. I mostly need not to hear my co-workers. Also, it would be nice if I could use the headphones as a headset for meetings. Any advice?
What software does your company use for meetings? Skype, Teams, Zoom?
 

Don Hills

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Note that noise cancelling only works on constant noise; momentary sounds like speech aren't cancelled. You likely need noise isolating earbuds or headphones.

Do you mean that they use DSP to do noise canceling? All of the NC headphones I know of use real-time analogue feedback: Microphones pick up ambient sound which is reversed and fed to the drivers. It works just as well with momentary sounds as with constant noise. Effectiveness reduces at higher frequencies due to the wavelengths involved, which is why voices tend to come through. Fortunately, the passive blocking provided by the closed back construction is more effective at higher frequencies.

NC phones usually have the microphone mounted inside the cup as close as possible to the ear canal. They pick up pressure variations caused by sound leaking in and cause a matching but opposite pressure variation to be generated by the driver. Some, like Bose, have an additional microphone on the outside of the cup to pick up ambient sound. This apparently improves effectiveness but is annoying outdoors in windy conditions...
 

thewas

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Dzhaughn

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I own the Sony's. The noise canceling is impressive on appliances, HVAC, road noise. Musically they have too much bass out of the box; equalizing is necessary for me. They come with an app that does some basic eq via bluetooth.

For me, how comfortable headphones are to wear is crucial, and you will not find decisive advice on that question. I don't love any headphones, overall. The Sony's are as good as any. Not having a wire is very nice in this respect.
 

soundwave76

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I auditioned all the top line models and ended up buying the new Bose N700. Give it a try!
 

xykreinov

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So the company decided we would all be much better off in an office without walls. The whole building is still under construction and will be for some months. Also, I have a lot of people in the office that I can hear through my closed-back NAD HP50.

I like the HP50, however I've calibrated it to close 1db/oct falling frequency response using AutoEq. At home I have a Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro that I also calibrated accordingly. That said, the HP50 still lacks bass in my opinion, and the DT990 is still a tad bright. Oh well. They both sound great to me. The HP50 were first closed-back headphones that didn't have that can sound to my ears.

So I've made a shortlist:

- NAD VISO HP70 375€
- Sony WH-1000XM3 250€
- beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC Explorer 272€
- AKG N700NCM2 295€
- Shure AONIC 50 400€

The HP70 is obvious, I already have the HP50 in the office and I like it. However, for office headphones, they're really expensive. The Sony is currently being replaced by the WH-1000XM4 (380€), so you can get the XM3 for "cheap" and it seems to be the standard choice (aside from Bose QC35, which I don't care for). Seems like a good opportunity. The beyerdynamic is on the list because I like my DT990 at home, and the AKG is on the list because they belong to Samsung/Harman and should be close to Harman target out of the box.

Now. This is the office. I don't need audiophile dreams. I mostly need not to hear my co-workers. Also, it would be nice if I could use the headphones as a headset for meetings. Any advice?
Sorry to read that. I'm not a fan of open plan offices at all. :/ It's faux freedom- sugarcoating of the mundane, if you will.
I'd go with a 1000XM3. As far as ANC cans go, they're actually rather flawless, sound quality wise. While the stock frequency response is very bass-bloated, the XM3 takes very well to EQ. Once the FR is within a few dB of the Harman target, they are actually rather pleasant headphones to listen to- relative to both ANC and non-ANC competitors in its price range.
The XM3's seldom spoken of strong-suit (because people sadly seldom mess with parametric EQing to a target) is their very fast bass. Fast kick drums and rich organ music sound awesomely well separated in the lower regions through these cans.
However, despite XM3's sounding better than ANC cans I've tried (Sennheisser Momentum 3, Bose QC35/N700, and some other less premium stuff that isn't competing) when all are tuned to the same target, the main reason to choose the XM3 is by far its superior noise attenuation.
Unfortunately, there is a severe lack of objectivity in reviews of ANC headphones' noise attenuation performance, and a great abundance of meaningless drivel. While how good a headphone sounds is more objective (mainly in the frequency response) than most think, it's significantly harder to give subjective takes on noise attenuation value over objective measurements than it is, in certain respects, for subjectivity over objectivity in audio quality.
The fact of the matter is, XM3's are still the top dogs in terms of ANC performance. https://www.rtings.com/headphones/tests/isolation/noise-isolation-cancellation-passive-active
What's particularly important is their ability to take out bass noise. Your music will likely overcast most of the upper frequencies on its own. But, low drones of fans, motors, etc. will constantly beat the beats of your tunes if you're using cans with poor noise attenuation in the bass.
Anecdotally, I've never had as much fun mowing with my octoblade mower https://bittube.video/videos/watch/3953c0c3-491e-402f-8daa-500a5be945eb
I can listen to podcasts and any genre of music I like without longing to get off and hear it at my desk setup.
 
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mnemonix

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Fast kick drums

In all my years of headphone listening I have yet to hear any sound that I could describe as "fast", or slow for that matter, and that includes headphones ranging from Audio Technica woodies to Stax Lambdas.

Isn't this just another audiophile conceit or is their some science behind it?

+1 for the Sonys though, this is exactly what I use them for and I find the noise cancellation to be the best I've encountered, but agree they need some eq and bass removal for optimal sound.
 

xykreinov

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In all my years of headphone listening I have yet
Isn't this just another audiophile conceit or is their some science behind it?
While "fast bass" is consistently misinterpreted, it really refers to the speed at which a driver can reset between vibrations- how fast it can go from producing a loud bass tone to silence, for example.
Lots of people get confused in thinking it refers to how fast a driver can move in general. This is why the misinterpreted meaning of the term is often lauded as audiophile conceit- anyone worth their salt knows that a driver vibrating faster would just be a driver producing a higher frequency.
I recommend watching watching this video by Danny Richie for more info:
 

xykreinov

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Well that convinced me. Will be ordering those. Thanks.
Cool, you're welcome. Interested to know what you think- I haven't really seen much talk of other people using them tuned to a target or anything.
 

Trouble Maker

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I've had the QC25s for 4~5 years and the noise canceling is incredible. I can only imagine the new gen ones given that rtings says the are 2~5 db on average better. I can't figure out what in the world might have happened in the QC25/35 @70hz. It seems like it doesn't show up in the NC700s.

I've been hankering for some of the newer wireless ANC headphones, but my QC25s still have plenty of life left in them so I can't bring myself to unnecessarily spend the money. These results really push me towards the Sony's, but they have their own problems. Have they fixed the cracked headband issue yet? And not just the Sony's but all of the newer ones have huge cases, but especially the Sony. The headphones themselves are about the same size as the QC25s but the case is 60% bigger. Why? I mostly use these while traveling. I like to travel light, but learned a while ago that I don't really like in-ears. The backpack I carry while traveling is only about 14L total so space matters!

At least most of them are going USB-C so I could carry 1 cable for my phone and headphones.
 

mnemonix

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While "fast bass" is consistently misinterpreted

Possibly, but not by me, I'm aware of the concept of frequency and understand what audiophiles think they mean when they use the term.

The question remains whether this is a real, audible or more importantly, measureable phenomenon given the physical characteristics of a headphone driver, and for the record I wouldn't trust a word Ritchie says since he's also the guy that produced this laughable video to "prove" the worth of audiophile cables :facepalm: so he has a track record for the misapplication of "science" to his chosen subject.

 
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xykreinov

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Possibly, but not by me, I'm aware of the concept of frequency and understand what audiophiles think they mean when they use the term.

The question remains whether this is a real, audible or more importantly, measureable phenomenon given the physical characteristics of a headphone driver, and for the record I wouldn't trust a word Ritchie says since he's also the guy that produced this laughable video to "prove" the worth of audiophile cables :facepalm: so he has a track record for the misapplication of "science" to his chosen subject.

It is absolutely a measurable "phenomenon". If it were not, servo subwoofers wouldn't be physically possible, for one.
Careful with that bias there. It's pretty silly to shrug off this guy's insight on the whole just because of one scientifically lacking position he has. It says a lot when Amir still supports plenty of Richie's stances despite thinking his cable voodoo is bs.
 

Mnyb

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I use Jabra Evolve 75 at my work comfortable and work well with teams "OK" on music but thats not the main focus when i work , noise cancelling is ok even on voices . We have also been victims of the popular "activity based office" i don't know the proper english term for it :).

A good coping strategy is noise cancelling headphones
 

Jimbob54

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Well, I have the Sony XM2- weird fit (small ish oval shape) so somewhere between on and over ear- also there is a creak in one cup that the ANC then amplifies when walking- which iv v frustrating- so much so I gave to the wife.

Regarding the rest, all I can say is if the AKG 700 is good enough for Sean Olive....(He isnt a headphone fan apparently, but uses them functionally) https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ased-on-harman-target-curve.14200/post-482904
 

raindance

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Do you mean that they use DSP to do noise canceling? All of the NC headphones I know of use real-time analogue feedback: Microphones pick up ambient sound which is reversed and fed to the drivers. It works just as well with momentary sounds as with constant noise. Effectiveness reduces at higher frequencies due to the wavelengths involved, which is why voices tend to come through. Fortunately, the passive blocking provided by the closed back construction is more effective at higher frequencies.

NC phones usually have the microphone mounted inside the cup as close as possible to the ear canal. They pick up pressure variations caused by sound leaking in and cause a matching but opposite pressure variation to be generated by the driver. Some, like Bose, have an additional microphone on the outside of the cup to pick up ambient sound. This apparently improves effectiveness but is annoying outdoors in windy conditions...
The extra mic is for the "aware" mode where it lets you hear announcements, etc. And yes, most active noise cancelling is low frequency, below speech range. The cheap Taotronics EP008 that I keep recommending is an excellent buy for the use described. The sound quality is a bit splashy in the mid-treble, but EQ helps if this offends your ears. Bass wise they're like having a subwoofer nearby, but it's not too heavily accentuated. The noise cancellation is excellent and they are very solidly built. Battery life after charge is a solid 15 hours. You can use comply tips with them for even better isolation.
 
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