Noise-canceling Headphones, Pros and Cons

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Patricia Marcher

May 18, 2007, 7:31:12 AM5/18/07
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Date: Fri, 18 May 2007 06:31:12 -0500 (CDT)

Noise-canceling Headphones, Pros and Cons

Noise-canceling Headphones – Pros and Cons

By Patricia Marcher

As a consequence of my athletic lifestyle over the last 30 years, coupled with my manic obsession for high quality music during the course of my daily workouts, I have suffered hundreds of technologically inferior headphones in my personal pursuit of those that provide the greatest comfort and highest quality sound while limiting extraneous noise which interferes with my concentration and focus. For the active and athletically inclined, of all ages and levels of excellence, hear me loud and clear! If you have been searching for such an accessory, you have come to the perfect online store!

The line of products that I offer will provide the perfect balance between your ability to mentally and physically focus upon your chosen activity and your complete immersion into the unique and compelling world of energizing sound virtually free from extraneous noise and distractions.

The staggering effects of my “Noise-canceling” headphones will seduce your senses while providing an exhilarating backdrop for spirited and task directed physical conditioning.

In order to asses the “price/sound” ratio, I began a systematic process of practical experience in conjunction with a comprehensive and exhaustive research of a variety of headphones which were compatible with various technologies such as MP3 players, automobile CD and DVD stereo systems, personal computer data processors and telecommunication systems of all varieties.

The music from these selected “Noise-canceling” headphones provides an enclosed sound system, which emphasizes bold and clear lyrics and instrumentation. I was astounded by my ability to immediately recognize various subtleties that I had always listened to, yet not heard.

My research has developed significant objective, quantifiable differences between noise-canceling headphones and those that do not have this capability. Included in these comparisons, I specifically targeted enclosed ear covers compared with those commonly referred to as “earbuds” and “earclips”.

I currently feature a variety of (12) separate and distinct headphone/headset styles and technologies. For the cost conscious shopper, I have ranked these products by price.

My most expensive headset is the Sony YMDRNC50 at $149.99. My least expensive, with the noise-canceling feature, is the Maxell MXLHPNC3 at a price of $39.95, which is considerably less expensive than many other well respected brands.

Both high and low-end headphones are lightweight, fold for compact storage after use, come equipped with a carrying case and a lifetime warranty.

Please note that price, while an indication of greater manufacturing and technological sophistication, does not automatically translate into the most comfortable fit and superior quality and crispness of sound. Each person will enjoy certain physical abilities, unique to them. Listening and hearing capabilities obviously vary. You will be able to gauge for yourself which product best suits your specific listening needs.

There are advantages and disadvantages in using “Noise-canceling” Headphones. These are best described in Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia as follows: “Noise-cancelling headphones reduce unwanted ambient sounds (i.e., acoustic noise) by means of active noise control. Essentially, this involves using a microphone, placed near the ear, and electronic circuitry which generates an “antinoise” sound wave with the opposite polarity of the sound wave arriving at the microphone. This results in destructive interference, which cancels out the noise within the enclosed volume of the headphones.”*

Keeping low noise at the ear makes it possible to enjoy music without raising the volume unnecessarily. It can also help a passenger sleep in a noisy vehicle such as an airliner.

Retail noise-canceling headphones typically only cancel the lower-frequency portions of the noise. They depend upon traditional noise suppression techniques (such as their earcups) to prevent higher-frequency sounds from reaching the interior of the headphone. This traditional noise suppression technique has three benefits:

1. The demands on the circuitry are vastly simplified.

2. Because of the shorter wavelength of the high-frequency sound, active cancellation is much less effective at higher frequencies. To truly cancel high frequency components (coming at the ear from all directions), the sensor and emitter for the canceling waveform would have to be adjacent to the user’s eardrum, an impractical situation.

3. For the same reason (shorter wavelength), effective passive isolation becomes easier with rising frequency.

Noise-canceling headphones have several disadvantages that vary from vendor to vendor:

1. They consume power, usually supplied by a battery, that must occasionally be

replaced or recharged.

2. They may not cancel all sound effectively. Some noise-canceling headphones can

be overloaded by low-frequency pressure waves, distorting the desired signal. They work well for sounds that are continuous, such as the hum of a refrigerator, but are rather ineffective against speech or other rapidly changing audio signals.

3. They may introduce additional noise, usually in the form of high-frequency hiss.

4. They are generally more bulky than traditional headphones.

5. They may pick up and convert stray electromagnetic fields, such as a mobile phone signal, into unwanted noise.

6. When used by flight crews, noise-canceling headphones can block out important noises such as alarms, abnormal engine noise, and other aircraft while on the ground. The FAA has issued a warning about the dangers of noise-canceling headsets.

A number of airlines in their business and first class cabins supply noise-canceling headphones (as mentioned above, this works very well with the “continuous hum” situation). In these cases, the headphones are about the same size as normal headphones. The actual electronics to take the sound from the microphone behind the headphone, invert it, and add it back into the audio signal is done in the plane handrest.

These systems often have a special channel allocated with no underlying audio signal, thereby only using the noise cancellation. This can make sleeping easier, as the noise is significantly quieter than with no headphones on at all.

We encourage you to visit our store for the finest selection of competitively priced “Noise-canceling” headsets available. Should you respectfully decline to do business with us, we, nevertheless, urge in the strongest fashion, you purchase a “Noise-canceling” headset as and for your next entertainment accessory. You will be greatly impressed!

*Wikipedia is a registered trademark of the Wikipedia Foundation, Inc., a US-registered 501(C)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit charity.

Female, 54 years of age, Aerobics Instructor, Music Buff, 15K runner, ½ marathon runner, college graduate, mother of 3, business entrepreneur for 17 years, owner of 8 sailboats, sailing enthusiast, experienced sailor in southern waters, particularly Caribbean and Bahamas. Interests include extensive gardening, sailing, bicycling, walking, running, weight-training, reading, interior design and decorating. New owner of website selling noise-canceling headphones and other cool things.

Patricia Marcher, President/CEO

My commitment to you is your listening pleasure!

Delta Airlines

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