Noise Cancelling Headphones

I recently purchased a pair of Sennheiser PCX150 noise cancelling headphones for use at work.  I was having trouble with the noise levels in the office and I personally find that while playing music in normal headphones helps, it also makes it hard to concentrate.  After having had them for a month or so it's time to review them. 

I purchased my pair for around $150 from The Source by Circuit City.

For those of you who haven't seen noise cancelling headphones in person the idea is pretty simple.  All the ones I've seen work in the same general manner.  There is a microphone and a processor on the cable between the headphones and the headphone jack.  The microphone detects the background noise and creates some sort of counter noise wave that cancels it out.  At least that's my very simplistic understanding of how it works.

In the PCX150 the microphone/processor component is circular and just wide enough for it's single AAA battery.  It's around 3 inches long.  There is also a switch that allows you to turn the noise cancelling on and off.  One thing I've noticed is that while the noise cancelling is enabled the music sounds a lot better.  Bass response is improved and the music sounds clearer.

Where I work is air conditioned and the air conditioner is quite loud.  It's also an open pod idea with our pod being next to the BAs pod.  This results in a lot of noise when they are having conversations. 

The first thing I noticed when I turned them on was the fact that the air conditioning noise went away immediately.  I think because of constant and consistent nature of the noise they have an easy time dealing with it.

With voices it's a little different.  You still hear people but it's much quieter.  And if you put some music on at a low volume the voices completely go away.

The have two complaints with them.  The first is the fact that while using them I get a weird pressure feeling on my ears.  I assume it's related to whatever they do to cancel the actual noise.  It's only really noticeable if I pay attention though so it's not a deal breaker.  The second is that after using them for a long period of time they make my ears hurt a bit. 

I use to work with a guy who had Bose QuietComfort 2 noise cancelling headphones.  They were larger then the ones I have and much more expensive but like all things you get what you pay for.  With his you could put them on and not hear a thing.  It was pretty crazy how good they were at filtering noise but once again they over twice as expensive as the PCX150's. 

So with all that said I would give the PCX150 a buy recommendation if you are interested in a cheaper pair of noise cancelling headphones.  Sennheiser is a good name and for the price you get a pretty good product.

posted @ Wednesday, November 07, 2007 8:53 PM

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# re: Noise Cancelling Headphones

Left by Adam Kahtava at 11/14/2007 1:03 PM
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I feel your pain. I purchased my first pair of noise canceling earphones over a year ago. My work environment was way too noisy back then - get this, I was sitting beside a pop machine, so all day people would be dropping in change and buying pop (klunk, klunk, klunk, ka-ka klunk!) x 20. I ended up purchasing a pair of Sony MDR-NC6 for $40, then I switched the foams from a pair of Sony MDR-V150 for even better noise canceling.

Here's an interesting tidbit, according to the book Peopleware. Listening to music reduces your creative capabilities which reduces your ability to work. The book is well worth the read if you haven't already. A link to Peopleware: http://www.amazon.com/Peopleware-Productive-Projects-Tom-DeMarco/dp/0932633439

# re: Noise Cancelling Headphones

Left by Shane Courtrille at 11/15/2007 7:27 AM
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Peopleware is definitely on my list of things to use and I agree completely with the music thing. I find when I don't play any music I can think a lot easier and more clearly.

In hindsight I think it might have made sense to spend the extra money and gone right to the Bose QuietComfort 2 but c'est la vie.

I do find music without lyrics isn't as bad as my brain isn't always trying to listen in on them.

# re: Noise Cancelling Headphones

Left by Convert Inches at 7/2/2009 4:52 AM
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Listening to music reduces your creative capabilities which reduces your ability to work. The book is well worth the read if you haven't already.

# re: Noise Cancelling Headphones

Left by portable dehumidifier at 4/23/2010 11:25 PM
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The smart Sennheiser PCX150 allows to enjoy music even in the noisy environmnet. It has noice cancelling technology in it where it helps to reduce the noise by 70%. It is widely used during air travel.
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