Headphone Fun

I have a pair of JVC HA-FX300B sound isolation headphones which

come with three different sized silicon rubber earpieces and a pair of memory foam earpieces for a customized fit

They look like this

JVC HA-FX300B Headphones

and cost me a bit less than $100 (somehow I only buy headphones in airports, and usually American airports). These rely on a good fit from the memory foam to block out external noise. It’s a lot like popping in a pair of earplugs, but with built in headphones.

I have a pair of Sony MDR-NC22 noise cancelling headphones. These

have an inside microphone on each earpiece that work with an electronic circuitry to create an opposite sound wave to reduce wave. Up to 75% ambient noise cancellation (12dB at 30Hz)

They look like this

Sony MDR-NC22 Headphones

and also cost me a little bit less than $100.

Taking the memory foam earpieces from the JVC HA-FX300Bs and fitting them to the Sony MDR-NC22s cost me nothing, and really works. The fit is (just) good enough that the memory foam pieces don’t fall off and get stuck in your ear canal, which is what I was scared of when I first tried it and still terrifies me. Apart from that, I can’t see any reason not to upgrade them in this way; now I have the best of both worlds: sound isolation and noise cancelling. Great for long flights.


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  1. … or for when you’re sat next to James Thomas. Don’t worry too much, I am a survivor of memory foam inserts stuck in your ear canal syndrome.

    Comment by Darren — July 17, 2008 #

  2. I’d be interested to know how the Sonys compare with the over-ear type. I have a pair of aging Bose QuietComforts (the ones that were all the rage at one point), and I know they’re going to die somewhere between LHR and Chicago at some point :) I’d love something a bit more compact. Do you have any idea how they would compare with the active noise cancellation on in-ear headphones like this?

    Comment by Andrew Ferrier — July 17, 2008 #

  3. Yes, I lost an inner ear headphone on the way over to New York this week (well, 2 actually which was a bit unlucky/embarrasing).

    It’s a question of having the right tools though… Once I had a cunningly shaped coffee stirer it only took about 10 mins of careful prodding to get them out!

    Comment by daveb — July 17, 2008 #

  4. In my limited experience (I’ve borrowed some Bose, but never owned any) the Bose noise cancellation is unbeatable. That said, the Sony noise cancelling range is pretty good if you can bear a tiny bit of hiss. It would probably get annoying in a really quiet environment, but on a plane is unnoticeable, at least to me. For flying, they’re great. The noise cancelling effect is especially good with the low frequency rumble of the engines.

    I find the NC22 earbuds pretty comfortable. Even more so with the memory foam replacements from the JVCs, which seems to cut out a lot of the higher frequencies too.

    Comment by Roo — July 17, 2008 #

  5. Hmm, OK. I was thinking about just replacing mine with the latest Bose ones, but I might give these a try – problem is, no-one likes lending you their in-ear headphones – for obvious reasons!

    Comment by Andrew Ferrier — July 18, 2008 #

  6. Bizarre-o, we blogged our headphones 1 week apart – mine is here: http://timpoultney.blogspot.com/2008/07/note-on-travel.html

    Comment by timdp — July 30, 2008 #

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