Excellent Bang-For-Your-Buck Noise Cancellation for frequent flyers!
Dec 10, 2006
Rated a Very Helpful Review by the Epinions community
Pros:Very compact, great price, good sound quality, comfortable, attractive
Cons:No volume adjustment, in-line battery pack a bit heavy
The Bottom Line: Maxell HP/NC-III, an excellent compact set of noise cancelling headphones. A definite must have for a frequent flyer.
I am a frequent flyer and have been enduring airline engine noise for quite some years. I purchased a portable DVD player for flying and I was so disappointed when I couldn't hear the audio from it because of the droning, ambient sound of the aircraft - even with what I thought were a very decent pair of headphones.
I started browsing the web for noise cancellation headphones and I was shocked to see the steep prices of the most popular NC headphones; they were more expensive than my portable DVD player - more than I was willing to pay for airplane listening pleasure. I had searched for reviews of this model and surprisingly there were very few. The ones that I did read were all favorable, thankfully.
I did some price hunting online and happened upon this model for $26.00 CAD! I decided that I would purchase them at my earliest convenience. They ended up on sale for $20.00 CAD when I got to the store! (NCIX.com - locally available to me, but that's for another review).
I was keeping my fingers crossed when I first tried them on. I was a bit skeptical because of the lack of consumer reviews and the very affordable price.
The first thing I noticed was that these headphones felt a bit fragile when folding and unfolding them, but once they were on my head they felt solid enough for my comfort. I did also notice that the battery pack/noise cancellation switch weighed down on the cords a bit, but when sitting in an airplane seat that doesn't matter too much.
I appreciate the carrying case. It is non-descript. I especially like having the airplane jack adapter now that airlines are charging a rental fee for inferior headsets.
The earcups are not full size, but they fully cover my ears. I put them on in passive mode (Noise Cancellation - OFF) and they did a very decent job of blocking out ambient noise. Then I switched them to active mode (Noise Cancellation - ON) and WOW! It sounded like I was in a sound booth.
My son has hearing loss and I have been in and out of audiology isolation booths since he was a toddler; the quiet created by these headphones imitates that experience. The noise cancellation worked so well that I could barely even hear myself talking.
The sound quality coming through this model is quite impressive. The upper ranges are clean (not tinny at all), the mid-ranges are clear and crisp and the low-range is a bit on the muffled side, but decent. Audiophiles may not agree with me, though.
I've tested these on my laptop using WinAmp 5.1 with high bitrate MP3s, same on my desktop PC with a 5.1 surround sound soundcard and my portable DVD player has Dolby Digital Surround Sound. I have not tried them with my Stereo, but I don't listen to music through headphones at home. Of course, the quality of sound will be affected by the audio equipment that is used.
I haven't tried the Bose or any other high end set of headphones, yet. I do have a Bose sound system at home, but I use that for open air audio enjoyment. I am curious to compare this Maxell HP/NC-III to something like a Bose NC set of headphones to see how it matches up, but I would never pay that kind of money for headphones anyway.
For my purposes, this was an excellent purchase. I highly recommend this set of headphones to anyone doing any kind of commuting (bus, subway, airplane). It is a shame that there aren't many reviews of this model. I hope that anyone reading this will be influenced to take a chance on them, if they are seriously considering purchasing a compact set of Noise cancelling headphones. Perhaps, they too will end up writing a favorable review and more readers and shoppers can benefit from their good experience - they won't be disappointed, I certainly wasn't.
Out of the package:
- Dual Airplane Jack adapter
- Draw-string carrying pouch