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Old December 21st, 2009, 05:19 PM   #1
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Are noise canceling headphones good for sound monitoring

I need new headphones for monitoring my audio visual sound and was wondering how noise-canceling headphones perform?
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Old December 21st, 2009, 05:27 PM   #2
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I am pretty sure that you want to hear the raw sound without any kind of alteration to it, So I would say stay away from Noise Cancellation
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Old December 21st, 2009, 05:38 PM   #3
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NR headphones usually have really bad bass response. Avoid them for critical monitoring.

One trick for dealing with really loud conditions is to use in-ear headphones and put NR headphones on top of those with the NR off, but no audio signal.
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Old December 21st, 2009, 05:56 PM   #4
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When at an event , the external sounds (one time) were so loud that i thought they were the sounds in my headphones (ok my audio isnt that good but its good). I had the audio still turned Down all the way for whole minutes before seeing the meters not moving. . .OOPS
so we had to get better isolation from external sources.

i researched all sorts of this stuff and have tried some of them.
i came up with some conclusions , just like other people had.
unless you pay BIG bucks for the noise cancelling type of headphones, which are used by pilots , and for home stereo (bose) and for audio monitoring at bands, and for radio recieving at race tracks and all.

They ALL have bad audio amplifyers in them, or cheap ones. so there is this obnoxious hissing going on every time the noise reduction is turned on.

Let me qualify that, remember the noise cancelling is capturing with mics the external noise, then (sort of) phase shifting it, then playing it back Quick in the headphones effectivly cancelling out some of the noise that is heard externally outside of the headphones. SO they cant have cleanup curcuits, they cant equalise or bend the sound, it must be what goes in comes out , so it is no wonder that the amp in them can have some raw noise. i dont blame them it is just one of its ramifications, i would Notch off the top end myself, so the hiss is gone.

they are better at reducing lower sounds than higher sounds, again just because of the reality of sound and amps themselves. the effects are amazing when switched back and forth how someone talking to you will be dampened.
IN pilot stuff these ANR DNR stuff is ADDED to passive noise reduction (or whatever they call it) wherin the human ear is Insulated From the outside sounds with good Seal, and Cap over the ear. Plus the electronic noise cancelling is added.

Good PNR (passive noise reduction) which doesnt require power or have any noises from an amp, or alter the sounds that your hearing by drumming up new sounds, can have as much or more reduction of external sounds as the ANR DNR. so you can get -10-20DB of negating sounds with reverse sounds, and then -10-30Db of just passive sealing of the ear from external sounds.

after all the stuff i used and played with (and PRICE), only the sound blocking stuff PNR (passive) was anything i could handle. And the PNR was competly sufficent for the stuff WE do, which rarely is 330db rock bands or propellers in the ear.

so the next course was to find PNR that was very good at blocking the sound (and affordable), "Studio Cans" was mentioned in many locations, about $100usd and i could afford that , and it worked great. i think it is -30db
bought into those, THEN not completly satisfied we tore them apart removed some holes ,and sealed up some holes and insulated more places in them to improve the isolation.

they fit sort of tight, so tight that i actually bent the headband back to loose it up a bit, course being a fat head might have been some of the problem.
they have the slick gell type of pads that go against your head to seal better around your ear, at first it is not so comfortable. Over Time all the leather and vinyl type of Other ear pads Fall completly apart from Human skin oil acids, The stuff they used on thier gel pads outlived 2 normal headphone pads, and has no decay. after years they are as good as the day purchaced (minus my mods)

my EAR fits in the holes, i hate when a ear pad doesnt envelope the entire ear, and after 3 hours on your head with your ear crushed, you have to go buy new cartilage to replace it :-) the ear pad area was larger on these than some other units.

so we use good cheap, passive, slightly modded, and it is Very nice, now i have not missed a sound adjustement (due to outside sounds yet).
Re-learning everything all over again, one more time.

Last edited by Marty Welk; December 21st, 2009 at 07:23 PM.
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 12:20 AM   #5
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1. Active noise canceling headphones are not suitable for live monitoring. They will introduce weirdness in the way of phase shifts and interaction with the sound from the live noise and the sound from the feed. You hear things that aren't there, and miss things that are.

2. One of the better headphones for passive noise reduction are these:
Remote Audio | HN-7506 High Noise Isolating Headphones | HN7506

3. A cheaper alternative is to use in ear monitors and put industrial hearing protection over top.

Bottom line: avoid active noise cancellation earphones or headphones.
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