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Ask HN: Best noise cancelling headphones for developers
9 points by rjammala 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 19 comments
Do you use noise cancelling headphones? If so, which are the best ones? I am mainly interested in the noise cancelling feature.

I recently got the Bose QuietComfort 35 based on recommendation in a recent thread and am in love. I have no other noise cancelling headphones to compare to, so maybe I don't know what I'm missing, but these have been excellent for me so far. Usually my main issue with headphones is that they press too hard against my ears, which protrude slightly. These go perfectly right around my ears and don't actually touch them at all. I've worn them for hours at a time in the office with no discomfort. When I take them off it sounds like I'm suddenly in an airplane cabin.

Another QC35 addict here. I can't live without them anymore. I rate them up with the Kindle and smart phone as my favourite tech gadgets ever.

Similar previous discussion, where most recommended the Bose QC35

Ask HN: What are the best noise cancelling headphones? 3 months ago, 11 comments https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14226574

while here there are other options named

Ask HN: Which headphones do you use while working? 4 months ago, 36 comments https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13978072

The three best noise cancelling headphones right now are:

1. Sony MDR-1000x

2. Bose QC35(or Bose QC25)

3. Senheiser PXC-550

Apparently, the Sony MDR-1000X has now beaten the Bose on noise cancellation. It has a lot of cool features, such us letting you turn off the noise canceling by touching the right earphone (I believe) and touch controls. In addition, it beats the Bose with amazing sound quality. Caveat: Expensive, if bought new. There is a build/quality issue at the moment -- where the plastic in the earphone is developing cracks. So buyer beware.

The Bose QC35 is/was the standard noise cancellation. I personally think this may be the best recommendation since it has been proven to be a quality product, very comfortable to wear. I personally chose the QC25 over the wireless version (to save money) and also because the QC35 battery is non-replaceable, after certain years if it dies, you cannot replace it and you are out of luck. Whereas, the QC25 batteries are AAA that you can get anywhere. It is wired version, but I am happy with it. Caveat: I own the ATH M50X, and let's just say Bose sound quality is a couple of notches below. But, if you don't know any better, you probably won't notice.

The Senheiser PXC-550 has also been getting really great reviews and has pretty comparable noise cancellation as Bose (a notch below). Great sound quality. Lots of cool features like the Sony. Caveat: More expensive than Bose if bought new. I don't like that you have to position the headphones a certain way to turn it off. Could be problematic if you are thinking of just putting the headphone in your book bag without putting it in its case

My rating is based on 1) Noise Cancellation quality 2) Price 3) Battery Life

Been using it for 3 years now, no complaints (one for office and other for home)



I have the second pair you listed, and find them terribly uncomfortable to wear for more than a half an hour or so. I've tried stretching them on a medium-sized cardboard box but didn't notice much improvement. They make my head feel like it is being crushed, and give me a terrible headache rather quickly. They crush my ears into my skull too. The noise canceling and battery life on them are great, but if you considering purchasing these and have a slightly larger-than-average sized head, this is something you should consider.

I really love the IEM from Etymotic Research:


I've been using them for over ten years and only had to replace a pair once. I use the mc5's which are there lower tier option.

If you have ear comfort issues you can also get custom made ear molds.

They really block out so much sound it's amazing. I prefer IEM's to headphones because of the weight and heat from headphones (my ears get hot when covered).

I loved the sound and light weight of the Etymotics, but found they were very fragile. Then I found the Shure m315, and never looked back.

Well, that is until I got an iPhone 7+, which doesn't have a headphone jack. I hate, loathe, and despise Bluetooth audio, but I can't live without my battery case, and headphones don't work over micro USB.

So, Bose QC35s it is. At least they've got the best ANC I've ever had, and the Bluetooth audio is slightly less horrible than anything else I've tried.


I bought Bose QC35 2 weeks ago and I am absolutely thrilled about them. The noise cancelling is almost perfect and when I have them on and somebody speaks to me I really don’t hear anything. Unlike many other headphones I have tried they are also very comfortable. I tried Sony MDR-1000x and to be frank their noise canceling is maybe even better than the Boses, however they are so tight on my head I know I wouldn’t be able to wear them for more than an hour.

I recently bought a pair of Sony MDR-1000x and they really work well.

Some people say QC35 are a little bit better some say MDR-100x are better. I can only talk about the seconds and I highly recommend them.

In addition, they have some cool touchable control on the right side. I didn't like it at the beginning but now when I use other headphones I find myself trying to touch them to pass the song or lower the volume..

There is also significantly cheaper SONY model with similar specs: https://www.amazon.com/Sony-Wireless-Cancelling-Headphone-MD... For those who is not ready to pay $350 for headphones.

noise cancelling is one thing but im assuming youre looking for something to cut you off while you work, which also means long periods wearing them.

in my opinion the best option is actually isolation and to that end a pair of earbuds with a set of custom fit tips could be a good option, i have some myself on a pair of etymotic er4 and theyre spectacular, complete isolation from outside sound and comfortable enough to wear for 8 straight hours

If you're going the IEM route, try out some tips from Comply (http://www.complyfoam.com/), I find they get really good isolation.

As far as the actual headphones, I currently have UE 900s IEMs which are serving me well but I would probably compare other brands nowadays were I to buy again.

I tried the Comply tips. I hated, loathed, and despised them.

I found the triple-flange silicone tips worked much better for me.

YMMV, etc.....

Thanks for all the replies. I went with the QC35.

The QC35 is awesome!

For inside or outside I recommend the tiny device, Flare Audio for complete isolation.

PXC-550 from Sennheiser.

An office :)

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