At one time or another, many of us have been in a crowded public place trying to listen to our personal audio device. Sometimes the outside noise is so great that we have to crank the volume on our iPod or MP3 player to its limit in order to hear the music and drown out the noise. If you do this while wearing earbuds or regular headphones, you can drain the device’s battery and damage your ears.
The best solution for listening to music or audiobooks while riding a bus or sitting in an airport is a noise-canceling headset. They’re a bit bigger and more conspicuous than smaller headphones, but they will save your music player’s battery and, more importantly, your ears. Our favorite set of noise-canceling headphones provides soft cushioning for your ears, active noise-canceling technology and incredible sound quality. The Sennheiser PXC 450 headphones have the best performance and highest quality of any of the noise-canceling headphones we reviewed, which makes them our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award winner.
We included several Sennheiser products on this site because they are so high in quality. The Sennheiser PXC 450s were by far the most impressive headphones in our comparison. This headset, though quite large, is very comfortable and easy to pack and carry around.
We noticed that the saying “you get what you pay for” is extremely relevant when it comes to noise-canceling headphones. This headset is quite pricey, but it is the best in terms of durability and quality.
The Sennheiser PXC 450 headphones outperform all the other noise-canceling headphones on our site. They are incredibly comfortable and offer effective active noise canceling. The most important feature of a noise-canceling headset is to reduce ambient noise so that you can keep the volume low and your ears healthy. The Sennheiser PXC 450 headphones use some of the best noise-canceling technology available, Switchable NoiseGard 2.0. This headset reduces ambient noise by up to 32 decibels.
The average human ear can hear frequencies between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz. The Sennheiser PXC 450s have a frequency response of 8 Hz to 28,000 Hz. This means that not only will they play every sound that you are capable of hearing, but they can also play supersonic and subsonic sounds which are found in some music. While you won't be able to audibly hear these frequencies, they are sure to enhance your listening experience.
The bass on these headphones is a bit weaker than other noise-canceling headphones, but we found that when you turn the headphone volume up and the volume on your music player down, the bass becomes more apparent.
Besides protecting your ears, noise-canceling headphones enhance your listening experience. Without background noise, you can often hear details in your music that you probably never noticed before. One of our favorite things about these headphones is the huge amount of added detail in instruments and backup vocals.
The Sennheiser PXC 450 headphones have a useful feature not seen in any of the other products we reviewed. It is called the Talkthrough feature, and it allows you to temporarily tune in to your surroundings by pausing the music and active noise canceling at the push of a button. With this feature, you can listen to intercom announcements and flight attendants without having to remove the headphones.
This headset is a bit bigger than most of the other noise-canceling headphones we reviewed, but we found them to be so comfortable that after wearing them for several minutes, we forgot about their large size. The earpads are snug without being too tight and are made of a soft material. While they may be bigger, they fold up and fit nicely in the carrying case. Without the cord, this headset weighs about 8.5 ounces, which makes it heavier than most of the other noise-canceling headphones on our lineup.
These headphones only require one AAA battery, but they come with two in the package. They also come with a detachable cord that is over 4 feet long. With the volume at its highest level, these headphones will operate for about 21 hours.
At the end of the cord is a right-angled 3.5 mm audio jack. This is the standard jack size and will plug into most phones, audio devices and computers. The headset also comes with an additional two-pronged adapter that connects to more powerful audio sources and airplane plugs. This allows you to listen to in-flight radio and movies.
As previously mentioned, the Sennheiser PXC 450 noise-canceling headphones have a collapsible design that allows for easy packing and travel. They lie flat in the carrying case so you can take them anywhere without worrying about their bulk. The carrying case can easily fit in a purse, briefcase or other carryon bag.
Buying these headphones guarantees you a two-year warranty. All of the Sennheiser headsets in our comparison are protected by this gracious warranty. To claim coverage if your headset becomes damaged, you must be ready to present proof of purchase. This warranty covers any defects, but it does not cover problems caused by improper use or natural wear and tear. If you attempt to fix the headphones yourself, then you will also void the warranty.
Although the Sennheiser website doesn’t have live chat support, there are a variety of other ways to find help. You can contact the company through telephone or email. There is also an extensive list of FAQs.
Sennheiser’s website includes a number of useful resources. We were pleased and impressed with the options Sennheiser gives its customers when it comes to maintaining their headphones. There is a place to buy spare parts and accessories, a FAQs section, downloadable manuals and user guides, information about the warranty policies and a place to request service repairs. You can also find a glossary on their site to help you learn about important audio terms such as sound pressure level (SPL), transducer principle and total harmonic distortion. A few clicks will take you to the customer service page, where you can find email support, phone support and a FAQs page. There are even driving directions to the Sennheiser Electronic Corporation offices in Connecticut, just in case you live nearby and want to speak to someone face to face.
If you spend a lot of time traveling solo, this headset would make a perfect new companion. These noise-canceling headphones are perfect for listening to music or audio books in noisy environments such as airplanes and train stations. We also appreciate the Talkthrough feature, which allows you to hear and communicate with others without removing the headphones. The Sennheiser PXC 450 noise-canceling headphones are our top pick because they protect your ears while providing a listening experience unlike any other.
The Talkthrough feature lets you pause the music and active noise canceling without turning off the headphones.
These noise-canceling headphones are bulkier than most of the other products we reviewed.
The Sennheiser PXC 450 headphones are durable and provide the best audio experience of any other noise-canceling headsets.