Cheap NR headphones


Active Member
Having recently made several long trips by plane, I was looking for some noise reducing/canceling headphones to use with the airline movies and/or my portable DVD player.

I did lots of checking around, and found that most people weren't very happy with low-priced active noise canceling headphones, and even many of the expensive ones needed some improvement.

After lot's of searching I found Koss "The Plug" headphones. They're just regular old ear buds with no active noise canceling circuitry. What makes the work great, though, is that instead of a foam covered hard ear bud, they use actual ear plugs (like you'd use at a rifle range or a noisy factory) to hold them in your ear. This results in most outside sound being blocked and you hearing mostly just the music coming through the phones. The sounds from the phones are great as well. And the best thing is that they cost only $12.95, much better than paying a couple hundred for some Bose or a little over $100 for Sonys. I used them on my 18 hour flight back to Korea from the US and they worked great, in fact I left them in even when I wasn't listening to anything because they so effectively blocked out outside sounds (engines roaring, children screaming, old man snoring,etc.. which I heard when I wasn't wearing them) They come with 4 different size/styled pairs of plugs and you can modify other off the shelf earplugs to be used with them (by drilling a 1/8" hole through the middle of the earplugs).
I have a pair of regular Koss headphones, and eventho they are broken, they were fantastic. I am about to send them back in for a lifetime warranty replacement. Thanks for the tip!
I have a set of Sony MDR-EX70 in-ear earbuds. Whether you're in the car or on a plane, it really muffles out outside noise. Sound quality is great, but it really depends on your fit to the earbuds. You have to get a really snug fit with the "ear gaskets" for the full frequency response (6 - 23kHz!!). The bass comes out nice, punchy, sounds like a big driver. Mids are slightly lacking, highs come out very clear. For the price, $40, you can't beat it.
Where did you find those at Zack? I'd like to pickup a set or two of them to have when I go to Italy. I looked on and it didn't find them.
I can't use the ear bud things. My ears aren't big enough or something and they give me head pains.
The current cheap Sony ones I have now(think I paid 10 bucks for them), work fine for me, but my wife complains about them hurting her ears after a few minutes.
dolphin said:
I can't use the ear bud things. My ears aren't big enough or something and they give me head pains.
dolphin, the beauty of the Koss "the plug" is that it is an actual earplug (like you'd use to block noise) that goes in your ear, no hard stuff. You can use and off-the shelf earplugs by making an appropriately sized whole in 'em.

One downside to them I didn't mention before, though, is since they are ear plugs, it takes a little more work to put them in/on than your average headphone... The way I use them I remove the plugs from the phones, roll the plugs between my fingers to compact them, insert the plugs into my ears and then insert the phones into the plugs.. I'd say close to a minute, so they're not for situations where you want to put them in and out a lot...