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miled
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Sep 15, 2014
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I would only go for active noise cancelling headphones if you really, really don't like IEMs. ANC degrades audio quality, and headphones with ANC usually cheap out on the actual headphone part as well. A decent pair of sealed IEMs, like some Etymotic ER4-PTs, especially with aftermarket Comply foam tips, will provide noise isolation that is just as good as, if not better than ANC without degrading sound quality, and also more than likely sound better than ANC headphones, even when they're tested with ANC off.
If sealed IEMs with foam tips still don't offer enough noise isolation for you, you can get surprisingly stylish hearing protectors from eBay for less than $20 and just put them on your ears over the top of the IEMs.
Of course, there are definitely people out there who find IEMs uncomfortable, have oddly shaped ears that IEMs fall out of and don't want to pay for custom moulded IEM tips, or just plain dislike the idea of shoving things into their ear canal. If you are one of those people, and you require high noise isolation, then yeah, I suppose ANC could be for you.
Sep 15, 2014
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