In ear noise cancelling

Anyone recommend some noise cancelling in ear headphones. Ideally wireless but not an absolute must. Not sure if I want something mid range, cheap of high end but open to recommendations.

I use tidal on my iPhone and will be experimenting with mojo but my current in ears (Bose) don’t block out background noise when on the go.


I’ve tried a number of in-ear headphones with active noise cancelling and have never been that impressed with either the noise cancelling part or the overall sound quality.

I struggled for years to find some in-ears that sounded good to my ears until I took a punt and bought the Shure SE846 earphones that others on here recommended. They work on the principle of ‘sound isolation’ by having a great seal to the outside noise rather than active noise cancelling. Their website states that the ‘Sound Isolating design blocks up to 37 dB of outside noise’

I have to say that with the SE846’s my search for in-ear headphones is now over - they are amazing. They resolve the most minute detail, they go very low due to their four drivers with low-pass filter but most importantly they always sound very musical in the same way that Naim does.

They aren’t cheap but in my opinion they are worth every penny.

Noise cancelling is designed to cancel background noise such as engine noise, but not sounds like the human voice otherwise you would not hear the singer? So it depends on the environment you are using them. I use Bose Q35 over ear noise cancelling headphones when flying, they are bluetooth and work well.

Noise cancelling earphones should cancel external noises whether jet engine or singer, without cancelling the in-ear noises from the audio source.

But how well it works is another matter and in my experience it’s very variable in its success.



I use SE846 as well, and you do need to get the right tips to fit your ears, otherwise they take a massive hit in sound quality as well as noise ingress. Get it right, and they sound great, and I no longer bother with active noise cancelling headphones.

The Shure 846’s are pricey and more than I want to spend, reading reviews they are the “champions league” of in ear phones and I was more thinking lower level premier league (excuse the football analogies - I am thinking more Huddersfield than Barcelona!)

Any cheaper recommendations would be appreciated

Well the Bose are supposed to be one of the best, but external voices still get through. Funnily enough the last flight was on a boeing 787-9 dreamliner, it was much quieter than other flights, so i did not need to use them.

Yes, they are expensive, but I think the principle of sound isolation would work in the same way on pretty much any IEM, as it’s down to the fit of the tips you use on them.

Noise cancelling headphones do not cancel the internally generated signal, so would nit stop the singer. What they do is cance external noises - and it may be that the frequency range of cancellation whether by design or inherent limitation, is better at reducing the trpe of noise generated by plane engines and wind noise, than the human voice.

Interesting re Dreamliner, I’ve flown once on one, seated downstars, and I put its lower noise level down to the fact of a floor above cutting out the wind noise from the upper half of the plane.

You must be thinking of the A380 which has two decks and is also relatively new. Dreamliner is a single deck aircraft…i have friends who have flown both and the new technology is quieter.

I use the Shure 535, and moved up to Shure from the Etymotic ER4P. These both work very well and have no noise cancelling.

Another Shure 535 user, I find that they do a good job of isolating back ground sound, I also have Sony MDR 1000x which are over ear and have active noise cancelling, I find the noise cancelling does impact on sound quality a little.

The technology behind noise cancellation results in much better cancellation of steady, droning-type sound such as airliner engine noise. Voices - not so much. It’s largely to do with how the technology works.

If you want to avoid background noise with in-ears, there is absolutely no substitute for getting some custom sleeves made with impressions taken from your own ears.

I use Shure SE846 for planes and trains with work, and B&O E6 for the gym and other times when wireless is more convenient. Near-total sound isolation without the degradation you get with noise-cancelling and comfortable enough for long-haul flights. I even put them in without music when I want to sleep on a plane.

Lots of audiologists can do this for you. If you’re in/near London, I recommend Harley St hearing.

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