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I seem to be spending lots of time on the train at the moment, and I'd really like to use it to get some work done. My current headphones are Beyer DT250's, which I like but they aren't great at blocking out sound from the rest of the train. They do block out enough sound from the train itself, but not from other passengers. I'm considering buying a pair of isolation headphones for the purpose - like these from direct sound. So my Beyer's claim 16db of ambient noise insulation, the EX-25's claim 25-33db.

Does anyone use these or anything similar for this purpose, or can you recommend anything else? I've not really used them much, but do you think noise cancelling headphones are a better option?

On a side note - I wish manufacturers would publish all the info about products. Isolation ratings for headphones seem quite difficult to find, especially with even more useful isolation to frequency graphs. If anyone knows of a site where these are collated I'd love to hear about it.

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8 Answers 8

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I can't remember the name of the model, but Beyer has headphones dedicated for drummers and other people needing high isolation as well! It was a long time since I tried them out, but what I remember they sounded pretty much like the 250's, which happens to be my weapon of choice as well.

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That's a good call, I didn't know that. I just found the DT 770 M here: north-america.beyerdynamic.com/shop/hah/headphones-and-headsets/…. I think they're probably the ones you were thinking of. -35db ambient noise isolation too... really tempting, and nice to have the option of using these for recording in high noise environments. –  Mark Durham Aug 5 '12 at 15:35
    
@Mark - Yup! That's the ones :-) Haven't tried them in quite a while, but I'm actually considering using them for most field-work whatsoever! Right now I'm using 250, but there's always a little leakage, and it would be nice to know exactly, without coloration from the direct sound, how things you pick up actually will sound. Sure it's far from a problem right now, more like a little annoying, but it will be interesting to see how it will work out! –  Christian van Caine Aug 5 '12 at 19:36
    
@Mark I have never tried the M's, but I do use the DT 770 Pro and have always found them excellent in sound, build quality and isolation. The only downside I have come across is after a couple of hours they do get a bit uncomfortable, but then I never found headphones that don't. –  Bit Depth Aug 6 '12 at 9:00
    
We have the DT770Ms and they work really well for isolating you from background noise. –  Iain McGregor Aug 6 '12 at 14:18
    
@Iain - As I said, I haven't used them in a very long time, how'd you say they compare to the 250's? Are they as good as I remember, or are their extreme isolation more suitable for extreme conditions? –  Christian van Caine Aug 6 '12 at 14:30

If you are familiar with the industry-standard Sony MDR7506, in terms of sound, then you should look into the Remote Audio HN-7506 High Noise Environment Headset Monitor. These are commonly used in recording loud sources in the field, and they may color the sound less than actual noise-canceling headphones (which I can never bring myself to use).

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They look like the business. I'd like to try a pair out first though as they're pretty expensive. –  Mark Durham Aug 9 '12 at 14:10

I say you give your ears a break so that they're well rested for a more suitable critical listening environment.

If you're taking the time to work on the train, I'd personally work on non-audio aspects of work. Get back to emails, catch up on SSD or blogs, manage your backup database. There's all manner of things that need to happen in what we do that don't require listening.

Go to an audiologist and get yourself some custom molded ear plugs. Protect your ears from the noise of the train rather than battle it by trying to shut it out and then piping a louder sound into your ear canal.

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That's a fair point. In an ideal world that would be the case, I'd even be looking out of the window soaking up the scenery rather than trying to work at all!. Unfortunately it's not, and I need to use this time so I'm trying to find out if it's possible to do this safely. If the volume levels required are still damaging I'll definitely give it a miss. –  Mark Durham Aug 9 '12 at 14:22

I'd get in-ear monitors.

Isolation measurements for some Shure IEMs.

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I did think about that, but actually I don't find in-ear monitors to be very comfortable. The specs are pretty good though, and I might well give them another try if I can't find an over the ear solution. –  Mark Durham Aug 5 '12 at 13:28
    
Sorry, should have mentioned that in the question –  Mark Durham Aug 5 '12 at 13:52

Hi Mark,

I use AudioTechnica in-ear ATH-ANC23 with noise-cancelling during my train travels and it works pretty well. I know you are not searching for in-ear monitors but there are some headphones which use the same technology. But these headphones are more intended for listen music, so I don't know if hifi headphone can do the job for you.

Another thing to know : there are à low level noise when you switch ON the noise-cancellation. There must be enough volume to cover the noise so this can tiring if you have a long journey.

Noise-cancelling works very well with train engine and a bit less well with a punctual source but enough to ignore it. I hope it will be able to help you in your research.

EDIT : Ho I forgot something important : I don't know if it's the same for headphones but the in-ear are sensitive to cellphone interference when noise-cancelling is ON.

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I use Sony MDR7509 headphones, very clear, good isolation, great quality sound. Love them.

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I really like my Bayerdynamic DT 770

The offer a really good representation of the low to low mids and enough level to work in cars.

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