In June I'm exhibiting a piece of work with a group of sound artists in a gallery in South London. My work relies heavily on the use of headphones but because the space is going to be extremely noisy due to all the other pieces being exhibited I'm looking for a fairly decent pair of noise reducing headphones to filter out - as much as possible anyway - the ambient noise of the exhibition.

I have a small budget, so ideally I'd like to keep around the £150 level, however, I'm not looking for a perfect pair of noise cancelling headphones for this price as I realise it may not be possible, but something that will at least help.

I'm hoping someone has been in a situation like this before :)

Warm regards,


  • 1
    @Simon James French - "Noise reducing" or "Noise isolating". There is difference
    – Cvrgoje
    Nov 17, 2010 at 11:44

2 Answers 2


If you're planning on doing any mixing with the headphones, I'd stay as far away from noise canceling headphones as possible. They have the most whacked out frequency responses ever.

Instead, go with extreme isolation headphones. I know Chuck was talking about wiring Sony MDR7506s into a pair of shooting muffs. This would probably be the best sounding and most isolated possibility. You could ask him how he did it, or I'm sure Remote Audio would do it for you. For a simpler solution, go with the Sennheiser HD280pros. They have quite a bit of isolation, but are fairly decent sounding, plus they're cheap. Just know that they are lacking a bit of high frequency response.

If you're just looking to listen, and critical listening isn't involved, just grab a pair of Bose or Sony noise canceling headphones. The good Bose ones cancel the best out of any I've heard. But again, DO NOT attempt to do any critical listening over them. They'll sound AWESOME to you, then your mix won't even come close to translating on other systems.

My two cents

P.S. The Bose headphones sound pretty good for listening to music and such, but they have the world's thinnest cable, so if you get them, make sure to be very careful with them!

  • This is all great, thanks Colin! I don't intend to do any mixing with them, so that's fine. They are just being bought for this one exhibition where I'll be displaying a piece of work, and then afterwards I will probably sell them, unless I fall in love with the sound ;) I'll have a look at the Sennheiser HD280pros and see what some others say about them, but thanks again for all your help! Simon May 2, 2010 at 10:22

Sennheiser HD 25-1 II

Price Inc VAT £ 129.99 in UK

You can use them for field and studio monitoring as well.

alt text http://www.sennheiser.com/sennheiser/products.nsf/resources/20BEE8F4D0543C6CC1257432007FDD4A/$File/HD_25-1_II_ProductImage.jpg

  • lightweight and comfortable
  • high attenuation of background noise
  • extremely robust construction

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