NC Headphones

Claire Bowern anggarrgoon at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jul 24 16:05:50 UTC 2006

Hi Bruce,
I have many pairs of headphones :)
I recently bought a pair of Shure E2c "Isolating" earphones

mostly for use while flying. The sound quality is fantastic and the
noise blocking is also very good (e.g. I can imagine transcribing good
tapes on a plane, which would never have been possible with other
earphones). I don't think I'd use them in the field, though, because I
don't think I'd want to wear in-ear earphones in really humid conditions
for long periods. I find them comfortable to wear for fairly long 
periods when it's cool, but such earphones seem to be highly dependent 
on the shape of the person's ear. There are more expensive ones with 
more earplug options. They are extremely sensitive - I have my computer 
set on the lowest possible volume setting and some tracks are still too 
loud for me to listen to. So that aspect might be more useful to you 
than the noise-reduction aspect.

My main transcribing headphones are a pair of Sennheiser HD (can't
remember the exact number but they were about $100 two years ago). They
are semi-open over-ear. They are light and very comfortable and I use 
them a lot. They do let in noise from surroundings, and let out noise 
too - that is, other people in the room might be able to hear the recording.

I have a couple of other pairs too - a pair of holding overear 
Sennheisers which were cheaper, which I take to the field, and some Sony 
bud earphones (backups) which are pretty ordinary.

All the best,

David Nathan wrote:
> Hello Bruce
> I recently used a Sennheiser PXC300 in some fieldwork for general audio work: monitoring some audio and video recordings, audio editing etc.
> I found that the quality was fine. I normally used them passively ie did not turn the noise-cancelling on, although the noise-cancelling could be useful in dealing with background fan noise. 
> For monitoring recordings, I cannot see that the noise cancelling feature is any advantage. For me, the main annoyance of the unit was the largish control unit (with AAA batteries) situated halfway along the cable which makes the unit a bit cumbersome if you need to be mobile. In the interests of compactness, the earpads are rather smaller than full size units (they do not completely cover the ears), but nevertheless isolate fairly well. The unit does not seem not nearly as robust as a typical closed set. Therefore it is quite a compromise against a regular pair of closed headphones. 
> Ultimately, I don't think that  the extra cost (if you had to go out and buy them anew) is worth it for fieldwork - money would be better spent on buying one (or more! - for other listeners) reasonable quality "normal" closed headphones. In fact, we have found that you get quite good value for money (in terms of listening quality) for some headphones around the 30-50 USD mark (eg Sony V300). However, if you do want something that's reasonably compact, with decent quailty, and, in particular, you want to do some transcribing (or listen to movies...) on the plane on the way there, I'd recommend the Sennheiser; otherwise you could do better for your money.
> regards
> David
>  At 06:20 23/07/2006, you wrote:
> Dear Friends and Colleagues,
> Has anyone had experience with the Sennheiser Noise Cancelling Stereo Headphones models PXC 150, PXC 250 and/or PXC300?
> I would like to buy a good set of headphones for use in auditing and transcribing .wav and mp3 recordings of spoken texts in several North American and Australian indigenous languages, and I would appreciate any comments, advice and recommendations.
> Best regards, Bruce
> Bruce Rigsby, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology
> The University of Queensland
> Home: 32 Molonga Tce, Graceville, Qld 4075  AUSTRALIA
> Phone / fax (617/07)3379-8625
> brigsby at

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