In Need Of Headphones That Travel

I tried earbuds from the iPod. I can’t keep them in my ears unless I’ve jammed them into my ear drums and the covers always come off. I’ve tried my old over the ear cheap-o headphones. Yeah, they’re small and portable, but the sound quality sucks. I have a pair of noise-reducing headphones, but they’re so large that if they’re in my backpack, nothing else is in my backpack (think old-school studio headphones).
So, frequent travelers, what do you use? Have you found a good pair of (ideally noise-reducing) small non-earbud headphones that have good sound quality and are small enough to fit in a backpack side pocket with your iPod?
Oh, interweb, help me solve my dilemma before I spend 12 hours in a plane!

11 thoughts on “In Need Of Headphones That Travel

  1. Think again on the earbuds – but not those lame, craptacular-sounding ones that come with the iPod. Instead, check out the “in ear” varieties. They sound soooo much better than the normal earbuds, and they do a pretty good job of eliminating external noise (without all that expensive Bose noise-cancelling technology). I guess this is because they snugly fit IN your ear, kinda like earplugs.
    The cheap $40 ones that Apple makes are plenty good enough. Also, Sony makes some good ones. There’s also some far more expensive ones made by Shure. Try em!

  2. Dude, if you wanna shell out the cash – I think Sennheiser’s are the best phones out there. Especially these, and maybe these are more budget concious and still kick-butt. I think you should buy both, actually.

  3. Etymotics ER-6, I purchased them just before Kate and I went to France, and they got me through a cumulative 24 hours on the plane with no sound leakage or real discomfort. They ARE buds, you will be jamming them up against your skull, and moreso making a seal between the bud and your ear canal, but the sound is stupendous, it cancelled EVERY sound without having to blast my mp3 player, and if I removed it once every three hours or so, I avoided all but minor discomfort.

  4. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, the Ultimate Ears in-ears are far more comfortable than Shure’s buds. They sound fantastic.
    If you’re willing to spend a ton more, UE will fabricate a custom set of in-ear phones, made from a mold of your inner ear. They seal out the outside world, to the tune of -26db, and they sound orgasmic.

  5. I have larger Sennheiser’s at work, and I love them (they’re what I compare everything else to, and before that, my gigantic Ministry of Sound pair). I really really really don’t want ear buds. I’ve had one too many ear infections.

  6. The ER-6’s, as previously mentioned, or the Shure e3. I bought the e3’s before my last trip to CA, and they worked like a charm – I couldn’t hear a thing around me. Crying babies – GONE. That pervasive airplane hum – GONE. Incipid overhead announcements – GONE. Well, you get the idea.
    They’re expensive, but if you’re traveling a lot, they’re worth it.

  7. Here is the budget solution: Get a pair of decent ear buds such as these ( Then wear standard hearing protection ($20) over top. A little dorky but very silent. You must get all black hearing protection or it will look very dorky. There are two drawbacks to this solution: 1) to have a conversation, you have to take off both the hearing protection and the ear buds, 2) ear buds get tiring after a few hours if they don’t fit just right.

  8. I adore my Sony MDR-EX71 earbuds. They come with three different sizes of silicon surrounds. On a plane, i wear them under my huge chainsaw ear muffs which proudly read “Husquavarna”! on the side. I look like a total dork but it cuts out 27dB of engine and wind noise.

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