Pros PRICE! Folds nice and compact. Comfort
Cons Slight NC hiss
Summary A number of my friends bought the Bose QuietComfort 2's last year and spoke very highly of them. Because I'm a cheapskate, I bought a pair of Radio Shack cheapies. They worked adequately enough to deaden the sound on plane flights to a level that would allow me to hear movies on my portable dvd player without straining too much. This was a vast improvement over the standard headphones and I thought I was all set.
After breaking my Radio Shack set, I tried a pair of the Bose and was blown away by just how much better they were. But, once again, I'm a cheapskate so I went to Best Buy to try out others. All of the models they had were MUCH better than the Radio Shacks but were a few steps below the Bose except the Philips.
I bought the Philips and took them on my next trip. They were comfortable enough for an 8 hour flight and did a fantastic job canceling the plane noise. For the first time since I've owned it, I actually had to turn the volume down on my portable DVD player!
A friend of mine who owns a set of the Bose sat next to me on the plane and we tried out both sets. Yes, I will be the first to admit that the Bose are better. The Philips produce a slight hiss when the noise canceling is enabled where the Bose do not. I would also say the Bose canceled out just slightly more noise. I found that I didn't like the fit of the Bose as much as the Philips but that might just be that I'm used fit of the Philips. Overall we both agreed that the Philips were great and the Bose were not substantially better enough to warrant the extra $200.
If you are a true audiophile and demand the most pure sound possible, spend your money on the Bose. If you are a business traveler who wants a comfortable set of noise canceling headphones that won't take up your entire briefcase, at a great price, you can't go wrong with the Philips.
Pros compact folding design, light, good
Cons easy to misuse controls when wearing, very noticeable hissing from noise canceling, pressurized head feel, bass loose, treble painful sometimes.
Summary I paired this up with my mini ipod to test for my upcoming flight. I tested the headphones around my computer, in the kitchen, and on the street. I found that the noise cancellation did work. How well? A noticeable difference. This was my first set of noise cancelling headphones but after testing it out with another set of closed headphones not equipped with noise cancellation, I really wouldn't say it made that much of a difference. Although the hiss of the nc bothered at me first, I somewhat adjusted to it. Although I don't know if that says more about me or the headphones. The negative was I could never get a satisfactory eq setting on my ipod to reduce the rattle of the bass AND keep the treble to a minimum while managing a somewhat full sound. Bass at times would be a very satisfying tight sound with slower soulful songs with other more hip-hop based music it all went out the window. Again, I've heard the mini ipod has its downfalls with eq settings but using my old radio shack optimus headphones from 5 years ago, I still get a fuller sound when it comes to a variety of sound bites. The positive things about it is that these feel like the bose triports...just not as solid feeling. Most of the time I felt like my head was in a small pinch, but I have a big head. But the headsets didn't over heat my ears or burden my head with heavy weight. I've used Sony MDR-V700DJ before and although i loved them they were definately not a every day carrying around you set of headphones. These HN110's would be the best if they could just get the sound quality up. overall with the $72 price tag i walked away with at best buy, this one is going back to the store. Gonna try some shure's or sony's nc headphones. i'll keep you updated.Updated
I don't know if i mentioned this initially but I am testing products to use on a plane. I gave these another day of testing, just because I felt like I hadn't given this a fair variety of "noise" testing. Sitting in a laundrymat, i brought these. On the plus side the folding design does make these much easier to travel with. But the sound, I found that the music quality was about the same from before, but I blame my ipod now. Hooking the headphones with one of the two extra adapters included in the box (one airplane, one large plug) i was able to hook it up to my home theater stereo, and I was surprised. Although the highs still we're a bit on the piercing side, the bass managed to come through fairly clearly this time around. Back to the laundrymat, the sound cancelling actually worked very very well. The hiss was washed out and most of the motor noise from the dryers and washers was not evident in the headphones. Better props. I would change my rating of this product from a 5 to a 7. Maybe even 7.5 if you can actually get it for 50 or less. But I'm still taking them back to try out some sound insolating headphones. But i'll definately consider the options and this might come back as a choice pick for my airplane travel headset.
Pros Fit, Folding Storage, Noise Cancelling
Cons On/Off Switch Placement
Summary I got these for a European Trip and found the comfort and noise cancelling capabilities to be fantastic.
The only negative I could see is the On/Off Switch isnt easy to detect when wearing the headphones. This is really a trivial issue and nothing that should keep you from getting a pair. I mention it in hope that some Eng. will read this and think about improvements ini the next version.
Overall, if you travel and dont have noise cancelling phones, pick up a pair. I recommend these as you can spend $200 bucks in savings over the Bose on something else (iPod upgrade perhaps).
Pros decent performance for the price
Cons poor quality control- bad solder joints!
Summary I picked up a pair of these based on the decent set of reviews here as well as the good price but when I took them out of the box and tried them at home, they weren't anywhere as good as the ones at the store.. Playing around them some more, it seemed that the noise reduction only worked in one ear (put a finger over the microphone and the noise should increase, and then decrease again when you uncover the mike- on my unit, this only happened on the right ear, the left mike seemed to be inactive)..
Rather than just return them right away, being the curious engineering type, I decided to open them up, after all, they are not working properly anyways.. (In case anyone else wants to open them up (or needs to replace a slipped ear cushion) there are 5 screws under the ear cushions: 4 right at the edges of the fabric speaker covering, and one near the bottom under the fabric)..
Inside each earphone, there's an independent microphone and a Japan Radio Corp. 2076 audio amplifier chip. Each microphone has a simple lowpass filter at its output and a trimmer resistor to vary the microphone level. The mike is connected to the amplifier's inverting input, and the signal from the phono cord is connected to the non-inverting input of the amp, resulting in an inverted version of the external noise being added to the speaker output, and if the mike level is adjusted just right, the noise is cancelled out..
Such a simple circuit, so what could be wrong? Well, first I checked power, and both earphones had power, so that wasn't it.. Perhaps the trimmer was adjusted improperly? I tweaked it around and it made no difference at all.. Hmm... I decided to scope the output and tweak the trimmer to see if there was any signal being output (so imagine me with a scope probe held in one hand and a screwdriver in the other, and doing my best to hum a 300Hz tone while watching the scope and tweaking the trimmer).. Initially, it looked like the trimmer was intermittent- there was signal only at certain positions on the trimmer, so I decided to inspect the trimmer a bit closer with a magnifier and lo and behold, the darned trimmer was not even soldered on one of its terminals, and it was only making contact with the circuit board when I happened to push on the trimmer just right while I was tweaking.. A bit of solder fixed that up, and when I reassembled the headphones and powered up, the left phone worked, but the level was way out because of my experimental tweaking, so I had to open it up again- this time, while it was opened up, I popped the outer cover off the enclosure, exposing an adjustment hole so that I could tweak the unit while wearing it.. I turned on the vacuum cleaner in the next room and tweaked the trimmer until the the noise was reduced as much as possible..
I decided to open up the right one as well and double check the solder connections and re-tweak for maximum noise reduction, and inspecting the trimmer under magnification, this one was soldered, but only just barely, so I touched this one up and tweaked it, and the resulting set of headphones now perform very well indeed!
I'm willing to bet that most if not all of the poor reviews of these headphones are likely due to a poor solder connection at that trimmer- there is one terminal that is very short, so it appears it is simply not picking up solder during the reflow process- in mine, the trimmer on the left phone wasn't soldered down at all, resulting in the left phone not having any noise reduction capability until i fixed as described above..
Now, bad solder joints like this should never have made it past QC (and ideally, they should have changed the part to something with a bit bigger leg so that it's easier to solder reliably), but the basic circuitry is sound (and very simple) so if you get a good pair (try them at the store first if you can), they do actually perform quite well..
Pros Inexpensive noise canceling headphones.
Cons Wire broke at connector within 6 mo. Ear padding has begun to deteriorate and Phillips has no replacement. Warranty almost worthless. Shipping alone will be half the price of a new one.
Summary Save up and buy a Bose