[Gear] Sennheiser Noise Cancelling Headphone

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Update (22 February 2016): The Bluetooth version of this (PXC310BT) will be available at SG$299 (Usual price SG$549) during upcoming IT Show from 10-13 March 2016. 60 pieces only. Book at: http://presales.itshow.com.sg/product/pxc-310-bluetooth/.

One type of headphone that many travelers may encounter is noise cancelling headphone. When you sit near to an engine or have babies around in flight, this can be a lifesaver. In premium cabins, airlines are also offering premium noise cancelling headphone for passengers’ use. An example is Singapore Airlines that offer Bose QuietComfort 15 acoustic noise cancelling headphone for Suites passengers to use.

Bose on Singapore Airlines Suites

Bose QuietComfort 15 acoustic noise cancelling headphone on Singapore Airlines Suites

I have tried Bose QuietComfort 15 acoustic noise cancelling headphone on Singapore Airlines Suites and find it to work well. However, few concerns here:

  • Size: Too huge for travel. If I buy 1 for myself, this headphone in carrying pouch will occupy quite a lot of real estate in my backpack. Not travel friendly.
  • Battery: Dead battery = no music.
  • Noise cancelling that worked too well: Wait…Isn’t that supposed to be good? In my opinion, not exactly. You may still want to be able to hear some ambient sound for safety reason like announcements from cabin crew or even in Singapore Airlines case, hissing sound from door which lead to their A380’s emergency cabin decompression lading in Azerbaijan in January 2014.

So how does noise cancelling headphone work? Sennheiser has a good video to explain.

Sennheiser Noisegard Headphone Transducer

Sennheiser Noisegard Headphone Transducer

Speaking about Sennheiser, I have been using their PXC310 noise cancelling headphone for a while and it does address concerns raised above.

  • Size: Half of Bose QuietComfort 15 acoustic noise cancelling headphone when folded and stored in casing.
Sennheiser PXC310 noise cancellation headphone folded

Sennheiser PXC310 noise cancelling headphone folded

  • Battery: Dead battery = music plays on. Just less noise cancelling.
  • Noise cancelling: On ear for Sennheiser vs Over ear for Bose. Over ear will provide better noise cancelling. However, too much of noise cancelling is not good as mentioned. Sennheiser also has a killer feature: Talkthrough. Push 1 button, music mutes and external mic will be switched on to allow you to converse normally with cabin crew or hear announcements without having to remove your headphone.

Sennheiser PXC310 is an old model. However, you can still find them for sale online. Do note that there is also a Bluetooth version available as well. Bluetooth version has wired connectivity too. So hope it helps.

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