Good noise-cancelling headphones don’t come cheaply but they’re priceless if you want much-needed shut-eye on the plane.
With microphones in the ear cups, these high-tech marvels detect external noise – from chatter in an office to the hum of aeroplane engines – and cancel it out, making your surroundings as quiet as a Trappist monk with laryngitis… in deep space. Noise-cancelling technology needs battery power to operate and while most headphones continue working passively if you run out of juice, there are some that don’t. For long-distance travellers, this may mean you’ll need to recharge the headphones during the flight.
Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless
OK, they’re exxy but these German-engineered headphones offer an unbeatable combination of style and audiophile-grade performance. The soft leather ear pads let you wear them comfortably for many hours at a time and the battery has 20 hours of life in it. They’re also wireless – which means you can move about and stretch your legs on a flight without getting tangled up in the cord.
$799.95 ￼| en-au.sennheiser.com
Beats Studio Wireless
For some, the popular Beats By Dre name alone will be enough to sway them into the Beats Studio Wireless camp. These headphones combine Bluetooth wireless playback with active noise cancellation in a fashion-forward package in multiple colours. However, the battery’s only good for 12 hours of wireless playback – and even if you use the headphones with a cable, the noise cancelling won’t work without a charge.
$479.95 ￼| au.beatsbydre.com
Sony MDR-1R Noise Cancelling MK2 Headphones
Ignore the standard-issue black trappings; these MDR-1R MK2 headphones from Sony are a cut above the rest thanks to the outstanding noise cancellation and well-articulated sound that works a treat across music genres. They’re not as travel-friendly as some since the frame doesn’t fold for easy storage. But they come with a nifty zip-up case and the internal battery lasts 30 hours.
$569.95 | sony.com.au
Bose QuietComfort 25
Bose has long set the standard for great noise-reduction and cancelling headphones and these don’t stray from this fine tradition. Clamping these headphones – which come in black or white – over your ears produces an uncanny level of silence and, with a fresh AAA battery, you can take advantage of their noise cancelling for up to 35 hours. They also fold into a surprisingly compact package. ￼
$399 | bose.com.au