Best Noise Cancelling Headphones: Top 20 Active, Passive, Budget Friendly and Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones Published by Headphone Hub

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Top 3 limitations of poor quality noise cancelling headphones revealed. Audiophile quality and most budget-friendly wired and wireless noise cancelling-headphone review published by

Top 20 Best Noise Cancelling Headphones

Top 20 Noise Cancelling Headphones Review

Best noise cancelling headphones can silence external noises without distorting the audio.

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There are 3 main limitations of noise cancelling headphones: (i) some headphones are poor at reducing external noises, (ii) some headphones produce noise-cancelling (NC) at the expense of audio quality, and (iii) others produce a hissing noise as a result of the active noise-cancelling circuitry. In contrast, the better NC headphones are able to achieve optimal noise reduction without loss or distortion of sound quality. Weeding out poor quality NC headphones and selecting a high-quality pair is now possible thanks to the recently published list of the 20 best noise cancelling headphones.

The above list of the 20 NC headphones on has been broken down to 7 categories related to highest quality (audiophile grade), budget-friendly, active, passive, over-the-ear, in-ear and Bluetooth noise cancelling headphones.

High-end headphones from PSB, Bose, Harman Kardon, Sennheiser, and Parrot Zik, categorized as audiophile NC cans obviously produce the highest quality audio and are without a doubt the best noise cancelling headphones available, however, they can cost upwards of $250. For those who do not need audiophile grade audio quality, there are some very good wallet-friendly options from Audio-Technica, SOUL, Sony, Panasonic and V-MODA. This list of budget-friendly active noise cancelling headphones have been handpicked for their low price tag and high quality sounds and noise reduction. It is a highly recommended read for anyone looking to purchase high-quality yet cheap noise cancelling headphones.

The review also discusses the difference between active and passive noise cancellation technologies and have included a 5-minute video demonstrating the effect of noise cancellation. Passive technology works simply by blocking the entry of external noises and noise isolation (reduces bleeding out of audio signals to the outside). To achieve this, the earcups of these circum-aural/over-the-ear headphones are packed with sound-absorbing material. Active noise cancelling headphones work under a different principle. They have sophisticated noise cancelling circuitry that identifies and silences external noises by generating a counteracting signal (near exact opposite wavelength). Because of this special circuitry, active noise cancelling cans produce higher levels of noise reduction (up to 80 decibels; enough to block jet-engine noise inside an aircraft cabin) compared to their passive counterparts (up to 20 decibels). One of the disadvantages of active NC headphones is that they need a battery to power the noise-cancellation circuitry. While some headphones will continue to play music even after the battery dies (without NC), others cease to play any music at all. This is an important point to consider when selecting a pair of suitable noise-cancelling headphones.

Three Bluetooth noise cancelling headphones have also been reviewed on the list of the top 20. These happen to be some of the best headphones available as of 2013/2014, even compared to the non-noise cancelling headphones. More information on these are available on

In addition to the reviews on best noise cancelling headphones, they also have sections dedicated to best wired and Bluetooth headphones without built-in noise reduction for in-ear, on-ear and over-the-ear categories.

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Rebecca Hunter
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