Picture it: you're getting settled in on the train/subway/plane and about to propel yourself headfirst into that new Capital Cities & Andre 3000 jam when 3 air-headed high school chicks sit down in the row behind you. The chatter is constant, loud and worst of all pointless... thank god you have those noise-cancelling headphones.
Whether it's the annoying lady on the train in the morning that won't shut up, your girlfriend's nagging, or the construction going on outside your window, there's nothing on this planet worse than your music being interrupted or altered by outside noise. We've done our due diligence to help you do yours for your listening experience and put together a list of 15 of the best noise cancelling headphones you can find on the market right now. Some things to keep in mind when shopping for headphones from the guys at Lifehacker: know what kind of earphone you want before you start looking (in-ear, over-ear, etc.), try them on and try them out if you can, check up on battery life and the warranty before you buy, don't expect miracles from them (no headphone is gonna block out the entire cheer-leading team's practice) and remember, a premium product will come at a premium price.
15. Phiaton PS 20 NC - PURCHASE
At $150, these in-ear buds won't break the bank while still providing above-average sound quality and good noise cancellation. An in-line battery compartment on the cable that doesn't use rechargeable batteries serves as a drawback.
14. Soul by Ludacris SL300 - PURCHASE
Some may call it a bold move by Ludacris to go into direct competition with Beats by Dre but with more comprehensive active noise cancellation, a hard shell case and additional detachable cables for the same price, these are certified winners.
13. Parrot Zik - PURCHASE
Loaded with features including complete control of your audio experience right on the headphone itself, these wireless headphones produce studio quality sound if you tinker with the presets long enough.
12. Beats by Dre Executive - PURCHASE
While there's certainly a stigma that hovers above the Beats by Dre brand from audio purists, the Executive model ditches the cheezy plastics for a matte aluminum frame and paint job and refines the noise cancellation circuit from the standard models for superior sound quality.
11. Sennheiser MM 450-X Travel - PURCHASE
Superior active noise cancellation comes with a superior price tag although the TalkThrough option allows you to cut off your music and lift the noise cancellation to talk with a seatmate at the push of a button without removing the headset.
10. Polk Audio UltraFocus 8000 - PURCHASE
Powerful headphones in terms of sound quality and the ability to hear deep basses and big highs. Noise cancellation leaves you with an audible hissing sound however and requires AAA batteries rather than the industry-standard rechargeable batteries.
9. Audio-Technica ATH-ANC1 QuietPoint - PURCHASE
With an Amazon price tag of less than $100 dollars, these headphones provide unbelievable value in a market where it's hard to find a pair of headphones under $300. While they're certainly not Bose quality, the highly portable design and above-average sound quality makes these a great buy.
8. AKG K495 NC Acoustics - PURCHASE
Easily one of the most sturdily built headsets you can find, the AKG K495 NC Acoustic headphones has the ability to recharge it's battery via USB cord which could be useful in a desperate situation.
7. Sony MDR-NC500D - PURCHASE
High level sound quality and noise cancellation come with a big time price tag and tight fit for some users as well as an oft-cited 'thumping' problem during playback.
6. Able Planet Sound Clarity NC510B - PURCHASE
A great choice if you're looking for bang for your buck. You can find these bad boys on Amazon for as low as $125 with a noise cancellation circuit on par with some of the higher level products.
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