Best for Audiophiles

Why block outside noise when you can make it stop existing?

Jan 4, 2012
Outside Magazine
Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones

Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones    Photo: Courtesy of Bose

A lot of brands these days are touting their noise-isolating technologies, which in most cases is a “passive” form of blocking noise—that is, headphones with lots of insulation, or in-ear phones that create a seal, like earplugs, and voilà: less external noise. Bose is one of the only companies to use active noise cancellation, which detects incoming noise and emits an inverse signal to literally cancel it out. (Both types of technology allow you to listen at lower volumes, which is better for the health of your ears.) If you’ve ever worn Bose’s now legendary QuietComfort headphones on a plane, you'll immediately hear the difference. The high-pitched drones of jet engines and crying babies fall away, letting you enjoy a quiet podcast or violin concerto as if you were lying in bed. That said, $300 (plus two AAA batteries) is a lot to drop on something you can accidentally leave behind in the seat pocket—so don’t leave them behind in the seat pocket. (Do I sound angry at myself?) Still, bring these on an overnight flight to Europe (just turn them on and play silence) and you'll remember why God made headphones.

Price $300