Most of us use portable players at least now and then to listen to our music, using earbuds. But what if there is a lot of ambient noise, such as on an airplane, or if you are in a Starbucks enjoying a refreshment while you are using your laptop, or if you are playing in a band and want to hear not only your own instrument (in my case, it is the drums), but the other musicians and a click track, while the audience is nearly as loud as you are? Noise-reducing over-the-ear headphones are the answer, and the unit reviewed here, the Howard Leight Sync Noise-Blocking Stereo Earmuffs are an inexpensive and very effective solution.
They are adjustable by sliding the muffs up or down, and if they fit a little too tightly (as they did with me), you simply bend the headband outward so that it loosens the tension of the spring.
The Sync Earmuffs come with a 1/8″ stereo cable which will fit directly into your iPod. If using these on stage in a band, you will need a 1/8″ – 1/4″ stereo phone plug adapter.
In use, I found them to greatly reduce ambient noise when I was playing my drums along with jazz recordings, and because it reduced the ambient noise (crashing my cymbals) so much, I was able to keep the level of the music from my portable player low enough to prevent damage to my hearing, and this is the main purpose of these headphones: reduce ambient noise significantly but play stereo music at a decent quality. And, at the incredible price you can get them for on Amazon – about $27 – they are a musician’s dream. I did notice that the high frequencies were a bit rolled off compared to a good set of earbuds, like the NuForce NE-700X, but I think this is on purpose, as loud high frequencies are especially damaging to your hearing, and once the damage is done, it’s permanent.
So, if you want to listen to your portable player without distracting noise that is occurring around you, or need a headset to follow a click track in a band, give these a try. They’re cheap, and they work.