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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You get what you pay for
There are generally three classes of NC headphones...the $50 class, the $100-200 class and the BOSE Quite Comfort, in a class of their own. These are in the $50 NC headphone class and they work great. I had mine for a little less than two years before I lost them. I travel 100% for business and I use them with my laptop DVD player. The open-air design may not block...
Published on February 14, 2002

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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars At least they're cheap...
The fact that noise-canceling headphone reviews were all over the place made figuring out what to buy kind of difficult. I decided to buy the Sennheiser HDC451s, the Sony MDR-NC20s , and the Aiwa HP-CN5 , and the Etymotic ER-6 , try them all, and then return the three I liked least. Bose makes what are probably the industry standard but they weren't any better reviewed...
Published on January 1, 2003


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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You get what you pay for, February 14, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Aiwa HP-CN5 Noise Canceling Headphone (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
There are generally three classes of NC headphones...the $50 class, the $100-200 class and the BOSE Quite Comfort, in a class of their own. These are in the $50 NC headphone class and they work great. I had mine for a little less than two years before I lost them. I travel 100% for business and I use them with my laptop DVD player. The open-air design may not block out a lot of noise, but that is a characteristic of the design. Open air designs are also the most comfortable...they do not crush your ears or "plug them up" like earbuds (Sony MDR-NC10).
Anyway, if you do not want $50 open-air NC head phones, please do not buy these then complain; i.e. don't go to the rainforest and complain about rain. Understand what you are purchasing. The NC circuit works great for $50. These are a great NC headphone value. Probably best for use on aircraft.
My only advise is be an informed consumer and understand that $50 NC haedphones will probably not work as well as a $200 or $300 pair. With these, you get your $50 worth and more. Oh, and don't forget them in the seat back pocket of the airplane!
PS - Don't bother with the Sony MDR-NC5, they are the same as these. Save yourself $50 and get the Aiwas.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall good headphones, October 25, 2001
By 
"kevliu" (Cedar Rapids, IA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Aiwa HP-CN5 Noise Canceling Headphone (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I bought these headphones for the purpose of reducing backround noise while I fly on airplanes, travel with the band on road trips, and jogging on the treadmill at home. The noise reduction is effective....on the airplane and jogging on the treadmill, the effect cancels out enough backround-noise so that you can actually hear the music. IN regards on traveling on the road..I was on a bus filled with bandmembers...since the headphones are designed to reduce backround noise (and they are open type headphones...so they don't cover the ear from outside sound) and not talking it was less effective. Sound quality-wise they are pretty decent..somewhat lacking in highs but with good bass and a fairly decent midrange. I would reccommend the Aiwa for those who intends to listen to music in enviornments with constant backround noise (such as the drone of the airplane, or the hum of the treadmill motor) and for (money) these were the most affordable noise reduction headphones I could find. Overall a good deal.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars At least they're cheap..., January 1, 2003
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Aiwa HP-CN5 Noise Canceling Headphone (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
The fact that noise-canceling headphone reviews were all over the place made figuring out what to buy kind of difficult. I decided to buy the Sennheiser HDC451s, the Sony MDR-NC20s , and the Aiwa HP-CN5 , and the Etymotic ER-6 , try them all, and then return the three I liked least. Bose makes what are probably the industry standard but they weren't any better reviewed than the others and at ..., I wasn't interested.
Here's what I found:
Comfort: Kind of subjective, but in my opinion they rank as follows: Etymotic, Sony, Aiwa, Sennheiser. The Etymotics are basically earphones built into earplugs, so there's no bulk to worry about when moving around or trying to sleep on a plane. How comfortable they are kind of depends on how you feel about having things shoved in your ears. Of the conventional `phones, the Sony's closed-ear design is more comfortable over long periods. The open-air design of the other two tends to squeeze your ears after a while. The Sennheiser loses because of an inexplicably uncomfortable pad in the top.
Noise Canceling: Etymotic, Sony, Sennheiser, Aiwa. The Etymotics have no noise-canceling circuitry and rely purely on blocking the ear canal to reduce noise. This cuts more noise than the others and does it across the entire spectrum-making it the only one that will silence the kid screaming in the seat behind you. In the conventional `phones, the Sony again benefits from the closed-ear design, passively blocking some high register noise that the others miss. The Sennheisers actually have the most elegant electronics, silencing low hums with less hiss than the other two. Remember that active noise canceling only works in the very low registers-like the rumble of an airplane.
Sound: Etymotic, Sennheiser, Sony, Aiwa. The Etymotics live up to their reputation of being one the best sounding `phones on the market at any price, though they can amplify body noises such as chewing. The Sennheisers sound really muddy with the canceling turned off, but with it on they give fairly crisp sound a bit lacking in bass. The other two remain kind of muddy sounding with somewhat sloppy bass which might make watching movies on a plane a little more difficult. Overall, the Sony and Aiwa don't sound any better than the cheap `phones that came with my MD player.
Convenience: Etymotic, Aiwa, Sony, Sennheiser. The Etymotics fit in your shirt pocket but are definitely harder to get in and out than the others and don't include an airline adapter. The Aiwas fold up quite flat, have the batteries in the headset and have a carrying case. The Sonys fold up (but are still bulky), include a carrying case, and have the battery in the headset. The Sennheisers don't fold, have no carrying case, and have the batteries in the cord. All three conventional units come with airline adapters.
So in conclusion, the Etymotics are pretty much light years ahead of the others, but only if you are okay with having them jammed in your ears (didn't bother me, but my wife had no interest.) The conventional units all have their pluses and minuses, so you'll have to decide what features are important to you.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm glad I have them, but they could be better, February 12, 2002
This review is from: Aiwa HP-CN5 Noise Canceling Headphone (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I bought these headphones - two pair, actually - because we live in such a noisy neighborhood, and needed to have something to help kill some ... music that is played far too loudly, so that we could at least watch a movie or listen to music of our own (in our own home!) without having it supersaturated with the noisome air pollution... . But, complaints about my ... neighborhood aside, these headphones have worked admirably in that regard. I also use them now on the subway, to kill a fair amount of the ambient noise, and help reduce the air pollution of other, less human, subway riders who insist on broadcasting their music choice to the entire car. I also take them with me when flying, and if that was all I used them for, I'd consider the price well worth it. Wow! Planes are so loud, and these cut out a lot of the noise. And if you're playing your own music while sound cancelling, you can pretty well tune out every bit of ambient sound out there. The sound cancelling is also nice in that when using it, one does not need to turn the volume up as far as one normally would - thus giving your ears even *less* noise. When watching movies or listening to music late at night, it also means that the volume can be low enough that one's bed-neighbor will not need to suffer from noise bleed-through.
Fidelity: the sound quality is okay on these. You wouldn't use them in a recording studio, but for tooling around town they're fine.
Comfort: These are not the most comfortable headphones I have owned. They have a silly flat plastic top that does not fit around the head, and doesn't have the usual adjustabilty that one finds with headphones; nor does the plastic band hold the phones very tightly to ones head, so whenever I tip my head (say, to tie a shoe, or pick something up), they slide off. However, though they couldn't manage to get a snug fit on the head, these have a wondrous, too snug fit on the ears that becomes uncomfortable after a while.
Quality of craftsmanship: This is where these lose the possibilty of earning five stars. The plastic band holding the ear-cups together is built somewhat flimsily, with no back-up support. Mine are already cracked from spreading the earcups apart only a smidgen more than their normal rest position. They fold up nicely into a small package, but there are a number of little hinges, all plastic, that I'm sure will wear out in the next year, and cause these to fall apart completely. For a "special" kind of product - that is, not a regular cheap headphone - I wish Aiwa had made something substantially sturdier. For the price, I actually was quite surprised at the cheapness of the plastic housing the entire unit.
I do recommend these, but with the caveat that you will need to be more careful with them, and also the issues of fitting on the head. As stated, for tooling around town, watching a movie so as not to disturb your partner, and for airplanes, they're just fine. Noise cancelling headphones in general area an awesome idea. You could definitely do better than these, but for the price, these are a good deal.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A complete disappointment, January 6, 2002
This review is from: Aiwa HP-CN5 Noise Canceling Headphone (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I was hesitating whether I should be giving one or two stars. I chose one, because I failed to actually pick up a single good feature in these headphones.
First, the noise cancelation, which most likely is the main feature of these headphones. It is poor. The open-air design does let too much ambient noise in, and the noise canceling mechanism is not effective enough in decreasing it to a bearable level. It does attenuate the ambient noise, yes; but don't even dream of using the noise canceling to block out anything else than the sound of low, humming sounds or motor noises. It won't help too much with music, speech, or high-pitched noise.
In addition, the noise canceling feature adds a considerable amount of hissing. So much in fact, that listening to music in a silent environment with these headphones is almost equal to listening to music on normal headphones on a bus or local train. If you are listening to something else than death metal or trance, or you are using the headphones anywhere else than on a plane (which has a very high ambient noise level), you will notice the hissing.
Aiwa's distributor was contacted about this issue and they admitted that this is a known feature of the product.
The construction of the phones is flimsy. When putting them on, I was constantly afraid that I would snap the plastic. There is no metal to back up the plastic. The folding design of these phones is average, but at the same time, it does not feel too solid.
The size of the headphones was too small for my head. They squeezed my ears so much that it almost hurt.
All in all, not recommended. I brought the phones back to where I bought them.
If you are looking for noise-cancelling headphones, be sure to try them out in a store before buying, or make sure you have a money-back guarantee.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Audio, Works Without Battery, Folds Nicely, BUT..., January 22, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Aiwa HP-CN5 Noise Canceling Headphone (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I simultaneously compared these headphones at home with the QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headset QC-1 from Bose and with the Noisebuster Extreme! NB-EX from Noise Cancellation Technologies. The Bose is comfortable on the ears, reduces a lot of external sound, has earcushions that completely cover the ears (i.e., reduce noise passively, unlike the other two products), has a padded carrying case, and has very good audio quality ignoring the active noise reduction. But the Bose does not work when no batteries are installed, is bulky (e.g., does not fold), and is VERY expensive. The Noisebuster reduces almost as much external sound as the Bose Quiet Comfort, works (without noise reduction) when no batteries are installed, and is relatively inexpensive. I am neutral on the Noise Buster's folding (although it is small to begin with) and comfort on the ears. Minuses for the Noisebuster: it is difficult to find, there is no carrying case, and its audio quality was only fair compared with the other two products (e.g., the bass was weak). The Aiwa has good audio quality, works (without noise reduction) when no battery is installed, folds nicely, and is relatively inexpensive. I am neutral on its basic carrying pouch, the location of the battery on the headband (unlike the external battery packs of the other two products), and the fact that it applied a lot of pressure on my ears (since I do have a big head). But the Aiwa's plastic head band appeared easy to break, and it did not reduce as much external sound as the Bose and Noisebuster.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not good for high-frequency noise, November 10, 2002
This review is from: Aiwa HP-CN5 Noise Canceling Headphone (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I work in a server room where we have 40 racks full of computers and hard disks roaring away, and I bought these headphones hoping that they would offer some relief from the noise.
First off, the cord is way too short -- only 3 feet and 7 inches. So I had to move one of my computers closer to me so that I could listen to my music from my computer's sound card, and even then, I could not move my chair around too much.
Second, I found that I could still hear the high-pitched whine of some of our disk racks. A closer look at the technical specs printed on the cover of this product revealed that the active noise attenuation frequency range is only 40 to 2,000 Hz, and the attenuation level is only 10 dB at 400 Hz. That's a very poor spec, considering that the human ear can hear noises from 20 to 20,000 Hz.
There are far better products out there, like the Maxell HP-NC1 which offers about 15 dB of maximum cancellation, and has a cancellation frequency range of 20 to 15,000 Hz.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Aiwa HPCN5 Noise Canceling Headphone, August 9, 2001
By 
E.M. "emahayri" (Ohio, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Aiwa HP-CN5 Noise Canceling Headphone (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I never could listen to music on my portable CD player with its original headphone while I am cutting the grass in my backyard due to the very noisy lawnmower, until I got this headphone. Yes...it does not make the world quiet, but it cancel enough of the noise so now I can hear my CD and enjoy the music while I am riding my very noisy lawnmower. When I used it in my office I could not hear the phone ringing. The quality of the sound is excellent for the price, and it produces a very good bass. They come with a very nice bag for travel. The only problem I found is the comfort, they do not have padding on top so I gave it 4 stars instead of 5, other wise the quality is excellent and the price is perfect.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good on the plane; good deal for the $$$$, May 20, 2002
By 
Roy Gordon (Berkeley, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Aiwa HP-CN5 Noise Canceling Headphone (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
The Aiwa reduced much of that annoying and tiring ambient airplane noise. I could read comfortably on the plane but still hear still hear the flight attendant when she came by. I arrived fresher than I would have without the Aiwa.
The Aiwa were comfortable for me, although I could see that others might have problem with them.
I also own the expensive ear bud Sony MDR-NC10. I bought the Aiwa because I had lost one of the bud coverings on the Sony and didn't have time to order the replacement.
The Sony is superior in eliminating noise at all frequencies, but I didn't find it as comfortable as the Aiwa. In addition, the Sony's 'white noise' or whatever it is can be a bit tiring itself, (but HUGELY better than not wearing them at all).
However, I've worn the Sony on transcontinental non-stop flights and transoceanic flights as well as shorter legs, whereas the Aiwa were only across the country (US) roundtrip but with a stopover each way, so not subject to the same and more difficult conditions of the Sony.
For the $$$$, though, the Aiwa is hard to beat (as long as you find it comfortable).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful bargain for air travel, August 26, 2001
By 
"rtleemd" (Weston, MA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Aiwa HP-CN5 Noise Canceling Headphone (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
These headphones are wonderful. They are compact and a good bargain, and they cancel a great deal of the airplane noise that prevents hearing music or a movie. They are comfortable, with the only downside that they don't have a volume control on the cord.
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