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on October 26, 2006
I got desparate just before taking a long flight, and purchased these for about $30. They did a good job of cancelling background noise on the plane, and for that purpose, I would highly recommend them. They even come with an adapter for jacks that require two plugs instead of one (like US Airways).

Overall, they sound pretty good. As with most earbuds, to get good bass, you need to make sure they are snug inside your ear.

When you turn on Noise cancelling, the volume increases, and this is typical because Noise Cancelling works by amplifying the sound and "subtracting" the outside noise that is being picked up. With a standard AA battery, you can get several hours of Noise Cancelling. When the battery begins to die, the volume actually drops, and it is much better to just turn Noise Cancelling off.

The earbuds fit well (there are 3 sizes included) and help to block a lot of external noise, so even without Noise Cancelling turned on you can block out of lot of unwanted noise.

And here is where Philips went wrong...They made the cable nearly 4' long (1.2 Meters), but in the middle, there is the bulky Noise Cancelling switch that holds the AAA battery. Not a problem when you are sitting (eg. on and airplane, or at work) because you can just set it down. But for example, when you are walking, it hardly reaches your pants pocket, so you can't stand up straight, or it will pull the buds out of your ears. Leaving it hanging will do the same thing. In fact, this has been such an annoyance to me, that I never use these anytime I'm being active. And it's a shame, because they do a good job of cancelling lawnmower noise.

If you need a more general purpose solution and can spend a little more, I would suggest buying a set of Noise Isolation phones, which do not even require a battery. They are designed to completely block all external noises from getting into your ear canal.

However, if you plan to use them only for travelling, they are decent for the price. I have travelled with these for several months, and they still function well.
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on March 21, 2007
I bought these earbuds to help combat some of the sounds that were bothering me at work. I'm a cubicle dweller and there are some noisy folks in my neighborhood. I wanted to block out voices, phones ringing, photocopier noise, etc.

These earbuds work pretty well and are reasonably priced. I find them comfortable to wear and they even help block some sounds without the noise canceling turned on. The rubber cups work like earplugs, so I can listen to my music at a lower volume and yet not be bothered by external noise.

I do hear a little "white noise" along with the music when the noise canceling is switched on, but it doesn't bother me. With noise canceling turned on I think the music sounds better, the volume is boosted a little but not super-loud.

I've also tried using these in the car and they block out traffic sounds, open windows, etc. pretty well.

I am happy with this purchase. If I'd had very high expectations I would have bought one of the top-of-the-line, super-expensive sets of noise canceling headphones. I just wanted something comfortable, effective and inexpensive, and these earbuds delivered that nicely.
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on November 25, 2006
It appears most of the reviewers who found the noise reduction ineffective were testing it out in normal listening environments such as a home or office. The NR will not be noticable for this use, as it primarily works on the low frequencies. All you will hear when activating the electronics is a slight increase in volume & associated hiss. I also thought the NR wasnt working, so I took my mp3 player to a laundromat and put them to a test. The NR worked very well in reducing the low frequency washer & dryer rumble. The 70% figure seems about right, but only on the lows. I am a professional musician & recording engineer, and was very impressed by these phones. 5 stars, as they are a fraction of the cost of similar Bose units.
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on June 29, 2006
After sampling and rejecting several modestly-priced headphones, I've finally found some that are even better than the quite-good ones that came with my Creative Zen Touch MP3 player. The first moments were unimpressive, but I had not pushed these earbuds in snugly. Once that was done and I flicked on the battery-powered sound enhancement, I smiled. Crisp, clear highs, and sufficient lows, combined to delight my auditory nerves.

The need to replace one AAA battery and to manage the in-line noise-cancelling box (which fits nicely in one's shirt pocket) may bother some, but for price, compactness, and performance of these headphones, these two things are only slight detractions. I recommend them.
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on August 19, 2006
These phones do block noise fairly well but it's mostly because the rubber buds seal the ear and not because of the active noise reduction circuitry. I did A/B comparisons using a test tone generator at several frequencies, switching the active reduction on and off. There is some noise reduction at low-mid frequencies but it's quite marginal -- by ear, probably about 3 to (at most) 6 dB. The phones also add a pink-noise "hiss" that can be mistaken for noise reduction. These phones are not really bad; just don't expect too much in the way of noise reduction.
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on March 7, 2007
I bought these for use in my Jeep. They do a terrific (and very noticeable) job eliminating wind noise from my soft top (and my usually open windows).

They also have terrific sound compared to regular headphones in this price range. I hate hiss, but the tiny amount they add is unnoticeable when the are being used for their intended purpose. (In a quiet environment, I go back to my Philips Surround Sound earbuds.)

If you look at the specs for noise cancelling headphones, you'll see that the active cancellation handles low frequencies (50-1500Hz). Higher frequencies are eliminated primarily by the earphone/headset physical design itself.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon August 5, 2011
COMPARISON TO PREVIOUS PHILIPS NOISE-CANCELLING EARBUDS
I assumed that after 5 or more years, Philips had improved on the design of the HN060/37 earbuds (improving the noise cancelling circuit) that I bought long ago. I purchased 2 units, and have subjected them to rough treatment---one is still working. The old HN060/37 is extraordinarily robust---ideal for the bustle of traveling. All of the cords are "armored" in a woven cloth sleave, which adds rigidity and minimizes tangling. The HN060/37 includes a volume control and a neck cord. The neck cord is particularly handy---you can just leave the earbuds dangling when you need full hearing during boarding, etc. I often clip my MP3 player to the neckcord where it was handy to start/stop or change volume. My only problem with them is that it is easy to loose the "rubber" earbud tips, but that's a problem with any earbuds you wear for many hours at a time. Philips HN060/37 Noise-Canceling Earbuds

DESCRIPTION
This item, SHN2500/37, is NOT an updated improved version of the old HN060/37. It is constructed of cheap plastic with very thin cords---it does not look as though it could survive more than one or two airline flights. There are separate cords from each earbud to the control unit---they are NOT united in a Y partway. It is a hopeless tangle waiting-to-happen. There is no volume control for the noise canceling circuit. It comes with only 2 sizes of tips, "average" and "tiny". The cords are very long, far longer than necessary or convenient.

ERGONOMICS
Since (unlike the HN060/37) these earbuds have no integrated neckcord, the weight of the control unit, although slight, can pull the earbuds out of your ear. Also, there is no way to clip the control unit to your clothing. There is no need to clip the old HN060/37 control unit to your clothing because it hangs from the neckcord Unless you have a shirt pocket, there is no place to put the control unit of the new SHN2500/37. ---This criticism applies to nearly all current noise-canceling earbuds. For the life-of-me, I don't understand why the designers insist on placing the control units half-way on the cords---I'd much prefer the control unit to be at the end of my cord, and for my MP3 player to plug directly into it--or for an MP3 player to be integrated into the control unit. I have added an eyeglass type neckcord which makes the earbuds much more convenient for travel.

CUDOS
On the good side the control unit is very light (you really wonder if there are any electronics inside at all) and the earbuds are unusually comfortable. It really doesn't matter that there is no volume control for the noise canceling circuit (because my old HN060/37 is always on max). In ordinary situations, it is hard to notice any noise reduction. However, I was pleasantly surprised on a recent airplane flight, that the noise reduction was adequate for me to comfortably listen to my audiobook. I was even more impressed mowing the lawn last Saturday---the new set worked better than my old HN060/37. Unlike the "white noise" masking of the old HN060/37 and other "noise-canceling" headsets I've tried, the noise reduction really does seem to be "active"---reducing only the noise necessary for you to be able to hear your music or recorded voice.

SUGGESTIONS
To minimize tangles, I kept my old HN060/37 with a pack of spare batteries in a 2 x 3" zippered pouch, and always put the unit away in the pouch at the end of a flight. Even with such a pouch, the multiple long thin cords of the new SHN2500/37 will undoubtedly frequently become a Gordian knot.

Buy an "eyeglasses" type neckcord and install it on the earbuds, so that you can let the earbuds hang when you need to hear announcements, when you are boarding your plane, etc.

Although the earbuds (the rubbery part) are unusually comfortable, I suggest replacing them with tri-level earbuds which are even more comfortable. 2 Pair, Men's Size - Earphones Plus Brand, Tri-Level, Replacement Ear Cushions, Earbuds for Sound Isolating Earphones. (See Fit Information in Details Below)

HOW TO QUIT LOOSING EARBUDS
To see my, "HOW TO QUIT LOOSING EARBUDS"
click on "See all my reviews" above
Then click on "So you'd like to know" guides on the left side of the page
Then from the list choose "HOW TO QUIT LOOSING EARBUDS"

THE BOTTOM LINE
For $20, they work surprisingly well (for listening to music or audiobooks on airline flights, or working with power tools). Most other units costing up to $100 or more have similar shortcomings.

> Click on “Stoney” just below the product title to see my other reviews, or leave a comment to ask a question.
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on July 28, 2007
I bought these noise canceling headphones to use when flying. I was hoping to be able to listen to my music without having to turn it up so loud it could drown out the jet engine noise on its own (I'd like to save my hearing for the future). So, I tried them out on a few flights, and I have mixed feelings about how they performed.

What I liked:
-I think these headphones sound decent. I'm no music snob, but I like good sounding music, and these headphones fit the bill.
-The way the earbuds are designed allow for them to fig snugly in my ear (there are three sizes of inserts that come in the package for different sized ears). The snug fit and the rubber material helps block out exterior sounds even without turning on the "noise canceling" switch. But this is more of a "noise reducing" method than "noise canceling".

What I didn't like:
-The noise canceling switch that holds the battery can be a little annoying hanging off of the headphone cord like it does. Not a big deal for me though.
-The noise canceling technology these headphones use did not impress me. When you switch on the "noise canceling", the volume of music increases a decent amount, and you also get a little hiss in the background. Granted, when you are in a truly noisy environment, you don't really notice the hiss much. It was mainly the volume boost and lack of real "noise canceling" that disappointed me. Yes, I couldn't hear background noises as well anymore, but it seemed more like the reason for this was that the music was louder. I couldn't help but think, "I could do that on my own by just turning up the volume on my mp3 player." Just to see, I switched back and forth numerous times to compare the "on" and "off" of noise canceling (while adjusting my mp3 volume to try to take out the variable of the music getting louder), and I honestly couldn't tell a big difference. I won't say there was no difference, because it was a little different. I'm not sure it was an improvement though, just different. For instance, it would change the pitch of the jet engine background noise, but I don't know that I would actually say it was decreased. Plus, every time I turned on the noise canceling, I felt an extra "pressure" of sorts on my eardrums. I don't know what to attribute it to, but that was what I experienced.

So, I guess the bottom line is, I will still use these headphones because they do block some external noises due to their earbud design. I just don't know that I will bother with the "noise canceling" switch anymore. If I could redesign these myself, I would take out the noise canceling feature, get rid of the switch/battery compartment from the cord, and leave the rest as is - since I do like the sound quality and the earbud fit (which cuts out external noises a little).
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on May 8, 2012
Ok, here's how I happened to buy this product - I constantly am on the lookout for a good pair of earphones, which is at the same time not pricey. I have seen in the past some excellent ear buds sell for amazing prices for very short period. i always hope I can buy one when such a thing happens. So, I was casually browsing ear buds, and as soon as I saw this pair listed for 11$, my eyes lit up. I had once considered this ear bud, and dismissed it since it was a little too expensive for my liking. I went ahead and bought the SHE9700 instead. (http://www.amazon.com/review/R3KY9MRR0VLKZL/ref=cm_srch_res_rtr_alt_2) I absolutely love those earphones.

Now, coming back to these earphones, I read multiple reviews a lot of which said these are outright bad. I think most reviewers were bang on. However, if you read the reviews of most other noise-cancelling earphones, you will find very similar ratings for ones not priced very high. Of course, the higher end ones are going to sound better, and you don't want to write a bad review about your Bose after having spent 300$ on it :) just saying. Anyway, having read the reviews, my expectations were really low from this. I was buying it more out of curiosity to see how a noise-cancelling earphones was different/better than my regular noise-isolating ones. Here's what I think,

1) Most reviewers are right when they make claims like "doesn't work", or "no noise canceling" or "not worth the money". However, I feel loads of people have the wrong kind of expectations from Noise-Canceling earphones. they expect it to magically transform into their personal cocoon. Well, sadly, I don't think there is any such affordable solution right now.

2) I study analog design - so, I know my amplifier and filter design. (Well, even if I am not that great at it.) So, I know that there is some active circuitry in here which is trying to do "something". The results are however not impressive.

3) I should however mention that people should not complain about the "white noise" or the "noise floor". It is mentioned in the product description, and I know that it is really really hard to get rid of noise in circuits. (I always failed to meet the noise specification in all of my design projects!)

Here's a (hopefully neutral) assessment of the earphones,

Cons:
-They are not great - maybe not even good. To be quite honest, I like my Noise-Isolation earphones better.
-The plastic case housing the circuit and the battery is too bulky. I cannot use it with a portable device. The cable is too long. Again, I cannot use it with a portable device. it almost feels like, Philips was keeping just airlines in mind when they made this. Not like you need to move around in one.
-I would have liked it if they had the bulky unit as a separate unit, which I could just disconnect when i wanted to.
-The earphones didn't come with a pouch! All decent earphones should come with a pouch, otherwise, these become a tangled mess in your backpack!
-My SHE9700 sounds way better than these. Then again, i have been using them for a while now. Maybe I should give these earphones some time too.

comparison with a noise-isolating earphone,

I tried out this and another noise-isolating earphone, on a music player and on my laptop. Here's what I found,
-The volume of these phones is lower. On pressing the "on" switch it feels like the volume just went up, and I think it does that. There must be an amplifier inside the plastic casing which must be coming in. This is not a gimmick - amplifiers are needed after you try cancelling something out, but it surely feels like a gimmick, if you are not interested in what's actually happening on the inside.

I tried clicking my fingers, (generally low frequency) and see which ones blocked noise better. My noise isolations did a pretty good job of it. At the same volume, these guys without NC on were letting in some noise, and the volume was lower. I am not sure if the noise was because of the ear buds not fitting perfectly. When I turned the NC on, I could not hear the noise, but the volume just got louder. At a slightly lower volume, these were maybe marginally better.

They are no good at blocking high frequency sound,and you know it when you play a song with a lot of high pitched guitar music in it on a laptop, and use these with your music player.

Overall, I would say, Philips should not even have made these. They are a perfect example of how what makes sense to engineers might not actually make a good product all the time. But for 11$, I'll take em.

I'll probably try it out in an airplane next, and see if it is any better for that. If you want to buy it for generic use, my recommendation would be that you better buy something else.

EDIT 07-12-2013

I recently tried these on a trip from London to LA. Compared to the cheap headphones that British Airways gave me, these sounded like bliss. They also very efficiently blocked away any engine noise letting me focus on the on-board entertainment. I didn't even have to increase the volume too much. I also tried out a noise isolation earphone, and they weren't nearly as good as these. Considering most people spend 200$ + on Bose headphones just to wear on airplanes, I think this is a wonderful deal. From 3 stars up to 4
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on March 20, 2008
Why the low price?
I highly recommend for this price.

Problems you may solve if you pay more for another product:

No auto off, you can easily forget to slide switch off and run down the battery. However, the battery lasts a long time.

Better noise reduction. I'd say the noise reduction is subtle but important -- takes the edge off on plane flights. It is the difference between before and after your ears pop, only in reverse.

Better fidelity. But, I mainly listen to podcasts.

To get that, pay more. But these work as advertised.

It is easy to loose the ear pads, they give you different sizes so hang on to the near fits for when you loose the ones that fit best.

Plus's:

The supplied airplane plug-in gadget is really great. I flew 12 hours to Asia and watching movies with these was great.

It hangs around your neck, with the pod like a locket, That gives a tall guy enough cord to listen with the iPod in your pants pocket and keeps some cord sanity. You can unplug your ears and the ear pieces just hang a short distance from your neck. Very nice setup.
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