Sennheiser PXC 300
Sennheiser's PXC 300 noise-canceling headphones boast the latest refinement of the brand's NoiseGard Advance hushing technology. The travel-friendly 'phones also offer featherweight comfort, fold flat for easy storage in the supplied soft travel case, and come with batteries and airline audio adapters. The PXC 300s retail for $220, though online pricing hovers at less than $200.
At first glance, the Sennheiser PXC 300s looks like upscale Walkman-style headphones; closer examination reveals them to have an impressively durable design. The earpieces are approximately 1.75 inches in diameter, so they can't completely cover your ears, but the PXC 300s' extraplush leatherette ear cushions blocked out a significant level of noise on their own. They exerted a fair amount of pressure on our ears, but we found the headphone extremely comfortable, even in hot weather. The headphones employ Sennheiser's proprietary, spiral-embossed Duofol diaphragms and bass-tube technology for improved sound quality. The PXC 300s are backed up with a two-year warranty.
Sennheiser claims its latest NoiseGard Advance system eliminates the electronics' inherent background noise, but we heard very low-level hiss in quiet locations; in the noisy world, the hiss was inaudible. Sennheiser also claims the PXC 300s reduce susceptibility to interference from cell phones and other radio-frequency sources, and we experienced no disturbances. The PXC 300s' noise-canceling circuitry and two AAA batteries are housed in a separate 5.25-inch-long, black plastic tube fitted with a metal belt clip. Sennheiser states the batteries should provide up to 80 hours of service, though you can still enjoy music over the PXC 300s even if you don't have a spare set of AAAs on hand; you just won't get the noise-canceling capability if you have no batteries. The cable running from the headphone and the battery case is 4.5 feet long; it's fitted with a 3.5mm stereo plug compatible with virtually all portables, and you get a 6.3mm adapter for home use.