I think you have to make a fundamental decision on whether to get earbuds or earphones. I am not particularly crazy about the idea of jamming something into my ear canal where it can reasonate next to my ear drum. However, after a lot of reading, I am not convinced that most noise canceling products do what they say and I am not sure they allow you to listen at much lower volumes. Plus they aren't as portable/inconspicuous.

So, I opted for noice isolating earbuds in the hope they allow me to listen at lower levels, particularly on trains or on the subway. I ordered Etymotics Er6i, about 100 bucks. Some of the other brands that are popular are Sony, Shure and ultimate ears. I don't have them yet so I can't tell you how good they sound. I will follow up. They should be here today.