Headphone serenity

Our road warrior puts 5 noise-canceling headphones to the test.

1 of 5
BACKNEXT
Creative Aurvana X-Fi
Creative Aurvana X-Fi
There isn't a lot of silence in my job. As the founder and CEO of MindTouch, an enterprise software company based in sunny San Diego, I fly about once a week for meetings and speaking engagements.

I often spot fellow road warriors wearing headphones that play audio and also broadcast a white noise signal at the same frequency as nearby sounds, canceling out most of them. (If it works, you're not supposed to hear the white noise.) Many of my employees also enjoy the quiet these headphones confer in the office. But noise-canceling headphones skew bulky and expensive, particularly when compared with the low-cost earbuds that come with most smartphones and MP3 players.

After I plugged five of the latest noise-canceling headphones into my iPhone over three weeks, my opinion of this gadget category changed -- but just barely.

The first headset I tried was the Creative Aurvana X-Fi ($300). I flipped the power switch and was filled with a sense of peace as the clattering of keyboards and the obnoxious whirring of my office's HVAC faded away. The design was the most appealing and impressive of all five headphone sets mostly because of the futuristic control buttons. That's no small feat, considering that competitors Bose and Sennheiser are both famous for their sleek designs.

The Creative Aurvana features a complicated control panel adorned with glowing buttons and inscrutable acronyms. Younger or geekier users might find this appealing, but I played with the controls and didn't notice a significant difference in sound. One of my audiophile co-workers swore he detected white noise, but I did not, nor did others I tasked with detecting the noise.


NEXT: Genius GHP-04NC
Email | Print | Share  |  RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
LAST UPDATE: Jul 23 2009 | 2:16 PM ET
Sponsored by
More Galleries
7 lifehacks to eliminate your holiday hassle Whether curating the perfect gift or finding a pet-sitter, these startups offer time-saving services that might just seem like holiday magic. More
San Francisco: The best city to make things From electric motorcycles to death shrouds, San Francisco's manufacturing sector is booming. More
6 designers shaking up fashion These designers are changing the way we dress, accessorize and shop, from custom made-to-fit dresses to smart jewelry that's actually stylish. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.