The Best Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones

The Best Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones

Let’s help you lock out the outside world so that you can work, relax, or play in peace and comfort, with the best passive noise cancelling headphones.

Quick answer:

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro – if you want top quality, professional sound, and comfortable for long wearing sessions, this is our top option.

Audix A150 – features non-hyped frequency response that helps you make important and sometimes critical decisions regarding the mix.

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x – a very popular option among professionals and consumers a like.

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Table of Contents


About Our Top Choices

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 250 ohm

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 250 ohm
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

More details…

We think the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro is the best choice for someone who is looking for passive noise-cancelling headphones that are durable, sturdy, versatile, and good-sounding for long hours without being fatiguing.

Pros
  • Good-sounding
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Versatile
Cons
  • High end is rather heavy

Audix A150

Audix A150
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

More details…

Audix A150 is a top of the line pair of headphones for professionals and audiophiles. They feature non-hyped frequency response that helps you make important and sometimes critical decisions regarding the mix. Despite these headphones being the most expensive among other entries, the benefits that they offer are definitely worth the price tag.

Pros
  • Clear and balanced sound
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Not exactly budget friendly

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

More details…

If you’re in search of headphones that would sit comfortably on your ears and are a budget option, Audio-Technica ATH-M20x is pretty much your go-to option. These headphones have the highest amount of positive user feedback due to its great quality and satisfactory sound.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Favored by users
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Bass is rather quiet
  • Seems fragile

Top 10 Best Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones

  1. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 250 ohm
  2. Audix A150
  3. Audio-Technica ATH-M20x
  4. Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
  5. Sennheiser HD 280 Pro
  6. Direct Sound EX-29
  7. Shure SRH840
  8. KRK KNS 8400
  9. Vic Firth SIH2
  10. AKG K371

Best Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones Reviews


Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 250 ohm

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 250 ohm

Pros
  • Good-sounding
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Versatile
Cons
  • High end is rather heavy
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro is our top choice headphones since they are great when it comes to working long hours on the recording floor or control room. In addition to that, these headphones are a great choice in terms of price and quality.

Best features and specs

The DT 770 Pro are closed studio headphones that are equalized to meet diffuse field EQ requirements, an innovative bass-reflex system, robust spring steel headband, single-sided cable, and frequency response of 5 Hz to 35 kHz.

User impressions

Users are impressed with it being compact, comfortable, and clear-sounding. Some emphasize that they have never felt tired while wearing these headphones during long sessions, definitely helping to reduce listening fatigue.

What we think

Beyerdynamic is a top brand and we’ve always admired the manufacturer for catering to their primary market of audiophiles, music producers and sound engineers. This means building and designing their headphones to be suitable to the conditions that we work in. The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro clearly are nothing less than what is to be expected for what they stand for.

Bottomline

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro is a great choice for someone who is looking for passive noise-cancelling headphones that are durable, sturdy, versatile, and good-sounding. The only drawback that you might experience is that the high end is rather heavy.


Audix A150

Audix A150

Pros
  • Clear and balanced sound
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Not exactly budget friendly
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Audix A150 is a top of the line pair of headphones for professionals and audiophiles. They feature non-hyped frequency response that lets you make important and sometimes critical decisions regarding the mix. Despite these headphones being the most expensive among other entries, the benefits that they offer are definitely worth the price tag.

Best features and specs

Audix A150 offers a spacious soundstage with natural, lifelike, and balanced sound reproduction, linear response throughout the frequency range, soft cushion earcups with 90-degree swivel, high-performance, phase-coherent 50mm drivers with rare-earth alloy magnets, dynamic, circumaural, closed-back design.

User impressions

Users like the A150 for being a truly remarkable sounding pair of headphones that are also comfortable to wear. These headphones give you well-defined and deep bass and smooth and accurate mids and highs.

What we think

We find it more than convenient that both earcups can swivel so that one-ear monitoring becomes available. Audix A150 gives you an opportunity of a 90-degrees swivel, making the monitoring process easier.

Bottomline

Audix A150 is a great choice for someone who is looking for lightweight, comfortable passive noise-cancelling headphones that give a clear and balanced sound and are a real-time-saver and true helper during long recording sessions.


Audio-Technica ATH-M20x

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Favored by users
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Bass is rather quiet
  • Seems fragile
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

If you’re in search of headphones that would sit comfortably on your ears and are a budget option, Audio-Technica ATH-M20x is pretty much your go-to option. These headphones have the highest amount of positive user feedback due to its great quality and satisfactory sound.

Best features and specs

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x is optimized for studio tracking and mixing, is tuned for low-frequency performance, gives you 12 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response, and 40mm drivers that swivel.

User impressions

Users say that Audio-Technica ATH-M20x are great headphones that sit comfortably, sound great, are lightweight, and are amazingly affordable.

What we think

What we like the most about Audio-Technica ATH-M20x is that they are ergonomically designed, and sit really well on the ears.

Bottomline

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x is a great choice for someone who is looking for comfortable, extremely affordable passive noise-cancelling headphones. Note that the bass is rather quieter than advertised, and you need to use these headphones carefully if you want to extend their life.


Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

Pros
  • Durable
  • Good-sounding
  • Versatile
Cons
  • Isolation is not that good
  • Bulky
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

If you’re constantly gigging or moving between studios, you need lightweight equipment that is easy to carry around. Audio-Technica ATH-M40x offers you foldable headphones with noise-cancelling technology and swivel earcups.

Best features and specs

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x gives 15 Hz to 24 kHz frequency response, robust build quality, 40 mm drivers with rare-earth neodymium magnets, copper-clad wire voice coils, circumaural design contours for isolation in loud environments, and collapsible design with 90-degree swivel earcups.

User impressions

Users like Audio-Technica ATH-M40x because it sounds great with great bass and crisp highs, is comfortable to wear during long sessions, and it’s extremely compact.

What we think

What we like the most about Audio-Technica ATH-M40x is that these headphones are truly easy to take on trips and gigs. They easily fold and take a ridiculous amount of space.

Bottomline

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x is a great choice for someone who is looking for versatile, durable, and good-sounding passive noise-cancelling headphones. Note that isolation isn’t as good as it’s advertised.


Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Affordable
  • Neutral-sounding in midrange
Cons
  • Easily becomes overheated during long sessions
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

When you’re working with audio, it’s crucial that you hear everything that happens. Sennheiser HD 280 Pro promises that you hear expressive lows, clear-cut mids, and focused highs to make sure you make the best audio editing decisions.

Best features and specs

The HD 280 Pro has really impressive thick, widely spaced earcups that give you 32dB of acoustic isolation, linear frequency response, folding design, adapter to use headphones with both 1/4″ and 1/8″ headphones jacks, and swiveling and replaceable earcups.

User impressions

Users agree that Sennheiser HD 280 Pro offers high quality for being otherwise extremely budget-friendly. Many laud it for its great and clear sound, as well as being comfortable to wear for a long time.

What we think

What we like the most about the HD 280 Pro is how comfortable and pleasant it is to wear for a short time to long audio sessions.

Bottomline

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro is a great choice for someone who is looking for comfortable, affordable, great-sounding, and neutral midrange passive noise-cancelling headphones. Note that these headphones might get overheated during long sessions.


Direct Sound EX-29

Direct Sound EX-29

Pros
  • Good isolation
  • Great-sounding
  • Stylish
Cons
  • Might become uncomfortable during long sessions
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Direct Sound EX-29 headphones may satisfy even the pickiest audiophile, music producers and sound engineers with their amazing noise isolation of 36.7dB. You also get good sound quality, and a stylish and contemporary look as well if you’re into that.

Best features and specs

The Direct Sound EX-29 headphones offers, as mentioned, 36.7dB of noise isolation, upgraded HPA 40mm drivers, 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response, 8′ premium detachable cable with 3.5mm plug, and 1/4″ screw-on adapter.

User impressions

Users say that Direct Sound EX-29 provides excellent noise isolation, great sound quality, and is a perfect fit for those who have big ears.

What we think

It’s good when the manufacturer has thought the design through. The EX-29 ends the tiresome search for the left and right earcup and has covered the inside ear panel of the right cup in red fabric.

Bottomline

Direct Sound EX-29 is a great choice for someone who is looking for stylish, great-sounding, passive noise-cancelling headphones that offer good isolation and fit perfectly on big ears.


Shure SRH840

Shure SRH840

Pros
  • Detailed sound
  • Well-built
  • Versatile
Cons
  • Might be uncomfortable for big ears
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

When you hear the name Shure, you automatically know that you get equipment of professional standard quality. Shure SRH840 has a precisely tailored frequency response along with 40 mm neodymium dynamic drivers for accurate response.

Best features and specs

The SRH840 has a collapsible design, pro-quality, 10′ coiled detachable cable, replaceable earpads, and closed-back circumaural design.

User impressions

Users like Shure SRH840 for being well-built, neutral-sounding, and comfortable for those that work with audio with medium or small ears.

What we think

We like Shure SRH840 for being headphones of the highest quality and delivering rich bass, clear midrange, and extended highs.

Bottomline

Shure SRH840 is a great choice for someone who is looking for versatile, well-built passive noise-cancelling headphones that give you detailed sound. Note that if you have big ears, you should look for other entries on this list.


KRK KNS 8400

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Balanced
  • Durable
Cons
  • Bass isn’t that powerful
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

The KRK KNS 8400 can be considered to be extremely accurate headphones. In terms of sound they have a natural, wide frequency response with a silky, articulate high-end and extended low-frequency definition.

Best features and specs

The KNS 8400 has a 5Hz to 23 kHz frequency response, adjustable and foldable driver, replaceable cable, head, earpads, premium leatherette headpad finish, and up to 30dB of noise isolation.

User impressions

Users agree that the KNS 8400 are versatile, well-built, good-sounding, and comfortable headphones.

What we think

We like when headphones sit comfortably and soft on the ears and KRK KNS 8400 has high-tech memory earpads that can be saviors for your ears during long sessions.

Bottomline

KRK KNS 8400 is a great choice for someone who is looking for comfortable, balanced, and durable passive noise-cancelling headphones. Note that bass isn’t as powerful as it’s advertised.


Vic Firth SIH2

Vic Firth SIH2

Pros
  • Clean-sounding
  • Affordable
  • Good isolation
Cons
  • Uncomfortable to wear during long sessions
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

If you’re a drummer and have already spent countless hours looking for that one and only headphones, Vic Firth SIH2 is here for you. These headphones offer you 20dB of passive noise reduction, which protects you from harmful sound levels.

Best features and specs

Vic Firth SIH2 protects your ears during performances and practice sessions by reducing the sound level by 20dB, 50mm drivers give you bigger bass, fuller mids, and cleaner and more present highs, integrated cable with 1/8″ stereo plug and 1/4″ adapter.

User impressions

Users say that Vic Firth SIH2 has truly great sound isolation, is perfect for practicing, sits nicely on the head without any slips, and reproduces the frequency ranges exactly as advertised.

What we think

We like when manufacturers take into consideration various problems that music producers may face during their work. Vic Firth SIH2 is designed specifically to aid drummers who tend to work in small spaces with more than 120 dB of sound from the drums. Headphones reduce the sound by 20 dB and, by that, lessen the exposure level to safe levels.

Bottomline

Vic Firth SIH2 is a great choice for someone who is looking for clean-sounding, affordable, good isolating passive headphones that reduce noises by 20dB. Note that it might be uncomfortable for you to play and work in them during long sessions.


AKG K371

AKG K371

Pros
  • Excellent-sounding
  • Comfortable
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Isolation is not that good
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

If you’re looking for an accurately reproduced studio-quality sound, AKG K371 is ready to offer you such a possibility. These headphones feature comfortable oval ear cups, a closed-back design, and great built quality.

Best features and specs

AKG K371 offers 50mm dynamic drivers that ensure audio fidelity, a closed-back design for better noise isolation, a foldable design, an adjustable headband, detachable Mini-XLR cables 3m coiled, 3m straight, 1.2m straight, and 5 Hz – 40 kHz frequency response.

User impressions

Users like AKG K371 because they sound awesome, are well-built, feel very solid, and are comfortable to wear during long hours.

What we think

What we like the most about AKG K371 is that they’re faithful companions for those music producers who move from place to place. They’re lightweight but have metal reinforcement in the adjustable headband, which ensures their longevity.

Bottomline

AKG K371 is a great choice for someone who is looking for excellent-sounding, comfortable, foldable, lightweight passive noise-cancelling headphones. Note that noise isolation isn’t that good.


Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones Buying Guide

What are passive noise cancelling headphones?

Passive noise cancelling headphones are headphones that use the natural shape and materials they are made of to block out ambient sound. They don’t have any built-in technology that destroys ambient frequencies.

Why would you need passive noise cancelling headphones?

Having in your arsenal a pair of passive noise-canceling headphones is good because you get safer and healthier listening and can prevent hearing loss. Also, it helps you immerse yourself in the recording or mixing process without being disturbed.

Important features

When choosing passive noise cancelling headphones, you should pay attention to design, comfort, and material.

Design

Headphones can sit on-ear or over-ear. Generally, it’s better if you choose the latter because they guarantee a tight sealing which easily blocks more noise out. In comparison, on-ear headphones will not provide you with excellent noise isolation.

Comfort

It’s pretty understandable that the recording process might take hours and hours until it’s finished. That’s why it’s essential to choose headphones that are lightweight and don’t cause any discomfort to your ears over these long sessions.

Material

Here we talk about the material of the headphone cups that influence the noise-cancelling. Ideally, the cups are made from synthetic or natural leather as it’s way better than velour.

How to choose the right one for you?

When you are choosing the best passive noise cancelling headphones, you should pay a great deal of your attention to the comfort. Because having a headache or sweaty ears would disturb you from doing your work at the optimum level. Also, you should choose over-ear headphones with synthetic or natural leather cups whenever possible.

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