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Maxell NC-IV Noise Cancellation Headphones

Tired of the background noise in your life -- the whine of computer fans, the hum of the air conditioning, the roar of the train or plane, or just the clatter of all the people around you?

Today's noise reduction headphones fight back with active noise cancellation -- digital signal processing that uses a microphone to listen to the outside sound and generate an inverse signal to cancel it.

While this kind of processing can't totally eliminate the environmental noise, it can move you away, into a quieter place. You can wear the headphones even without listening to music to feel calmer, or plug in to your media player to enjoy the music in relative peace.

There are a lot of options for noise-reduction headphones available these days for around $50 to $150, including from familiar names like JVC, Maxell, Panasonic, and Sony.

For example, I've covered the lighter JVC HA-NC80 Headphones which fold into the headpiece for travel, the top-of-the-line JVC HA-NC250 Headphones which offer up to 85% noise reduction, and the JVC HA-NCX77 Earphones with an in-line box with noise cancellation electronics.

The Maxell line of noise cancellation headphones also includes light-weight headphones and new noise reduction earbuds, ranging from around $49 to $129 list.

The Maxell NC-IV Headphones are the current top of the Maxell line ($129 list, $70 street).

Besides the advanced noise reduction, these feature full-size ear cups, leather-lined for comfort, that also swivel to pack flat.

The earpieces are particularly comfortable since they are large and well-padded, enclosing the entire ear, and resting on the head.

The cord is textured braded nylon to limit tangling, instead of smooth (like those knot-free shoelaces).

And to protect your hearing, the headphones have an in-line attenuator to limit ear-damaging volumes with low, medium, and high settings.

See my full article on noise-reduction headphone options -- Quieting Down: Noise-Reduction Headphones.

See my Portable Audio Accessories Gallery for details on headphones.

    Find the Maxell NC-IV Headphones on Amazon.com

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