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For those of you who are looking to find the best noise isolating earbuds, you found the right place. We have narrowed it down to the best earbuds for passive noise-isolation that your money can buy. When rating earphones, we look at the important stuff – sound quality, noise isolation capabilities, comfort, durability, and price. A large majority of consumers prefer to go with the small, lightweight design of earbuds, rather than the classic design of circumaural headphones. This is not only for the portability alone, but because technology has come a far way in recent years and you can now find some excellent-sounding earbuds that are designed with high quality materials, for a reasonable price. Finding the best pair of noise isolating earbuds can be a challenge because the market is flooded with an endless variety of mediocre products.
That’s where we come in. We went ahead and found those needles buried in the haystack, tested them out, and listed them for you in an easy-to-read format. No need to spend countless hours searching online. Take a few minutes to read through our reviews specifically made to help you with your decision.
You will thank us later.
What To Look For In A Good Pair Of Noise Isolating Earbuds?
It is important to note that noise isolating earbuds work differently than products that utilize active noise cancellation technology. Active noise cancellation is a sophisticated technology that requires tremendous battery power to work properly, and works primarily to drown out repetitive background noise, such as the constant rumbling of a plane engine, or the chatter of a crowd. For anyone that has used noise-cancelling headphones before, you probably have noticed the constant feeling of pressure against your eardrums (this is one of the main complaints people have). For active noise cancelling headphones to work properly, and comfortably, it is important to find yourself some high quality products to ensure that sound quality is not compromised, and you won’t be left with hurting ears. Feel free to check out our list of the best noise-cancelling headphones under $200.
Noise isolation works differently. Noise isolating earbuds drown out the background noise with the help of their cleverly designed physical characteristics. Many of these earbuds we have listed for you above work just as well at blocking out noise, if not better, than a great deal of noise-cancelling headphones on the market today. Even better, these earbuds don’t need massive amounts of battery power. You can simply plug them in and begin listening to your music – no charging, and if you play sports no worrying about your headphones shutting off on you during a run or while working out at the gym.
The best earbuds for noise isolation will usually come with multiple sizes of silicon, rubber, or foam ear-inserts for you to try on. It is imperative to find the best fit, because much of the earbuds’ noise-isolation capabilities are due to the soft little ear-tips. Everyone is built differently, and so are our ears. Ear tips that are too small will leak
1. ISOtunes Pro Review
There’s no denying it, the ISOtunes Pro earbuds are rather large compared to some other earbuds we’ve reviewed. When I first took them out of the box I was worried that they were going to hurt my ears or fall off with little movement. However, I quickly found out that they are actually deceptively light, and stay nicely in my ears.
One of the things that I love the most about the ISOtunes Pro’s is that they are IPX4-rated waterproof, meaning they will cope just fine along my grueling, rainy runs. The cable is strong enough to be able to mold around your ear and keep the buds in-place, and the in-line controls are easily accessible so you can easily change the song while on the move. It also boasts a noise-cancelling microphone that works surprisingly well for the caller on the other end.
If the bright orange color is real deal breaker, you’ll have to look elsewhere because this is currently the only color option. While the lack of a subtler option does knock a few points off, the ISOtunes more than makeup for it in sound quality. If you were lucky enough to listen to the original ISOtunes you are probably wondering “How could the sound possibly get better?” but believe me when I say, it has! I was honestly blown away when I first put these on and started jogging as, instead of the usual tiny, ratty sound that I experience with other headphone brands, the audio was clear, crisp, and more importantly, the bass was on-point. Best of all, you can keep the volume at a manageable level because you do not have to compensate for ambient noise.
The earbuds feature the latest and greatest Bluetooth 4.1 technology, which has a range of roughly thirty feet, but that’s more than enough for a pair of earbuds that are designed to be paired with the phone in your pocket. The pairing process literally couldn’t be easier, and even the least tech-savvy people among us should be able to follow the included instructions and get everything set up within about 30 seconds.
One thing that is important to remember with these earbuds is to make sure they are in properly. If you leave them loose or hanging out and begin working out, you’ll be able to hear other sounds around you, which will massively reduce the audio quality. A good tip is to squash the actual earbuds in your ear before you put them in so that they can expand once inside instead of being forced in and damaging both your ear and the material. This also helps to create a seal around your ear, preventing any sound from leaking out or in. The comply foam eartips are great – they are comfortable and excel with noise isolation capabilities. If you prefer silicon, you have some triple flange ear tips that come in that box at your disposal.
Overall I would say that the sound quality is one of the best on any sub-$100 headphones that I have used before, and they would likely pass as a more expensive pair of earbuds if I didn’t know better. The battery life is great and lasted just under 10 hours at 100% volume, which is more than enough for just about any use. I would definitely recommend these to anyone who is looking for a pair of noise-isolating earbuds that are both lightweight and durable. The only potential negatives I can really think of are the color (if black/orange isn’t your favorite combination you’re out of luck) and the fact that there is a built-in volume limit. If you’re one of those who like to blast your music until your ears are ringing, you may have to look elsewhere. However, if you do listen to your music that loud I suggest you break that habit because hearing damage is permanent and happens more easily than you might think.
2. RHA MA650 Review
Not only does the MA750i deliver a powerful audio listening experience, but these earbuds are comfortable, aesthetically pleasing and utilize a well-built durable design. These earbuds stand out to us because they don’t look very much like any of the other headphone fads on the market. They are simple and elegant. The cable isn’t a flashy color or covered in cloth – it is thick, solid gray and coated with rubber. The earpieces themselves are built from stainless steel and the RHA logo can be seen etched in to the portion that faces away from the ear. The inline remote control is in a good location and the microphone is high quality.
When listening to tracks featuring content with a moderate amount of bass, you’ll notice it has some punch but never distorts, even at high volumes. Even with the volume turned low, the bass still jumps – this is largely the result of a spectacularly designed in-canal fit which carries with it impressive noise isolation capabilities. Those who enjoy some oomph to their bass will love these earbuds. Just to be clear though, the mids and highs fall right into place right alongside the bass, which never sounds forced. High-mid presence is noticeable, which can be all too easily forgotten in many of its competitors. If you’re looking for some in-your-face, ground-shaking bass you might want to look elsewhere. But if you’re looking for all around great sounding earbuds that aren’t afraid to thump when its needed, the MA750i is a great fit.
3. Sony MDRXB50AP Review
For the price, the Sony MDRXB50AP is one of our all time favorites. With a driver that is larger than other similarly-price earbuds (12mm), the MDRXB50AP is responsible for some heavy-hitting bass, encompassing mids and detailed highs. It is a common misconception that a larger driver is only needed for deeper bass – while it does result in some better sounding lows, it also results in higher quality mids and highs. Sony markets these as “explosive bass” – we don’t find it to be so dramatic as it sounds, but it can definitely kick you in the pants with the right song.
With overall great audio, a durable build, a simple and pleasant design, and a comfortable fit, these are without a doubt some of the best budget noise isolating earbuds on the market. The soft silicon inserts help block out excess ambient noise and allow you to focus on the top-quality sound these headphones produce. Multiple colors are available as well.
While the Sony MDRXB50AP can’t really compete with some of the higher-end noise isolating earphones, they do a great job for the price. Listening to music is fun and exciting. The earbuds are durable and lightweight. What more could you ask for?
4. ISOtunes Review
The ISOtunes earbuds aren’t constructed with any fancy military-grade materials and they don’t feature any innovative driver technologies, however that doesn’t stop them from doing the job well – excellent noise isolation capabilities. While they may have the fancy marketing ploys that I often see thrown around the technology sector, the ISOtunes live up to all expectations and provide amazing sound quality at an amazing price. They’re constructed out of high-quality aluminum, which does the job it needs to do, without showing off or drawing too much attention.
The earphones feature a typical in-line control box that allows you to effortlessly change the track, increase and lower the volume, as well as answer calls with the noise canceling microphone. While it’s obviously not going to be perfect on a pair of earbuds, the microphone was surprisingly good, and I would actually go as far as to say it was excellent for the caller on the other end.
There’s not much but positive things to say when it comes to the wireless connectivity. They work well up until just around the thirty-meter mark, but then again, when would you ever be a great distance away from your phone and need to listen to your earbuds? I was pleasantly surprised with how easy they were to pair, and the one-touch options that come with Bluetooth 4.1 are much appreciated over some other headphone brands that I have used in the past. In our tests the battery lasted for just over 4 hours at maximum volume (slightly longer than advertised).
If you often find yourself having to ask the people around you to be quiet in order to hear your music, then the ISOtunes are just what the doctor ordered! Featuring passive noise isolating technology, the earbuds use a well-designed bud to keep the vast majority of sound out, which helps you to experience the audio in greater clarity. Listening to music with these noise isolating earbuds, similarly to their higher-end cousin – the ISOtunes PRO, honestly changes your whole perspective on music and you’ll be dreading the moment that you have to press pause and go back to the chaos that is the real world. It’s so engrossing that you can easily get lost in your own thoughts, something that I have ever experienced with a pair of earbuds at this price. The comply foam eartips are great at blocking out the sound, so much so that you could supplement your earplugs for these bad boys when trying to study or get some sleep.
Not only is the noise-isolation on-point, but the audio quality is also tremendous with a crystal-clear sound that would be tough to compete with. They also pack a punch and are quite bass-heavy with the right track, and anyone who is making the change from over-ear headphones will definitely be surprised by just how good they are.
If you don’t own a pair of in-ear headphones then I would highly recommend that you treat yourself for those occasions when you need a portable, reliable audio solution. The ISOtunes are easily some of the best noise-isolating earbuds on the market at this price, featuring ground-breaking noise isolation technology and great wireless connectivity. They are lightweight and can be paired at the touch of a button. However, if you have the extra thirty bucks or so I would go for the ISOtunes Pro we reviewed above, which offers a 10 hour battery life instead of the 4, better noise isolation capabilities and a fuller bass response. Also to keep in mind – the maximum volume, like the Pro’s, is automatically limited to protect you from damaging your hearing (there is no way around this limit that we know of).
5. Thinksound ts02+mic Review
The Thinksound ts02’s are environmentally friendly earbuds designed with all-wood earpieces – a natural sound is produced with some crisp mids and highs and a deep bass that reverberates when necessary. Two wood finishes are available: silver and cherry, or black and chocolate. Both look very cool. Four silicon eartip sizes are included in the box and you should have no problem finding the perfect fit. Once you figure out the sizes, placing them in your ear is simple and one of the first things you’ll notice are the impressive noise isolation capabilities.
The cable is relatively thin, but thick housing surrounds the straight plug for some added durability. If your main concern is durability, these probably won’t be for you. But if you won’t be too rough with your new purchase, the Thinksound ts02 are an excellent choice. They are great with isolating noise, they are comfortable, and the sound they deliver is top-notch. Music sounds warm with some deep bass and detailed mids and highs.