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Travel Headphone options

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In this price range, I own the Etymotic ER4P, Bose QC15 and Sennheiser Amperior. My wife has the new Bose QC20.

Assuming you will use an iPhone, iPod or an equivalent source (not a fancy AK120 or equivalent), my advice really depends on what use you are foreseeing:


  1. If you want to listen mostly in quiet environments, I would suggest the Sennheise Amperior. These headphones have the best sound quality (to me) of the four ones that I listed above.
  2. If you want very good quality and top portability, you could go for the Etymotic ER4P. Personally I find that, whatever their level of quality, in-ear headphones create a sound that is not natural to me. I find it just weird to have sound generated so close to my ear. But this is purely subjective, and I must recognise that the degree of fidelity of the ER4P is very high.
  3. If you use your headphones mostly in trains or planes or places with similar kinds of noise, I would suggest the QC15 which have extremely good noise cancellation for this sort of background noise and good sound quality. But they let speech and voice get through with very little noise-level reduction, which is probably a legacy of their history that started in aeronautics.
  4. If you use your headphones mostly in quite noisy environments including conversations that you want to block out, I would suggest the Bose QC20. Their noise cancellation is unbelievably good. My wife and I were baffled when she got them.


I am sure that there are other good options, but these are the ones I am familiar with. By the way, I have no relationship with Bose, Etymotic or Sennheiser, except that I spent money on purchasing their products.

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