High fidelity
High fidelity
The latest headphones combine superb sound with sleek looks
David Phelan

Decent headphones are invaluable for travelers. Whether you’re on a train or plane, noise-canceling is essential. While some airlines provide headphones in premium cabins, you almost certainly won’t have them if you’re further back, and even in business they are rarely anything special.

Note that noise-isolating, whereby the headphones merely form a seal between you and the outside world, is different from noise canceling. The latter is a clever electronic system that uses a microphone to measure ambient noise. This noise is then reversed in-phase and fed back into the earpieces. The out-of-phase “antinoise” cancels the real noise. Sounds weird, but it does the trick.

The latest, trendiest headphones on the market feature rechargeable batteries that can easily last the longest-haul flight, so sit back, tune in and chill out.

SONY WH-1000XM3 $279.99

Sony makes some of the best wireless headphones and these are the only ones with better noise-canceling than that of Bose – some noise-canceling technology can feel oppressive to the ears but here it’s alive and comfortable. Sony’s cans also have exceptional audio even when noise-canceling is turned off, sounding rich and detailed with plenty of bass that doesn’t overwhelm subtler tones. The WH-1000XM3 over-ears fit comfortably for even the longest flight and battery life is up to 30 hours, although a ten-minute recharge gives you five hours of listening time. To hear when someone talks to you, simply rest your hand on the leftear cup and a microphone will let the outside world in. Choose from a discreet black or punchier off-white finish. sony.com



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April 2020