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astonmartin56 posted a topic in Headphones & SpeakersI'd love to hear some discussion from you folks about active vs. passive noise canceling, especially with respect to compact headphones and IEMs. My understanding (from my experience with my Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7s) is that active NC is good at blocking continuous, low-frequency noise, but not very good at blocking irregular and/or higher-frequency noise -- like talking and some of the clatter on the subway. And, of course, you give up more (in cash or sound quality) for it. By way of context, I'm quite happy with my ANC7s and their active NC, but I'm looking for something more compact and with Bluetooth for use on the go in noisy environments, like airplanes and the subway. What I at first had in mind was something like Sennheiser's MM 450-Xs (foldable on-ear with Bluetooth and active NC), but I wanted to make sure I wasn't being too restrictive in my requirements. I figured I ought to consider sets like Bose's Soundlink On-Ear Bluetooth, which are similar but don't have active NC, in case their passive blocking was as good as or better than the Senns with active NC. And then I thought I should consider Bluetooth IEMs like Sony's SBH80s as well, in case they'd do even better at blocking with no need for active NC. So what I'd really like to know is how good purely passive NC can be in compact over-the-ear headphones or IEMs. Even my over-the-ear ANC7s don't passively block out that much, so I do rely on their active NC. Can I really expect something like those Bose ones to be so much better passively that I don't need active NC? Or, should I really be looking for good isolating Bluetooth IEMs, rather than at something like those Senns? My concern with IEMs is that they just wouldn’t be as good at blocking noise (actively or passively), as good in sound quality, and/or as durable (I've never owned a set where one ear didn't crap out after less than a year) as on-ear or over-the-ear sets for the same price. But maybe that's just because I've never owned actually good IEMs. I'm not necessarily looking for specific product recommendations, although I'd be happy to hear those too, but just in general discussion of this topic, as my experience with it is admittedly limited.