Posted September 1, 2005
You know those Bose noise-canceling headphones that you see advertised everywhere? You know how you want them…until you read the fine print and discover they cost 300 bucks? Turns out there are several worthy competing headphones on the market for a fraction of the price, from manufacturers that don't spend a zillion dollars on marketing. My favorite: the Kensington 33084 Noise Canceling Headphones, which worked great for me on a recent American Airlines flight. (Noise-canceling headphones "listen" to the noise around you, then generate an inverse sound wave that partially cancels out that noise. They tend to work best with continuous sounds like engine droning.) They've been getting rave reviews by users on online forums and they’re incredibly light (and fold up so you can easily stash them in your luggage or handbag). Audiophiles will rightly testify that Bose still has the best noise-canceling technology on the market, but the Kensingtons are an insane bargain—so cheap that if you accidentally leave them behind on your airplane seat (as I almost did), you won’t feel despondent.
$34.88 at J&R Music and Computer World, 15 Park Row, between Ann and Beeckman Sts., 212-238-9000; jr.com.