I've bought 2 new earphones recently because I can no longer hear my podcast while travelling on the bus. I hate turning the volume way up to overpower the engine and people talking.
This is the Audio-technica QuietPoint ATH-ANC3, which I bought secondhand. It's still brand new and very well worth the money. Great at noise cancelling and provides decent music quality with some soundstage. I can listen to podcasts on my iPod at 50% or less volume level.
One day, there was these two people quarrelling loudly about 3 seats in front of me. I couldn't hear what they are arguing about. Fantastic!
The only thing I dislike is the extra part where you have to put the battery in. Too bad it can't draw power from the player itself.
This is a very good earphone for walking around. The only minor annoyance is the noise of the wires when they are knocking each other. Yes, you can hear wires, left and right, knocking each other, when you put your earphones on while walking.
It's a terrific buy for me.
The next one I bought was the Shure se530.
There is no noise cancelling mechanism but the ear buds are great at blocking out noise. So good at blocking noise that it's comparable to the white earphones above. It's like putting your fingers into your ears. At night, I can hear my own heart beat when no music is playing. Seriously. You can hear yourself breath or turn your head.
This earphone is not suitable for listening while you're on the move. Sound travels by vibration. Because of that, it actually makes this earphone not suitable when you're on the move. You can hear the wires hitting against each other and your footsteps as they hit the ground. You'll have to be stationary to enjoy the music.
As for the music quality, I thought it should feature better soundstage for its price. It's definitely much better than most earphones out there, for sure. But for that kind of price, it should offer much more.
The thing I wished was probably for music to play outside of the head, which is like the real world scenario. Earphones play music in the head. For a pricey earphones like this, it should at least be able to simulate playing music outside of the head. That's coming from after listening to my dad's old Sennheiser HD 560.
I'm looking to get the Sennheiser HD595. Quite a bargain for the price. Fantastic reviews from customers. The only downside is it doesn't ship to Singapore from amazon.com! I was stopped during the checkout process.