@Antedeluvian: Did you buy Joseph a pair of suppressors as well, or does his taste lean towards his mother's?
I don't know if it's just the younger generation, but Joseph seems quite happy with his earbuds in his ears -- he's impervious to anything that's going on around him -- plus in the car he tends to go into hybernation and sleep most of the journey -- he's great to have as a travelling companion because you rarely even notice he's there.
May I suggest a low tech solution? Those little spungy things that you roll between your fingers before inserting into the ear canal work quite well - and the are really cheap.
I once escorted my son to a rock concert. The bass was so loud that I could literally feel it move my shirt against my chest. The high end was painful. Those little spungy things worked wonderfully to remove all pain and I was not an embarassment to my son. Can you imagine walking into a rock concert with those flight-line ear muffs? Sorry, I love my son too much to do that to him.
The little spungy things don't help much with the bass, but I suspect that those huge beasts you love don't either.
Not sure how old Joseph is, but someday he may want to see his favorite band at a local club while he is too young to get in alone. It is your fatherly duty methinks to escort him there. It makes you cool and it keeps him safe too. When that happens, please bring the monster muffs and take pictures.
I use both at the same time, the earplugs as well as the over-ear muffs often when walking through my "neighborhood", or when I sit at my open window, like when I'm soldering. The other 98% of the day it's just the earplugs. BTW, the noise ratings for the plugs and muffs are roughly comparable, if you go by the single NRR ratings.
Active cancellation isn't a total loss against lower frequecies. For instance, my Audio Technica in-ear earphones (with an IC in them from ams, which I probably stumbled on from this or a closely related blog), do an "OK" job of taking out losers' Harley noise and morphing it into the sound of a little girl's pink tyke-bike with a plastic card slapping the spokes. It's strangely appropriate that they map the noise from one with the socialization skills of an 8-year-old into a noise from an actual one.
I've never found any electronic earbuds or electronic earplugs to be comfortable when used with earmuffs at the same time, even with models of the latter that have a fair amount of clearance in the cups. They always end up pushing the in-ear things uncomfortably deep into one's cranial void.
Decades ago an old girlfriend and I used to have a rule that applied when driving -- the driver gets to pick the music, and the passenger can wear earphones if they don't like it. It was also compensation for "having" to drive. In my case it was a win-win because having her drive was a lose-lose (at best, :-)).
@ewertz "Decades ago an old girlfriend and I used to have a rule that applied when driving -- the driver gets to pick the music, and the passenger can wear earphones if they don't like it. It was also compensation for "having" to drive. In my case it was a win-win because having her drive was a lose-lose (at best, :-))."
Seems like an elegant solution, but how did you cope with the "back-seat" driver syndrome?? :-)
Why not kill two birds with one stone and try out some in-ear monitors (IEMs)? Not only do they provide great noise isolation, you can listen to your own audio content as well. The Etymotic ER-4 for example provides noise isolation of 35 to 42 dB, which is even better than those bulky earmuffs.
Yes, I own a couple of pairs that I've picked up over the years (I managed to find them for closer to $200). Like all IEMs they require insertion into the ear canal, which not everyone is comfortable with, and which is not quite as convenient as slipping on a pair of standard headphones, but the sound quality (and noise isolation) can be amazing - especially if you do as Siegfried Linkwitz (of Linkwitz-Riley filter fame) did and add a notch filter circuit to customize them to your ears:
When I saw the headline to this article, I was thinking more in terms of generated EMI. From time to time, I've thought of building an EMI "gun" that would inject electronic noise into the amp circuit, which would turn into audio noise, of passing motorists or neighbors with overly loud music.
I don't think such a device would make things any more plesent on your drive though. :-)
I seem to do a decent job of mentally filtering out most music - until it reaches a certain volume. I do use ear muffs when mowing the lawn or using loud tools of any sort, but they seem to annoy me enough that I don't think I could wear them for an eight hour drive.
I think that somewhere between the in-ear monitor and the 'normal' NR headphones, we may have a new product idea. You want normal earmuffs to suppress as much 'noise' as possible. You want NR headphones to reduce as much periodic noise as possible. The NR headphones can do better on low frequency periodic noise than ear muffs can. Now, the trick: The NR headphones cannot filter out music from the environment without filtering out speech. What if we supply the music signal via another means, say a bluetooth connection from the car radio. Now the DSP in the NR headphones can run an algorithm to get the 'average' delay of the sound from the speakers vs that from the Bluetooth signal. Key: The Bluetooth signal will arrive several milliseconds before the sound from the car speakers. The DSP software should be able to then control the speakers in the NR headphones to cancel some or all of what comes from the speakers. That is, you can adjust the volume down (if you just find it too loud) or cancel it. This could work for some of the frequency bands at rock concerts. This gets complicated with multiple speakers, but I bet it would work for two as long as you were not moving head too much. Most importantly, the regular NR function would allow other non-periodic sounds to get through. Eg, requests from she who must be obeyed to open a can of caffeine so she can keep driving. Or asking you too explain what you and her beautiful cousin were doing in that pirogue down on the bayou.
Forgot two aspects and just thought of a few more.
As with most NR headphones, you want to be able to play you own music. I have seen products that suppress that signal when an outside signal is detected. Fender in their Passport PAs calls in Priority Interrupt. Sound on input 1 (usually from a mike) suppresses all of the other channels.
A variation on this in the car would be having the car's voice be able to cut in as well. This would be selectable if the passenger did not need or want it. Which leads to the next variation: headpones such that the driver can listen to whatever while the passengers sleep.
I think I am getting close to a product that might be called Google Aureality. (Always good to come up with the product name if you can.)
Eventually of course, this and those geeky Google Glass things will be miniaturized into chips to be implanted in the heads of the ultra-chic. Actually, a few more shrinks and cell phones will actually be the size of cells. tres efficient.
I was thinking of the phrase, Great Googlemy-Mooglely. This may be Max the Magnificent dressed up for Halloween (or ESC-Mardi Gras) with all possible wearable electronics.
The pair I bought several years ago are okay at canceling out airplane rumble, but not much else. Is there any headphone on the market that can cancel all external noise from 0 to 20kHz to a reasonable degree, or are the upper frequencies too difficult to cancel?
@cookiejar: While the 3M Peltor X-Series Over-the-Head Earmuffs sells for $25.01 on www.amazon.com in the U.S., in Canada on www.amazon.ca they sell for $53.50 which is over double the price. I'll stick with Bilsom.