Question Are there any noise cancelling headphones that work with a DAC?

Ranulph

Novice Member
Evening all, I have recently discovered the joy of master quality tidal and a dragonfly DAC with my phone. I travel quite a lot on planes and am looking for a good pair (£200-300) of headphones. Obviously (I guess) I cant go wireless with my portable DAC but I’m wondering would wired noise cancelling headphones show improvements with a DAC? I have read somewhere that the internal speakers would negate the effects of an improved signal, is this right? Would anyone be able recommend a good set if I’m incorrect?

thanks!
 

dannnielll

Well-known Member
I think you are getting the wrong end of the stick.. so.
A noise cancelling NC headphone set has to have built in microphones to sample the ambient noise at the ear. It then has to subtract this from the audio signal,in order to cancel it out. While this in theory could be done using analogue techniques, ..its not done that way and the process actually is that the ambient noise is digitised ,the desired signal is either digitised or a digital version is taken ..via Bluetooth or usb and the calculations then done and the difference is DACed and amplified and goes to the ear pieces. Basically all the signal corrections are done digitally and the then reconstructed into analogue.
That being the case, a nice Dragonfly DAC is wasted.
In my case,the Sony 1000XM3 ,work directly over Bluetooth with either my smart phone or music player. Were I to use the supplied cable, I could use it in pure analogue mode, by disconnecting the NC function, or in NC mode ,where it would do the processing . I also have Sony MDR1 Headphones, which with the USB Cyrus Soundkey and Smartphone is probably a better audiophile experience ..but of course not NC. I occasionally use my Sony M3 in the car playing from the smart phone. My car is now a 10 year old Diesel .. well it is as hushed as a Rolls Royce with the NC.
 

Ranulph

Novice Member
Thanks for the detailed answer. So would I be right in assuming that I could take the Sony 1000mx3 and then use Bluetooth etc on planes, but also turn off the nc and use a wired connection plus DAC should I choose?
 

dannnielll

Well-known Member
Thanks for the detailed answer. So would I be right in assuming that I could take the Sony 1000mx3 and then use Bluetooth etc on planes, but also turn off the nc and use a wired connection plus DAC should I choose?
I assume that Bluetooth is legitimate on airlines,in which case yes to point 1. Whether the external DAC with those phones would be any improvement I am not at all sure. I did try them that way when I got them first, but there was no recognisable improvement over the Bluetooth and Sony LDAC. The Sony MDR1 is a different headphone, designed for home use and the USB DAC provided a stronger signal.
If you have the money, the XM3 is widely recognised as a comfortable , reliable, and very competent performer
T
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: LG SN7CY Soundbar Review, Hisense 55U7Q, LG Nano90, Best of the Month, B+W Sigourney Weaver
Top Bottom