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Creative EP-3NC Noise-Cancelling Earphones review



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Creative EP-3NC Noise-Cancelling Earphones
  • Creative EP-3NC Noise-Cancelling Earphones
  • Creative EP-3NC Noise-Cancelling Earphones
  • Creative EP-3NC Noise-Cancelling Earphones
  • Creative EP-3NC Noise-Cancelling Earphones
  • Creative EP-3NC Noise-Cancelling Earphones
  • Creative EP-3NC Noise-Cancelling Earphones
  • EP-3NC Active Noise Canceling Earphones


Our Score:


If your office is anything like ours, you'll be well acquainted with the desire to shut everything out every now and again. A decent set of noise-isolating earphones is a good tool to aid in shutting out the world, but sometimes mere isolation isn't enough, sometimes you need noise-cancelling earphones, just like the Creative EP-3NC.

It's worth noting that, unlike some noise-cancelling 'phones, the EP-3NC will work just fine unpowered, so should the battery die you can still listen to music. Less good is the placement of the dongle. At least for me there wasn't quite enough cable above it to allow clipping it onto my belt - I guess that's what I get for having the tenacity to grow to 6ft tall.

Another small issue with the EP-3NC cable is the thickness of the section above the dongle. This can be annoying because, as a result of being quite chunky, it is also fairly inflexible, and tends to 'remember' its position of been coiled up in a pocket, which can be irritating - although it's not an actual problem, as such.

The dongle holding all of the electronics that perform this technical magic are located about half way down the EP-3NC cable. Power comes from an AAA battery, which Creative claims will last for 100 hours of listening. In a generous touch, this is supplied alongside more usual extras, namely a carrying case and a set of different size silicone tips.

The dongle features a clip, so it can be attached to any available item of clothing to save its weight being hung from your ears, as well as an on/off switch and a "monitor" button, which mutes the earphones and enables external sound to be heard. Although frankly it’s probably easier just to remove one earpiece of you want to talk to someone.

The EP-3NC claim "up to 90 per cent" noise suppression - significant by anyone's standards. This is accomplished through the use of microphones built into the ear pieces, which pick up external noise. This sound then has its phase inverted and is mixed into the earphones' input signal.

In theory this should suppress most external sound. In practice the system works best - as is typically the case - with constant background noise, such as the drone of an aeroplane's engines, the humming of a computer fan, or tyre noise in a car (as a passenger, not a driver, obviously).


April 10, 2010, 11:08 am

I ordered a pair directly from Creative in February to use on a US bound flight. They work extremely well - love them :) Only minor critisism was the shipping company used (FedEX I believe) why you ask - well they left China, arrived Hong Kong, departed to Paris - all ok so far - departed Paris to Alaska (what!!), flew to New York, back to Alska, over to New Jersey then to Paris and finally London. Makes these the most carbon abusive headphones I've ever owned - lol.


April 10, 2010, 12:34 pm

The question is: Would you use these earphones to listen to music if they were not noise cancelling? Seems to me, based on "There isn't the same detail resolution or warmth as similarly priced earphones or even cheaper ones", the answer is no. So, as good in-ear phones provide a reasonable level of noise cancelling anyway, if you're going to specifically 'cancel noise' then what you get left hearing needs to be the kind of sound you really want to hear otherwise what's the point?

Hamish Campbell

April 10, 2010, 12:36 pm

Just out of curiosity, does it seem like the noise cancelling sound waves are negatively affecting the sound quality on these types of phones, or are the components a bit cheaper than a normal headphone at the same price?


April 10, 2010, 1:52 pm

I just bought Fischer Audio Eterna for half of this price...I wonder if they compare to these.

When will we have some reviews from Fischer Audio?

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