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Creative EP-3NC Noise-Cancelling Earphones - Creative EP-3NC Noise-Cancelling Earphones

By Hugo Jobling

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Common background noises such as typing or conversations between colleagues aren't attenuated quite as effectively. However, the dampening is better than any passive system and all it takes is to start playing some audio and it's enough that anything short of someone shouting directly at you will go by unnoticed.

Inevitably the addition of active noise-cancelling tech means the EP-3NC aren't cheap, but nor is the £90 asking price extortionate. The same amount of money would net you a set of Creative's own Aurvana In-Ear2 headphones and I don't think anyone could argue that the EP-3NC look or feel as nice. However, you only have to work in as noisy an office as the TR headquarters to be convinced that there are times when being able to more completely shut out the world is a definite good thing.

What is also particularly good is that as a result of the great noise isolation, you can keep the EP-3NC at lesser volumes than similar 'phones. I don't know about you, but I'll take all the help I can get reducing damage to my delicate eardrums.

It has to be admitted, though, that the outright quality of the EP-3NC's audio reproduction might leave you wanting a little. There isn't the same detail resolution or warmth as similarly priced earphones or even cheaper ones - the Klipsch Image S4's would give these a run for their money, were it not for their noise-cancelling prowess.

Up against the Etymotic Research hf2, for example, there's no competition on a quality basis, but you'll have to spend another £90 on custom tips to get the hf2's noise-isolation anything like on par with the EP-3NC.

Verdict

It's not a particularly revelatory conclusion to draw, that a set of noise-cancelling earphones excel where the listening environment has a lot of noise that could do with being cancelled. It's good news for the EP-3NC, though, because it means they do indeed fulfil their intended function and performance in every other respect is entirely adequate.

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Value 8
  • Sound Quality 7

Guye0a

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.

MacSimon

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?

jorgebr

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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