I had two hours to kill in Newark Airport. They have an amazing number of store there. Got to listen to about half a dozen headphones and try the noise cancellers. Wow, the good ones work well. Here are some recommendations:
* "Etymotic ER-4P":http://headroom.headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=3&subTopicID=26&productID=0020100005. This is a "low cost" at $269 but has a high recommendation from Headroom. Provides 20 dB of isolation and doesn't need batteries. Tweaks the base up, so if you want to get an amplifier, it's not for you. * "ER-6":http://headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=3&subTopicID=26&productID=0020100100 is probabkly a good compromise in terms of cost. * "Sennheiser PX200":http://www.headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=3&subTopicID=26&productID=0020080020. If you don't want to stick things into your ears. These are supposed to be good. I've had Sennheisers. The old HD 420 and the HD 414 for 20 years and they are great. Not echo cancelling but only$50 and they don't need any fancy amplifier. They are sealed so you'll get 10db isolation.
* "Grado SR60":http://www.headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=3&subTopicID=26&productID=0020090060. Only $60, but don't have any noise isolation or cancelling. * "Sennheiser PXC250 ":http://www.headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=3&subTopicID=26&productID=0020080021. Finally, if you want a low cost echo canceller, the Headroom folks like this. Offers 23db of noise cancellation and you don't have to stick plugs into your ears but it does require batteries. I tried the similar HDC 451 and they were great. So, these are good if you don't want an Ezmotic EP-6 which you have to plug into your ear and you still want 20 dB+ of isolation. Cost is about$129, so similar to the EP-6.
* Sony MDR-NC11. Haven't tried them myself, but the best thing is that they don't weight anything (2 oz) and are compact. The review says they really do cancel and relatively moderately priced at $100. * "Bose QuietComfort 2":http://electronics.cnet.com/electronics/0-6342422-1304-21235911.html?tag=pdtl-list. These were the first and in many ways the reference standard. Haven't tried them myself, but at expensive at$300 and big and bulky.