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Best noise cancelling headphones
#3039588 10/26/20 03:27 PM
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My neighbor has been complaining lately about my practicing in my apartment. I thought it wasn't a problem for him because I hadn't heard any complaints from him for almost a year. But today he slipped a note under my door and was very angry. I have only gotten maybe four complaints in 30+ years. I only play the piano two hours or less per day and never before 10am or after 6pm. But my neighbor is retired like me and mostly home especially now with covid.

There is no way I can soundproof my apartment as he suggests or move the piano to a different room/ I may have to get a digital or hybrid to do some of my practicing on. But first I want to offer to buy him the best possible noise cancelling headphones. I have been playing my Mason BB for 15 years and only gotten a few complaints in all that time.

I'm hoping those of you familiar with them can offer a suggestion for really effective headphones.

Re: Best noise cancelling headphones
pianoloverus #3039599 10/26/20 03:52 PM
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If you're talking about active noise cancelling, I've used them a lot and have concluded I can't predict when they'll help and when they won't. For example they work great on an airplane as you'd expect, but I have a mower engine that they make worse, which doesn't make sense. They also sometimes create an annoying feeling, kind of like pressure in my ears. In theory they should work good to block piano below about C5, but from there up they won't be much help.

You could order a pair of passive and active to see which works best, then return the other. My guess is passive will work better.


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Re: Best noise cancelling headphones
MarkL #3039600 10/26/20 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkL
If you're talking about active noise cancelling, I've used them a lot and have concluded I can't predict when they'll help and when they won't. For example they work great on an airplane as you'd expect, but I have a mower engine that they make worse, which doesn't make sense. They also sometimes create an annoying feeling, kind of like pressure in my ears. In theory they should work good to block piano below about C5, but from there up they won't be much help.

You could order a pair of passive and active to see which works best, then return the other. My guess is passive will work better.
Thanks. What does passive and active mean? Which models have you used?

Re: Best noise cancelling headphones
pianoloverus #3039605 10/26/20 04:36 PM
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Active means there's electronics that produce an opposite phase sound to cancel the sound you're trying to block. They work best below 1kHz. Passive seal well around your ear and have material that blocks all sound as much as possible.
I'll have to check when I get home what kind I have. If your neighbor wears glasses, the hardest part might be finding a pair that don't give him a headache. I've only found a few styles that are comfortable for me.


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Re: Best noise cancelling headphones
pianoloverus #3039610 10/26/20 05:05 PM
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Hi,
You might check out Fnova Professional Safety Noise Cancelling Ear Muffs. They are passive with the highest noise reduction rating (34dB) They are also adjustable, and the cups enclose the ear entirely. I found out about these when I started shooting and use them at the range. They protect my ears and stifle sounds very effectively.


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Re: Best noise cancelling headphones
pianoloverus #3039612 10/26/20 05:14 PM
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I'm curious to know whether your complaining neighbor is below you, above you, or next to you.

I'm skeptical of the headphones solution, not because it wouldn't work, but because your neighbor is not likely to find wearing headphones around the apartment for hours at a time an acceptable solution.

Larry.

Re: Best noise cancelling headphones
iLaw #3039624 10/26/20 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by iLaw
I'm curious to know whether your complaining neighbor is below you, above you, or next to you.

I'm skeptical of the headphones solution, not because it wouldn't work, but because your neighbor is not likely to find wearing headphones around the apartment for hours at a time an acceptable solution.

Larry.

+1.


. Charles
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Re: Best noise cancelling headphones
iLaw #3039629 10/26/20 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by iLaw
I'm curious to know whether your complaining neighbor is below you, above you, or next to you.

I'm skeptical of the headphones solution, not because it wouldn't work, but because your neighbor is not likely to find wearing headphones around the apartment for hours at a time an acceptable solution.

Larry.
Next to me. I don't know how willing he'd be. I think some of the active headphones are very tiny, and a friend of mine who has them says one is not even aware one is wearing them. He'd have to wear them only about 1.5 hours/day on average.

Do you have any suggestions besides headphones?

Re: Best noise cancelling headphones
pianoloverus #3039630 10/26/20 05:37 PM
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If your neighbor doesn't accept the noise cancelling headphones solution, you could always use them yourself to cancel the noise of him complaining and so the problem is still solved. smirk

On a more serious note, why do you think you can't soundproof the room exactly?

Re: Best noise cancelling headphones
Charles Cohen #3039631 10/26/20 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
Originally Posted by iLaw
I'm curious to know whether your complaining neighbor is below you, above you, or next to you.

I'm skeptical of the headphones solution, not because it wouldn't work, but because your neighbor is not likely to find wearing headphones around the apartment for hours at a time an acceptable solution.

Larry.

+1.

I was thinking the same.

As long as you're behaving within the confines of your building/co-op rules, I would think you'd be ok. At the same time, I can understand why you want to keep the peace with your neighbor.

Maybe point all that out, and the rarity of anyone commenting, but offer him the headphones as a compromise anyway.

I'd be curious why he's complaining now and hasn't for more than a year. But Covid has people acting in all sorts of strange ways (cabin fever, anxiety, etc).

Anyway, you're a good neighbor to be concerned about him. But you probably don't want to find yourself in a position of every neighbor asking for headphones.



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Re: Best noise cancelling headphones
U3piano #3039639 10/26/20 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by U3piano
If your neighbor doesn't accept the noise cancelling headphones solution, you could always use them yourself to cancel the noise of him complaining and so the problem is still solved. smirk

On a more serious note, why do you think you can't soundproof the room exactly?
A few reasons:

1. I doubt the building will allow something like that. The apartment is a straight rental, not a condo or coop.
2. The cost is many thousands.
3. There is no guarantee that it will be effective.

I would get a digital or hybrid before soundproofing. I think the NYC laws allow me to play a reasonable amount of time during reasonable hours. I hope to work out an agreement with my neighbor.

Re: Best noise cancelling headphones
Retsacnal #3039641 10/26/20 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
I was thinking the same.

As long as you're behaving within the confines of your building/co-op rules, I would think you'd be ok. At the same time, I can understand why you want to keep the peace with your neighbor.

Maybe point all that out, and the rarity of anyone commenting, but offer him the headphones as a compromise anyway.

I'd be curious why he's complaining now and hasn't for more than a year. But Covid has people acting in all sorts of strange ways (cabin fever, anxiety, etc).

Anyway, you're a good neighbor to be concerned about him. But you probably don't want to find yourself in a position of every neighbor asking for headphones.
The two neighbors across the hall haven't complained in the last 49 years so I only have to worry about the adjacent neighbor.

The problem is I don't think the building or local NYC laws are specific enough to be sure of my rights. I probably have to pay a lawyer to find out. It seems unreasonable to me that the law would not allow 1.5 hours/day of piano playing.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 10/26/20 05:59 PM.
Re: Best noise cancelling headphones
pianoloverus #3039645 10/26/20 06:12 PM
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A few years ago all the tenants got this notice.

"It has been brought to the attention of management that there have been an increasing number of noise complaints.

This is just a friendly reminder of the House Rules:

1. The tenant/resident shall be entitled to "quiet enjoyment" of their apartment. No tenant or their family or guests shall make or permit any disturbing noises in the building or permit anything to be done therein which shall interfere with the rights, comfort, or convenience of other tenants.

2. No tenant shall play upon any musical instrument in an apartment between the hours of 11pm and 8am the following morning if this annoys or disturbs any other occupant of the building."

I'm curious if those reading this thread think the above would allow me to play between 10am and 6pm for around 1.5 hours.

Re: Best noise cancelling headphones
pianoloverus #3039654 10/26/20 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think some of the active headphones are very tiny, and a friend of mine who has them says one is not even aware one is wearing them. He'd have to wear them only about 1.5 hours/day on average. Do you have any suggestions besides headphones?
Your friend is probably talking about earbud headphones. They go into your ear and seal it against outside noise. They are tiny but comfort is in the ear of the beholder.
You asked me what kind of noise cancelling headphones I have. I have Bose active noise cancelling bluetooth headphones, but there's no model number on them, which seems like a missed marketing opportunity for Bose. They work great on an airplane, I used them when I travelled for work. The battery is dead, once they charge up I'll try them with my piano. I have a pair of Caldwell active noise cancelling headphones that are designed for shooters and outdoorsy type stuff. We have a farm and I have tried wearing them for a variety of noisy tractor and farm equipment activities. Sometimes they surprise me how good they are and sometimes they're no better than a plain old set of blue tooth headphones with good ear muffs.


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Re: Best noise cancelling headphones
pianoloverus #3039659 10/26/20 06:51 PM
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You might consider offering custom molded earplugs. I believe an audiologist visit is required to create a mold, which is sent to the company. Various levels of sound reduction are available. Probably a few hundred dollars total but cheaper than an attorney and definitely cheaper than a digital instrument. To my way of thinking, this would be more comfortable and less annoying than a bulky headphone, which could restrict reclining or rapid movements of the head etc...
Best wishes!

https://www.earpeace.com/products/custom-ear-plugs

Last edited by dhull100; 10/26/20 06:51 PM.
Re: Best noise cancelling headphones
MarkL #3039661 10/26/20 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkL
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think some of the active headphones are very tiny, and a friend of mine who has them says one is not even aware one is wearing them. He'd have to wear them only about 1.5 hours/day on average. Do you have any suggestions besides headphones?
Your friend is probably talking about earbud headphones. They go into your ear and seal it against outside noise. They are tiny but comfort is in the ear of the beholder.
He said they were the active kind of headphones that create something that cancels out the noise.

Re: Best noise cancelling headphones
pianoloverus #3039664 10/26/20 06:58 PM
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Active noise canceling essentially records the ambient noise and generates an opposite sound wave to cancel it out. Think of two waves in a pond running into each other and canceling each other out.
However, this is really only works on background white noise and will have minimal effect on something like speech or piano music.

Edited to add: since active noise canceling actually generates noise to cancel noise, this can have potential side effects like MarkL mentioned above.
If the algorithm screws up, it could actually end up amplifying noise. Some people have also been known to experience vertigo and headaches from active noise cancelling.

Passive noise canceling just muffles everything. The simplest example is the styro foam earbuds that people can use when working with power tools or ear muffs for shooting guns.

Active noise canceling headphones are expensive and fancy, and would likely serve as more of a bribe for the neighbor than anything else.
Passive ear muffs are generally not particularly comfortable to wear so I doubt any whining neighbor is going to be satisfied with that.

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
2. No tenant shall play upon any musical instrument in an apartment between the hours of 11pm and 8am the following morning if this annoys or disturbs any other occupant of the building."
I'm curious if those reading this thread think the above would allow me to play between 10am and 6pm for around 1.5 hours.

10am to 6pm certainly falls outside of that 11pm-8am restriction. I wonder if you can either just discuss this with management or the neighbor directly.

Last edited by rkzhao; 10/26/20 07:04 PM.
Re: Best noise cancelling headphones
pianoloverus #3039666 10/26/20 06:58 PM
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I would think a digital piano for yourself would work out the best and actually the cheapest. Getting one with a really nice action won' be cheap, but it would be cheaper than effective soundproofing.

Re: Best noise cancelling headphones
Johnny English #3039670 10/26/20 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Johnny English
I would think a digital piano for yourself would work out the best and actually the cheapest. Getting one with a really nice action won' be cheap, but it would be cheaper than effective soundproofing.
I would not even consider soundproofing, but since I have had beautiful Mason & Hamlin BB for the last 15 years I don't want to give it up playing it completely for even the best hybrid.

Re: Best noise cancelling headphones
pianoloverus #3039673 10/26/20 07:19 PM
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I think 90 minutes a day, in the middle of the day, is completely reasonable. So sorry to hear this is happening to you, p-loverus.


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