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Looking to buy some quality headphones [Done! (Sony MDR-7506)]

RialeRiale I'm a little slowRegistered User regular
Hopefully this is the right forum for this. It's basically a computer peripheral for me, but if this belongs more in H/A I can ask a mod to move it there.

Long story short: I'm going to be moving into a situation where I won't be able to blast my speakers like I like to, so I'm looking to buy some really nice headphones as a replacement. My current headphone collection is basically an assortment of shitty $20 models I replace every few years and some iPod earbuds, so I don't know a whole lot about quality headphones.

Some things to consider:

The most I'm willing to spend is $200. I'm assuming this will get me a halfway decent pair. I'm not looking for studio quality, just better than most.

My PC (which is what I will mainly be using them with) doesn't have a sound card (besides the on board), and I don't think one is in the budget right now.

Most important things to me in order are:

Durability (these headphones will eventually inhabit a dorm room, so this is very important)
Noise Cancelling
Strong Bass.

If you guys can recommend brands, or heck, even an online store (because I doubt amazon.com or wherever is going to have the best selection or prices), it'd be much appreciated.

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    FaricazyFaricazy Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    headphone.com

    Faricazy on
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    wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Buy these and never look back. Excellent cans, and selling for just under $200 right now (even shipped!)

    wasted pixels on
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    Monolithic_DomeMonolithic_Dome Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Noise canceling is great and all, but I'm a big fan of the earplug phones (IEMs). You get all the benefits of noise canceling with the additional benefit of being able to take them places.

    You know, places where you'd like to listen to music.

    For a specific recommendation: The price of the Shure E-series has come down a lot, and they sound fantastic.

    Monolithic_Dome on
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    FaricazyFaricazy Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Buy these and never look back. Excellent cans, and selling for just under $200 right now (even shipped!)
    they're open

    Faricazy on
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    KrisKris Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Sony MDR-7506

    I bought a pair of these a few months ago, and I have been absolutely blown away by them. They sound fantastic, block out outside noise very well, and are extremely comfortable for wearing long periods of time. I have no regrets, and I purchased them for more than the amazon price listed above (I had no choice, Canadians get screwed when it comes to decent headphones).

    Kris on
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    FaricazyFaricazy Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    You can also get the Sony V6's which are the same as the 7506 except with a smaller warranty period.

    You can ALSO buy these pads for them:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/313962-REG/Beyerdynamic_942704_Padded_Earcushions_for_DT250_DT280.html

    which are very comfy

    Faricazy on
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    EndaroEndaro Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    I'd personally recommend Sennheiser HD-280's. They're great, affordable, and if I do recall, they're closed.

    Endaro on
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    kpeezykpeezy Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
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    wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Faricazy wrote: »
    Buy these and never look back. Excellent cans, and selling for just under $200 right now (even shipped!)
    they're open

    And open headphones are better for his applications. Noise canceling in his price range pretty much leaves him looking at Bose (ick), and the bleed-in on the 595s is minimal.

    wasted pixels on
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    FaricazyFaricazy Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Faricazy wrote: »
    Buy these and never look back. Excellent cans, and selling for just under $200 right now (even shipped!)
    they're open

    And open headphones are better for his applications. Noise canceling in his price range pretty much leaves him looking at Bose (ick), and the bleed-in on the 595s is minimal.
    or he could just select from a plethora of closed circumaural cans, which also won't leak sound and annoy his dorm mates

    Faricazy on
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    wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Faricazy wrote: »
    Faricazy wrote: »
    Buy these and never look back. Excellent cans, and selling for just under $200 right now (even shipped!)
    they're open

    And open headphones are better for his applications. Noise canceling in his price range pretty much leaves him looking at Bose (ick), and the bleed-in on the 595s is minimal.
    or he could just select from a plethora of closed circumaural cans, which also won't leak sound and annoy his dorm mates

    Except both pair of headphones recommended in this thread -- Senn HD280s and Sony V6s -- bleed like CRAZY at normal listening volume, and they're significantly lower in overall sound quality. Seriously, have you actually used the 595s, or are you just jumping to conclusions because they're open headphones? Unless these hypothetical roommates happen to be recording the OP with a condenser microphone, I don't see how the 595s are going to annoy anyone.

    wasted pixels on
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    RialeRiale I'm a little slow Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Hmmmm. I see I have some reading to do - I know jack shit about headphones and I didn't realize there were this many options to consider.

    What, pray tell, is the difference between open and closed phones?

    Riale on
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    KrisKris Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Faricazy wrote: »
    Faricazy wrote: »
    Buy these and never look back. Excellent cans, and selling for just under $200 right now (even shipped!)
    they're open

    And open headphones are better for his applications. Noise canceling in his price range pretty much leaves him looking at Bose (ick), and the bleed-in on the 595s is minimal.
    or he could just select from a plethora of closed circumaural cans, which also won't leak sound and annoy his dorm mates

    Except both pair of headphones recommended in this thread -- Senn HD280s and Sony V6s -- bleed like CRAZY at normal listening volume, and they're significantly lower in overall sound quality. Seriously, have you actually used the 595s, or are you just jumping to conclusions because they're open headphones? Unless these hypothetical roommates happen to be recording the OP with a condenser microphone, I don't see how the 595s are going to annoy anyone.

    Um, my MDR-7506's bleeding is practically zip at normal listening volume. So if the V6's really are the same as them, then you are either overly exaggerating or tried a busted pair.

    Kris on
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    wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Kris wrote: »
    Um, my MDR-7506's bleeding is practically zip at normal listening volume. So if the V6's really are the same as them, then you are either overly exaggerating or tried a busted pair.

    Were you using them for studio applications or for casual use? There's a big difference between perceived bleed in an environment with a lot of white noise and actual bleed picked up on the monitors in a noise-proofed room.

    wasted pixels on
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    KrisKris Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Well I use them for casual use, but I've let my brother use them in a quiet living room, while I sat next to him, and I seriously couldn't hear anything. So while maybe some bleeding might get picked up in a studio situation, I'm pretty sure that for this guys dorm purposes, they would be more than adequate. :P

    Kris on
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    wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Kris wrote: »
    Well I use them for casual use, but I've let my brother use them in a quiet living room, while I sat next to him, and I seriously couldn't hear anything. So while maybe some bleeding might get picked up in a studio situation, I'm pretty sure that for this guys dorm purposes, they would be more than adequate. :P

    I'm not saying they wouldn't be perfectly adequate, I'm saying it's a moot point. The 595s have relatively low bleed for open circumaural headphones, and the 280s and V6s have relatively high bleed for closed circumaural headphones.

    All I'm trying to get across here is that the headphones I recommended aren't going to bother anyone nearby at normal listening volumes.
    Hmmmm. I see I have some reading to do - I know jack shit about headphones and I didn't realize there were this many options to consider.

    Here's a quick crash course -- we're going to gloss over in-ear options and just discuss conventional headphones.

    There are two main variables to consider in choosing a pair of headphones, and both have to do with the design of the ear cups.

    The first variable is how the headphones sit on your ear. Supra-aural headphones rest directly on your ears (picture those cheap little headphones that came with your Walkman as a kid, just big enough to fully cover your ears), while circumaural headphones have padding that "surrounds" your ear (these are commonly called "studio" headphones by the layman).

    The second variable is how the speakers are encased in the ear cup. "Open" headphones have a grill on the outside of the cup that allows air in behind the speaker. The benefits to this design are improved acoustics and less distortion (which tend to result in a "smoother, warmer" perceived bass sound), and the liabilities are -- as you might have gathered from the back-and-forth I'm having in this thread -- that the music you're listening to "bleeds out" more into the room. "Bleed" isn't a big problem for casual use (unless you're sitting in an empty, silent room with a librarian or something), but it can be a HUGE problem for pro audio, as microphones will pick up whatever bleeds out of your headphones (like the music you're singing along with).

    Closed headphones predictably have the opposite attributes. They generally do a better job of isolating noise (both isolating you from the room and isolating the room from you), but they tend to sound a bit "colder" and "harsher".

    So generally speaking, open headphones are better for enjoying music, closed headphones are better for making music.

    A few other bits of headphone wisdom and vast generalizations:

    + Noise canceling ruins audio fidelity, and can be VERY stressful on your ears over long periods of listening. Remember, it's "canceling out" the noise, not blocking it. I'm not saying that good noise canceling headphones don't exist, just that I've never found them -- and I've tried thousands of dollars worth of headphones. :wink:

    + Closed headphones tend to need a headphone amplifier to sound their best. I use HD-280s for recording (cheap and travel friendly), and they really need an amp to reach their full potential. You can expect to spend $40 or $50 on a CMOY headphone amp, and it's money well spent if you do end up looking at the 280s.

    + Never buy a Sony product that isn't the V6/V7506. Don't buy V600s, especially don't buy V700s. Just don't. Never buy any Bose product ever, period, no exceptions.

    + I'm going to sound like an old man, but try to listen at the lowest volume level you can stand. While high-end headphones won't be perceptibly louder, they have much more powerful drivers than typical $20 Walmart headphones. If you catch your ears ringing or "humming" after listening, or if everything around you seems "quieter" than it should be, that's a sure sign that you need to turn it down a bit. Hearing doesn't grow back.

    wasted pixels on
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    CmdPromptCmdPrompt Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    If you'd like to save yourself some monies and still get quality headphones, look into Grado SR-60s.

    CmdPrompt on
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    SeeksSeeks Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    + I'm going to sound like an old man, but try to listen at the lowest volume level you can stand. While high-end headphones won't be perceptibly louder, they have much more powerful drivers than typical $20 Walmart headphones. If you catch your ears ringing or "humming" after listening, or if everything around you seems "quieter" than it should be, that's a sure sign that you need to turn it down a bit. Hearing doesn't grow back.


    Listen to this man.

    I can't sleep without white noise anymore because of the ringing in my ears.

    Says the man who's still listening to music as he types.

    Seeks on
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    Epyon9283Epyon9283 Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    CmdPrompt wrote: »
    If you'd like to save yourself some monies and still get quality headphones, look into Grado SR-60s.

    ++

    They're pretty awesome for the price.

    Epyon9283 on
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    KrisKris Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    The Grado SR-60's are awesome, but they do leak a fair amount of sound, and let a lot in as well. But yeah, they sound great.

    Kris on
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    ZoldenZolden Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Sony MDR-7506's. No question. They can be found under $100 and are the industry standard across the board. I'm sound editor, and while we edit with large monitors sometimes we need to chop with headphones - these are preferred. But I like to think of it as since everyone else is using them, why would you want to hear something other than that? Many other expensive headphones include tone coloration and other bits that are generally bad if you're an audiophile.

    You can happily spend an upwards of $300 for Bose or Beyerdynamic headphones, which might be better to you. But 7506's are high quality, comfortable and affordable.

    Zolden on
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    kpeezykpeezy Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Meh, Sony MDR-7506s are mediocre and you can get a lot better for $200.

    They're not bad by any means, but you can get better if you want to spend that much.

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    RialeRiale I'm a little slow Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    A couple things I should mention:

    I'm not exactly an audiophile. I listen to a shitton of music (easily 8+ hours a day) and I've been doing fine for years with these dinky things. My reason for getting a nicer pair is twofold: One - I won't be able to play my speakers loudly, so I want something that is more comfortable and sounds better over long periods of time, and 2 - I want something to wear in my dorm so I won't annoy my dormmates, and more importantly, won't have to listen to them.

    After reading up I think I may be going for a closed set even though they sacrifice in the acoustics department, if only because they're going to allow me to tune out the distractions around me much easier, no matter how soft my music is playing.

    I'm going to keep looking around for a bit (I still have a little over a week before I'll need these) but you've all been super helpful so far. Keep the suggestions coming!

    Riale on
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    Mike DangerMike Danger "Diane..." a place both wonderful and strangeRegistered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Kris wrote: »
    The Grado SR-60's are awesome, but they do leak a fair amount of sound, and let a lot in as well. But yeah, they sound great.

    I have a pair of these and agree with everything stated above.

    Mike Danger on
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    flammiebcflammiebc Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Another vouch for Grado's here; but ultimately, you'll probably want to try out a few different kinds and see which ones you find the most comfortable listening to for hours on end. After all, all the sound quality in the world won't help if you can't stand wearing them for more than a few hours at a time. And in a dorm setting as primary sound equipment, I'd rank comfort as pretty high on my list.

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    VistiVisti Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Visti wrote:
    I will recommend anything Koss in a heartbeat. I have probably owned five different sets of headphones from them. And I've tried other top brands, such as Sennheiser and even AKG for studio headphones, but they can't be beaten for the price.

    Excellent sound, excellent prices and.. uh.. read that last paragraph again. Sure, just read it now and come back once you've done it. Lifetime warranty - no questions asked.

    Best company ever or... bestest company ever?

    www.koss.com

    Visti on
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    RialeRiale I'm a little slow Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    flammiebc wrote: »
    Another vouch for Grado's here; but ultimately, you'll probably want to try out a few different kinds and see which ones you find the most comfortable listening to for hours on end. After all, all the sound quality in the world won't help if you can't stand wearing them for more than a few hours at a time. And in a dorm setting as primary sound equipment, I'd rank comfort as pretty high on my list.

    Yeah, this is my biggest issue right now. I have no store in the area that would carry high quality headphones, and I don't have the time to head to a bigger city to see what's available. I'm basically down to ordering online, and I'm not gonna know how it feels until it gets here.

    Riale on
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    wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Riale wrote: »
    flammiebc wrote: »
    Another vouch for Grado's here; but ultimately, you'll probably want to try out a few different kinds and see which ones you find the most comfortable listening to for hours on end. After all, all the sound quality in the world won't help if you can't stand wearing them for more than a few hours at a time. And in a dorm setting as primary sound equipment, I'd rank comfort as pretty high on my list.

    Yeah, this is my biggest issue right now. I have no store in the area that would carry high quality headphones, and I don't have the time to head to a bigger city to see what's available. I'm basically down to ordering online, and I'm not gonna know how it feels until it gets here.

    One thing I'll say for the Sennheiser HD280s is that they're comfortable as fuck. They're not the best sounding headphones I've ever used (or the best looking), but man, I can wear 'em for days at a time, and that makes them my go-to headphones when it's time to get some work done.

    wasted pixels on
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    RialeRiale I'm a little slow Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Riale wrote: »
    flammiebc wrote: »
    Another vouch for Grado's here; but ultimately, you'll probably want to try out a few different kinds and see which ones you find the most comfortable listening to for hours on end. After all, all the sound quality in the world won't help if you can't stand wearing them for more than a few hours at a time. And in a dorm setting as primary sound equipment, I'd rank comfort as pretty high on my list.

    Yeah, this is my biggest issue right now. I have no store in the area that would carry high quality headphones, and I don't have the time to head to a bigger city to see what's available. I'm basically down to ordering online, and I'm not gonna know how it feels until it gets here.

    One thing I'll say for the Sennheiser HD280s is that they're comfortable as fuck. They're not the best sounding headphones I've ever used (or the best looking), but man, I can wear 'em for days at a time, and that makes them my go-to headphones when it's time to get some work done.

    Those look pretty great. I see some reviews around complaining about tightness or cramping, but I have a fairly small head so that might not be a problem. Just looking at them, they look a lot more comfortable than most of the other closed sets I've seen (most of which have a weird shape for the earpiece padding that my ears just do not fit into).

    Right now I'm wavering between these and the Sony MDR-7506s. Gonna sleep on it and maybe flip a coin tomorrow before I order.

    Riale on
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    LagnarLagnar Halifax, Nova scotiaRegistered User regular
    edited February 2009
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    The sony mdr xd200, they are pretty old (at least a few years) but I got mine for about 40$ and never looked back. At about the same time my brother and his friend each bought a nice 100$ pair(2 different ones mind you). His friend was over one day and brought his computer and eveything down and we tried out each of the headphones. After testing we agreed that mine (the sony pair) was the best. I still see them around here and there at wal marts and a few other stores here and there.

    I can say right now after years of droping them (im pretty clumbsy) they are still in near mint condition minus a slight tear in the fabric that is around the ear. Noice canceling wise its good but not the best. If im in the middle of a FPS where guns are going off and people are using their mics I usually cant even hear the phone in the next room. (No, I dont blast it as high as it can go, its actually fairly low for me). And when I plug them in my amp for my guitar its even better. They are ridiculously confortable and half the time I forget im even wearing them, this is due partly to the fact they weigh almost nothing in comparision to most top of the line headphones.

    The only problem is that they tend to let noice out, however it really isint that bad from what we could tell when we tested it.

    I can say now if you want to spend more (you said your limit was about 200$ I belive) you are almost guarnted to get a better pair, but these here are still a great option if you want to spend less or cant find any others or whatever.

    Lagnar on
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    KrisKris Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    I'm sorry Lagnar, but I have to disagree an incredible amount. My brother owns a pair of those, and I cannot stand them. The cans are way too large, they don't squeeze the head so you do get some background noise coming in, and I dunno how to describe how they sounded (damn my vocabulary), but I think perhaps "not at all impressive" might fit the bill. Perhaps anecdotal, but I would suggest spending a little more money and getting a much better pair of headphones in return. The difference between the xd200's and my 7506's is night and day.

    Kris on
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    logic7logic7 Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    JBL Reference 410's.

    I have a pair and use 'em for mixing my music when the wife is in the office. AWESOME sound for the money (watched "The Incredibles" once with those phones and forgot I wasn't at home in the living room!). I picked up a pair on closeout at Staples for $19. They're normally $79. The earpieces are suprisingly small, but they sound like much larger AKG's.

    The one downside is that the cord is rather thin, flimsy, and kinda short (for my tastes).

    logic7 on
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    RialeRiale I'm a little slow Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    So a little update for those who care: I went with the Sony MDR-7506. They got here today and I am really happy with them. Super comfortable fit, they block pretty much all outside noise when my music is on, and the audio quality is magnificent compared to what I'm used to, but I'm no audiophile so that's not as big of a deal. They also seem pretty sturdy, and the coiled cord makes them easier to transport around, so I might even end up using these with an mp3 player on my walks or whatnot. All in all I am super satisfied for the price I payed and would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a similar solution.

    Riale on
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    KrisKris Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Glad to hear it man! :D

    Kris on
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    IoloIolo iolo Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Hello knowledgeable PAers.

    I'm (a non audiophile) looking for a decent pair of headphones for work for listening to streamed radio and music. I have a crummy pair of earbuds now that make my ears sore if they are in too long and keep my head on a precariously short tether to the audio port on my computer.

    The ones recommended here look great but are a) a little pricier than I would prefer to go (under $75? less?), and b) would make me, with my big noggin and big ol' ears, look more like a cosmonaut than I would prefer.

    Are there decent, smaller headphones with low/no bleed that you could recommend?

    What about something like the Sennheiser PX 100, PX 200, PMX100 or Koss KSC75?

    Iolo on
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    algorhythm3.14algorhythm3.14 Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    My Sony MDR-V6s changed my life. They are way underrated sound wise, have an awesome coiling cord, great for my bass playing and generally being more than 3ft away from what they are plugged into, have an excellently kickass classic look, are HUGE, very comfortable, and don't look like some sci-fi contraption you bought a sharper-image/Skymall.

    algorhythm3.14 on
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    kpeezykpeezy Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Iolo wrote: »
    What about something like the Sennheiser PX 100, PX 200, PMX100 or Koss KSC75?

    All of those would be fine and add the Grado iGrado to the list. The PMX type headphones hurt my ears though. I'd say get Koss KSC35s. They're really good for the price. They sound better than the V6/7506 and just as good as pretty much anything ~$100. I don't know if they're still in production (Koss made a re-issue of sorts because of the popularity but I don't know if they're still doing that). If you can't get them, I would just get the PX100s or Grado iGrados.

    OR! In ear headphones. For $75 you can get Etymotic ER6i's they're definitely what I would pick in that price range if I was able to have something that blocked pretty much all exterior noise.

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