The funny thing is, I have been biding my time for many, many months waiting for enough AMEX points to accumulate to pay for a really, really good set of noise-blocking phones. As you all know, the iPod earbuds are criminally, criminally incompetent, not to mention dangerous to use during air travel, since they invite cranking to counter their inherent crapitude. The Bose noise-cancelling headphones are de riguer for frequent flyers of a certain age. But they are, like all Bose products, not all they’re cracked up to be. While I have to admit, the phase-inversion soundwave cancellation is a neat trick, no one who cares about audio integrity would permit all that mucking around with the signal path. Not to mention another severe problem–noise cancelling headphones are designed to block out engine noise, not the wailing baby three rows back, or the inane conversation across the aisle. Shure has a much better approach; very simply, the earphones have noise-blocking foam surrounding them. They are equal parts ear-plug and ear-phone. Somehow, they manage to cram three drivers into that little package: a high-frequency “tweeter” and two low-frequency “woofers”. How do they sound? That’s easy, they sound like all good speakers sound: accurate. Dare I say, worth the 500 bucks. I enjoyed them for a whole week. Now, someone else is enjoying them, along with the iPod they nicked out of my hotel room in St. Louis yesterday. Gotta love that mid-western hospitality!