Yes, You Might Need $200 Headphones

Brian Barela

beats by dr. dreI purchased a pair of Beats by Dr. Dre Solo headphones two years ago that have significantly increased my productivity.

Noise Cancellation

Eliminating distracting noises and ambient conversations allows me to complete tasks quicker and efficiently, especially when I’m working at coffee shops and restaurants.

Visually Show Your Busy-ness

Sometimes my slim pair of iPhone headphones do not prevent others from interrupting me with a question. The size of these headphones help communicate to others that I am working on something important, even if I am just playing Angry Birds on the web.

Do two reasons justify the $200 expense? That’s for you to decide–but if you have repeatedly found yourself aimlessly looking around Starbucks while overhearing multiple conversations then you just might say yes.

Editor’s Note: Want those benefits without the $200 price tag of Beats? Check out this tip on making cheap noise isolation headphones from Lifehacker.

What kind of headphones do you use? Have you gone noise-canceling yet?

By Brian Barela | Posted: Jun 20, 2011
Category: Time & Task Management | Tags: , | Permalink | Post a comment | Trackback URL.


  1. Steve Marks
    June 20, 2011, 1:32 pm | Permalink

    After looking at Amazon, I’m a little confused. It says the Beats Studios ($350) have noise cancellation technology, but the Beats Solos ($200) do not. Was your point that by design they reduce the amount of ambient noise that “leaks” in, or that they actually have electronic noise cancellation?

    • June 21, 2011, 7:13 am | Permalink

      hey steve you are correct. they are technically not “noise cancelling” but using them at even 1/3 of max volume eliminates most ambient sounds.

      the two points were that it eliminates sound and makes you look preoccupied. these two things distract me the most from completing tasks efficiently.

      hope that helps!

  2. June 21, 2011, 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Hey dude, I am in Panera right now, with a 3 yr old girl singing made-up songs…so I was compelled to read this post. I have a few practical questions, like how you store them so they don’t get messed up in your bag, etc., but i’m pretty convinced. This would even make working at home much better for me.

    You might post a warning though about sleeping on the other side of the aisle on an airplane from your wife, who needs to get your attention :). Thanks for the post/suggestion.

    • June 22, 2011, 7:58 am | Permalink

      i was at a starbucks working the other day when a mom brought two bins of toys and spread them out on the floor while her daughter played w someone else. insane!

      but i had already spent my money on coffee and didn’t want to relocate. didn’t have my headphones on me and was a brutal experience.

  3. June 21, 2011, 2:11 pm | Permalink

    I’m a huge proponent of noise-cancelling tech, but cnet has solid reviews on headphones and ear buds that are $50 and below. I love Dre, but frugality is winning me over in the end.

    • June 21, 2011, 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Drew–I know there were some great, cheaper noise-canceling headphones, and I’m a frugal guy too. Have you seen any that have really stood out to you?

      • June 21, 2011, 6:00 pm | Permalink

        Haven’t tried any out quite yet. Still waiting on my $15 Sony ear buds to wear out. All I could really say at this point is I’m a fan of brand loyalty, especially with tech, so I would start with the Sonys, Pioneers, and Boses of the noise-cancelling world. Tim Ferriss also had recommended a Phillips set that costed around $40. Outside of that, I’d have to try some out before I made any recommendations.

        • June 22, 2011, 7:56 am | Permalink

          earbuds have yet to keep people from interrupting me. let me know when you upgrade!


  4. Matt
    June 21, 2011, 4:48 pm | Permalink

    I bought some noise canceling JVC headphones which work great and were only $90 on Amazon.


One Trackback

  1. […] If you’re someone who spends a modest amount of time on the computer (just a few hours a day), coffee shops are a great option for settling down to get a little bit of work done. Every day that passes makes me more and more convinced that Brian was right when he said You Need $200 Headphones. […]

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