Headphones, once considered simply an accessory, have become a necessary part of virtually every musician's toolbox. From tracking to practice sessions to live monitoring to mixing—you need at least one great-sounding pair of “cans” to offer a new perspective on the music you make. But choosing a pair can be tricky, depending on the intended application and what your level of physical comfort is with different styles and technologies.
One of the newer categories of phones are so-called "noise-canceling" headphones. Active devices, originally developed in the 1950s for pilots as a way to reduce engine noise in the cockpit, noise-canceling phones use external mics and signal processing to provide an inverse signal that cancels out or seriously reduces ambient noise. Available as in-ear, on-ear and over-ear, noise-canceling phones are great when you need to remove potential distractions or want to listen to music in a noisy environment without having to crank the volume up too far.