What's the best noise-canceling microphone for remote VOIP calls?

Being nomadic comes with its fair share of background noise (roosters, motorcycles, speakers on trucks announcing today’s fruit specials, celebratory explosions, etc.).

While lots of fun, it can be distracting during client calls, which I typically hold via Google Voice or Skype just using my macbook’s built-in microphone.

I don’t want to carry an extra headset, especially if it’s over-the-ear and looks like I’m working at a call center.

It’d be really nice to have quality earbuds that also have a decent mic built in, but I have yet to find anything that fits the bill.

Does anyone have a good earbud/microphone solution?

I’m always on the look out for new earbud/mic solutions as well.

Right now, I’m using a Jawbone ERA bluetooth headset, as it has the best noise canceling mic that I’ve found so far.

I was using a good pair of Sennheiser in ear, the noise cancelling for me was great, I think the mic quality was good too, and these were about £30 at a uk airport. They’ve been stolen now, so I am on the lookout too for a good new pair.

@sarab, good to know. i use sennheisers for headphones and i love them. i found these on amazon. they seem good, but no reviews talk about using the mic for important calls: http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-MM-30i-MM30i-Headphones/product-reviews/B004HD4L2E/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

I absolutely adore the Bowers & Wilkins C5. The audio quality for music is brilliant—especially great low levels for earbuds—and the mic quality is good enough that it’s never given me pause.

Chuck, those look great (and that’s an excellent product page, btw). As for the mic quality, can you provide more specifics? At that price range I’d want to make sure the mic is top notch.

The ones Lee describes above is what I’m looking for in mic quality. I want to be able to be in a somewhat noisy area and have a mic that filters out background noise.

If I’m having a call with a friend or family I don’t care, but I have some corporate clients thinking I’m in an office and I need to be able to sound “professional”.

Any benchmarks I can use to test them for you? For my purposes, “I haven’t noticed it sucking” is the highest praise I can offer.

Sennheiser Presence
Bluetooth headset. Very happy with the noise cancelation, pairs with 3 devices at the same time (in my case phone and laptop), very comfortable and has never failed me. Was quite amazed by the battery life time, don’t use it that often though since it doesn’t have stereo audio. So only if people start complaining about the keyboard noise of my MacBook Air while on a VoIP call. Works great in a noisy environment, but will not work when riding a bike at 30 km/h (to much wind).

Sennheiser CX870
These are noise isolating (no active cancellation) headphones, and I love them for their clarity and noise cancellation. Don’t even hear the alarm of my phone go off when it’s right in front of me. Especially in a crowded places, like a train or airplane they are extremely useful. No battery, so they always work. The only downside: no microphone. But I like them to much to trade them for something else.

Other options
Haven’t bought this yet, not convinced yet. External Microphone so I can keep using my Sennheiser in-ear. Doubt the quality and microphone placement.

There used to be a lot more, but most of them seem to be out of production:

Griffin is about to release a external mic that might be interesting though:

@chuckh thanks chuck. i guess “i haven’t noticed it sucking” is a good endorsement :smile:

@gawin great info. i personally don’t want a bluetooth as i’d rather hardwire in and have one tool for the job, but it’s good to know those work well. Sennheiser needs an in-ear set with a good mic.

Agree on the bluetooth, personally I also prefer hardwired. Simply because that always works when I need it.

Sennheiser has 2 models that you might find interesting, although I haven’t tested them yet:

Sennheiser CX 275 S

Sennheiser MM 70 S

Or for example Shure:

Shure SE112m+

ps. Depending on your budget there are also the Sennheiser IE 800 and Shure expensive versions that have microphone cable/adapters.

Hey Mike,

I am looking for the same product, what did you go with in the end?

Any recommendations? I need to find a solution, at the moment I am using a Logitech headset, good quality audio but I think it will pick up the infamous rooster in the background.


Hey Kieren,

I haven’t pulled the trigger yet. I’m partial to Sennheiser though, so I’d probably go with one of the ones recommended in this thread.

Please post in here once you pick one and let us know how they work out.


Hey Mike,

I have decided to stick with the headphones I already have for now which are these:


I am going to use the money instead to get some noise cancelling Bose headphones for personal use :smile:

Although I did a lot of research and I think these are the best


Cool. Sounds like a good plan :slight_smile:

Just to through another option into the mix - these will be my next purchase. They have always made a quality product for use with the Bose headsets and are now coming out with something new that can be used with laptops and cell phones. Should be available soon.

what did you settle in with. I’m so surprised at the lack of testing and reviews re: microphone noise canceling. As a coach that is on the road it is critical that my clients hear no background noise. I’ve been using a product made by theboom.com for the past 10 years that is excellent but it is super fragile and in constant need of repair. I actually have 4 that are constantly rotating out of the shop. Curious to find out what you’ve learned and what you ended up settling with.

@NomadCoach I still have not found a good solution, so I’ve put off buying something. I’m actually making few calls these days and I’ve got a quiet home base for the next several months. However, I’m hoping that by the next time I’m on the road I can find a good option.