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There are times when we all would like to tune out the outside world and just relax in peace and quiet.

Headphones or earbuds are just the thing to help keep your sanity when life gets a little too loud.

Noise-canceling headphones can certainly help.

Slip on the headphones, flip a switch and the noise just disappears.

Magic?

No. Science.

I've been testing two sets of headphones from Edifier - the W860NB Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones that fit over your ears and the TWS2 Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds.

Each certainly helps isolate you from the din of everyday life, but in different ways.

W860NB headphones

Noise-canceling headphones really do seem like magic.

There are microphones on each ear cup monitoring the ambient noise in the room. The headphones then process the sound and mix in sound that's phase-inverted.

The result is noise reduction, especially noises that are constant, like street sounds or a fan or jet engine. Savvy travelers figured out long ago that good noise-canceling headphones can make the drone of a jet engine disappear.

Noise canceling doesn't work quite as well to quiet the sounds of a nearby conversation, but it does help a bit.

The Edifier W860NB ($169, www.edifier.com) headphones are very comfortable.

The thick foam on the ear cups is covered with artificial leather. They weigh just 10 ounces.

They can connect to the music source via Bluetooth or with a 3.5mm cable.

The headphones have an internal, rechargeable battery that will last for 25 hours of listening with active noise canceling and 45 hours without it.

The battery is charged in about three hours with an included microUSB cable. The headphones and cables all fit nicely in an included hard case.

Bluetooth pairing is easy with up to two devices at a time. If you choose to connect with the 3.5mm cable, the Bluetooth radio is turned off, but as long as you have battery power, the active noise canceling will still keep things quiet for you.

The W860NB have 40mm drivers in each ear with a frequency range of 20Hz-20kHz.

There are touch controls on the outside of the right earcup to control volume and skip forward and back as well as play/pause. The touch points can be a bit hard to find while you're wearing the headphones. There is also a microphone so you can take calls if you are connected to a phone.

Listening to music with the W860NB is really nice with and without active noise canceling.

These headphones can keep up with active noise canceling headphones that cost twice as much.

Pros: Great battery life. Active noise canceling. Nice warm sound. Inexpensive.

Cons: Touch controls take some getting used to.

Bottom line: Active noise canceling and good sound at a great price.

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ABOUT THE WRITER

Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News. He may be reached at jrossman@dallasnews.com.

Visit The Dallas Morning News at www.dallasnews.com

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