High end headphones are great, especially the over the ear type headphones. They enable you to hear the acoustics almost perfectly. The more you pay, the better the headphones. However, it's not always the best idea to lug around your giant headphones. They don't take the daily wear and tear very well and they usually don't go in the rain.
That's why noise canceling in-ear headphones have become so popular. They cancel the noises from the outside world with vibrations. The only problem is that they are usually quite expensive. Take the Shure SE530. They cost $500. Shure has got 5 different pairs of noise canceling in-ear headphones. They vary from $120 to $500.
The ATH-ANC3 noise-canceling headphones from Audio Technica feature active noise cancellation, which basically means that they use a built-in microphone to take an audio sample of surrounding ambient noise and they create the exact opposite noise to cancel the ambient noise out.
The ATH-ANC3 headphone is available for about $100 and includes the headphones themselves, three sets of different sized earpieces, an extension cable, an airplane connector, and travel case. Audio Technica claims that these headphones cancel up to 85% or 20dB of background noise.
The noise canceling feature works well on an airplane, blocking out the drone of the loud engines. They also work extremely well on the road. Road noise is almost totally canceled out. The headphones are quite small and compact. There is a tiny bump to hold the AAA battery, an on/off switch, and a "monitor" button to cut off the noise cancellation.
Audio quality is surprisingly good for headphones of this price range.They are the best bang for the buck. Serious audiophiles would probably get more expensive pairs, but these get the job done well.