I don't tend to watch many films when I'm flying. Partly that's because it's hard to sleep afterwards (I prefer to read a solid book on my Kobo e-reader). But it's also because the earphones in the cheap seats make my ears sore after a while.

So I was delighted to get the chance to try out a pair of Blackbox M10 noise cancellation headphones on a trip to Oman.

Phitek Systems, the New Zealand company that produces Blackbox, specialises in supplying headphones for premium airline cabins, including, as it happens, first class passengers on Etihad, with whom I was flying (though a bit further back in the plane). I was half-hoping one of the cabin crew might notice I had first class headphones and ask where I'd got them.

In the event, the only person to notice was me, because they proved very comfortable, so comfortable that I watched three films on the flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi instead of sleeping (dopey, I know, but fun). And the noise-cancellation worked brilliantly so I didn't have to crank the volume up to drown the background noise on the plane.


Since getting home I've also used the Blackbox headphones to listen to classical music on both our reasonably good sound system and my el cheapo MP3 player - Blackbox provides a series of jack adapters - and the results were terrific.

Not being a real music aficionado, I also asked two of my colleagues to try them out.

One of the entertainment reporters, who spends much of his day listening to music on headphones, said they were excellent.

A feature writer, who moonlights as a DJ, also thought they were very good, but felt they'd be more comfortable if the actual earphones were a bit bigger.

He said, "The top end of the sound seems a bit light ... though that might be a problem with the settings on this computer."

As for me, I reckon if you want to take your music on the road, or experience economy class films with first class sound and comfort, they're a great travel accessory.