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Headphone quality for detecting knock.

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Hi guys,

Just ordered a plex knock monitor v2, I was planning to use just a normal set of headphones(in ear) with ear defenders over the top(just like Andre in the road tuning course)

My question is would I see a benefit in using a high(er) quality pair of headphones over the cheap freebies you get with smartphones? My main concern with tuning my first car is with detecting knock effectively(ESP light knock).

The engine is a turbocharged Honda vtec engine(b series) which should be in the region of 450hp so I am expecting to be knock limited.

Any better ideas than headphones and ear defenders combined with the plex?


I've used the noise cancelling over ear, normal ear defender style over ear and 3 different types of inner ear with ear defenders and inner ear are definitely better, I can't say I've noticed much difference between the inner ear other than comfort, obviously a really cheap set will pick up electrical noise going on around you but on the whole you'll still hear everything you need to hear.

When your tuning just take your time on light load to purposely introduce knock so you can tune your ear to the sound, don't hold it in knock for too long, just enough to learn to distinguish between normal engine and knock. Use the Plex screen for validation of reaching and passing the knock threshold.

So it would appear I'm on the right path atleast. I'll be tuning on the road at first but I'll induce the knock just like you say.

Thanks for the quick replies Chris!

I recently started using the noise buster headphones from LinkECU. I'm very pleased actually.

They are what I use over the top of my ears as I used to use the knock kit from Link, the sound cancelling is really good

I have been recommended to use 3M Peltors ear defender for this matter. I have not purchased it yet.

Just found this link:


i have a pair of 3M Peltors on their way, i'll let you know what i think of them.

I use the grade 5+ 3M Peltor with iPhone ear buds. I've gone through different ear buds and haven't seen a benefit from better/more expensive models personally. I've tried high price aviation-style noise cancelling headphones and found that on some of the drag cars I tuned with open exhaust/wastegate dumps, that the SPL in the room got so high that the noise cancelling started clipping, rendering the head set useless.

Thanks for the advice, I'll stick to the smartphone ones for now then.

I have forgotten to mentioned about the ear buds. I am also using the iphone ones. As for

the ear defender, got myself a cheap generic model from the safety shop (HSSE).

I use a setup of these when I am working in the car by myself, and I am not having to converse with other people.


If I have others in the car with me, I tend to use the standard Knockbox headset as they are easy to take on and off for conversing. I have tried using Active noise cancelling headphones like the Bose QC25's, but as Andre said, they can get overloaded and start to feedback on themselves or clip the sounds, so I find that they are more of a pain to use than more normal passive systems.

i have the 5+ 3M Peltor and a 15us hendset... but when i tried the iPhone, the was a low "rubble" that went away that i did not notice was there before, thinking that was "but of the setup".

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