I have both expensive ANC and also low cost (but good quality) inear buds without ANC. When I turn on music,the differences are not that high after you get used to it, I can put the inear buds in my pocket. Also noise-cancelling is as good in any of them passive noise-cancelling with in ear buds == ANC with headphones.
Seriously after you get used to any of them, you don't notice the differences in between them because you got used to the sound out of one of them that is unless you compare them.
Why do you prefer pricey over ear headphones over in-ear buds?