Free-field experiments on masking of low-frequency tones by broadband noise, as reported by Fidell, et al. [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 73, 628–638 (1983)] should, in principle, yield the same results as the recently reported insert-phone experiment by Houtsma [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 115, 967–970 (2004)]. Indeed, if Fidell et al.’s data are converted to critical ratios and compared with the recent insert-earphone results, both turn out to be quite similar and significantly different from Hawkins and Stevens’ classical critical ratio results.