Friday, May 21, 2010

The Search for the Perfect Headphones: Sony Noise Canceling Headphones

After getting fed up with the garrulous people at work, I asked for some better headphones for work as a birthday present.

I got the Sony MDRNC7 Noise Canceling headphones. (I'm definitely noticing a Sony theme to this series.) The sound quality is about the same as the studio monitor headphones, and they are slightly more comfortable. Powered by a AAA battery on one of the headphones, and using a microphone to detect outside noise, they emit sound waves designed to cancel out any environmental noise. This sounds like a great idea.

However, I tested them. They seem to work OK for ambient noise like a fan, but they don't do anything to block conversation noise. They therefore didn't do me any good. Also, when you turn the noise canceling on, it creates its own ambient noise, a kind of very faint hiss. It's enough to get annoying.

Also, like the studio monitor headphones, it has a very long cord, which is very annoying when you're using it with a portable device--which is precisely what these are made for (they are sold to be used while flying).

The Verdict: They have extras which make them cost more but don't do me any good, and the design is somewhat ill-conceived. I give them 2 out of 5 stars.

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