JVC has quite the array of noise-canceling headphones that range in price and style. In fact, the company was one of the first to offer in-ear 'buds with active cancellation, and it's also a great place to start if you're looking for noise canceling on the cheap. However, the HA-NC260 headphones fall into neither camp, as they represent the top end of the line at $200, and also feature an on-ear design that's not super compact. JVC's latest offering is solid, but there's nothing special about it.
The design of the JVC HA-NC260 headphones is about as standard as they come. The black plastic headband is adjustable via a flexible inner band and is padded along the top curve to offer extra comfort. Two plastic, U-shaped arms connect the oval earcups to the band and allow them to pivot slightly for comfort. For on-ear headphones, the earpieces are neither exceedingly large nor exceptionally compact, measuring about 3 inches high and 2.5 inches across. To JVC's credit, the padding of the earcups is quite cushy and the headphones are very lightweight, both of which help with comfort. They did make our ears a bit itchy after a while, though.
The JVC HA-NC260 headphones offer a few features worth noting. The most compelling is the active noise-canceling capability. A switch on the right earcup activates this feature, which is powered by a single AAA battery (included) that fits under the earpad on the right side. Also nice is that the headphones can be used with or without this feature engaged, so if your battery dies, you're not out of luck. A detachable cable serves to connect the HA-NC260 to your audio source. It seems relatively durable, features gold-plated plugs, and measures nearly 5 feet. (There's also a 20-inch extender cable.) In addition, the package includes a quarter-inch plug, an airplane adapter, and a hard-shell case with an inner pocket for accessories. The headphones simply fold flat, rather than into a more compact form.
The JVC HA-NC260 headphones sound about how we would expect a $200 pair of headphones to sound. Audio quality is very good, and we're especially fond of the huge amount of bass. It's all-encompassing and yet doesn't overpower the high-end, which is clean and distinct. That said, the low-end is a bit loose, so the soundspace may not lend itself well to all genres of music. During testing, we found that pop, dance, hip-hop, and electronica--especially the Verve Remixed--sounded great. The rich, warm midrange certainly helps in this regard as well. It's worth noting that the highs lack the shimmer of some other sets, so if classical is your bag, these may not satisfy.