Pros + Comfortable, well designed, great sound quality
+ Look very elegant, pretty sturdy and feel solid
+ Great noise canceling performance
Cons - Battery Life on the short side
Summary Solid Pair of Noise-canceling Headphones
Sony MDR-NC200D Digital Noise-Canceling Headphones are some of the best mid level headphones that I've had the opportunity to try out. They comfortable, well designed, have a great sound, and do a good job of attenuating the ambient noise. Here are some of my main observations.
**** Audio Quality ****
These headphones produce some of the crispest sound that I have come across in the headphones. I am not a bona fide audiophile, but I do enjoy good reproduction of the recorded sound. As far as the listening of the music goes, these headphones are hard to beat. They are largely free of some sound distortions that I sometimes get from the noise-cancelling headphones. I've used them with all sorts of music genera, from classical to rock, and in each case have been very happy with the results.
**** Noise Cancelation ****
In my opinion the whole notion of noise "cancellation" is highly exaggerated. None of the headphones that I've ever used truly cancels all (or even the most) of the ambient noise. The best you can get is really noise attenuation. That being said, these headphones (thanks largely to the "active" noise cancellation technology), reduce the ambient noise a significant amount, and make it much more muffled and soft sounding. These headphones compare very well to the passive noise cancelling headphones, and are as good as any active ones that I've ever tried. They will protect your ears in very noisy environments, such as the airplane takeoff and landing. However, if you are more interested in completely blocking the surrounding noise rather than enjoying music along the way, a pair of simple ear plugs will do the job for the fraction of the price.
**** Design ****
I really like the way that these headphones look and function. The black color makes them look very elegant, and their build feels solid without being very heavy. Several articulated joins insure a comfortable fit for any head size or shape, as well as easy and quick collapsibility for easy storage.
**** Comfort ****
The headphone cushioning is very soft and comfortable, although not the softest that I've ever tried. In general, the cushioning of the on-ear headphones tends to be a bit stiffer than for the over-the-ear headphones. And just like for the most on-ear or over-the-ear headphones, my ears get pretty hot after prolonged use. They do, however, make excellent earmuffs.
**** Accessories ****
The headphones come with several plugs and adapters I have not used them much, but all of them seem no-nonsense and more than adequate for their main purposes. The headphones also come with a very well made and solid case, which will is relatively compact and will provide the headphones with enough protection while traveling.
**** Functionality ****
These are corded headphones, which means that you will have to worry about the plugin cord while wearing them. They can, though, be used for the basic noise cancelling function even without the cord, but as I had mentioned earlier I am not too keen on the noise-cancelling feature of most of these headphones in their own right. I personally prefer Bluetooth headphones, but those come with their own set of issues as well.
**** Conclusion ****
I am very happy with these headphones, and if you are looking for a solid pair of corded on-ear noise canceling headphones you will probably not find anything better than Sony MDR-NC200D at this price range. I do, however, wish that Sony's marketing department had a tad bit more imagination when it comes to the naming of their products.
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Thank for reading, good luck!
Pros Comfortable; well made, highly portable, nice features.
Cons Wish it had an in-line mic for answering calls.
Summary I've used these headphones for over a week (roughly 25 hours) and I can strongly recommend them. The artificial intelligence feature seems to work well, and I often make use of the Monitor button - it deactivates the NC feature and mutes the audio. Thus, when you are wearing these headphones and someone talks to you, rather than having to take them off, you can just press the Monitor button and have the conversation. Even better, when the annoying Pandora commercials come on, hit the monitor button for 30 seconds and avoid the irritating ads.
To my highly untrained ears, music sounds good, with just the right amounts of treble and bass.
The engineering is fantastic - they fold up into a small case for easy portability. Battery life is excellent - I got through a whole week of listening for hours a day. Make sure you use rechargeable batteries (1 AAA) to save money and help the environment. And unlike Bose, if your battery dies you can still use them, albeit without the NC.
I use these mainly while reading at coffee houses, but am looking forward to using them while flying, where I expect them to perform very well.
Overall - highly recomended.
Pros Light and compact. Great sound and NR. Use w/or w/o NR. Long battery life on NR. Can find good price. Detachable cord. Monitor feature. Extra battery, cord exten, ipod nano w/ strap, 2-pin adapter fit in case. Comfortable on a 12 hr flight.
Cons They aren't made by Bose so now I need to figure out what to do with an extra $200 in my pocket.
Summary Great headphones. Highly recommend.
Pros Comfortable on-ear fit, great noise cancellation, neatly folds into compact case
Cons Annoying monitor button easy to accidentally push
Summary I've used Bose noise canceling earphones for years. When the outer ear cups on my last pair inexplicably peeled off when I laid them on the cover of a paperback book overnight, and Bose only offered to sell me new ear pads at full cost, I decided to look around for an alternative.
After some research I decided to try the MDR-NC200D headphones. What a great choice! They're compact, comfortable and do the job. I actually think they're better than Bose, because the latter exerts a pressure on my eardrums that gets uncomfortable after a while. That doesn't happen with the MDR-NC200D headphones. I love how they neatly fold up and fit into a compact case, which makes them very easy to travel with.
My only complaint is that one of their features, monitor mode. This lets you turn off the NC function so that you can hear what someone's saying, is controlled by a button. Because it's a button, and not a switch, it's easy to accidentally push if you adjust the headphones. This is an unneeded feature, in my opinion, because if I need to hear something going on, I simply slide one of the the headphones off an ear a bit.
Best, these babies are inexpensive. They retail for $199, but you can find them much cheaper if you look around. I got mine for $142 (with shipping). Unlike the reviewer, however, I do not find these a cheaper, but settle-for-less alternative to Bose NC headphones. Bose once led the pack because of innovative technology, and could pull of the very high prices because of the brand name. But Sony and others have caught up and are selling this commodity at much better prices.
Pros Excellent value ($140 @ Overstock.com) Fold into nice case for travel. Noise cancellation has no annoying hum or buzz. Work when NC is off or battery is dead. Detachable cord is very convenient. Reasonably comfortable.
Cons Tend to get a bit warm after wearing for extended periods.