"Great noise-canceling over-the-ear headphone"5.0 starson by augieray
Pros: Terrific sound; great noise canceling; rechargeable batteries; loaded with features; comfortable
Cons: Battery life; size of traveling case; price; won't work without drawing power from rechargeable battery, battery pack, or AC power.
Summary: I previously owned a pair of Sennheiser noise-canceling headphones (PXC 300) and liked them quite a bit, but I hated the battery pack and extra wires; also, I wanted to find earphones that went over the ear for better noise cancelling.
The Sony Digital noise-canceling headphones are very impressive. They seem to cancel more noise than my Sennheiser, and traveling with these cans made the air trip so much more pleasant and enjoyable.
On my last trip, I was seated in the last row of a regional jet where the engines were right outside the hull from me--it was VERY loud, but with these headphones I was able to hear the quietest passages of the music. In fact, when I hit the "monitor" button (which turns of noise cancelling so you can hear announcements and the like), I was amazed at how loud the environment was and how quiet the earphones made it. (This isn't to say there was NO engine noise in the earphones, but it was obviously blocking 95 to 99% of the noise, as advertised.)
I noted some people complaining these headphones were tight or uncomfortable. I had the opposite impression: The over-the-ear design was extremely comfortable! I wore them for almost seven straight hours and never had any discomfort at all (which I cannot say for the Sennheiser headphones or any earbud I've ever tried.)
The earphones feature a swappable cord rather than one hardwired in. Two sizes of cords are provided--the longer one is a more typical length for headphones, while the shorter one was perfect for listening to my MP3 player in my shirt pocket. For me, it was almost as if the headphones were wireless, since there was no excess wire to get tangled or hooked on anything while getting through airports or onto planes.
Another great feature is the rechargeable batteries. I appreciate not having to replace batteries. The one (mitigated) drawback is that the battery life is modest--apparently about 15 hours. But, Sony provides a battery pack that you can use to power the headphones while on the move. Or, you can plug the things in and listen to them if you're near an AC outlet.
Another minor drawback is that the size of the traveling case is ridiculously large for a pair of traveling headphones. It may be tough for some people to fit the case into their briefcase along with PCs and other things one carries while on trips. But even this drawback is mitigated a bit, because the case is large in order to accommodate not just the headphones but the huge number of accessories. In the one case you can also carry the AC plug, battery pack, batteries (included!), two cords of different lengths, a jack that converts the mini to a 1/4" jack, and a two-prong airline jack.
While these headphones are expensive, I think they are worth the price in terms of performance, comfort, flexibility, and ease. I recommend the Sony MDR-NC500D Digital Noise Canceling Headphones!