"THE best NC Headphones out there. No contest."5.0 starson by hifibuff
Pros: Unbelievable NC quality and AI adaption to environment, excellent sound quality and extremely comfortable for extended wear. Battery life is good too..
Cons: Not much I don't like - perhaps the controls could be easier to find with non-Japanese fingers when wearing the phones, and high volume listening can distort - although I was pushing these almost to hearing damage levels when testing...
Summary: Firstly, this isn't some uninformed rant.
I have had, and been very satisfied with BOSE Quiet Comfort 2 headphones (still very good) and less so with the QC3 phones I bought in addition. The QC2 until now was the best NC headphone offering with the QC3 although more compact - in my view were inferiour to the QC2's.
All that has now changed. I think the effect of what NC headphone can have has just been re-defined by Sony.
Sony's digital NC technology just works. It really does do as it says and reduce 99% of background noise to zero. It's worth setting expectations to reality though, as the purpose of these and all NC 'phones is just to remove the annoying rumbles and general mush that accompany travel especially on a plane, but also in a train, a busy office or a 'noisy' hotel room. My BOSE phones were pretty good at this - removing I'd say 70/80% of the annoying noises.
NC headphones won't stop you hearing a screaming child sat next to you - nor will they stop you hearing the stewardess asking if you want another Gin & Tonic... they just cut out the rumble, hum and hiss of air travel and other general background din - and the Sony phones just do this very, very effectively. More so than any others I've tried. And I've tried a lot.
I like my P&Q (peace and quiet).
The Artificial Intelligence AI engine inside the 'phones automatically asesses the types of noise and adopts one of three NC 'patterns' - this occurs when you switch the 'phones on, or when you press the mode button. if you change environment, or the noise level /type changes.
My experience of these MDR-NC500D headphones has been for about 3 weeks now, and has included a 12.5 hr trip back from Tokyo, a 9.5 hr flight to Beijing, and a couple of flights to/from Washington DC. I've also used them in a hotel room with noisy aircon that I couldn't turn off (in China) and in our Tokyo office where the general level of hubbub prevented my concentration in writing some reports.
In all cases - the silence was serene enough to sleep, work or listen to music clearly.
Just how good are they?
Well good enought that I've now sold both the BOSE QC3's and QC2's... that should tell you something.
Worth every penny in my book. Well done Sony.