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Sony MDR-NC100D review

Kat Orphanides
28 Jan 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
116
inc VAT

This is a great pair of noise cancelling earphones, but they don't come cheap

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While sound-isolating earphones, which use foam tips to physically block out noise, have become increasingly popular, there’s still a place for active noise cancellation (ANC) technology. ANC headphones use an external microphone to pick up background noise and then generate an inverse sound wave to cancel it out. This is particularly effective if you’re trying to eliminate a repetitive drone, such as aircraft noise, the hum of servers, wind, engines or other machinery.

Sony MDR-NC100D

Like most ANC earphones, the MDR-NC100D include some passive noise isolation. The supplied ear tips have rubber outers and look like standard silicone dome tips, but they have foam inside. It’s not memory foam, feeling lighter and less exact, but the ear tips are slightly better at shutting noise out than standard ones. Active noise cancelling is a power-hungry process, so the earphones have a compact battery pack attached to their 1.5m cable. It’s not as small as on earphones with rechargeable batteries, but by using an AAA cell it’s arguably more convenient: you can simply carry a spare for prolonged listening.

Sony MDR-NC100D earbud

The earphones are designed to loop comfortably around the back of your ears, although we found them a little fiddly to set into position. They produced a warm, bassy sound, with a defined mid-range but very slightly fuzzy top end. Like some other noise-cancelling sets we've reviewed they actually sound better with ANC on, and they lost some of their rich bass and became a little tinny with it disabled. Their noise-cancelling capabilities are excellent; they effectively eliminated the sound of our heating system and of the wind rushing past our windows.

This is a great noise-cancelling set, particularly if you like your music to have a warm, soft sound. However, at almost half the price, the Digital Silence DS-321D earphones provide better-value noise cancellation.

Details

Price£116
Detailswww.sony.co.uk
Rating****

Specifications

Typeearplugs
Driverclosed
Active noise-cancellingyes
Power source1x AAA
Sensitivity110dB
Frequency response8-23,000Hz
Impedence70 ohms
Plug type3.5mm stereo jack plug
Inline volumeYes
Weight35g
Cable length1.50m
ExtrasS/M/L ear tips, carrying pouch, clip, aeroplane adaptor

Buying Information

Price£116
Supplier
Detailswww.sony.co.uk

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