Sony has updated its noise-canceling headphones, claiming that its MDR-NC60 cans can cancel noise about 20% better than their MDR-NC50 predecessors. They've got some pretty good numbers associated with them, including a claim of 14Hz - 24kHz frequency response and noise reduction of 16.5db at 200Hz. That's a 1:6 noise-canceling ratio compared to the 1:5 ratio of the older NC50 which shipped in December of 2004.
Looks like progress, but do they sound like it? And how do they feel on your head? We're far more attracted to the Sennheiser HD-570 headphones, also introduced at CES this year. But then, those high-end phones are the high-priced hooker, demanding $449.95, while the Sony MDR-NC60 will just clip you for a quick $200 BJ. Either one will be available in March.
Our experience with other noise-canceling phones and a pic of those gorgeous Sennheisers:
We haven't tested the Sony or these Sennheiser cans yet, but we've used both the competing Bose Quiet Comfort II and the Outside the Box Solitude noise-canceling phones, and both really do work well. Each noticeably cut the wind and engine noise inside the airplane cabin, sound better than most mid-priced headphones, and perform about equally well in a side-by-side A/B test at 35,000 feet.
Over the duration of a coast-to-coast flight, we noticed a whole lot less fatigue when we didn't have to deal with all that constantly droning engine and wind noise.
Sony MDR-NC60 noise-cancelling headphones [Newlaunches]