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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable Product for the Price
As a long distance commuter in the UK, making extensive use of the Train and Bus networks, I wanted to replace my existing passive Sony in-ear headphone for some noise cancelling units. I was very aware that I was pushing the volume of my music up on the noisy journey, which can't be good for my ears at all, and hence the interest in looking at noise cancelling...
Published on 20 Jun 2012 by M. Walsham

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Impractical, and don't cancel noise
To my ear, these headphones don't cancel any noise at all. The battery case dangles off the cord weighting one side of your head down and repeatedly pulling out your ear bud - which is maddening. Stopped using them after a couple of days and reverted to my old pair.
Published 15 months ago by Mrs. J. L. Dearlove


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable Product for the Price, 20 Jun 2012
By 
M. Walsham "mark_microkid" (Clacton-on-Sea) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sony MDRNC13 Noise-Canceling Headphones (Electronics)
As a long distance commuter in the UK, making extensive use of the Train and Bus networks, I wanted to replace my existing passive Sony in-ear headphone for some noise cancelling units. I was very aware that I was pushing the volume of my music up on the noisy journey, which can't be good for my ears at all, and hence the interest in looking at noise cancelling units.

There is a bewildering array of noise cancelling units out there, ranging from cheap and cheerful to high end and very expensive sets. I will make it clear that although I am no audiophile, I know what I like from headphones, and that tends to be clean treble, a fairly rounded mid-range and a bass that is not too powerful. Having experience of the passive Sony in-ear headphones for a year, these provided what I liked, so therefore I have chosen to stick with Sony. On to the review.

Packaging

Fairly standard blister packaging from Sony (and others) which is nothing special. The unit comes with a battery, spare ear buds, instructions and a small black pouch for storage.

Comfort and Fit

As with my previous MDR-EX30's, these headphones need to be pushed quite deep into your ear canals to get a decent seal to block out noise. If you don't seat these properly, they won't work properly. One observation that I make, is that the shape of the ear buds are different to my existing passive ones, which is no surprise, but I did not find these as comfortable to wear for a prolonged period. My commute to work is over 6 hours, and the first couple of trips I found I had to stop using them after 4-5 hours, as they left my ear canals feeling quite sore and painful. This has improved over a period of a month, and I am now able to wear them for the full 6 hours, so I think your ears need to adjust to the size and shape of the ear buds.

Make sure you fit the right ear bud tips as this will make a big difference to the fit.

I like the fact that the Left and Right buds are on different cord lengths to allow the cord to be worn behind the neck, which is what I am used to. This is very comfortable in everyday use, and the cord is also anti snag material so it rarely gets caught on clothing, which sometimes pulls the buds out of your ears!

The only other issue I had is that the power unit for the headphones is approximately in the middle of the cable, which is not the best place. I would have preferred it to be nearer the headphones, so it could be more easily clipped to a short pocket, or nearer the jack plug to make it easier to clip to a belt. I find that the current position makes it awkward to do either! This is a minor gripe.

Performance & Sound Quality

I predominately use these on train and bus trips and I can tell you now, that the low level humming/air conditioning noises that these usually have can be pretty much eliminated by the noise cancelling in these headphones. They will not remove all noise, they work best on constant background noises, but if you expect them to remove the conversation of fellow passengers sitting opposite, then I think you need to look elsewhere. These do a good job of removing the background noise for their price, yes they could be better, but they do make a difference.

The good thing is these headphones can be used with and without the noise cancellation circuit on, so if the battery runs out, you can still use them!

Sound quality is good to fair. I have found that with the noise cancelling feature on, the sound gets a little compressed, which I guess is fair enough and an ever so slight background hiss is introduced, but what you do gain is the ability to not to have to turn the headphone volume up so high. I can bring the volume down a couple of notches and still hear it well, this is a big bonus for me.

Bass response is fairly good, it's not too extended and flabby, which is not my preference, but it could be slightly more powerful. For me, it's what I like from a set of headphones, enough bass for it to be defined and well heard. The middle is lovely and smooth and detailed to my ears, and the treble is reasonably clean and clear. I have found in comparing these units with my older EX30's that the NC13's are more detailed and I was able to hear elements in the music that I could not appreciate on the older passive units.

It should also be noted that for Podcast's where there is a lot of spoken dialogue are handled really well by these headphones. The noise cancellation makes spoken word extremely clear and concise. This has transformed my listening of these types of recording at a lower volume level.

Final Thoughts

If you travel on Trains, Buses, Tube or Aeroplanes on a fairly regular basis, or work in an environment where there is a constant background noise, such as air-conditioning, I would have to say that for the price, these headphones do a very good job of blocking out that noise and allows you to listen to the music at lower volume levels. In my experience, this with the additional sound quality has been very positive and I would recommend the product. There are some minor gripes, such as the initial discomfort of the buds, and the slightly awkward positioning of the power unit, but again, for less than £40 in a market where you can pay £300-£500 for headphones, these are very good value for money.

If on the other hand, you want headphones for adhoc use, around and about, then I think you may want to look at other alternatives, such as closed over the ear types, which may be better for that application.

There are a lot of mixed reviews out there, but for use in the environments above, they perform well and they are great value for money. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Impractical, and don't cancel noise, 9 July 2013
By 
This review is from: Sony MDRNC13 Noise-Canceling Headphones (Electronics)
To my ear, these headphones don't cancel any noise at all. The battery case dangles off the cord weighting one side of your head down and repeatedly pulling out your ear bud - which is maddening. Stopped using them after a couple of days and reverted to my old pair.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good headphones, 9 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Sony MDRNC13 Noise-Canceling Headphones (Electronics)
I wanted some headphones to mostly use on planes without spending a fortune and am pretty impressed with these.Watched films on a tablet and could hear the speech clearly and music was good.There are probably better headphones out there but at this price I would definately recommend these.I now have to buy a second pair for my wife after she tried them and and wanted to keep them.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Total crap, 30 Jan 2014
This review is from: Sony MDRNC13 Noise-Canceling Headphones (Electronics)
No noise reduction whatsoever! No difference when NC is on or off!
Tried in an office with low chatter, can hear everything the same when nc is on and off. The same applies when music is playing or not.
Plus the large and bulky earbuds are hard to fit so they do not hurt ears after a some 20mins.
Would not recommend this item to anyone! Very disappointed with the purchase.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great quality ear phones however the noise cancelling part does not work one bit... Disappointed, 23 April 2013
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This review is from: Sony MDRNC13 Noise-Canceling Headphones (Electronics)
Great quality ear phones but the whole reason of the noise cancelling ear phones is to actually cancel any noise however i have tried it on many different songs as well as replaced it with two new batteries with no luck. The battery holder is inconvenient but has a clip etc...

Ear phones fit the ear very well and the quality of the sound is very good at all frequencies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Works well, 8 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Sony MDRNC13 Noise-Canceling Headphones (Electronics)
Took awhile to arrive but when it did it works really well. Extras a bonus and the battery pack is smaller than my previous noise cancelling earphones.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Works as ear phones but no noise cancelling, 25 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sony MDRNC13 Noise-Canceling Headphones (Electronics)
Looks OK; nice, soft pouch to hold all the fiddly bits; alternative size rubbery ear things for different sized ear canals.

Sound is reasonable for this price.

But, the noise cancelling is zero - yes nothing at all. Have a new battery and the nice red light comes on so it should cancel something.

Can't be bothered to send it back so I'm using it as a backup set of earphones, although you have to lug the small (AAA size) battery compartment around.
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