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Sony MDR-NC7 Noise Cancelling Headphones
We have not done a headphone review for a while, and personally I had begun to miss them. Then like a child who receives his first birthday gift, I got my grubby hands on the Sony MDR-NC7 noise cancellation headphones, and one thing I can say about Sony headphones after umpteen reviews is, these guys do not fail to impress in at least some aspects.
Design and Features
The unit comes packed in neatly, all folded up in brown cardboard. The colors available are black and white - we received the latter. The body was a milky white, with silver accenting in the form of a blocklike strip on each earcup. The ear pads are quite different from regular ones, it is a supraaural type though with large pads like circumaurals, and completely covered with thin black leatherette material and small foam in the center. After prolonged usage there are chances of this stuff peeling off, it always does in all headphone brands.
The structure of the headphones are such that they can be folded inwards, into the white headband and tucked away. There is a black felt pouch for storage, and also included is a dual pronged airline adapter for connection to old fashioned double slots. I need to make a complaint here about the quality of the headband. It is thin and made of hard plastic. A little padding on the headband is always a must for traveling style headphones. The cord is white too, with a sufficient length of 1.5 mts.
The right earcup has a slot for single AAA battery, while the right one has an on/off switch. This switch is a simple slider switch, nicely integrated into the silver column on the earcup. The good part is that there is no external circuit, it's all integrated into the form factor of the earcups itself. The noise suppression ratio rating is 9dB, while overall sensitivity is 102 dB/mW. The frequency response is 30Hz-20kHz. The impedance rating is not mentioned.
Before sound quality, I would like to comment on the comfort. It is definitely a light enough and easy to wear headphone, but a little padding on the headband would have been good, plus the leatherette material can get a bit hot.
The noise cancellation in itself works OK, in my opinion it just makes the sound bit rounder at the low end and ups the volume. The awful pressure or "pull" experience by many when noise cancellation is on, is not really there, or rather it is in tolerable amounts. Low frequencies and continuous sound sources are negated, while random waveforms such as speech and high frequency noise are not completely shunned. One point worth noting is that the passive noise reduction of the unit is quite commendable, and this is good as the music can play when the unit is off too.
Sound wise the bass is not so impressive. It has a very low envelope, but it tapers off after about 50 Hz. The high and mids are satisfactory, and it is when the drivers are pushing in full flow at its loudest, that you feel the true performance. There is no audible distortion, nor does the sound misbehave in any way when played at the loudest levels. Speaking of loudest levels, these headphones can surely go loud.
At Rs. 4490 I feel these headphones are reasonable for our market, in comparison to other brands. NC headphones should be cheaper, and this Sony model is setting an example, though there are drawbacks. The sound quality is decent, but does not have that Sony class to it - bass is not so strong, nor is the sound isolation. High frequency clarity and loudness are great though.