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Best Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones

We review the best Sony noise cancelling headphones as rated by consumers — the Sony MDR-NC60 and the MDR-NC40.

About Sony

Who doesn't know Sony? It is probably the most popular consumer electronics brand in the United States.

They make just about every electronics product imaginable — TVs, DVD players, home theater systems, car stereos, headphones, you name it — and are known for high quality without high prices.

Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones

Sony makes some of the most popular noise cancelling headphones. The MDR-NC60 is right up there with the Bose QuietComfort 15 and the JVC HA-NC250.

They offer an excellent alternative to the Bose and are much cheaper. You can find them on for almost one-third the price.

Sony MDR-NC60 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Sony MDR-NC60 Noise Cancelling Headphones
These headphones represent the highest end of noise cancelling headphones made by Sony. They feature an over-the-ear design and cancel out 85% of background noise.

Sound quality is top-notch, at least on par with the Bose QuietComfort 3. In fact some consumers thought they sounded even better! The bass is powerful even with noise cancellation turned off.

The over-the-ear design means that they are very comfortable and can be worn for long periods of time without a problem. The earcups are made of a very high quality, soft leather.

These headphones do not create the "suction" effect that consumers complain about with the Bose.

One feature that makes these headphones unique is the "monitor" button. This allows you to tune into your surroundings at the flip of a switch, without turning off noise cancellation or taking them off. Great for eavesdropping on your neighbors conversation.

Noise cancellation operates on a single AAA battery. Battery life is about 30 hours, although some customers found it to be less so it's a good idea to carry a spare for long trips.

Other notes
  • These headphones come with a folding airline adapter and a soft carrying case. Even though the case is soft, it does a great job to protect the headphones from damage.
  • The headphone cable is removable, allowing you to put it away when you want only noise cancellation and not music.

Best price on the Sony MDR-NC60

Sony MDR-NC40 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Sony MDR-NC40 Noise Cancelling Headphones
These Sony noise cancelling headphones are more of a budget option, costing significantly less than the higher end MDR-NC60. They feature an "on the ear" design, making them less bulky and more portable, but also a little less comfortable.

Sound quality is very good (with noise cancellation on), although not as good as the MDR-NC60. Customers complain about the sound if noise cancellation is switched off.

The noise cancellation circuit is in a separate pack along with the battery on the headphone cord itself. This makes the headphone cord a little unwieldy. The headphone cord is not removable like with the MDR-NC60.

An on-off switch allows you to turn off noise cancellation and still play music. Battery life is a little better, rated at 40 hours. These headphones also come with an airline adapter and a carrying case.

Best price on the Sony MDR-NC40

Related Products

The Bose QuietComfort 15 is the standard against which these headphones are being compared. The JVC HA-NC250 is very similar to the Sony MDR-NC60.


Both the MDR-NC60 and MDR-NC40 are excellent options. They are the best Sony noise cancelling headphones you can buy. Which headphones you will choose depends on your budget.

If you can spend more than $100, go for the MDR-NC60. They are an excellent alternative to the Bose QuietComfort 15 for significantly lower cost. And if you want to spend less than $100, choose the MDR-NC40.

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