Well, Sony have created what have been branded as the best noise- canceling headphones ever made. I jumped at the opportunity to buy them. Then my problem arose, £300. I believe that the cut- off point for an personal audio device's price is where it overtakes the price of your iPod. Eventually I found a friend who had borrowed these off a another friend, so I have had a precious week with them.
As with all speakers, I tested them over five tracks of varying audio: classical, spoken word, pop, metal and electronic- these provide a good range of pitch types and dynamic changes. At this point I was expecting top quality sound, considering the hefty price tag. My expectations were confirmed. A wonderful level of depth came to my ears on the classical track and all the other tracks gave a great response. Funnily, though I did not enjoy these as much as I enjoyed the Sony MDR EX700LP earphones- which cost half the price of these headphones.
So, as these headphones do not have the best sound quality (please note, these still do have top range quality), they must have some other features.
These headphones are a little unconventional, they slip around your ears, encapsulating them with sound. This also comes into help with the audio isolation. Having them designed this way means that they are much more comfortable, I would even go as far as to say that they were unnoticeable.
This brings me on the the hyped-up noise cancellation. I'm sure most iPod owners know how annoying it is to have music interrupted by everyday sounds; trains, cars, wives, etc. But now Sony have claimed to make the best sound isolation technology around. As the technology is so power consuming, you have to manually turn on noise canceling. The first time you do this is very, very weird. You only appreciate how much background noise there is in a 'quiet' room when you remove it all. Silence, absolute silence. I sat there is a moment of awe and shock- I couldn't hear a single thing. This then allowed the music to play at its great quality as though I were in a private concert.
Just so that this great feature doesn't make you shout everywhere you go, there is a monitor button included. This temporarily puts cancellation on hold as you listen to external sound sources. Overall, this is the best sound cancellation I have ever heard (or not heard).
These features do consume a lot of power. The headphones require a lithium-ion rechargeable battery, which is included. This takes three hours to charge and lasts for 15 hours of audio playback. It may sound like a lot, but it is a pain having to charge your headphones more often than your iPod and it really is not ideal. Gladly, the headphones support use of two AA batteries to provide an 'emergency' 10 hours worth of music.
And, it must be said, the price is ridiculous. Once again- £300, I wouldn't be willing to pay that much, and I'm almost certain most of you reading this will not be willing to either.
Overall, these great quality headphones with sophisticated new technology cannot overcome the horrible price tag. My advice would be to wait a couple of years and this kind of technology will hopefully plummet in price.