Noise Canceling Headphones First Impression

I got to try out my new Sony noise canceling headphones on my recent trip to New York. My impression is mixed, but overall I'm pleased with them. I haven't tried other companies so I can't comment on how they differ. Here are my key comments:

  • Reviews will say that all noise cancelling headphones create a sense of "pressure" when activated. This is certainly true, and was more pronounced than I expected. On a plane your head is already all messed up from the cabin pressure so it isn't as noticeable, but in other situations it is very noticeable.
  • The noise canceling works best when the noise generation is perpendicular to you. I got some odd results when my head was rotated 45 degrees making the sound hit them at an angle. Interestingly, after a couple of seconds it goes away so I would guess it is just the noise cancelling process catching up to a slightly different pattern.
  • The NC circuitry does impact the sound. If you are a purist, you need to trade off a lower noise floor with some impact to the music.
  • I found them comfortable to wear for a couple of hours. My ears didn't get overly hot.