Comfortable and stylish noise-cancelling headphones
- Stylish and scratch-resistant exterior, comfortable padding, battery pack for extended use, good sound quality, noise cancelling works exceptionally well
- Tight fit may annoy some, must be powered to work
The Sony MDR-NC500D noise-cancelling headphones do a fantastic job of blocking out repetitive ambient noise. When listening to music they also acquit themselves well, with clear sound and a pleasant character.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
The Sony MDR-NC500D headphones are suitable for music listening or movie watching, and they pack in some high quality noise-cancelling technology which makes them great for commuting or long-haul plane trips. Sound quality is good and the headphones are well constructed, but they are expensive.
Sony has taken a leaf out of the Bose QuietComfort 3 school of headphone design, with an over-the-ear ear-cup design that lets the headphones nestle comfortably on the head without looking too ridiculous. The cups are finished in a glossy, deep black which lends a sense of class and occasion — these headphones look like they're worth every penny of their $799 sticker price.
The noise cancelling of the Sony MDR-NC500D headphones is exceptionally good. In the PC World offices there are a multitude of keyboards tapping away, not to mention the constant drone of myriad computers and the air conditioning. The headphones’ noise cancelling blocked out constant ambient noises entirely, as well as significantly lowering the clatter of keyboard strokes. It can be quite uncanny, however; we found it difficult to adjust to the different air pressure when wearing the headphones.
Thankfully this is solved by listening to any audio — once there is music playing the noise cancellation is much less invasive and unsettling. The headphones do a good job of reproducing audio, with strong and punchy bass response as well as smooth, sweet treble.
The Sony MDR-NC500D headphones have a relatively even frequency response, with no particular emphasis to either bass or treble. Bass response in our test rock music tracks was powerful but restricted to lower notes, giving music a significant kick rather than bloating or sounding muddy. We prefer this as it gives music presence and richness without detracting from mid-range or higher frequencies.
Mid-range frequencies had plenty of detail and gave a warm tone to our music, with guitars and male vocals sounding rich and involving. Treble was also well handled with brass music, and female vocals sounding clear and airy.
The Sony MDR-NC500D headphones have a wide soundstage, with significant separation noticeable between musical instruments. Music and other audio had an enveloping, immersive quality that made it very engaging and easy to listen to.
There is not much we don’t like about these headphones, apart from the painfully high price tag. They do a great job of blocking out ambient noise.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
- 2 Sony Xperia XZ review: turbo-charged last-gen phone
- 3 Hisense Series 7 ULED 4K UHD TV review
- 4 Sony X9300D and X8500D UHD 4K TV review
- 5 Moto X Force review: Leading features from a mid-range phone
Latest News Articles
- First look: Nuheara IQbuds smart Bluetooth ear buds do more than just music
- Convoy International restructures business focus
- Beats Solo2 headphones go wireless for $399
- Astro A38 review: A staggering price to pay for convenience
- Parrot's Zik 2.0 headphones include an accelerometer and plenty of noise cancelling
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
- Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: The new best Android phone
- Japan Robot, gadget and car expo slideshow
- Panasonic DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review: Best all-round TV ever?
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCContract Programmer (.Net/SQL) 161027/P/vhaAsia
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- FTJunior / Entry Level IT roleNSW
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (Windows Server) 161031/AP/962Asia
- FTSenior CISCO Network EngineerQLD
- FTNetwork EngineerACT
- CCIteration ManagerVIC
- CCContract IT Assistant (Office Automation) 161031/ITA/541Asia
- CCLevel 3 Microsoft Resource EngineerVIC
- FTUX/UI DesignerNSW
- FTSystems Engineer | Defence & Federal Govt | NV1 / NV2 clearanceACT
- TPJava Developers X 2QLD
- FTBusiness Analyst - PIMAsia
- CCPHP DeveloperNSW
- FTDigital DeveloperNSW
- FTUI UX Specialist | Technical BAQLD
- FTDirector Data AnalyticsACT
- FTSOE ArchitectNSW
- CCInformatica LeadNSW
- FTJunior Web Developer | Django | Python | AWS | PostgreSQL | North Sydney NSW
- TPSenior Helpdesk OfficerACT
- TPIT Project Manager - Migration & TransformationNSW
- TPProject Manager - AgileWA
- CCSecurity Incident Response Handler - TelcoVIC
- FTSystems Engineer - Managed Service Provider - No two days are the sameNSW