TDK NC-150 noise-cancelling headphones
TDK's budget noise-cancelling headphones have poor fit and construction, and mediocre sound quality
- The cheapest active noise cancelling we've seen
- Poor comfort and passive noise cancellation, active noise cancellation introduces hissing and rumbling noise, poor sound quality
TDK's NC-150 portable headphones have poor noise cancellation and are also let down by low quality construction and mediocre sound quality.
Price$ 59.00 (AUD)
TDK's NC-150 is the cheapest pair of headphones we've come across featuring active noise-cancellation circuitry. We don't believe these headphones do a particularly good job of cancelling out ambient noise, though, with an uncomfortable low-frequency rumbling noise introduced. Fit and overall sound quality are not spectacular either.
The TDK NC-150 headphones are constructed of cheap plastic and with a lot of lateral flex in the headband, and they do not feel sturdy during normal wear. The headband is adjustable and the ear-cups have a large range of vertical motion, but the headphones have a low overall clamping force, so outside noise is still easily audible. The thick, Y-style headphone cord is quite heavy and unwieldy and we would have much preferred a fabric-sheathed cord like that on the TDK EB 900 in-ear headphones. A switch on the right ear-cup activates the internal noise-cancellation circuit, with the system's power supplied by a single AAA battery in the left ear-cup.
With noise cancelling disabled, we think the TDK NC-150 headphones have decidedly mediocre sound quality. Treble notes are muffled and mid-range frequencies are bloated, and the music has a very distant feel with poor levels of detail. Switching on the noise cancellation provides a noticeable boost to treble frequencies, increasing clarity significantly, although it has the downside of also brightening treble which leads to harshness at higher volumes.
The stereo soundstage of the TDK NC-150 headphones is average with noise cancelling disabled, providing a reasonable estimation of positional audio. Activating noise cancelling closes the soundstage in slightly but audio is still distinguishable between channels.
With no music playing, the TDK NC-150 headphones' noise cancellation introduces background hiss and a low-frequency rumble that is disconcerting. Background noises are lessened, but we do not like the side effects at all. While we like the effect the powered noise cancellation has on music playback, the rumbling side effect with no music playing is worse than having no noise cancellation at all.
TDK's NC-150 headphones are well priced — you can find them for under $50 on the street. While they sound reasonable with noise cancellation activated, the negative side effects are detrimental to long-term listening pleasure, and we wouldn't recommend them.
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @Goodgearguide
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Is the world ready for a 4K phone?
- 2 D-Link Taipan AC3200 Ultra tri-band modem-router review
- 3 Dell XPS 13 (2016) review: Making the very best Ultrabook
- 4 Microsoft Surface Book review: The verdict on Microsoft's first notebook
- 5 Telstra Wi-Fi 4GX Advanced III review: Testing the world's first 600Mbps wireless hotspot
Best Deals on PC World
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
- Parrot's Zik 2.0 headphones include an accelerometer and plenty of noise cancelling
- Kogan opens online shop in New Zealand
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCSenior Programmer (Data Engineering)NSW
- FTPermanent Defence network engineer - career progression & flexible conditionsACT
- CCNetwork Consultant - Bandwidth Assessment | 3 month contract into Defence | NV1+ACT
- FTDynamics Project ManagerNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCProject CoordinatorACT
- FTScrum MasterVIC
- CCIT Security Consultant -NSW
- CCApplication Server AdminACT
- FTData EngineersNSW
- FTSenior Business AnalystVIC
- CCData Migration Quality Manager- SAP ECCNSW
- CCContract Systems Analyst (Linux/Orcale/MySQL) 160531/SA/253Asia
- FTSenior Business Analysts - Payments or Disaster RecoveryVIC
- CCDigital Business Analyst (iOS & Android / Web Projects)NSW
- CCSenior Network Engineer - NV1ACT
- CCService Provider Manager - DesktopVIC
- CCRelease Manager, InfrastructureNSW
- CCOracle Fusion SOA/BPEL DeveloperVIC
- FTManager, Applications SpecialistNSW
- CCSenior Project ManagerNSW
- CCService Desk ConsultantACT
- FTSolution ArchitectACT
- CCEnd to End Project Manager - PMO and GovernanceVIC
- CCMobility SpcialistACT