updated 02:45 pm EDT, Thu October 5, 2006
Sony MDR-NC22 Earbuds
The size and portability of active noise-cancelling headphones preclude most commuters from wearing them on the way to work. Sony Japan was thinking of this when it demonstrated its MDR-NC22 earbuds at CEATEC Japan this week. The new earpieces use the familiar approach to noise cancellation from headphones in a more compact form: microphones outside each earbud sample ambient noise and neutralize it with an equal sound generated by a processor, which in this case is stowed away in a small external brick instead of the earbuds themselves. Sony says the system can eliminate 75% of background noise for up to 50 hours on a single AAA battery. Japanese listeners will have access to the NC22s soon; a worldwide launch will follow soon afterwards, as the new models replace the NC11s already available elsewhere.