Sony headphones aim to cancel out Bose

The notion that jetsetting is fun is marketing’s biggest con since car companies convinced us that driving involves lots of empty Scottish highland ro

The notion that jetsetting is fun is marketing’s biggest con since car companies convinced us that driving involves lots of empty Scottish highland roads.

As well as meals that your local Little Chef wouldn’t serve, airplanes are home to ambient noise hell – a symptom allayed by the gadget medicine known as noise-cancelling headphones, a territory Bose has previously ruled with its QuietComfort 2 cans.

Well, now Sony’s muscling in on Bose’s turf with these two noise-cancelling forays, the MDR-NC50s (above left) and NC6s (above right).

Aside from styling, the pair are pretty darn similar. The 50s are the First Class option, reducing ambient noise by around 14 decibels – enough to cancel out whining kids but unlikely to stop engines interupting Jose Gonzalez.

The 6s, by comparison, sit in economy and only cancel out 10 decibels. Bose never discloses stats on its audio-visual gear, but our experience of the QuietComforts is that they’re the best noise-cancellers money can buy.

Noise-cancelling headphones work with mics that listen to noise in your surroundings; the speakers in the ‘phones then transmit a sound of opposite polarity into your ear. It sounds like dark arts, but it works, ‘cancelling’ the external noise.

The good news is Sony’s duo are far cheaper than Bose’s over-priced £280 cans. The MDR-NC50s cost £160 and the NC6’s £60. Both are on sale now.