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53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid performance for the price range
Given the price range, this is probably as best you can get unless you are willing to pay more. The item comes ready to go with a AAA battery included. Aside from the On/Off switch to enable active noise canceling, there is a monitor button to temporarily disable all noise canceling and playing music and an AI button to automatically determine the level of digital noise...
Published on January 15, 2012 by Pete

versus
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars NC Earbuds: Sony MDR-NC100D vs Panasonic RP-HC55
I had noise-canceling earbuds on my Wish List and actually ended up with a choice... "Keep the ones you like best." It took me a while to test them out. After I decided, I thought I'd share some notes. All comments are my personal opinions only!

Models:
- Sony MDR-NC100D; ~$100-160 on Amazon
- Panasonic RP-HC55; ~$45 at Costco

Test:
-...
Published on December 26, 2012 by calijim123


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53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid performance for the price range, January 15, 2012
This review is from: Sony MDRNC100D Digital Noise Canceling Earbuds (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
Given the price range, this is probably as best you can get unless you are willing to pay more. The item comes ready to go with a AAA battery included. Aside from the On/Off switch to enable active noise canceling, there is a monitor button to temporarily disable all noise canceling and playing music and an AI button to automatically determine the level of digital noise canceling applied

Pros
-Generous cord length, comes with airplane mini stereo plug, different size earbuds to suit your ear
-Fits snug, fairly lightweight
-Audio passthrough when noise canceling is turned off (a major plus when you run out of battery)
-Corded headphones have the ability to amplify noise transmitted physically through the cord (e.g. rubbing against your shirt), these material of the cord minimizes this effect

Cons
-Audible hiss when in noisy conditions - this is common for active noise canceling technology, although a pleasant surprise this is not apparent in low noise environments
-22 hour battery life claim is significantly less than a Bose QC15's 35hr which I also own
-Physical interference noise (e.g. standing in front of an office fan, exhaust etc) is still an issue for in-ear headphones
-The AI button while works, I find having to press it far too often - it would be easier to automatically adjust the level of noise canceling based on the environment
-The monitor button brings all external sounds picked up by the microphone and plays it into the headphone, allowing you to hear surrounding sounds without removing the headphone. I find the resulting effect strange and much prefer just physically removing the earbud.

I will be updating this in the next couple weeks including performance in a plane and allowing the earphone drivers to set in from regular use to comment on the sound quality.

Update 1: I noticed the noise cancellation favors heavily towards noises in the lower frequency range - e.g. noises from a car engines and so forth. As such this works incredibly well when used during traveling in a plane, in fact being able to listen to classical music is amazing, but the frequency for spoken words are not as effective. These are definitely worth considering if you travel a lot but would not rather have a headphone style device like the Bose QC15. As for the sound quality I found it to be a decent pair of in ear phones, the bass is not too heavy but neither were the trebles being a standout, the treble differences when compared to the higher end Bose QC15 is noticeable. While I realize sound quality is a subjective area, I appreciate headphones/earbuds that correctly reproduce enunciation words especially places of articulation: words such as 'heart' or where the "t" is apparent (Alveolar consonant). To that end, I prefer the more expensive QC15.

Overall, this is still very good set of earbuds but there is also room for improvement. Out of the box it sounded just about the same after regular use.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars NC Earbuds: Sony MDR-NC100D vs Panasonic RP-HC55, December 26, 2012
This review is from: Sony MDRNC100D Digital Noise Canceling Earbuds (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I had noise-canceling earbuds on my Wish List and actually ended up with a choice... "Keep the ones you like best." It took me a while to test them out. After I decided, I thought I'd share some notes. All comments are my personal opinions only!

Models:
- Sony MDR-NC100D; ~$100-160 on Amazon
- Panasonic RP-HC55; ~$45 at Costco

Test:
- Standing in front of kitchen range hood fan on high. I felt this is similar to airplane engine noise.

Noise canceling, no music:
- Mid-low range: Good for both Sony & Pana.
- Lowest range: Most remains for both Sony & Pana.
- Mid-high range hiss: Sony is lower.

Music: Natalie Merchant, Carnival
- Bass: Much better for Pana.
- Treble: Slightly better for Pana.

Design:
- Cord length: ~5' for both Sony & Pana.
- Cord design: Sony has shorter cord to L ear (bad if feeds are on R); Pana cords are same to L & R ears.
- Controls weight: Same for both Sony & Pana.
- Controls size: Sony is smaller than Pana and positioned a little lower on cord (i.e. more length between controls and ears).
- Volume control: Pana has volume control; Sony does not. Sony has 'monitor' function that pauses all music. Sony allows music to pass when unit is off (e.g. dead battery); Pana does not.
- NC settings: Sony has 3 settings and automatically chooses best; Pana has one setting.
- Earbuds: Pana rubber is softer and more comfortable than Sony.
- Battery life: Sony publishes 22h; Pana publishes 40h.

Summary:
- Sony has better NC tech and sound pass-through when battery dies.
- Pana has better bass, comfort, battery life, and price.

My personal decision was for the Panasonic. I fly cross-country every other week and will use it mostly on long flights. I'll just carry an extra battery. It was hard justify Sony's ~3x higher price when I liked Panasonic's sound so much more.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good sound, great on an airplane, February 7, 2012
By 
El Jefe (Seattle, USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony MDRNC100D Digital Noise Canceling Earbuds (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I was torn between these and a more expensive over-the-ear model. I decided to go with the portability, since I would be using these primarily for travel. The sound quality is great (even with the unit turned off), the inserts are comfortable, and the noise cancelling worked as well as any over-the-ear model I have tried. The battery life worked as advertised; I got over 20 hours out of the first one. The only thing keeping this from getting 5 stars is the location of the battery and controls on the cord. You do need to clip it to your shirt or keep it on the tray table to prevent it from falling and yanking one of the headphones out of your ears. I wish they would have located the battery unit closer to the end of the cord near the plug so this wouldn't be an issue.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best ear buds on the market, December 14, 2011
By 
Mem Sanders (Austintown, Ohio, US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sony MDRNC100D Digital Noise Canceling Earbuds (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
When I originally started looking for noise cancelling earphones, I looked to buy a pair of the Bose QC3's. Because of the reputation of Bose producing high quality products with great stereo sound, we know this comes at a premium price. Initially, I was willing to pay the $349 price until I had the opportunity to hear them. Bose has taken a few steps backwards in sound quality with the QC3 headset. The QC15's are still the best noise cancelling, premium sound headphones on the market....PERIOD.
That being said, and after doing some research, I decided to go with a set of noise cancelling ear buds. My goal was to reduce as much noise as possible while traveling on long flight over seas. So I figured I would try a set of NC ear buds. I already had a set of $50 Sony ear buds that were not NC ear buds, and a few years old. Although they were not noise cancelling, they reduced a lot of the noise and had great sound. So I decided to try the MDRNC 100D headset. The sound great, and 100 times better than the Bose QC3's. Even with the volume maxed out, there was little to no distortion, and the NC feature works great. The stereo sound was also superior to the set I already own. What is also nice is that they are noise reducing as soon as you place them in your ears. Couple that with the noise cancelling feature and great stereo sound, and you a great product. The only downside was the $150 price tag on Amazon and just about everywhere else I looked. I wasn't real crazy about pay that for ear buds, but IF had, they are worth it. The one great thing about Amazon is that they will offer the consumer other buying options from other merchants. I found these at macmall.com for $99 and got them in two days......you can't beat them at this price. The other issue would be being able to control the volume and change songs choices from the NC unit as I can on my old ear buds. Other than those issues, I highly recommend these ear buds. These are the reasons I did not give them a 5 star rating.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME PRODUCT!, September 19, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony MDRNC100D Digital Noise Canceling Earbuds (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I must preface this review with a couple of caveats:
1) This is the first noise-reduction device I've purchased.
2) I didn't purchase it for use on airlines.

I mow about 2 acres of grass on a riding mower. Pain in the patootie. My wife and I have owned this property for not quite 4 years and can't afford a "real" tractor and bush-hog or finish-mower. So I spend HOURS mowing. I've tried to listen to my iPod a couple of times but even at full-volume I can't hear it over the mower noise.

I've been researching NR head-phones and ear-buds for weeks. I decided that head-phones would be too hot and sweaty. Reviews told me that Bose was best was cheaply-manufactured so I went with this Sony MDRNC100D. I just tried them out for an hour (didn't have much gas) and listened to some Robin Trower and Eric Clapton.

This thing is absolutley amazing IMHO! The mower noise became a very quiet dull roar and I listened to my iPod at the same volume that I use when listening to it when laying in bed at night before going to sleep. (Sometimes I read and sometimes I listen to music)

I'm going to recommend this to my brothers and a neighbor who owns his own landscaping busines.

I'm an IT professional but older than dirt and not up to speed on all the new electronic gadgets, but this thing has truly exceeded my expections!

arkiejim
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These rock!, August 16, 2012
This review is from: Sony MDRNC100D Digital Noise Canceling Earbuds (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
These are really high-quality earbuds. Great sound, good noise cancelling. As mentioned, you can get them for $50 less through Cascio Interstate Music. At 100 bucks, they're soo incredibly worth it...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These work great !!, November 3, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony MDRNC100D Digital Noise Canceling Earbuds (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I work in a noisy office and have a job that requires quite a bit of concentration. When I hit the AI button, it samples the ambient noise and then cancels it out. For example, I hit the AI button and pound away on my keyboard all of a sudden (about 2 seconds) the clacking is reduced 90%, not completely gone but almost. If some new noise crops up in my environment, such as printer noise, I just re-sample with the AI button and poof that noise is really knocked down. The buds are small and easy to wear. My productivity as a result of reducing distraction is up 25%. I now listen to Pandora and knock out code all day long.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent alternative to over-the-head noise cancelling sets, October 16, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony MDRNC100D Digital Noise Canceling Earbuds (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
Over the years, I've tried several different over-the-head noise cancelling headsets as I travel 100,000-plus miles annually. While they work well, I have always found them bulky and hard to pack/carry (plus they leave a nice flat spot in your hair after an hour of use). The Sony MDRNC100D earbuds, on the other hand, fit into their little faux leather pouch and slide right into my carry-on bag (no more hard cases to deal with). Best of all, their noise cancelling capabilities rival the over-the-head types and the sound quality (movies and music) is excellent. I will never go back to the old bulky units again... The only drawback is that the "battery pack" on the wire is heavy enough to occasionally tug the earbuds out of my ear (and it needs a button-down shirt to clip on).
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Above my expectations, June 17, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony MDRNC100D Digital Noise Canceling Earbuds (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I travel a lot. I have been using an in ear noise canceling earphone from Audio-Technica ATH ANC23 QuietPoint which is a good earphone giving a good reduction in ambient noise. Combined with bose comfort quiet 15 it is almost totally quiet and I have been able to enjoy my music even while flying in an aero commander (not a very quiet aircraft). With the sony MDRC100D combined with the Bose the quiet is total. One would need to take care not to walk around because you will get knocked down even if the Semi Tractor Trailer Truck blows its horn. ( Well maybe not a semi horn but you get the idea) By itself the Sony MDRC100D is a great noise eliminator that allows you to enjoy your must without the bulky over the ear equipment. Use both while flying. When the flight attendant tells you to turn it off you can simply remove the Bose and they will never know you still have the Sony in your ears.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works as advertised, April 23, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sony MDRNC100D Digital Noise Canceling Earbuds (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I just got these, primarly for their noise cancelling ability, and find that they work pretty well. I also have the Bose Quietcomfort 15 and can't really say if the Sony earbuds are as good or not, for noise cancellation, since I have not done a side by side comparison in the same situation. But off hand the noise cancellation seems to be equivalent.

Of course, with earbuds it's going to depend a lot on the fit. If you can't get a good fit, they're not going to work very well. And even with three earbud sizes, it can be pretty hit or miss depending on your ears. Luckily for me, I'm getting a really good fit from the large size earbuds that come with these headphones (and I often find it hard to get a good fit with earbuds).

One feature, with respect to the fit, which these headphones have but which I did not see discussed in reviews, is that the large part of the headphone, behind the earbud part, is designed to fit snugly in the hollow of your ear and hold the earbud itself more firmly against your ear canal. There's a little rubber nub on that part of the headphone that helps hold it in place. For me it's working quite well. This is nice, because I often find that smaller more standard earbuds don't fit me well, no matter how many different tips come with them.

One consequence of this design, however, is that there is a little pressure of the earbud against the opening on the ear canal. I think I'm getting used to it, but I can see that hours of wearing the headphones might make this irritating after a while and require breaks (which Sony suggests in the instructions).

I'm not very picky about sound quality, as long as it's good enough. But it seems good. Perhaps the good fit I'm getting is helping a lot. Bass seems decent. Volume is much higher than with my regular earbuds (be warned to turn the volume down before you start playing something--I kind of blasted myself the first time). Volume is lower with noise cancelling off, so perhaps it's amplifying the sound some? Or I guess it's probably just that with the noise cancelling you don't need as much volume (which is a benefit for your ears, of course).

There is a lot of cable noise, for people who care about that.

In general these earbuds seem well made. They come with a nice carrying pouch and long cable. I'm happy with them.

As far as batteries go, I don't get people who complain about that. I mean, every battery operated device goes through batteries. And these are active noise cancelling earbuds, they need a power source. That's the whole point. If you don't care about the noise cancellation, obviously there's way better headphones for the price. So if you have something like this you just have no excuse not getting rechargeable batteries. Get some of the Eneloop batteries. They are much better at holding a charge, while in storage, than regular rechargeable batteries. And they can be recharged many many times without losing charging capacity. Also get one of the La Crosse chargers to go with them; they treat the batteries much better, are more efficient, and are safer.
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