Conversation: Sony’s Andrew Bubala on Digital Noise-Cancelling

Posted by: Chris Martens at 5:05 pm, December 12th, 2008

Andrew explained that one benefit of Sony’s all-digital approach is that designers can dial-in EQ curve tweaks and adjustments at will, to tune headphone models to fit tastes and preferences in different world markets.  Interesting, no?


jesus666 (not verified) -- Mon, 12/15/2008 - 19:33

too bad the US version gets a bass boost. what''s up with american's taste for boomy bass? It's an abomination.

Mike G. (not verified) -- Sun, 01/25/2009 - 15:59

I bought the Sony's DNC on my way home from Houston, Texas, during the flight I plugged into the plane's communication system to listen to the movie.  While watching/listening to the movie during the times when no one was speaking I could hear a soft chirping noise, it was continuous.  I turned the movie volume down and the chirping noise was still there, so I plugged in my Bose Quit 2 noise cancelling and the chirping was gone, plugged the Sony DNC back in and the noise was back.  I activated the AI button several time and the noise persisted .  Has anyone else experienced this problem?

zafarius (not verified) -- Fri, 04/24/2009 - 14:24

 I've owned a shiny new set of MDR-NC500D for 3 weeks and can tell you frankly they are totally useless in the real world of airline travel.
I 'migrated' from my long term (8 years) with a set of Sennheiser PXC250's to the Sony brave new world, then set off back to Australia from the UK via 3 cities in the US.
I have to say, on the ground, testing for a few minutes in the Sony store, they perform really well, remarkably in fact.
Take them on a plane and within 2 minutes of take off you get a 'cavitation' beating sound in one ear, the other ear or both ears.
No amount of swallowing, mouth reshaping (people must think I have a twitch), resettling the phones on the head/ears, switch on / off, AI on / AI off, etc etc etc can get rid of this 'beat' effect for long, either in one ear, then the other ear or both.
I have only found one other online acknowledgement of this effect - a thorough review by
Let me tell you, i'm currently in New York on the last leg of the return back to London and am very fortunate to be in Virgin Upper Class so they give me a set of NC headphones for the flight.
I'm severely disapointed with the waste of money that this breakthrough technology represents and want my money back from Sony and will return to Sennheiser asap. Apart from the cost, the packaging is incredible.
I'm afraid I have been sucked in with the thought that "for this price, Sony must have it right, despite the size of the packaging etc which is hardly portable for a true road-warrior.

Naoll (not verified) -- Tue, 03/16/2010 - 22:36

Completely agree, i have both a Bose and a sony, the sony just gives all the time this "cavitation" on the left hear, it is just a mess, just never buy sony canceling headphones, it is a huge mistake, Bose is just cheaper and much better. This sony headphones for 250 USD is a robbery.

Donald (not verified) -- Mon, 02/16/2009 - 09:23

I've purchased one yesterday. Tried it out at the airport in London. Returned it to the store because there was a pulsating tone coming from the right earcup. First I thought it was some crazy idea of the recording artist to include this irritating noise on their album. It turned out that the noise was produced by the earphones themselves. Some kind of a mid and low frequency feedback. I disconnected the ipod. And every now and then the pulsating noise returned. Back to the store. The store gave me a new set. I tried it in the store. It seemed to work fine. Onto the airplane. And.. the same pulsating noise, but this time from the left earcup. *Something* is not okay with Sony's noise cancelling concept.

zafarius (not verified) -- Fri, 04/24/2009 - 14:26

 Did they give you your money back? I am going to take mine back - but do not have the original packaging. These phones are not ready for prime time and i'll be very disappointed if they do not give me the cash back.

MarkC (not verified) -- Sun, 08/23/2009 - 08:35

I get the same problem with a pulsating/chirping in the NC-500D. I called Sony tech support and they were of no help at all.  They insisted they had never heard of the problem.  What a waste.  I'd once like to talk to a tech support person who is knowledgeable and honest..  I have to wonder if there is a problem with my hearing however.  I found that if I apply a very small amount of pressure below my earlobes and right behind my jaw, the noise goes away.  When I do this I don't break the seal on the headphones but the noise goes away.  Does this work for anyone else?

Eyecare (not verified) -- Wed, 11/11/2009 - 13:40

Beating exisists and is a problem:
I have this problem on my Sony Digital Noise Canceling Headphones and it is quite annoying and persistent. This is the second one I bought that had the exact same problem; I returned the first because of it. I can temporarily stop the beating by displacing the ear cushion forward or backwards but this affects the sound quality. If I happen to turn my head on the headrest and put pressure on the cup the beating resumes. I've flown many trips between the US and Australia, Japan and Europe and it beats very noticeably on every single flight. Unless Sony can fix this problem I can not recommend this headphone to anyone.

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