Sony launches affordable noise-cancelling cans

Sony's all-new MDR-NC40 noise-cancelling headphones are the lightest and smallest open-air design in the range

Sony has added a smaller, lighter and altogether cheaper set of noise-cancelling headphones to its range.

The MDR-NC40 headphones slot in below Sony's considerably more bulky MDR-NC60s, and are expected to retail for about half as much. The reduction in weight and size is made possible by housing the battery pack on the remote cable, rather than in the headphones themselves.

The open air design ensures pressure is distributed evenly across the outer ear. And for added comfort soft, pressure-reducing urethane cushioning helps to keep the user’s ears cosy (and warm) during extended listening. The headphones can also be folded up to something akin to the size of a ‘softball’.

Affordable noise-canning cans

The NC40s also benefit from Sony’s noise-cancellation technology. This employs a small microphone to detect the frequency of external ambient noise and then sends an “equal-but-opposite cancelling signal” to the users’ ear to cancel it out.

For the overwhelming majority of people this type of noise-cancelling technology works well, although TechRadar did report last week on how one noise-cancelling headphone owner claimed that the phones had made them feel ill.

Sony’s MDR-NC40 headphones are expected to go on sale in the UK in March. No price has yet been confirmed, but in the US they are expected to retail for $100 (£50).