- Noise cancelling works well, good detail and soundstage
- Uncomfortable, lots of distortion present in sound
TDK's NC-200 noise-cancelling headphones are a decent product let down by poor design. The sound, while distorted in parts, will be fine for most, but the uncomfortable cups make wearing them for long periods painful.
Price$ 69.95 (AUD)
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TDK's NC-200 is a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Coming in a similar design to Bose's QuietComfort 3, it's a decent alternative if you're strapped for cash; however, the design is uncomfortable for people with larger ears and the audio quality isn't quite up to the standards set by more expensive models.
We found the noise-cancelling properties of the NC-200 worked fairly well. It operates using two AAA batteries; one in each headphone cup, and do a good job of blocking out external noise. If the sounds of office life or the buzz of public transport bother you, then a pair of noise-cancelling headphones is the right choice. Everything from busy traffic to people talking is almost completely silenced, allowing you to enjoy your music in peace.
The audio produced by the NC-200 is reasonable but not mind blowing. Just seconds into listening we immediately noticed a veiled sound, not uncommon to cheaper noise-cancelling models. It is somewhat like listening through a piece of material, with everything sounding slightly distant. You should note, however, that activating the noise-cancelling mode almost completely fixes this issue, so we'd recommend sticking with that even though it drains the battery.
The mid range is extremely pronounced, dominating the music and vocals are similarly emphasised. There is a good amount of detail and a slightly gritty feel which some will appreciate, although there was some fairly prominent distortion evident in heavy guitar riffs. Bass is slightly bloated but not overpowering and the highs are slightly recessed.
The soundstage was impressive, with great separation and a nice three-dimensional presentation. Overall, we found at mid-range, heavy sound was suited to guitar-oriented music although the distortion definitely detracted from the listening experience.
Our other main issue with the headphones was its design. The cups are quite small and as a result it doesn't completely enshroud your ears. We found it grew uncomfortable after listening for more than about 15 minutes. A little readjusting helped fix this temporarily, but the problem continued to return. This is a big issue as it's really irrelevant how great a pair of headphones sound if you can't wear them for long enough to enjoy it.
With regards to design the NC-200 is a little flimsy, but no more so than most other units on the market. The headband can be extended to suit your needs and the black and silver aesthetic is fine if not worthy of the word 'stylish'.
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