Sony’s affordable MDR-ZX750BN make noise-cancelling Bluetooth cans more accessible

sony adds noise cancelling bluetooth headphones 2

It’s been a while since we’ve had a reason to get excited over one of Sony’s new pairs of headphones, but the recently introduced MDR-ZX750BN have us eager to get our ears on them. It would seem that critical listeners and frequent fliers alike no longer have to shell out $300-plus for a quality pair of  Bluetooth headphones with active noise-cancelling ability, as Sony has priced its latest flagship headphone at just  $200. And not only are the cans affordable, they look  pretty suave, with solid specs to back up their good looks, too.

Sony didn’t skimp on the MDR-ZX750BN’s guts. Once you’ve connected your smartphone, tablet or other Bluetooth-enabled device, you’ll be listening to music or taking calls through amply-sized 40-mm drivers, and the sound should be pretty clear if you’ve got the headphones’ digital noise-cancelling mode set to “active,” which Sony claims can reduce ambient noise by up to 98 percent. And, handily enough, when you don’t need the noise cancelling — or if you’re simply just trying to conserve battery — you can set the mode to “passive” for zero battery drain (for reference, Sony indicates the battery life to be about 13 hours with noise-cancelling enabled). Both the Bluetooth and Bluetooth Noise-Cancelling modes have automatic aptX and AAC compatibility available, so the MDR-ZX750BN can allegedly decide which, out of all the included Bluetooth/Bluetooth Noise-Cancelling modes, is best at any given time, based on the device’s ability to analyze the surrounding ambient noise.

In terms of wearability, the MDR-ZX750BN at least look like a pretty comfortable pair of headphones — Sony included ear pads designed to relieve the usual pressures associated with over-ear ‘phones. When not being worn, you can fold the headphones up for easy storage and portability.

When running Bluetooth or noise-cancellation features, the headphones rely on a built-in lithium ion rechargeable battery (2.5 hours required to reach full charge). When plugged in via the included traditional 3.5-mm cable, users should have a fairly tangle-free experience due to its unique single-sided/flat design, in addition to enjoying battery-less playback. And there’s actually a slight auditory advantage to going the wired route: the fidelity will reportedly improve with a wired connection, according to the specs, which claim the frequency response jumps from 20-20,000Hz to 8-22,000Hz with the addition of a hardline.

A good pair of wireless, active noise-cancelling headphones are, in fact, fairly tough to come by, despite today’s congested Bluetooth headphone market. So it’s good news for consumers when a company like Sony — with its extensive reach into retail channels — enables more people to get their hands on something like Phiaton’s MS 530 or Bose’s QuietComfort 3 (typically $300-plus items) at a more reachable price-point.