CES 2008: Sony’s world's first digital noise cancelling headphones using artificial intelligence


Sony has unveiled a new set of noise cancelling headphones that claim to be the world’s very first set to use digital technology. The headphones convert the analogue audio signal into a digital signal, apply some digital equalising to enhance mid-range vocals and bass, then let you listen to it. Or something like that. Observe the diagram for an even less clear explanation.

The MDR-NC500Ds also incorporate Artificial Intelligence to select between three different noise cancelling technologies to give you the best possible ambient noise reduction depending on your situation.

I’ve always been sceptical about noise cancelling headphones mainly because usually seem like a good way of charging you an extra fifty quid for a pair of cans without improving the sound quality and simultaneously putting you at risk of serious injury when you step blithely into a busy street without being able to hear roar of oncoming vehicles. Now, having spent a ten hour flight to the US listening to a ear-splitting shrieks of a very pissed off baby and his parents half-arsed attempts to sooth it via the medium of song (rather than smothering it with a shoe, which would have been my preferred modus operandi) I’m well up for buying a pair. Even so, these are still a pricey purchase as Sony is planning a $400 price tag for them when they launch Stateside in February.


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