NEWS: Sony introduces world's first digital noise-cancelling headphones

Whether you're a frequent flyer or train commuter needing to shut out engine noise – or just keen to reduce distracting sounds at work – Sony's new MDR-NC500D headphones are said to cut out 99 per cent of ambient noise.

Sony claims the MDR-NC500Ds are a radical departure from conventional noise-cancelling headphones. They're the first to use digital technology with artificial intelligence to improve noise cancellation performance while ensuring optimum audio quality.

A powerful processor inside the headphones automatically adapts the cancellation profile to suit the characteristics of the ambient noise.

In normal use, pushing the 'AI Mode' button makes the headphones automatically select from three cancellation modes to suit the surroundings – whether on an aircraft, a bus or train, or in the office.

Alternatively, pressing down and holding the mode switch allows the user to select manually the cancellation profile that's most effective in their environment.

Sony claims 15 hours battery life using the supplied rechargeable lithium ion battery, and if the power does run out the headphones can also be run on disposable AA batteries.

The MDR-NC500D headphones are available from Price to be confirmed.

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.