headphones

Sony MDR-NC500D Headphones Review

The Sony MDR-NC500Ds are mediocre headphones that cost as much as many good headphones.

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Tour

The Sony MDR-NC500D headphones are made of glossy black plastic with black faux-leather padding. The cups tilt and swivel around, and the band can extend (and also has padding).

Speaker Image
While the cup padding certainly may look convincing, do not be fooled: it isn't real leather.
Band Image
Here is the band, complete with extending sides and padding. The top of the band has padding too, which can help protect you from falling objects.

The left ear cup has ports for audio and power cables; the power cable port has a plastic cover to mask it when not in use.

Side Image
The left port is for an audio cable, the right port is for the charger.

The right ear cup has a few buttons: AI NC MODE (lets the headphones listen to the ambient noise, then determine the appropriate noise cancellation level), a power switch, a Monitor Mode button (turns off playback and noise cancellation), and an LED indicator for power and 'listening' mode.

Back Image
The buttons on the right ear cup.
HATS-Side Image

In the Box

You will find all sorts of cool stuff in your NC500D box. In addition to the headphones, you'll find two audio cables of different lengths, a power cord, a 1/4-inch adapter, an airplane adapter, and a battery pack (complete with two Sony brand AA batteries).

In the Box Image

Durability

The MDR-NC500D headphones are well built. The plastic case is durable, the pad covers won't tear particularly easily, and the twisting cups and extending band are robust. Of course, moving parts and a non-removable battery are both minor durability issues. The biggest durability issue, however, is the really thin cloth guarding the sound element. The sound element itself sticks out and would be unguarded if it weren't for the cloth draped over it. The inclusion of the short audio cable indicates these headphones are meant to be used while exercising. We can't see this very-permeable cloth doing a particularly good job keeping your gross sweat away from the sound element. This isn't a deal breaker by any means, however -- just something buyers should be aware of.

Durability Image
This thin cloth is all that separates your sweaty head from the guts of the headphone.

Also, although not directly a durability issue, the headphones squeal if something bumps up against the sound element. We're guessing it's just a 'Hey, watch it!' warning, but its inclusion doesn't say much for the safety of the sound element.

Aesthetics

The Sony MDR-NC500D headphones are smaller than the average over-ear, decked out in faux-leather padding, and made of a glossy black plastic. As over-ears these headphones aren't exactly inconspicuous, but at least they look sharp. The only aesthetic issue that might arise are the fingerprints you'll leave behind on the glossy, black plastic. Other than grabbing your prints at every opportunity, the NC500Ds look good. It doesn't jump out and scream 'Look at me, I am gorgeous,' but then again, most adult users wouldn't want loudly narcissistic headphones. Lookin' good, MDR-NC500D.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Tour & Design
  2. Performance
  3. In Use
  4. Value & Comparisons
  5. Conclusion
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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