Edited by DjAmTraX - 9/4/11 at 8:00am
Are you referring to both of them? Or just one of them?
The 200D's distort badly. I haven't heard the 100D's
I actually ordered the NC-60s, which have great reviews for both NC and sound, but they're out of production (and apparently out of stock at my airline's frequent flyer mile mall), so now I'm trying to get the 200D's returned and order Bose QuietComfort 15's instead.
I just recently received these new headphones by Sony. I have had a run of headphones of all types over the last couple of years. A number of computers and stereos in different locations has me enjoying each one having their own. And I have never found any pair that I have been so satisfied with that has me being partial to any one model. These Sony 200Ds are my latest. I'll be the first one to admit that despite the number I have owned over the years, I am not a true audiophile. I will not compare the raw statistics between models. I simply can tell you about what I hear, and of the quality of them and their comparison to others I own...
Right out of the box I can tell you that these 200Ds may be the most quality set of phones I have ever held. The leather on the headset as well as the pads are of a very high quality, and they are extremely well made and top of the line through out. The phone pads themselves are not the over the ear type despite their appearance in the picture, but very thickly padded ones that sit upon the ear with a very tight and solid, but comfortable fit. The leather on these phones is butter soft). One pad holds the single AAA battery, (not included) that runs the noise reduction system, and its very easy to install. Buttons on the battery pad controls the noise reduction on and off, a noise reduction test button that determines what mode of noise reduction is detected, (Just press it and it does it all for you automatically. Do it once and that's it, unless you move or the noise in the room changes), and a cancel button to temporarily shut the NR off. As far as these phones actual performance, switching the NR on definitely brings the quality of these phones front and center. The highs are very distinct and sharp and the clarity outstanding. The bass is not the best I have ever heard, but certainly is not substandard. Switching off the NR one can easily hear the quality of the music suffer. Both in the treble and the bass. Listening to these babies with the NR activated is definitely the way to go. The buttons on the side of the pad are a little hard to find while wearing them, and its also quite easy to hit them while just adjusting the pads. But you get used to them rather quickly and in my opinion it is not that big a deal.
Now for the one big downside of these phones. I found that listening to these at a high volume caused a very discernible distortion in them. A very evident and annoying static that was present throughout, and that most definitely in my opinion is a major fail. Several other reviewers here mention it as well. If you like to listen to music at high volume, even if its just occasionally, you can't help but notice it. To say how high the volume has to be to hear the distortion is an effort in futility here. For how loud something is, is a relative issue to each of us individually. In my opinion I wasn't listening to any music through these phones that loudly to justify the distortion that was very obviously present. Sometimes its not a constant distortion but one that materializes here and there depending on the music you are listening too. If it's a form of music like classical for example that can go from very subdued to decibel pressing all at once, it will appear at the high end and be very irritating, even at relatively medium volumes. Even Sony acknowledges that these phones can cause distortion at high volume, for in the instruction booklet included it advises you under "troubleshooting" to turn down the volume of your source when distortion is detected. Distortion is something that is always present, or at least at risk in any speaker system when one is using high volume. Whether it be head phones or your home speakers. However it is simply my opinion that these 200Ds reach that level of distortion at a volume much too low, and also that it is prevailing throughout at that volume. Turning off the NR when listening to music louder of course eliminates the distortion. But then you suffer the quality of the tone that the NR system provides before mentioned. NR is not like a loudness contour on a stereo where it is not that noticeable on or off at high volumes. The NR and the corresponding loss of quality is evident at any volume. At least in this model anyway.
In conclusion, these Sony 200Ds are a very quality made and feeling set of headphones that are comfortable to wear and perform flawlessly.....At low to medium volume. The NR system is one of the best I have ever tried, and I was very impressed with the range of music I listened too with them. However as noted already, that performance suffers proportionately when you crank up the volume, and I found it not to be a reasonable amount of volume before that happens. For this reason I would consider carefully how you listen to music before buying these, and, whether you feel the comfort and quality are worth the price of these knowing you may be turned off by the distortion if you get carried away and turn it up. In my opinion its an important consideration, and these phones are not cheap. For that reason the best I can do for the Sony 200Ds is 3 stars....
The fact that Sony Noise Canceling headphones cause noise (hiss) is a failed. I had wish this version didn't have the same hiss issue, but looks like I need to look further.