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Inside a Sony MDR-NC33, and DIY active noise cancelling headphone!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

My Sony Vaio Duo 11 came with this weird 5-conductor version of the Sony MDR-NC33 Active Noise Isolating IEM that relies on the Duo 11 to do the noise cancelling sorcery. They aren't of much use to me, since I hate IEMs and their earwax-collecting tips. So, I plan to disassemble the NC33's and use the internals to make my very own active noise cancelling headphone that can only be used with my Duo 11!




It was surprisingly easy to disassmeble.



This kind of design is interesting - the driver is mounted perpendicular to the silicone tip, allowing for a 13.5 mm driver.



Some close-ups so I remember the wiring:





Will post more stuff soon. I will first install these internal components into a cheapo set of headphones to test it out first so I don't ruin anything expensive.

post #2 of 5
Thread Starter 

The recipient headphone of these internal components seem like they were meant to become a noise cancelling set. There's even a cavity inside the earcup that fits the microphone perfectly! A hole had to be made in the cavity to let sound through though.





What it looks like after the driver and mic have been wired up:



 And here's a picture of the hole made:



Coincidentally, I had a spare Sony MDR-E806 cable lying around to make the weird 5 conductor MDR-NC33 into a normal non-NC 3 conductor version





Now, I have a pair of supra-aural 5 conductor active noise cancelling headphones, and a decent Sony IEM with a 3 conductor plug, too!



post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

The supra aural active noise cancelling headphone works fine - the only problem is that the earcups don't provide an adequate seal, so the active noise cancellation is only half as effective.


The no longer active noise cancelling Sony MDR-NC33 also sounds very good. Balanced sound and nice detail, too.

post #4 of 5

Would you recommend the NC33 for someone who likes a wide range of music? I wouldn't mind paying more for the nosie cancelling feature, since it's cheaper than most headphone where I live.

Could you compare it to another headphone/IEM?

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Bear in mind that these aren't retail NC33s. When plugged into the Sony Vaio Duo 11, it is possible to choose from 3 different noise cancelling profiles; Airplane, Bus, and Office. I think the normal ones aren't that advanced, so any comparisons I do may not be accurate.


From what I have though, the Sony MDR-NC33s are pretty good overall. The noise cancelling is very well done, but you do notice a bit of degradation in sound quality. Passively though, they have very nice balanced sound, with a little emphasis on bass and mid-highs. I'd say they have a bit of a v-curve frequency response.


In my opinion, they're not very good for pedantic audiophiles who like very flat sound, but apart from that they should be good for all types of music.

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