Noise Canceling Immersion Part 1 - Sony MDR-EX750NA

January 04, 2016

Sony released a new audio product lineup called h.ear earlier in September 2015 of which the noise canceling h.ear in NC (MDR-EX750NA) earphones is one of. As Part 1 of the Noise Canceling Immersion series of articles, we dive in to see how this SGD 199 unit fares.

Pros (+): Effective noise canceling; Trendy looking; Easy on the wallet.
Cons (-): No volume controls; Overly long cable.


The unboxing was done on a pre-production unit as you can see from the pink cross placements, likely meant for the product name. 

Opening the flaps at the bottom allow you to slide out a solid black box with a lid that opens like a book. Flip this to unveil the earphones proper. Out of the 5 available colors available, we received the vibrant Viridian Blue. 

On opening the white plastic layer by a tab, this reveals the full packaging contents consisting of:

- Sony h.ear in NC earphones
- Charging cable
- Clip
- Plug adaptor for in-flight use
- Silicon Eartips (SS / S / M / L) - we're gonna guess 'SS' stands for super small?
- Carrying pouch
- User guide

The h.ear in NC is relatively heavier than conventional in-ears at 27g and that's excluding the cable heft. The bulk is from the battery unit (yes, the item that looks like a chewing gum stick) which weighs 16.3g while earbuds themselves are pretty lightweight at 5.1g.

I felt the cable was excessively long at 1.5m, at least if your usage is for commuting and you'd rather avoid cable tangles as far as possible. 

The Sony MDR-EX750NA automatic AI noise canceling is undeniably the main selling point of this unit. They include two noise sensors, one exterior-facing and the other sitting on the underside next to the flange tips. These will detect, analyze the ambient sound and automatically select the most effective of 3 noise canceling modes for your needs. The modes in question are A. Airplane, B. Bus/train and C. Office environment. We talk more about its effectiveness later.

Moving down the cable, the Y-connector is actually a 5.4g control unit which features the power switch to activate the noise canceling. When flicked on, the status LED will be green and there will be an accompanying beep. 

At the back, we get a multi-function button that controls the playback and calls for Android and iOS devices. It's great that Sony made it platform neutral but the flipside is there are no volume controls. Oh, and the tiny hole is the microphone for answering calls.

Close to the end of the cable is the battery unit. Its base consists of a rubber piece that swivels away for the charging cable to connect to the micro-USB port. 

Out of the 4 ear tips available, the Medium ones suited best so this was a constant in our tests. I gotta say that comfort-wise, the MDR-EX750NA ear buds fit is great for an extended period (1h or so) of listening.

We tried the noise canceling in two areas:
1. Inside a controlled environment (a car) where Stereolab's Parsec was playing in the vehicle.
2. At the back of a bus where the engine is revving frequently.
In both conditions, we did not play music in order to test the active noise canceling.

The result is that the Sony h.ear in NC gave a slightly audible hiss. Sound-wise, while the high frequencies are still easily heard, the bass from Parsec is reduced considerably. The noise canceling is pretty effective.

Audio quality was then tested when the noise canceling was on. Hozier's Take Me To Church provides a good level of bass as I would expect from a pair of Sony in-ears. However, the vocals didn't come across too cleanly for my liking.

The provided grey clip is recommended to be placed above the control unit as per the user guide. We'd have to say this is certainly needed if you want to significantly reduce the microphonics when you are walking. Without the clip, I was able to hear a knocking sound on each heel strike.

The charging unit contains a single LED which lights red when charging. According to the specs, c
harging time is approx 2.5 hours for a decent 16 hours of noise canceling usage. If time is a constraint, a 1 hour quick charge will give 10 hours. 

The typically efficient and detailed Sony user guide illustrates the charge remaining based on the blinks seen. It can tell you whether the charge is full (3 blinks), mid (2), low (1) or empty (blinks for 30s with a 2s beep).


Sony's colorful h.ear in NC product is clearly geared for a trendier demographic. While it has no volume controls, there are clear benefits where you get a competent noise canceling pair of earphones in a competitively priced package.

Audio Sources

Parsec - Stereolab (Tidal 1411kbps FLAC) on Samsung Galaxy S4
Take Me To Church - Hozier (Tidal 1411kbps FLAC) on iPad Air

Where To Buy

If you like what you have read, do feel free to support me by buying from Amazon via this affiliate link.

Credit to Sony, WE Communications for an evaluation unit.

Noise Canceling Immersion - A 3-Part Series 
Part 1 - Sony h.ear in NC (MDR-EX750NA)
Part 2 - Bose QuietComfort 20 (QC 20)
Part 3 - Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H3 ANC
The Verdict 

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