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Sony launched a cheaper pair of its best noise-canceling headphones

Can Sony crack the secret of affordable noise canceling that actually works?

Sony xb900n wireless noise-canceling headphones
Image: Sony

It’s no secret that Sony is the king of active noise-canceling (ANC) headphone tech right now. Which is why they’ve got me scratching my head with the announcement of a new set of noise-canceling cans that cost $100 less than their flagship model.

The Sony XB900N (yes, XB stands for eXtra Bass for those of you not born in the 90s) have a $250 MSRP, which should make the rest of the ANC manufacturers a lil bit worried.

The thing with ANC is that it’s difficult to pull off, even for giants of the industry like Sony or Bose

Out of the trio of Good Sound, Good noise-canceling, and Good Price, you usually get two out of three on any given headset. Good price means you either get good sound, or good ANC (or sometimes neither). Good sound plus good ANC means the price edges up.

Sony xb900n wireless noise-canceling headphones

Image: Sony

What Sony seems to have done with the XB900N is to pare down the award-winning WH-1000XM3‘s to get to that price point. The noise-canceling chip inside is from the previous version, so you don’t get the amazing performance of the latest specially-designed chip, but hey, saving money is nice.

The ability to adjust for atmospheric pressure is also removed, which hints at how expensive that feature was to implement. You also lose DSEE HX™ and LDAC for high-fidelity sound transmission.

The eXtra Bass should please the Beats-generation, with Gizmodo confirming that “you get a lot more bass!” Is gaining more bass and keeping $100 in your bank account worth the loss of the other features? Maybe Sony thinks there’s an artificial $300 ceiling that the majority of people who want ANC in their headphones won’t go over.

The XB900N’s will be available in late June, so I guess those questions will be answered then. If you can’t wait that long, Drop is selling the WH-1000XM3’s for $279 right now, but you’ll have to hurry as the drop ends at 11:50 PM tonight (May 20), Pacific Time.

What do you think? Interested in the new Sony ANC offering? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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