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Sony MDR-NC8 Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v0.9
Reviewed Feb 26, 2016 at 12:00 am
Sony MDR-NC8 Picture
Test Methodology v0.9
6.0
Mixed Usage
6.8
Critical Listening
5.4
Commute/Travel
5.8
Sports/Fitness
6.1
Office
6.6
Home Theater
Type On-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Noise-Cancelling Yes
Mic No
Transducer Dynamic

The Sony MDR-NC8 deliver surprisingly decent sound reproduction. However, they are flimsy, below-average headphones with terrible noise isolation and subpar build quality. They feel cheap and are hard to recommend.

Our Verdict

6.0 Mixed Usage

The Sony MDR-NC8 mediocre and cheap everyday headphones that do not excel in a particular use case. Their isolation is not efficient enough for traveling or the office and their sound is an average at best.

6.8 Critical Listening

Not intended for pure critical listening. The closed back design and small earcups limit the soundstage these headphones can create. Their audio reproduction is decent with instruments and vocals but lacks bass and detail.

See our Critical Listening recommendations
5.4 Commute/Travel

Poor for commuting. They don't block or cancel enough noise for loud environments.

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
5.8 Sports/Fitness

Mediocre for sports. These headphones are lightweight and not too bulky. However, their not tight enough to stay put during physical activity and the non-detachable audio cable gets tangled a lot.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
6.1 Office

Mediocre for office use. They have low leakage and won't distract your colleagues. But they also won't block the office chatter because of the weak noise isolation.

See our Office recommendations
6.6 Home Theater

Mediocre for home theater use. They're lightweight and decently comfortable. They're also wired, so they have negligible latency when watching movies. However, their relatively short audio cable may be an issue depending on your home theater set up.

  • 6.0 Mixed Usage
  • 6.8 Critical Listening
  • 5.4 Commute/Travel
  • 5.8 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.1 Office
  • 6.6 Home Theater
Pros
  • Decent audio reproduction.
  • Earcups don't leak much sound.
Cons
  • Very poor noise cancelling.
  • Flimsy, weak build.
  • Lack in bass is noticeable.

Check Price

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

There's nothing that really stands out with the design of the MDR-NC8. They look bland and utilitarian but also but also a little cheap because of the low-grade thin plastic used. They come in a matt black color accentuated by a glossy finish at the hinges and a subtle SONY branding on the back of oval ear cups. The headband is thin and not padded which does not help with the already bland esthetic.

6.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.40 lbs
Clamping Force
0.76 lbs

The padding on the ear cups is soft and the MDR-NC8 are lightweight. These are the only benefits to an otherwise uncomfortable set of headphones. The lack of padding on the headband and the overall flimsiness of the headphones do not feel good on the head. The stereo audio cable is not detachable and can get in the way, as they link both ear cups which can be frustrating.

3.4
Design
Controls
Ease of use Above-average
Feedback Mediocre
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Noise Canceling Control No
Talk-Through No
Additional Buttons No

Button layout is non-existent. There is only one button and its to switch on/off the noise cancelling. The MDR-NC8 offer no in-line controls so you will have to pull out your device every time you want to turn up the volume or skip and stop a tracks which is very disappointing.

5.5
Design
Stability

The Sony MDR-NC8 are not stable headphones. The headband is not tight enough to keep the headphones in place during physical activity. They sway a lot while running and are not ideal for the gym. They also have a non-detachable cable that will pull the headphones off your head if it gets hooked on something.

6.4
Design
Portability
L 4.33 "
W 5.51 "
H 2.76 "
Volume 65.72 Cu. Inches
Stand required N/A

These headphones are fairly portable. They fold up into a compact design that will easily fit into larger bags and purses. However, they're not portable enough to comfortably carry around on your person. They also do not come with case or pouch, which is a little disappointing

0
Design
Case
Type No case

4.5
Design
Build Quality

The build quality for the MDR-NC8 is abysmal. They feel cheap, weak and look extremely susceptible to breaking. The hinges are loose and the headband is super thin and not padded. The ear cups flimsily move about without much force and would not withstand more than a few drops.

8.5
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 1.6 C

Design
Cable
Detachable No
Length 3.97 ft
Connection 1/8" TRS

Design
Front

Design
Angled

Design
Side

Design
Rear

Design
Top

Design
In The Box

  • Sony MDR-NC8
  • Airline adapter
  • AAA Battery
  • Manual

Sound
6.1
Sound
Bass
Std. Err.
5.36 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
45.55 Hz
Low-Bass
-7.33 dB
Bass
2.19 dB
High-Bass
3.05 dB

8.0
Sound
Mid
Std. Err.
2.61 dB
Low-Mid
0.88 dB
Mid
3.19 dB
High-Mid
1.17 dB

5.2
Sound
Treble
Std. Err.
5.77 dB
Low-Treble
-1.31 dB
Treble
0.51 dB
High-Treble
0.8 dB

8.5
Sound
Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
0.186
Weighted THD @ 100
1.055

Isolation
3.8
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Overall Attenuation
-6.71 dB
Bass
0.16 dB
Mid
-5.67 dB
Treble
-16.16 dB
Self-Noise
16.33 dB

Amazingly, the active noise cancelling on these headphones doesn't seem to be doing anything. The passive isolation is also sub-par, only starting to isolate at around 400Hz. It does best at 5 KHz, where it provides -20dB of isolation.

7.7
Isolation
Leakage
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
35.12 dB

Good leakage performance, which is expected of on-ear headphones. Listening to music at average volumes should not be an issue, but the profile is relatively broadband. It ranges from 500Hz and up to 4Khz.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Wireless
Type
N/A
Obstructed Range
N/A
Line of Sight Range
N/A
NFC
No

10
Active Features
Latency
Base Latency
0 ms
aptX Latency
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
N/A

8.6
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
AAA
Battery Life
88.5 hrs
Charge Time
N/A
Auto-off
No
Audio while charging
N/A
Passive Playback
No

The MDR-ZX110NC have great battery life that will easily deliver above 80 hours of continuous playback. They use a AAA battery but thanks to the long battery life you won't have to swap out the battery as often. Unfortunately, like the MDR-ZX110NC they have no power saving features, but can be used passively when the battery runs out.

0
Active Features
App Support

No compatible app.

Sony MDR-NC8 Price

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