Break-in period
A few weeks after my trip to the United States, I stumbled upon a thread on some audio & video forum about the Sony MDR-NC11A. Apparently there were a lot of people like me who bought these headphones and they too were utterly disgusted about the fact they simply did not work nor sounded as advertised. But a few other people were raving about them and they could not all be Sony employees, could they? Then somebody made a remark that often headphones like these need some kind of "break-in period", that somehow the tiny speakers inside the headphones are very stiff when they are factory-new and that it takes a while for them to "loosen up".

This prompted me to hook up the headphones to my PDA and play music over them for about 8 hours at end. After this period, I checked if that made any difference. And it did - but ever so slightly. This time I did hear a slight difference when turning the noise cancellation on and off while sitting next to my computer. Also, the overwhelming bass had become slightly more tolerable. But it was still nowhere near the results I got with the Sennheiser. So who knows, perhaps they will work much better after a break-in period of several days - but I'm not going to find out. When I buy something, I expect it to work out of the box. Just like the Sennheiser did.

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