Bose seems to have a monopoly on noise-cancellation headphones for first- and business-class travelers, but JVC is trying to bring a little sophistication to its new headphones for those of us traveling in coach. The affordably priced ($60 list) HA-NC80 headphones, expected to be available soon, feature something called "dual-mode, noise-canceling circuitry" for environment-specific situations.
According to JVC's press release, a "wide" mode targets a wider frequency range and cancels the type of noise typically found in a commercial jet cabin. Meanwhile, the "low" mode cancels a slightly narrower and lower frequency range, one associated with the noise generated by trains and buses. If this sounds like a gimmick, it probably is, but as far as marketing gimmicks go, it's not a bad one--you gotta give JVC credit for trying to distinguish its noise-canceling headphones from the rest of the affordable pack. It's also worth mentioning that you can use the HA-NC80s without the noise-cancellation turned on, which is something the Bose headphones can't do.
JVC claims the new headphones deliver up to 75 percent noise reduction and are powered by a single AAA battery. They fold flat and come with a carrying pouch and a dual-plug adapter for plane use. On paper, the HA-NC80 sound like a relative bargain, but ultimately what counts is how they sound (and feel) on your head, so I'll reserve judgment until I get my hands on a review sample.