Sony thinks about it, puts aside the speaker “with the hole” and goes back to the old. The new earphones of the LinkBuds family are traditional, no donut drivers but smaller and lighter. And with active noise cancellation. A return to isolation?
In reality it does not change the basic idea which is that of a device that is born to be worn for a long time, that is to say for videoconferencing, study, work and leisure. The LinkBuds S, as they are called, are the search for a not simple balance between sound insulation and, as it were, permeability to the life that surrounds us.
Earphones no longer have noise cancellation as their primary mission. We are not on board a plane. And we mustn’t run away from the sounds that remind us. The trade-off is what Sony audio engineers refer to as “ambient sound”. It means equipping the earphones with an “intelligent” system capable of understanding when you want to mind your own business and when instead you have to interact with those around you in some way. Technically it means figuring out if you are in a bar or in your room and adjusting the audio levels accordingly.
How? With a system that emphasizes the external noise in order to counterbalance the isolation due to the attenuation of the rubber cap that closes the ear canal. In practice, this process takes place either because we tell them with precise movements or if we start talking and then a sensor that detects the voice. Specifically, the function is called Adaptive sound control but this type of technology is also present in other premium earphones on the market.
Our test went pretty well. But not so much for the technology itself, which works and does its own thing. But for the context. On the subway he struggles, but at the bar he behaves well, he understands when he has to lower his voice and when he can turn up the volume. Instead, they are particularly suitable for videoconferencing or working from home first of all because they weigh only 4.8 grams and then because if you have children or there is a lot of confusion at home they help to isolate you.