Lindy Cromo NCX-100 noise cancelling headphones review
I’ve generally been wary of active noise cancelling headphones. The main reason is that, in essence, they work by adding more noise albeit in opposition to what they are ‘hearing’. There is also the extra price added to headphones that come packing this technology. To this end I usually rely on the passive isolating properties of decent cups. Lindy have some reasonably priced active noise cancelling cans in the Cromo NCX-100 – do these have the right mix of price and ability?
Lindy have previously surprised me with what they are able to achieve for a low asking price and the Cromo NCX-100 certainly look decent but it’s how they perform that’s the important thing.
Lindy Cromo NCX-100 headphones design
The NCX-100 is a closed back over ear headphone with a pair of 40mm dynamic drivers doing the heavy lifting.
The headphones are pretty compact but are of a decidedly chunky nature.
Chunky in a good way as they feel really sturdy in your hand and the build quality is bordering on rugged. Not that these headphones are all about being hard, they have a softer side to balance everything out. You get the soft-touch finish that gives them a nice comfortable feel in the hand, the headband and hinges feel strong and well constructed, and the ear pads have a plush, softness to them.
There are a pair of steel hinges, one either side of the headband, that allows the Lindy cans to fold in on themselves. Once you have done so, the NCX-100 will fit inside the supplied hard shell carry case.
On the left ear cup there’s a small compartment where you insert a couple of AAA batteries to power the ANC and bass modes, along with the headphone jack for the removable cable which features an in-line remote control.
The quality of the materials used in the Cromo NCX-100s are high and everything seems to be solidly built. The soft touch plastics are slightly prone to picking up fingerprints but that’s hardly a deal breaker is it?
The styling is modern with the solid hemispherical headband that leads into the earpad without there being a defined break of the lines between the band and cups. I am also thankful that Lindy didn’t go down the fashionable route and spray them a primary or pastel shade as the two-tone black with little silver and red embellishments looks purposeful and almost professional.
Lindy have bundled in 3.5mm to 6.3mm, and in-flight headphone jack adapters, a carabiner, and the 1.4m audio cable with in-line control and mic which all comes neatly packed away in the zipped hard case.
Lindy Cromo NCX-100 headphones technology
The noise cancelling part of the Lindy NCX-100 is pretty impressive, especially when you bear in mind the reasonable asking price.
At the heart of this clever tech are no less than four microphones which listen to what’s going on outside and then these work with the on-board amp to generate up to 95dB of noise reduction.
As with most modern noise cancelling headphones you don’t need to be playing music, or anything else for that matter, for the NCX-100 to stop the outside world from sneaking in – up to 95%, according to Lindy’s spec sheet.
As mentioned before, the noise cancelling tech is active and when switched on there’s a blue notification light. The ANC draws power from two AAA batteries that are mounted in the left hand earpad but you can use the NCX-100 as normal headphones with the noise cancelling section switched off.
The 40mm high output drivers with neodymium magnets are mounted fairly forward in the headphone enclosures but, thanks to those deep pads, there is a decent gap between it and your ear.
Lindy Cromo NCX-100 headphones performance
The Cromo NCX-100 headphones are a nice snug fit. They are obviously adjustable through sliding the headband and the earcups are articulated.
They clamp comfortably on my noggin and stayed in place even when walking about.
Without the noise cancelling or bass boost switched on the Lindy NCX-100 gives a decent bass response. It is well controlled and goes down low enough to please most bass heads. The NCX-100 is definitely not afraid of bass.
Flicking on the noise-cancelling I noticed that there is a distinct drop in the low end. Don’t fear, it is still there, but if it’s not defined enough for you all you have do is push the switch to the next notch – ‘Bass’. Activating this triggers a green indicator light. Bass mode still includes the noise cancelling smarts but also dials in an extra 10db in the bottom end.
As for the mid-range, vocals are present without being too forward and there is a good range through strings and piano. I did feel that the mids were slightly set back without the noise-cancelling on but this leveled out a bit with the ANC on as the bass is lightened.
Going up to the top, percussion was treated well with high-hats and cymbals being reproduced fairly well, not sparkling, but still pretty good.
Overall, the soundstage is not bad at all. The NCX-100 also has impressive separation with good imaging but I can’t shake that, to my ears, the tone comes across as being slightly muffled across the board.
The Active Noise Cancellation setting really does cut out most of the constant background noise and the extra kick from the NCX-100’s bass mode covers almost all the rest – as well as adding depth to Hip Hop and more bass-lead tracks. The ANC is effective without being disorientating and really works best at cutting out engine noise or general background hubbub.
Lindy Cromo NCX-100 headphones review conclusion
These headphones have been out for a couple of years now and their price has hardly dropped, and there is a reason for that. These are excellent headphones and, at under £100, tantamount to being a bargain for anyone who travels a lot by train, bus or plane.
Active noise cancelling has not entirely won me over but I can now appreciate the experience – especially when in the office or on public transport. I still do feel, however, that if you are looking for a truer reproduction of your source audio then ANC may not be the way to go.
The Lindy Cromo NCX-100 are impressive in that they pack in a heck of a lot of tech in such a compact form and the noise cancelling does actually really work.
They are even good without the ANC or bass boost switched on.
I found them comfortable to wear for long periods of time and I love how they look and their solid build quality. I would definitely consider packing them on my next long train journey or flight.
I task you to find similarly equipped headphones of a reasonable quality at this price point.
Lindy Cromo NCX-100 headphones availability and price
Lindy Cromo NCX-100 specs at a glance
Impedance: 32 ohms passive mode / 100 ohms noise cancelling and bass mode
Sensitivity: 93dB ±3dB/1mW @ 1KHz passive mode / 103dB ±3dB/1mW @ 1KHz noise
cancelling mode / 104dB ±3dB/1mW @ 1KHz bass mode
Nominal total harmonic distortion: <0.1% @94dB @ 1KHz (Passive) /
<0.5% @94dB @ 1KHz (Active)
15dB active noise cancellation
Frequency response: 20Hz – 20KHz
Up to 20 hour battery life
Requires two AAA batteries (not included)