by Joe Henry | January 17, 2018
Everyone needs to shut out the world from time to time, and that's trebly true for top-performing employees. That's what noise-cancelling headphones excel at -- and while the technology has been around for years, some recently released and upcoming models promise all sorts of new innovations.

For instance, the Bowers & Wilkins PX (pictured), which was released in December, offers different levels of noise cancellation. City Mode lets users hear traffic, so they can be alert to their surroundings as they navigate the streets; Office Mode lets users hear their coworkers' chatter; and Flight Mode quiets engine noises.

B&W is known for producing high-end headphones made with premium materials, but the PX is notable because it's the company's first model that offers noise-canceling as well as Bluetooth connectivity. 

It's also incredibly responsive. The PX goes on standby when it's set down, and pauses music when it's lifted off the user's head. 

The Bose QC35 II, which was released in September and is available through Incentive Concepts, also introduces a new standard of noise cancellation, as the feature can be turned off, set on low, or high. 

But the real difference with the QC35 II is its integration with Google Assistant. Press a button on the headset and start talking, and Google Assistant can help manage playlists and artists, as well as perform other non-music features, like set calendar appointments, notify about messages and events, and answer questions. Need to check the weather? Or see what movies are playing nearby? Or call Mom? The QC35 II with Google Assistant can do all of that with the simple push of a button.

And, of course, the QC35 II has all of the excellent sounds one expects from a heritage audio brand like Bose. 

For those who want something to look forward to, fresh from CES 2018 debut is Sony's wired MDR-1AM2. It's the follow-up to the MDR-1A that Sony released way back in 2014. The latest model, which will be available Spring of this year, features drastically improved audio compared to its predecessor. Sony claims the new headphone has high-res audio, and can handle very high frequencies. 

The MDR-1AM2 also designed to be lighter and more comfortable than the MDR-1A, with synthetic leather ear pads. Again, the MDR-1AM2 is a wired headphone without noise cancelling. But while it leaves out some of the bells and whistles common in modern headsets, its focus is on sound quality, making the new Sony headset perfect for the sedentary audiophile who like to sit back and relax.