'NoiseBuster' pumps down the volume Noise Cancellation stock roars to high

May 28, 1993|By Ian Johnson | Ian Johnson,New York Bureau

NEW YORK — Thursday's closing price for Noise Cancellation Technologies Inc.'s stock was incorrectly reported as a record in yesterday's Business section. The record high close, which occurred March 23, 1992, was $5.875 a share.

) The Sun regrets the error

NEW YORK -- With your Walkman blaring your favorite Masters of Trash tape in your ears, you stop halfway through mowing the lawn as the realization finally hits home: Permanent deafness is definitely in your future unless you sacrifice the mower.

What to do?

By next year, it might be possible to solve the problem by plunking down $100 and buying a NoiseBuster, a portable device that emits sound waves that cancel out low-pitched noise. This allows users to carry on normal conversations or listen to music without the disruptive background rumble of lawn mowers, jets or traffic.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

The product, which is not yet being produced, was developed by Noise Cancellation Technologies Inc., a Stamford, Conn. company that has a plant in Linthicum.

The NoiseBuster is a pair of headphones that connects to a pager-like device that can slip into a pocket, purse or clip on a belt. The device has a jack that allows the user to plug in a portable tape or CD player and bypass the muffling effect.

The NoiseBuster blocks about half the sound waves between 50 and 1000 Hz, meaning it cuts out low-frequency noises but allows the user to hear the remaining low-pitched sounds, as well as voices, horns, sirens and other higher-pitched sounds.

Besides allowing the wearer to listen to music while using loud equipment, other uses include a peaceful walk through a busy city or reducing the risk of long-term deafness caused by the daily assault on the inner ear's delicate membranes.

Company officials said they expect to market three models, with the cheapest running at $99.

Prototypes made available at the product's unveiling in New York yesterday seemed to back up the company's claim. Taped sounds of trains, planes and traffic were reduced drastically by the NoiseBuster, but normal conversation could be heard.

A few hours after the product was unveiled, Noise Cancellation also announced a $25 million contract to supply noise reduction technology to Saab for use in its turbo-propjet passenger compartments. Other company products include mufflers that cut noise by 50 percent while boosting engine power.

The NoiseBuster was announced the same day as Noise Cancellation's annual shareholders' meeting, when the owners learned that the company had suffered another annual loss.

Bolstered by the new product and the Saab contract, President Michael J. Parrella said, the company would become profitable by late this year.

"What you're seeing is a company turning from an R&D company to a production-orientation company. You will see more product announcements," Mr. Parrella said.

Wall Street seemed to back this optimistic assessment. The stock closed at a record high yesterday of $4.80 a share.

Chairman John J. McCloy II said the annual results, which saw the company lose $15.6 million on sales of $4.6 million, were "not where we'd hoped to be" but reflected new hiring and research needed to make the products that will bring in profits.

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