Able Planet TRUE FIDELITY® Active Noise Canceling Headphones
The folks from Able Planet sent me a pair of their new entry-level Active Noise Canceling Headphones to review. Considering my bad experience with noise canceling headphones in the past, I was probably an ideal test subject for these sorts of things.
The way that noise canceling headphones generally work is that they analyze the ambient audio in the room and send a sound that is the exact opposite of the ambient noise. The end result: you don’t hear the ambient noise. However, sound waves are still hitting your ears.
While I do a reasonable amount of air travel–probably the most ideal place to use these headphones, given the relatively constant, loud drone of the jet engines–I went for a place almost as loud and with variable noise–the local Starbucks where I often spend my afternoons working. While it certainly does not cut out all the noise, it does lower it noticeably. The lowered background noise made it possible to listen to my music and podcasts at a lower volume. However, I find the white noise added by the headphones to be distracting in quieter parts of my music/podcasts.
The $129 list-price headphones (though you can get it for ~$70 if you shop around) come with a handy dandy carrying case and a number of plug adapters, allowing you to plug these headphones into an airplane, your MP3 player, or a component stereo system. I think they’re pretty nice, do what they say on the tin, and are competitively priced.
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