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TRUE FIDELITY Active Noise Canceling Headphones Review

Written By: Matthew Prunty

July 8, 2010 - When it comes to quality headphones, there are several possible companies you could go to in order to get your high fidelity fix. One of these companies is called Able Planet. They have been producing quality headphones; both wired and wireless, for more than five years. While that seems like a short time, during that time frame they have racked up more than a dozen different awards, showcasing how far the company has come in a relatively short time. All the dedication that Able Planetís employees have put into the development of their products leads me to todayís review of their TRUE FIDELITY Active Noise Canceling Headphones (NC300B).

Before putting together my review I decided to test out the NC300B model headphones in all types of environments just to see, no waitÖ hear for myself how the quality of these headphones stack up against noisy Los Angeles surroundings. I bounded around from a Starbucks location, to a crowded bus ride and even hopped on the train just see how the headphones will fair with all the surrounding noise. The crown jewel of these headphones isnít its design or packaging, but the inclusion of true fidelity active noise canceling, which is a technology used in high quality hearing aids. The tech enhances the sounds that come through headphones, while also reducing external noise. While in each location, I tested the headphones both with and without the noise canceling feature on, and obviously there is a clear difference.

Without the noise canceling feature on, NC300B headphones are like any other pair of headphones, albeit more comfortable, fashionably trendy and will set you back $150. While listing all types of music, you can clearly hear conversations and the noise of the bus and train in the background, adding its own rendition of the music track Iím listening to. However, once I activated the noise canceling feature, everything went quiet. I could clearly hear the music Iím listening to without the need to turning the volume up high in order to drown out the surrounding noise. Now I was still able to hear some noise from the train I was riding on, however it was nothing really noticeable to the untrained ear. What makes the noise canceling feature even lovelier is the fact you can activate it without the need of playing a sound through the headphones. If you donít feel like listening to any music or the musical score from your favorite PC game, you can simply activate the noise canceling without plugging the headphones in and its immediate silence.

While at Starbucks, the headphones work just as good as they did on the train or bus. It was almost like I was in a room by myself as the only noise I heard beyond my music itself was a little white noise, which was drowned out by the music. With the music off, you can pick up on the white noise a little better, though I have to say itís really not that big of an issue at all. Its obvious using these headphones without noise canceling on within the confines of noisy environments is fruitless as you would have to turn the volume on your headphones up considerably in order to drown out the voices and sound effects around you.

When it comes to quality, I have to say that Able Planetís TRUE FIDELITY Active Noise Canceling Headphones are very well made. Both earpieces pivot smoothly from the frame and feature a smooth surface similar to that of suede. Like any pair of headphones, the headband is adjustable to suit almost any size head, while the battery compartment, which is needed to power the noise canceling feature, is discreetly hidden behind the pivoting earpiece. According to Able Planetís website, the battery life is about 30 hours. While I havenít tested it to its end, I have gotten a solid 20 hours out of my battery in my headphones without any signs of dying out. The cable plug for the headphones features a convenient inline volume control, which frees you from having to hold your device in order to adjust the audio output levels.

When you pick up you pair of TRUE FIDELITY Active Noise Canceling Headphones, you will notice that Able Planet made sure that they work with practically any mobile phone, mp3 player, home stereo and airline audio systems out there. The headphones come in a hard shell protective carrying case, which is essential in keeping them from being damaged in any way. On the inside you find the headphones themselves and a Velcro pouch which has one AAA battery, a ľ home stereo adapter, 3.5mm plug with inline volume control and an airplane adapter. Each component are solidly constructed so you donít have to worry about the, breaking due to normal everyday use.

The picture I painted of these headphones makes them seem like theyíre the best thing out there. While I highly recommend these headphones to any individual who is looking for a quality pair of headphones with noise canceling, the NC300B are not without their shortcomings. One being that though noise canceling is effecting at eliminating external noises, if the headset volume is up a bit too much, people around will be able to hear what you are listening to. Itís obvious a max volume no one will have a problem hearing your music, however at above average levels, several people have asked me what was I listening to because they liked the tune. The other being more of a personal issue, is the fact that these headphones wonít work with any of my video game devices outside of the PSP and DS. These headphones would be the perfect device if you were able to connect them to your PS3, Xbox 360 or even the Wii when you want to play a game, though your significant other doesnít want to hear to music/dialogue from the game.

The TRUE FIDELITY Active Noise Canceling Headphones (NC300B) from Able Planet is one of the best headphones to be released within recent memory. While not everyone will rush out to spend $150 on a pair of headphones, for those who do you are in for a sweet treat. Whether, at home or abroad, the noise canceling feature of these headphones makes the purchase well worth it.


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