Every time I see that commercial where the older couple is laying in bed, the one where the wife growls at her husband, “can you turn that down?”, and then he sighs as he pulls out this cheesy looking amplifier device so he can watch TV in peace without turning the sound up any higher, I think man…if he only had a set of wireless headphones. If he did, then he could enjoy his show and she could sleep in peace and not be such a cranky witch. Seriously.
I recently got to test just such a solution, and today I can tell you a bit more about the AblePlanet …
Make no mistake about it, the AblePlanet headphones are not some $29.99 “earbud and amplifier” solution that you can buy from a late night infomercial marathon; these are a comfortable, state of the art, dual channel set of wireless earphones which will allow you to listen to your music or other audio content without compromise, and without looking like a tool.
Frequency Response: 2.3/2.8 MHz Ch-A, 3.2/3.8MHz Ch-B
Battery Life: 50 hours
Included in the box are the dual channel wireless headphones, a hard shell protective case, two AAA batteries, an infrared transmitter, an AC adapter for the transmitter, and an RCA cable.
The headphones fold nearly flat so that they can be stored inside the hard shell case, which is great for having a neat place to store them when they aren’t being used. I wouldn’t call this a travel solution so much, because the headphones rely upon the infrared transmitter and RCA cables to work, and they will not fit inside the case.
Setting up the wireless system is incredibly easy: you simply plug the RCA cable into the 3.5mm line out jack on any audio/video device (including TVs, Portable DVD players, iPods and the like), plug the red and while cables into their corresponding jacks on the back of the transmitter, attach the AC adapter to the transmitter, turn the transmitter ON, and then enjoy. By default, the RCA cables control Channel A, but if you have a second source you want to feed from, you can use a 3.5mm cable to tie into the B plug jack on the left.
The IR transmitter measures approximately 4.5″ deep x 4″ wide x 2″ tall. It is composed of matte black plastic, and it has a wide IR window on the front. As long as you are in the same room as the transmitter, you should receive a signal.
According to the AblePlanet website, the headphones have:
-Auto off sensors extend battery life by turning off the headphones 3 1/2 minutes after the signal from the audio source has been terminated
-4 internal receiving diodes capture the IR signal 360 degrees from the transmitter enabling you to turn your head without losing sound
A close up of the right earmuff shows that there is a switch for Channels A & B, a power button, and a volume knob.
The left earphone has the battery compartment…
…which holds two AAA batteries.
The headset is quite comfortable; it has an adjustable headband so that smaller domes will fit just fine, and fatter heads will as well (I’m just sayin’!). The muffs are lightly padded with foam and they don’t mash against the wearer’s ears or completely cup them, so you will still be able to hear people around you when listening to music. As long as you don’t have the audio cranked up to where it is spilling from the sides (and contributing to your hearing loss as well), those near you won’t have to complain that you need to turn anything down.
So let’s power these babies on and take them for a spin! Pushing the Power button, setting the Channel to A, and scrolling he volume button to midway (to start), I plugged the IR transmitter into my iPod touch and was very pleased with the resulting sound. Not only did the music played sound damn near flawless, I was able to walk around or sit anywhere in a 23′ x 13′ room and hear clear music, as it was meant to be played, with absolutely no static or discernable loss of quality. Wow.
The only caveat (if you want to call it that) is that you can’t walk into another room and still hear the audio source. The infrared signal will work well into the room’s doorway, but the minute you turn the corner you will be cut off. Can you live with that? I bet so.
These AblePlanet wireless headphone sound fabulous, are incredibly easy to set up, and best of all, they WORK. If you need to keep things quiet when watching TV or listening to music, I think that you will truly appreciate the sound produced by these babies. They get extra bonus points because they may save your marriage if you can’t sleep without watching TV and your partner can’t stand the noise.
The AblePlanet are available directly from the manufacturer as well as other retailers.
What I Like: Easy to set up, easy to operate, they sound flawless, and they work!
What Needs Improvement: They are a bit pricey…