Having done some traveling during December, you start to get used to the accompanying rumble associated with it, be it from passengers waiting for a plane or the sound of an engine a few feet from your ear. The best way to completely drown the world out is with a decent pair of headphones, and if you couple those with noise canceling you are onto a winner.
While noise-canceling headphones have typically been a pricey proposition, these new ‘phones from AblePlanet come in at just $129.99, and seem to be pretty good value.
In the box you get the headphones, a AAA battery (to power the noise-cancellation), a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable with volume control, adaptors for older airplane sockets and ¼ jacks and a hard case to carry it all in.
The one thing you have to consider upfront about these headphones are that they are rather large. Not that this is unusual amongst headphones of this type, but it’s a consideration if space is at a premium.
The headphones have a nice rubberised texture, which gives them a quality feel over standard plastic, and the ear cups and band over your head are nice and soft, so they are comfortable to wear. They aren’t heavy either, so they won’t weigh you down after wearing them for a while.
The switch for the noise cancelling is rather odd though, it is quite sharp, and sticks out, and simply doesn’t look very nice. Why they didn’t go for something a bit smoother I’m not sure, but it would be nice to see on a subsequent version.
Turn on the noise cancelling and you can tell an instant difference in the sound from your surroundings. While there isn’t complete silence, it is definitely quieter than with the cancelling off. Music also sounds significantly better with it turned on.
As soon as you start playing audio from your MP3 player or computer the surrounding sound completely fades away, to the point where you can’t even hear yourself talking, something you typically can even when you have headphones on. The sound quality is excellent, with a quality reproduction of both highs and lows. At $129.99 (they are available online cheaper, some places under $100) they sound fantastic.
The trade-off of the comfort and sound quality is the size. These headphones are quite big, and do not fold down. While the cups rotate to make the package slightly thinner, they have to be stored in the black case included in the package. The semi-rigid case has space to store the headphones, cord and extra adaptors and will slip into a bag nicely.
The AblePlanet True Fidelity headphones are good value, combining quality sound with a fair amount of noise cancellation at an affordable price. A few tweaks on the design (such as flush switches) could be made, but on the whole they are a good buy whether you are sitting at home or looking to drown out a bit more noise while travelling.
Thanks to AblePlanet for supplying the unit used in this review.
What I Liked: Sound quality, comfortable, reduced ambient noise
What Needs Improvement: Quite large, noise canceling switch