Able Planet has made a name for themselves by manufacturing quality noise canceling headphones which are both comfortable to wear and produce excellent sound. Their Extreme headphone line combines their LINX AUDIO technology with fashionable colors and in the case of these bright pink earphones, a cause*.
LINX AUDIO “creates high frequency harmonics that enhance sound quality and speech clarity of difficult to hear words or notes, and increases the perception of loudness without increasing volume.” The hope here is that if people can clearly hear spoken words and music when listening, they won’t feel the need to crank the volume louder, which can be harmful to hearing.
So with that explained, these EXTREME Foldable Active Noise Canceling Headphones are extra handy because they are compact when folded which makes them easy to transport, but they are full size over-the-ear models when opened. Padded black pleather panels line each side of the headphone’s arms to cushion wearer’s head, and the ear cups are padded with the same material to help seal in sounds while fitting comfortably.
Included in the package are an airline and 1/4 home stereo adapter plugs; the kit also comes with a AAA battery and a travel bag.
The headphones are composed of hard shiny pink or black plastic with plaid caps on each ear. Ears are marked R or L to designate sides; on each side there is about an inch and a half of black adjustable plastic hidden in the pink headband to allow a perfect fit. The ear cups rotate and swivel to allow proper seating.
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20,000Hz
- Sensitivity at 1 kHz: 115 dB (Off); 121 dB (On)
The right ear cup holds the on / off switch along with a red LED to indicate power. It is not necessary to turn the headphones on or have a battery installed to listen to music through the headset, but if you want the noise canceling properties the switch will need to be on.
When the headphones are placed on the user’s head, the nature of the padded cups is to help mute much of the background noise, but flipping the switch creates a discernible and slightly weird pressure on the wearer’s ears as sounds are even further muted. As I mentioned, you can listen to music without the switch flipped, but flipping the switch with music playing will instantly produce a much clearer (and much louder) sound, with almost all but the loudest background noise cut. It’s pretty impressive, actually.
Without the switch thrown, music seems a bit more flatline – while you can hear bass and treble clearly, the midrange seems to be a bit overpowering; flip the switch and the first thing you’ll likely do is turn down the volume, as you notice how clear the highs are and how thumpy the bass is.
The AAA battery tucks into a compartment on the right earphone.
Volume is controlled by a wheel built into the cable. Perhaps my only disappointment with this earphone set is that the cable felt a little flimsier than expected. It’s hard to explain, but I guess I’ve grown spoiled by fabric covered cables, and I expect plain ones like these to tangle or break more easily — whether or not that is a fair expectation.
In this color, the EXTREME headphones are more than a little bit girly, but these headphones are also available in green, white and red plaid variations.
If you want a set of noise canceling headphones which don’t look like the typical silver and black and that use LINX AUDIO active noise canceling technology, then you really should look at the Able Planet EXTREME line. Music through them sounds great, and background noise is greatly reduced.
*This particular model is bright pink, because 10% of its sales will be donated to support breast cancer charities.
The EXTREME Foldable Active Noise Canceling Headphones with LINX AUDIO are available directly from the manufacturer.
What I Like: Bright, eye-catching design; noise canceling LINX AUDIO technology
What Needs Improvement: My only gripe is that I wish the cable was fabric wrapped, or there was an option to upgrade