Thursday, September 27, 2007

REVIEW: Able Planet Clear Harmony Noise Canceling Headphones

I recently had the opportunity to test out Able Planet’s Clear Harmony Noise Canceling Headphones, even though I don't consider myself the main target audience. I seldom travel on airplanes or need to listen to my iPod or audio in very noisy environments.

However as the father of two children, there are certain times I just want to shut them out and listen to something on the iPod or PC without having to destroy my hearing in the process. My home office and the family iMac are in the same room as the HDTV, entertainment center and XBOX 360 so it can get noisy.

You know the drill. Most earbuds require the listener to crank up the volume just so you can hear. It drowns out the surrounding noise, and in my case mayhem, but you sacrifice audio clarity and of course your future hearing capabilities.

The Clear Harmony Noise Canceling Headphones fit the bill nicely, allowing me to listen to audio content at a reasonable volume, while at the same time ignoring what's going on around me. Seems like the best of both worlds :-)

The headphones use an active noise canceling technology, called LINX AUDIO, that the company claims "creates high frequency harmonics that enhance sound quality and speech clarity of difficult to hear words or notes, and increase the perception of loudness without increasing volume."

The feature is powered by 2 AAA batteries and can be turned on and off at a flip of a switch and works well. It does take some getting used to as the first few times with LINK AUDIO turned on I started to feel nauseous. It goes away so don't be alarmed if it happens.

The headphones were comfortable and reduced noise even without the active noise canceling technology turned on. They have become a favorite of my kids when they are on the computer, listening to music, playing the Nintendo DS, practicing guitar, etc, and want to shut out their sibling or more importantly their parents.

Able Planet’s Clear Harmony Noise Canceling Headphones comes with a portable zippered case, a removable cord with 1/8 and 1/4 inch stereo adapters that include an in-line volume control. The case also seems to have enough room to store a portable media player as well, which is a nice touch.

The headphones don't come cheap at $299 a pop via Internet retailers and $349 at Able Planet's website. That's a little too rich for my blood, but if you fly a lot and/or need noise cancellation to remain sane and keep your hearing then Able Planet’s Clear Harmony Noise Canceling Headphones might be worth the extra expenditure....