Regular travelers will know that a well performing pair of noise canceling headphones are an integral part of a road warrior arsenal. Good headphones block out engine noise, seatmates, crying babies and flight attendants. In recent years. the noise canceling technology inside these headphones has improved to the point where they can cancel out almost all the outside noise. Flying in peace has never been easier.
In this Gadling gear review, we’ll look at the Able Planet Clear Harmony noise canceling headphones. Able Planet may not be the largest manufacturer of headphones, but they produce a very well rated lineup of headphones, including several active noise canceling models.
The technology behind active noise cancellation
Active noise canceling technology works by listening to the noise around your head, and producing anti-noise. By canceling out the waveforms picked up by your ears, you can actually make the noise go away. If you have never worn a pair of active noise canceling headphones, your first experience with them will be awesome.
The Clear Harmony headphones are the top of the line headphones from Able Planet. They come in a very nice sturdy carrying case, and include an audio cable with volume control, dual plug adapter, 1/4″ adapter and batteries.
The headphones themselves are very comfortable – a padded leather headband and earpieces make for a really good fit. On the left earpiece, you’ll find a battery cover (the headphones take 2 AAA batteries), a power switch with green LED indicator and the 3.5mm audio input.
One of the first features I need to point out is that the headphones work when the batteries are empty or the headphones are turned off. This is perfect when you run out of power halfway over the ocean, or when you want to use them during takeoff and landing.
Audio is the next feature that deserves some attention – the Clear Harmony headphones sound absolutely fantastic. Able Planet clearly spent as much time on the noise cancellation as they did on making sure the audio sounded good. Even with the noise cancellation circuit turned on, bass is nice and powerful, and there is little to no “hiss” as found on older generation noise canceling headphones.
Now on to the noise cancellation itself; it is good, but not great. I compared the Clear Harmony headphones with the Bose QC2 and QC15 headphones, and the Audio Technica ATH-ANC3 active noise canceling headphones. Sadly, they did not perform as well as any of these competitors. That said – their audio quality was sufficient for me to still enjoy listening to them.
The Able Planet Clear Harmony headphones come with a $299.99 price tag. This is 4 cents more than the retail price of the newest Bose headphones, the Quiet Comfort 15’s.
Thankfully there is good news as well – the Clear Harmony headphones can be found online for as little as $210 – which
suddenly makes them a tremendous good deal.
Despite the fact that their noise cancellation is weaker than the competition, the Able Planet Clear Harmony headphones make up for this shortcoming with some fantastic audio. The package itself is also great – a good study carrying case and volume control audio cable complete the package.
All in all, I’m happy to recommend the Clear Harmony headphones to anyone looking for an affordable pair of noise canceling headphones, without breaking the bank. You can read more about the Able Planet Clear Harmony headphones at the web site of the manufacturer.