Able Planet Clear Harmony Active Noise Canceling Headphones

Able Planet Clear Harmony Active Noise Canceling HeadphonesNoise-canceling stereo headphones

The noise reduction works extremely well. The single cable has a built-in volume slider. They are light, modest and sit very comfortably on your head. Also come with a great package, including adapters and a hard-shell case.


At high volumes, music becomes a muddy cacophony.


The noise-canceling world is tough to measure up to, but Able Planet has made an awesome product that serves an honest alternative to the Bose systems.
 

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Able Planet Clear Harmony Active Noise Canceling Headphones

The noise-canceling world is tough to measure up to, but Ableplanet has made an awesome product that serves an honest alternative to the Bose systems.

It’s impossible to make a second first impression.  Able Planet made a great first impression by packaging their noise-canceling phones with some handy extras.  They included two adapters: a regular1/4” and one that converts a regular 1/8” jack into to two 1/8” mono jacks (for airplanes).  These adapters and the main audio cable have their own mesh compartment next to the headphones in a semi-hard shelled case.  The only thing missing from the case is a place to grab and hold it.

The most dominant feature of these phones is the noise-canceling feature.  With no cord plugged in, you can just sit back, flip the small switch below the right ear’s casing and ambient background noise is replaced with gentle white noise.  However, when the cord is plugged into a device, there seems to be a low frequency grounding problem.  It becomes completely unnoticeable once music or audio starts playing, so it’s not interfering with the audio cleanliness.

So how do they stack up against, let’s say, Bose’s noise-canceling phones?  My comparative Bose model was the QC-1 (now replaced).  Hands down, Ableplanet wins by design.  The Bose have an in-line external box for the batteries and noise-canceling electronics.  The box has a selector for lo or hi signal level against the noise cancellation.  Ableplanet has a single cord from the left phone with a small volume slider that ultimately serves the same function.  The Able Planet’s cord unplugs from the phones, so you have the option to get the noise-cancellation without anything else.  They also clamp to your head a little harder which provided better sound isolation.

The dynamics of these phones are best enjoyed when kept at reasonable levels.  Anything “loud” seems to bury certain timbres, especially vocal lines.  When the noise-canceling feature is enabled, the audio signal’s upper end is boosted by a few decibels starting around what sound like 3 KHz.  This helps drown out the background noise even more, but also delivers brighter audio and enhances general presence.

Overall tone of these phones is incredible.  The lower end’s instruments translate well in the mix, especially kick drums, which cuts through neat and tight.  When kept at a modest level, the mix also has plenty of room to breathe, so you can enjoy those deep-in-the-mix tracks.  They’re perfect for listening to heavy low ends with hot transients, so bump Tower of Power and Stevie Wonder with complete confidence.

Technical Info:

Brand: Aiwa

Model: HP-SC21 Clip Swoops

Type: Open-Air, Dynamic

Driver unit: 13.5mm

Impedance: 16 ohms

Sensitivity: 104 dB/mW

Cord length: 0.5m

Power rating: 50mW

Frequency response: 18 – 22,000Hz

Price: $25.00

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