AblePlanet NC1050 Review

ableplanet nc1050 review

Noise Cancelling Headphones That Re-produce the live experience

 

  • High quality audio
  • Very clear highs and excellent bass
  • Comfortable over the ear headphones that can be worn for long sessions
  • High marks for noise cancelling.

  • No color options: At least at this time
  • I would prefer a small in line volume control
  • Would be nice to have the device auto turn off. I always forget to do it.

The AblePlanet NC1050 noise canceling headphones provide a very solid noise cancelling experience. The crisp and clear sound coming out of these babies will provide hours of enjoyment for years to come. We rate this product a Strong Buy and award it the Editor Choice Award for the month of May 2012. It scored a 5 Star mark.


Editor Choice Onheadphones.comAblePlanet NC1050 Noise Canceling Headphones Review

Noise canceling headphones- with Linx Audio

First Thoughts

It's been a while since I have personally tested out such a high quality noise cancelling headphone that was actually very comfortable. The first time I put them on was when my son had several friends over playing. I needed to jam out some paper work and could not work with all the running around. I placed the AblePlanet NC1050 over my ears and turned them on. It was truly amazing to go from a chaotic seen to being at a Dave Mathews Concert. The comfort level of these headphones I can not stress enough. I have sensitive ears and for me they felt better then any Boise I've worn.

How does the Noise Canceling Compare to Other Leading Brands?

AblePlantet has produced a very high quality noise cancelling device. I would put this product on par with the Bose QuitComfort series of headphones. I could not rate it above or below. To put it simply I fully enjoyed my listening experience and was able to drown out the out side world to a very satisfactory level. The headphones also work when not turned on, which can be a big plus for those who do not need the noise cancelling feature on.

Overall Design

For a cost of $349 I expect my headphones to be very durable and last me for years. The NC1050 seems to meet this criteria. They appear very well engendered and a few drops hear and there should not cause any major damage.

The right side of the headphones is where you will have the 2 AAA batteries. They are ease to change out with out any special tools needed. The bay door slides out and secures back in place with ease. Batteries are included with this device.

The on and off button are also located on the right side. Basic slide up for on and down to place back into the off feature. As mentioned before the NC1050 works in both on and off mode for music listening.

The cord connecting the headphones to the listing device is detachable and around 5 1/2 feet in length. I have always preferred detached cords as I tend to forget I'm wearing headphones and when I walk away I don't suffer any neck injury. Believe me, you will forget these are on your head and will make the same mistake. On the cord is a volume button. It's a smooth oval shaped volume cord. In my mind it could of been smaller and I prefer it so. It's a matter of opinion and if you have large hands (Mine are small) you may appreciate the size.

Overall Performance

The noise canceling works very well as already mentioned. I was able to drown out more of the background noise on the NC1050 then many other lower cost noise canceling headphones. The sound was also very clear. The highs, lows and bass were impressive and not distorted. On lesser quality noise canceling headphones you will notice distortion and muffles, not on the AblePlanet NC1050.

I have yet to use up the battery life on the device and have enjoyed several hours of use. I have not been able to determine the exact life of the battery and could not find documentation to support how long they will last.

I watch a war movie with these headphones on and got a big grin at the bass and sound quality levels from this device. It did add a lot to my listening experience.

Warranty

There is a general limited lifetime warranty. If the product malfunctions with out the help of a power surge or the owner causing damage through improper use, they will replace or repair the device at their discretion. This is a very industry standard warranty. Nothing too special about it as just about everyone offers it. Still it's always nice to have one for free.

Attachments

  • 1/4 Home Stereo Adaptor
  • AAA Battery (2)
  • Hard Shell Protective Carrying Case
  • Airplane Adapter 

Specs Taken From Ableplanet.com and The Product Box

MSRP: $349

  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20 kHz
  • Sensitivity at 1kHz: 115 dB(Off); 121 dB (On)
  • Plug 3.5 mm

·  Award Winning Sound Quality
·  Maximum Speech Clarity
·  Soft Clips Distortion
·  Increased Perceived Loudness Without Increasing Volume

SPECIAL FEATURES 
 
·  Superior Noise Canceling Technology
·  Featuring Award-Winning Patented LINX AUDIO® a Hear the Difference® technology
·  In-Line Volume Control for Easy Adjustment to Safe Listening Levels
·  Lightweight and Comfortable fit
·  Flat Black paint with Carbon Fiber ring
·  Ideal for Creating Your Own Personal Space Filled with Full Rich Sound
·  Removable Cord with 1/8” and 1/4” Stereo Adapters
·  For use in Computer & Language Labs, Stereos, Personal Computers, CD, DVD and MP3 Players
·  For Use With or Without a Hearing Aid 

Sony MDR DS 7100 7.1 Channel Digital Surround Sound Headphone Review

Sony MDR DS 7100The magic of noise free audio experience

The Sony MDR DS 7100 7.1 Channel Digital Surround Sound Headphone gets top ratings for overall efficiency.

The Sony MDR DS 7100 7.1 Channel Digital Surround Sound Headphone isn’t compatible for all user needs. It is important to take the time to find out if it will be a good match for your individual or business needs before you purchase it.

That information can be found on the Sony website, by reviewing the owner’s manual there for this product, or by contacting their customer service team for further assistance.
 

This product deemed to be a great value for the price. It is a sturdy product that will last for a long time. The long battery life is a bonus, too, and it lasts longer than most of the competing products in this particular category.

See More Images and Product Detail on This Product Page


Sony MDR DS 7100 Review

The Sony MDR DS 7100 7.1 Channel Digital Surround Sound Headphone is cordless so it offers convenient use from any location. The technology that it offers is called Virtual Phone and it can produce a 7.1 channel from a source that is only 5.1 channel. The driver offers a 50 mm unit that has up to 13 hours of battery life before it needs to be recharged.

A user of the Sony MDR DS 7100 7.1 Channel Digital Surround Sound Headphone has the ability to move up to 93 feet from the processor. It can also be conveniently connected to any audio system. This includes a PC, TV, VCR, or DVD player.

The level of technology that it offers is very high, yet a user won’t have complexity issues when it comes to using the Sony MDR DS 7100 7.1 Channel Digital Surround Sound Headphone. This is very important because a product that is complicated won’t be as valuable to a consumer.

Where to Purchase:

Check Out the the Amazon Website Here.

Technical Info:

  • 7.1ch VPT (VirtualPhones Technology) , supports DOLBY PRO LOGIC Iix
  • 2.4GHz wireless transmission system
  • Realtime Channel Selection: automatically avoids power interference
  • 40mm large driver units on headphones
  • Additional headphones (MDR-RF7100) is available.

 

See the Amazon website for Sony MDR DS 7100

Sennheiser MM 400 Bluetooth

Sennheiser MM 400 BluetoothGet a unique sound and a superior clarity

Higher quality when it comes to the clarity of the sound and that of the bass. It provides wireless freedom and the Bluetooth technology allows telephone connection.


The microphone is not properly functioning and there are often delays at the level of the Bluetooth technology. Also, there are some controls that are not compatible with iPhone.

While you get the feeling that you are only using headphones from time to time, the Sennheiser MM 400 Bluetooth headset still makes a great investment for those who long searched for the device that delivers great sound quality. The invisible microphone could have been a major advantage, but the fact that the user encounters problems when using it lowers its practicality.

See More Images and Product Detail on This Product Page

Check the Amazon website here for more information on this product.


Sennheiser MM 400 Bluetooth Headsets

Enjoy great optimized hi-fi stereo sound

The new Sennheiser MM 400 Bluetooth headsets offer the possibility to both make calls and listen to music. With the help of an integrated invisible microphone, one can easily use MM 400 to talk in a comfortable manner. However, the microphone is full of surprises and this useful feature can become unusable at times. When it comes to how long can the headsets’ user talk, the product offers a talk time of around 20 hours.

The product also includes features and controls meant for playing games and watching video on the iPhone. As it is a full of surprises device however, MM 400 comes with difficulties when it comes to these activities too.

Sennheiser MM 400 is a great choice for those who travel a lot as it works both wireless or wired, in case of no Bluetooth accessibility. More than that, it can be compacted so that it won’t take too much space when carried. The German company Sennheiser did a good job with this model when it comes to portability, comfort while wearing the device and a great transmission signal, but failed to provide the product with the promised standards in terms of using it for communication.

Where to Purchase:

Check Out the the Amazon Website Here.

Technical Info:

Charging time: 3 hrs
Wi-Fi Range: 10 m
Weight: 105 grams
Technology standards: Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR / supported profiles: A2DP + AVRCP + HSP + HFP
MSRP: $349.95

See the Amazon website for Sennheiser MM 400 Bluetooth

See More Images and Product Detail on This Product Page

DENON AH-D2000 Headphones

DENON AH-D2000You’re living the good life; show it through your headphones!

Good tone and good representation of all tone ranges. Ear cups are very comfortable.


Shows a bit of a dip in the mid ranges of tone.  The headphones are slightly bulky.

Denon has come out with this headphone set to provide a good quality listening experience with the added comfort of wearing headphones with well-padded ear cups. With these headphones you can get a really well-defined sound.

Check the Amazon website here for more information on this product.


DENON AH-D2000

Sound quality that really defines what you are listening to.

Great imaging is one of the best features of the DENON AH-D2000 headphone set which uses micro fiber technology to give you the best possible audio quality as you listen to your music. The padded ear cups which cover your ears completely provide comfort while canceling out a large amount of external noise, even without any noise-canceling technology being installed on them.

The sound quality provided by the micro fiber is heavily emphasized upon by the manufacturer as it really takes a lead among the competition when it comes to providing a good quality listening experience. The bass is delivered with power, and the high trebles are not lost. The mid ranges are a bit less powerful than the two extreme ranges though. However, you will get a clearly defined sound with each instrument being clearly and separately audible through the headphones. The DENON AH-D2000 will amaze you by the openness of the sound provided although it is a closed headphone set.

The wire provided for the DENON AH-D2000 is quite long and you will never have a problem with mobility as long as you use it. At the end of the wire you will find a 3.5mm plug, and a 6.3mm screw-on adapter is provided along with the headphones.

Some users have complained that the leather cover of the ear cups can cause sweaty listening sessions at times, but generally the response to the comfortable ear cups has been extremely good, as well as the general response towards the headphones.

The DENON AH-D2000 is great to use at home. It can be put to great use as a set of DJ headphones as well thanks to superior audio quality.

Where to Purchase:

Check Out the Headphone Store here and Amazon here

Technical Info:

•    Standard Cable: 3ft
•    Impedance:25 ohm
•    Weight: 370g
•    Sensitivity: 106dB/mW
•    Largest input: 1,800mW
•    Playback frequency range: 5 – 45,000Hz
•    Included accessories: Adapter for 6.3mm audio jack
•    MSRP: $349.00

See the Amazon page for DENON AH-D2000

Bose Quiet Comfort 3 Noise Cancellation Headphones

Bose Quiet Comfort 3 Noise Cancellation HeadphonesPremium Sound for the Ultimate in Audio

Audio quality from Bose’s Quiet Comfort line is the best. The size of the headphones are more compact and streamlined as well. Bose offers a 30 day trail period to experience the Comfort 3 yourself.


The battery life cuts offal audio supply and the price is steep.

Bose’s new design is ultra-comfortable and more compact than ever before. If you want the premium sound quality, you’ll have to bite the bullet on the price.

Check the Amazon website here for more information on this product.


Bose’s Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

Welcome to a Quieter World

Bose released the third iteration in its QuietComfort series of headphones. When it comes to noise cancelling headphones, I can’t find a better choice. Bose went back to the drawing board and designed a more compact, sleek and streamlined model with the QuietComfort 3 headphones. The design overhaul also includes a new feature. The Whether or not you think they're overpriced, Bose's luxuriously designed QuietComfort models have set the standard for premium noise-canceling headphones. As their model number indicates, the $349 QuietComfort 3s are the third iteration of these popular headphones, and for this go-round, the folks at Bose set out to make a smaller pair of headphones that would sound just as good as the QuietComfort 2s, which remain on the market at $299.

The Bose QuietComfort 3s are indeed significantly smaller their predecessors, and they feature an on-ear (supra-aural) rather than the over-the-ear (circumaural) design of the QuietComfort 2s. Impressively …

The deisn overhaul also inclusedon-the-ear (supra aural) fit is the next level over the circumaural (over the ear) fit.  The design doesn’t stop there. These headphones are nothing short of impressive. There is memory foam on the inside of the headphones and the fit is so snug that no sound creeps in or out of the headset.

The Bose QuietComfort 3s flat design has a built in noise reducing circuitry. They come with their own little posh carrying case that’s protects the hardware. When you’re travelling by plane there is a two prong adapter and long cord that adds to the overall comfort and convenience.

The last part of the Bose redesign is the lithium-ion battery. It comes with a small travel charger to make sure you can plug up where ever you may be. The battery life is approximately 20 hours. You can purchase another battery for $50. The downside is that when your battery life is low a regular AAA cell won’t do the trick for a temporary fix.

Technical Info:

MSRP: $349.00

Dimensions

Headphone Dimensions

7.38"H x 5.25"W (19 cm x 13.5 cm) 

Ear Cushion Dimensions

2.88"H x 2.25"W (7.5 cm x 6 cm) 

Weight with Cable

5.1 oz. (145 g) 

Battery Output Power 3.7VDC, 200mAh

Battery Life Approximately 25 hours per charge; 500 charging cycles

See the Amazon page for Bose Quiet Comfort 3 Noise Cancellation Headphones Review

Apple iPod Hi-Fi Loudspeaker System

Apple iPod Hi-Fi Loudspeaker SystemGo wireless with your music

Well built and easy to set-up. Works well with all iPod models and the remote is quite good. Can be used outside as long you don't mind the weight of the batteries. Sound quality is very good, but the top end has been lobbed off to protect you from the evils of MP3s. Will play very loudly.


Is not as good as Steve Jobs claims. With all of the batteries inside, it weighs far too much. Top end does not have enough extension. May encourage you to listen far too loudly. Soundstage width and depth suffers due to the design.

The iPod Hi-Fi is a credible desktop system that works very well with the iPod, but it is hardly the high-end audio system killer that Steve Jobs bragged about. It faces a lot of competition from Klipsch, Altec Lansing, Monitor Audio, and others.

Check the Amazon website here for more information on this product.


Apple iPod Hi-Fi Loudspeaker System

Apple iPod Hi-Fi Loudspeaker System: Sorry Steve, the Tubes are Staying!

Apple's iPod Hi-Fi loudspeaker system was designed to replace your two-channel home speaker system and while it does sound quite good, it really does not have enough aural prowess to replace any high-end system.

Something very creepy happened during Apple’s press conference when Steve Jobs introduced the iPod Hi-Fi, or, as they like to call it “Home stereo – Reinvented.” I know that I am not the only one who felt it, because my email box filled up (okay, 14 emails) with comments about the end of high-end audio, as we know it.

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.  (insert image of Obi-Wan…Alec Guiness)

Apple’s desire to build on the astounding success of the iPod and iTunes with a product that would keep iPod-users within the Empire makes perfect sense. It was inevitable, based on the number of 3rd party manufacturers such as Bose, Klipsch, and Altec Lansing producing tabletop docking stations for the iPod (close to 90,000,000 sold), that Apple would have to do something to take those potential sales away from its rivals. The iPod is the hottest consumer product in decades, and from the perspective of millions of users, their media playback device of choice. It is also not going away. Apple plans on getting rid of the current 60GB Video iPod this quarter and releasing something even more specialized to get users to trade up.

I applaud Apple for building the iPod because it has (as long as users are ripping music in a lossless format) encouraged people to listen to music again with a degree of interest that we have not witnessed in years. B&M music stores have turned into morgues. Amazon, iTunes, and other online music retailers get almost all of my business these days. With the exception of trips to used record stores in the Village and the occasional stop at Tower Records/Video on Route 17 in Paramus, I buy everything online. Most people I know who buy a lot of music have completely altered their buying methods.

I also know that Apple hired one of us, the hi-fi audiophile breed, to design the iPod Hi-Fi speaker system. He is fairly well known within the industry, having created some excellent equipment over the years and in no way can he be considered a sell-out. Most designers I know would have jumped at the opportunity to create a high-end speaker system for the iPod with Apple’s deep pockets. When I heard his name, I was actually encouraged that Apple would produce something that would shake the high-end out of the smug coma it has been in for a few decades. As Obi-Wan correctly observed, “That’s no moon. That’s a space station.”

Color me intrigued.

That lasted for about thirty seconds when Apple’s Steve Jobs dropped this statement on the world.

"I'm an audiophile," Jobs said. "I've had stereos costing, well I won't say because you'll think I'm crazy. But, costing a lot more. And, I'm thinking of getting rid of mine for this."

As someone who has used Apple computers for the better part of twenty-five years, I have a love-hate relationship with Steve Jobs. I hate him for almost killing the company on more occasions than I care to recall, but I also love him for finally finding a real strategy and sticking to it. I own five Apple computers, so my loyalty to the company and their products is pretty strong.

Even though I recognize that his comment was nothing more than marketing BS, it made me cringe to hear crap like that. Lord knows how many people took what he said seriously.

I said it before and I’ll say it again now … Does anyone really believe that Steve Jobs dumped whatever high-end stereo he owns for the iPod Hi-Fi?

Get serious.

It was around the same time that Apple announced the iPod Hi-Fi that I was listening to the Red Wine Audio iMod, and quite frankly, digging the shit out of what I was hearing. Red Wine Audio hit a 500-foot dinger with that product and it forced me to completely rethink my opinion of portable media players as far as their use in a high fidelity system. Properly implemented, an iPod is capable of producing a lot of musical enjoyment in the home.

With the review period (iMod iPod) ending, I got progressively more interested in the iPod Hi-Fi because I wanted to hear the two in action together. The Red Wine design changes prevent plugging the iMod into the iPod Hi-Fi via its docking slot, so you need to get a cable and adapter and plug it in through the optical and analog mini-jack on the rear of the Hi-Fi.

With the clock ticking and my wallet refusing to open, I gave up on the experiment. Apple was not exactly handing them out, so I decided to put the idea on the backburner until May…

You say it’s your birthday…

That annoying day where one gets one step closer to social security and Jell-O enemas rolled around and with it came a rather heavy box from some relatives who thought I would have a heart attack if I had to listen to music for the rest of my life with…take a guess…an iPod Hi-Fi.

Some days you just win. Others kick you in the groin and make you wear “My Little Pony” outfits and pink lipstick.

As Wayne and Garth so eloquently put it … “Game on!”

Meaty, Beaty, Big, and Battery Killing…

Does Apple seriously expect people to carry this around with them to the beach? With six D-cell batteries installed, the iPod Hi-Fi weighs in at almost 17 pounds and there is no way that I would schlep this around outside my home. I thought boom boxes went out of style a long time ago with the Atari 5200. While I might be persuaded to take it outside and use it for a party in the backyard (which might happen 2-3 times this century), the iPod Hi-Fi is the kind of product that I would leave on a shelf or dresser and never touch again. One issue that reared its ugly head is that the top-mounted docking cradle adds 4-5” to the height of the Hi-Fi with an iPod plugged in. If you plan on placing the Hi-Fi on a shelf, make sure that you include the height with the iPod as well. I do like the fact that the Hi-Fi charges your iPod while it is inside the cradle; even when in DC mode.

At 17? x 6.6? x 6.9?, the iPod Hi-Fi resembles a center channel speaker and fit rather easily on our dresser where it was used for a majority of the review. The double-walled, sealed and tuned resin enclosure is very sturdy, and I was glad to see that Apple put some thought into this. One of the reasons a number of the other tabletop docking stations sound terrible in my opinion is that their enclosures vibrate more than a pocket rocket. They resonate so badly at above average volume levels that the sound just falls apart. Zero coherence. Not so with the iPod Hi-Fi. The bottom of the enclosure is lined with a thick, gray rubber pad that stops the unit from sliding around, and also helps control unwanted vibration.

The Hi-Fi’s rear panel provides a 1/8-inch (3.5mm) auxiliary input jack that accepts either an analog or an optical digital S/PDIF cable. If you decide to use Apple’s AirPort Express with the iPod Hi-Fi, you can feed its internal DAC with an optical cable. The back also hosts the battery door and a jack for the system’s AC cable. Unlike many similar systems, the Hi-Fi doesn’t require an external power brick; the power supply—an auto-switching model that supports 100-240V at 50-60Hz is inside the unit. One thing clearly missing from the rear panel is a video output jack. Apple has never “officially” touted the iPod Hi-Fi as a home theater speaker system, but it seemed logical to me considering the video capabilities of the iPod that they would have seen that feature as a strong selling point. Guess not.

The iPod Hi-Fi is powered by an internal Class D amplifier, but Apple has yet to provide any official power specs. Whatever those figures are, the Hi-Fi does not struggle at all to reproduce music at dangerously loud levels. I was able to crank the iPod Hi-Fi with Green Day, Dead Can Dance, and Stereolab and it never even broke a sweat.

The Hi-Fi’s speaker drivers consist of two 80 mm wide-range drivers. They are designed to take the place of separate midrange and tweeter drivers and are in sealed enclosures, along with a 130 mm, dual-voice-coil, ported woofer in a larger overall enclosure. Most importantly, they are of decidedly better quality than those found in competing docking stations.

Having spent some time with both the competing Bose and Altec Lansing systems (SoundDock and iM7), it strikes me as being rather obvious why the Hi-Fi has a warmer, more engaging, and certainly less fatiguing presentation: better quality drivers, an emphasis on the midrange and midbass performance, and a top-end that has been rolled off to compensate for the iPod’s deficiencies in that regard. The iPod Hi-Fi is certainly never going to be mistaken for a detail hound, but that is okay, considering that it really is not a high-end speaker system.

There I said it.

I plan on adding a Part “II” and Part “III” to this review over the course of the month, where I’ll discuss more of the Hi-Fi’s features (remote, tone control, sound quality using the AirPort Express), but I want to conclude this first installment with some thoughts on its sound quality and where I think Apple has gone wrong with this product and its marketing.

What I really like about the Hi-Fi is that I can listen to it for more than an hour and not get a headache. I cannot say the same about its competitors whose sound I find congested, bloated in the midbass, and overly etched in the treble. The Bose has slightly better extension on top than the Hi-Fi, and it sounds better if you listen to it in the nearfield. The iPod Hi-Fi sounds much cleaner and more focused from further away; something, which worked really well in the bedroom as we placed it almost 10 feet away, and on our dresser, which is 42” tall.

It has a rich and punchy presentation that works well with most types of music; remains focused at loud listening levels, and has surprisingly taut bass response.

So where does it fall down?

The lack of detail bothered me because I felt it robbed Coltrane, Gerson, and Etta James of those little nuances that allow me to connect with the music. I have heard high-end speakers fail in that regard as well, so the Hi-Fi is not alone.

Apple’s engineers will, I am sure, disagree with me on this point, but I think the single-box design fails in regard to creating a soundstage and precise stereo imaging. I have never really been hung up on that aspect of sound reproduction (I will take soul and coherence over a rock solid image any day), but it bothered me with the Hi-Fi. Music rarely expanded outside the confines of the Hi-Fi creating a soundstage where one could clearly delineate specific instruments and performers.

Perhaps I am asking too much of a $349 speaker system, but Mr. Jobs did say that this was an “audiophile” system that would get you to throw away your more expensive separates.

Had Apple come out and promoted the Hi-Fi as a genuine step-up over traditional mini-systems with bookshelf speakers and a stepping-stone to even higher levels of fidelity, I would have embraced it with great enthusiasm.

Asking me to pretend that it even comes close to the sound of my Fi X and Cain and Cain Abbys or the Shindo Labs Montille, is like asking me to pretend that A&W root beer tastes like Boylan’s Creamy Red Birch Beer, or that White Castle tastes as good as a double-double from the In/Out.

Sorry, Steve.

I will be holding onto my beloved iPod Hi-Fi and using it where it belongs; in the kitchen, bedroom and when the power goes out.

Technical Info:

Brand: Apple

Model: iPod Hi-Fi Loudspeaker system

Drivers: Two 80mm wide range, One 130mm woofer

Enclosure: Sealed resin chamber

Frequency response: 53Hz – 16KHz +/- 3 dB

Max Sound Level: 108 dB at 1m

Height: 6.6 inches

Width: 17 inches

Depth: 6.9 inches

Weight: 14.5 pounds without batteries

Weight: 16.7 pounds with batteries

Price: $349.00

See the Amazon page for Apple iPod Hi-Fi Loudspeaker System