Able Planet Sound Clarity Active Noise Canceling Headphones

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2 Responses to “Able Planet Sound Clarity Active Noise Canceling Headphones”

  1. Matthew K. Morgan says:
    173 of 175 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Sound Clarity vs. QuietComfort 15: A comparative review, September 22, 2010
    Matthew K. Morgan (Ruther Glen, VA USA) –
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)

    This review is from: Able Planet Sound Clarity Active Noise Canceling Headphones (Electronics)

    I recently acquired a pair of Able Planet Sound Clarity (SC hereafter) headphones, just 6 days after purchasing a pair of Bose Quiet Comfort 15 Noise Canceling headphones (QC15 hereafter). I got a very good deal on the Able Planet phones, which is the main reason I bought them. With both sets in hand, I have been able to do a side-by-side comparison between them. Bose is generally regarded as the Gold Standard when it comes to active noise canceling phones so this review is spun in that regard. I have not had a chance to try the Sennheiser offerings, so I cannot comment on those.

    In summary, the Able Planet phones compare reasonably well against the Bose phones, but there are some trade-offs between the two. Which set to buy depends on the personal preferences and intended uses.

    First off, the phones look very similar to one another. The general design is the same, with an over-the-ear design, soft pads and an on-off switch for noise cancellation. There are some very distinct differences, though, that are not obvious at a glance. First, the detachable cord plugs in somewhat differently, the SC having a jack that this flush with the phone and the QC15 having a jack that is inset within the base of the phone, with a molded plug. The battery compartment is also accessed differently, the SC having a sliding cover exposing 2 AAA batteries and the QC15 having a flip-up cover for a single AAA battery.

    Another visible difference is in the cord that is included with the SC phones – it has a volume control thumb wheel. The QC15 phones have simply on/off. I like being able to adjust the volume without fiddling with the source such as a computer.

    Comfort-wise, Bose has an upper hand on Able Planet. While both have an over-the-ear design which covers the ear, the SC cup is a hair smaller and as such it cannot cover the whole ear as easily as the QC15. That said, the SC phones are still comfortable and the difference is minor.

    The noise canceling aspect of the SC phones is very good but it does not compare to the QC15 headset. Standing next to a running air handler that is roughly the size of a minivan, the SC is able to wipe out a good portion of the noise to make the level comfortable. The QC15 wiped out the sound of the air handler completely, to the point that it was difficult to tell if it was even turned on.

    I was interested in the Linx Audio aspect of the SC phones and at first I was very disappointed. The high range is somewhat dampened, “S” sometimes sounding like “PH”. However, the mid and low ranges are solid and are very rich, whereas Bose sounds good but has remarkably less depth. The QC15 phones are primarily noise canceling phones, and sound quality is secondary to that. The SC headset achieves a better balance of sound to noise canceling.

    Once very distinct advantage that the SC headset has is that the phones will work without power, though noise canceling does not work in that case. The QC15 requires a working battery and must be turned on to work at all.

    Right out of the box, my SC phones were defective. I contacted Able Planet, hoping I could get some advice on how to adjust them, but instead I got an RMA number. Less than 2 weeks later I had a new, working pair in my hands that work much better than the initial pair. Customer service at Able Planet is very responsive, professional and courteous. With the LIFETIME warranty on their headphones, Bose cannot answer with their 2-year warranty.

    Which pair to buy is a matter of preference and intended use. If the intended primary use is noise cancellation and comfort, Bose is the right choice. For listening to music with the ability to engage noise canceling when needed, Able Planet is a better choice. Considering the 2-year Bose warranty against an Able Planet lifetime warranty, though, is hard to ignore.

    As I use my phones for listening to music more than anything else, I use the Able Planet headset as my primary headset and I keep my Bose headset as a backup.

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  2. Paul A. Ryder says:
    93 of 95 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Very good performance for the $, May 24, 2008
    Paul A. Ryder (Issaquah, WA) –

    This review is from: Able Planet Sound Clarity Active Noise Canceling Headphones (Electronics)

    A colleague let me borrow these for a trip to China — I already own a pair of Bose QuietComfort 2 headphones, but my wife was using those on the trip. Being able to compare these side by side, I have to say the Bose still win in terms of total noise cancellation. However, for the money, these have very good noise cancellation, plus a couple of features that the Bose do not. These will still operate when the power/noise cancelling is turned off (the Bose don’t), and the inline volume control is really helpful so you don’t have to fumble for your MP3 player or the airplane seat controls to adjust the volume (again, the Bose don’t have this).

    For the money, these are a great alternative to the Bose if you’re looking for over the ear noise cancelling headphones.

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