Able Planet Noise Canceling Headphones

Article Index
Able Planet Noise Canceling Headphones
Closer Look, Features and Specs
Noise Cancellation, Testing and Conclusion

Product: Able Planet NC500LC & NC500SC Active Noise Canceling Headphones
Provided By: Able Planet
Price: MSRP $179.99 & $249.99

 

Introduction:

While I'm sure that many of you have never heard of "Able Planet", this is a company that has a long-standing and proud history in the audio department.  Originally started as a "hearing aid" company, Able Planet always breaks new ground in audio technologies and making listening to music, movies and even games a more enjoyable experience.  Today we will be looking at a couple of their latest and greatest headphones; the NC500LC "LoSt CaUzE" Active Noise Canceling headphones for the gamer as well as the NC500SC "Sound Clarity" headphones for anyone who demands quality, comfort and quiet listening to anything they plug their headphones into.

 LoSt-CaUzE Box
LoSt-CaUzE Box
 NC500SC (Sound Clarity) Box
NC500SC (Sound Clarity) Box

 

About Able Planet:

LINX AUDIO™ Technology Summary        

How It Works
Able Planet embeds patent-pending LINX AUDIO™ into audio and communication devices to enhance sound quality and speech clarity For All Levels of Hearing™.Here’s how it works:

Sound quality and speech intelligibility are impacted by high frequency sounds.
Hearing loss associated with age usually begins in the higher frequencies, or the “High Tones.” If you lose the ability to clearly hear these tones, high pitched sounds like “f”, “s” and “th” will be difficult to discriminate, and music may not sound as lively.

LINX AUDIO 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. LINX AUDIO provides full rich sound and enhanced speech clarity even at lower volumes, which may lead people to “Turn it Down” to preserve hearing. An analogy of a richer sound might be the difference you hear when you play a “C” note on a piano, as opposed to a “C” Chord. The “C” Chord demonstrates the impact of adding harmonics to the audio signal. 
 
LINX AUDIO™ filters undesirable sound.
LINX AUDIO™ removes undesirable sounds and noise making it easier to hear high frequency words or notes where clarity is often lost, maximizing full rich sound for music, and enhancing clear voice for speech intelligibility.
 
LINX AUDIO™ reduces distortion.
Increasing volume increases all sounds, including distortion. As volume is increased, standard audio products hard clip peaks with traditional square-edge characteristics (red). LINX AUDIO™ reduces harsh sounds by soft-clipping distortion (yellow).
 
LINX AUDIO™ technology advantages.
  • Enhances sound quality
  • Improves speech clarity
  • Filters undesirable sound
  • Reduces distortion
  • Restricts electromagnetic interference
  • Increases perceived loudness without increasing volume

 

 

First Impressions:

I had never heard of Able Planet before CES 2008 where I was introduced and impressed by their high quality products.  That being said, it's easy to be impressed by a 5 minute demo on the show floor, so I was quite interested to see how these performed in more real-world scenarios over extended periods.  Both headphones come packaged in nice semi-hard sided cases that protect the headphones in your carry-on baggage.  Pictured below is the "LoSt CaUzE" set, but the packaging for the "Sound Clarity" set is identical.

Carry Case
Carry Case
In The Package
In The Package

 

These are large, over-the-ear headphones and should provide better noise isolation than the JBL 510 Reference on-ear headphones that I've used previously.  In the NC500LC bundle there is an extension cable as well as the regular male-male cable with volume control.  Also you'll find a 1/4" to 1/8" stereo adapter in both as well as an airline adapter for use on planes with older style jacks.  The LC (gamer headphones) includes the entire airline goodies in addition to the extension cable whereas the SC model skips on the additional extension cable.  This is fine as the extension cable is really used to plug the audio cable in behind your computer, and is not needed for normal non-computer use.

Cables 'n Connectors
Cables 'n Connectors