• AblePlanet's NC200 Clear Harmony Foldable Noise Cancelling Headphones Review

Hey folks, Valkor here. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes at TOV: some good, some bad. But make no mistake we’re still going strong and we’re only going to get stronger, watch and see. For now here’s another post CES review, and it goes hand in hand with my GenAudio piece. The company is AblePlanet, whom I had the pleasure of first meeting at CES 2008 and once again in 09. They’ve entered their product, the Clear Harmony Foldable Active Noise Cancelling Headphones, With LINX Audio Technology (or NC200 for short) and while I was blown away, there is some disturbance in the Force.

Design wise, the NC200… well they’re truly foldable. With a twist to the ears and bend there, they fold up small enough that you can fit them in any small bag (or some really big pockets.) Headphones in disguise? Damn right it is! The earphones are well cushioned that they’re not only comfortable, it helps to fully envelope your ears, offering additional blockage of sound. Additional cushions can be found on the base for added comfort. (Are you listening baldies?) The headphone jack (once it’s plugged in) and battery port are very well meshed in the headset, which keeps the beauty of the design intcact with obvious obtrusions.

Once you’ve chosen your media device, you just plug in and go. But before I go into my full review just a bit of what LINX Technology is, taken directly from the AblePlanet’s website.

AblePlanet's NC200

“Able Planet embeds patent-pending LINX AUDIO™ into audio and communication devices to enhance sound quality and speech clarity For All Levels of Hearing”

The Bang:

What can I say? I was floored at CES and bringing it home, I was floored once more with the NC200. Sound is so crisp and clear that even when you’re just wearing the phones on your neck or just resting them on the desk, with the music still playing, you can make out every note and every instrument clear as a sunny day. And that’s the true strength of AblePlanet’s tech: Clarity (hence Clear harmony). The noise cancelling is also spot-on. On most NC headphones, it’s obvious that you’re wearing them because of the constant hum, but with the NC200 you barely notice the sound, plus it wraps you in your own bubble perfectly blocking out all outside noises. Kudos! Now if you want a real treat and you’re one of the many, who’ve downloaded and/or purchased GenAudio’s AstoundStereo Expander, then be prepared for a real treat. It’s like sweet, sweet candy to my ears, everything sounds so damn good it’s scary. And when I say scary, I’m talkin Evanescence, “My Immortal”, oh my god I can’t believe my ears, scary. I kid you not! GenAudio and AblePlanet? You guys need to work something out because… damn…

The Slack:

OK this was a biggy for me and way unexpected. By air the headphones work great, when I’m home, even better. However on the road… What the hell happened? There’s a constant distortion whenever we hit a bump or pothole and it’s to the point that I can never bring them with me on my commute, where I need noise cancelling the most. I thought it was my Mplayer, because with any headset it’s shaky, but when I plugged them into my PSP? Cowon A3 player? You get the very same distortion. And it’s sad because they sound so fucking awesome!! However I think I may have found the problem, and it has something to do with the plug into my devices. It fits kinda loose, so any disturbance (i.e. shaking, going over potholes, etc) causes the sound to disrupt. I’ll be passing this info along and see if anything can be done.

AblePlanet's NC200

So I’m conflicted, on the one hand AblePlanet’s NC200 are a dream, because they sound so amazing, yet on the other hand my commute... it’s just... UGH! If you’re a frequent flyer and you wanna block out that crying baby behind you, or if you’re just mellowing at home but construction is ruining your flow, then yes I highly recommend the NC200 simply because they sound freakin awesome, leaving out all the outside noise. But to my fellow commuters, you might wanna pass on this. Out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving The NC200 3 stars and it’s been Valkor tested… but only approved in certain situations…