Rating: ★★★½☆

Pros:

  • Vast sonic abilities with great amplitude
  • Lightweight and comfortable construction
  • Includes carrying case, adapters and inline volume control

Cons:

  • Noise canceling abilities are a bit antiquated
  • Pricey

Suffering from distraction can mean the difference between success and failure. Take for instance myself. As I write this review I sit in a coffee shop surrounded by street noise, music and other human beings who should be working, but are busy chatting with their espresso double macchiato companions. If you’ve ever visited one of these hangouts then you know how easy it is to eves drop on conversations and be distracted from the work at hand. Unless of course you’ve got yourself a pair of noise canceling headphones.

For the last two weeks I’ve been trying out Able Planet’s highest end Linx powered noise canceling headphones, the Clear Harmony. They’re an over the ear, padded affair that provides active noise cancellation. Included is a carrying case, headphone cord with in-line volume control, airplane adapter and 1/8-inch adapter.

For those of you looking for a nonchalant approach to headphones I suggest you look else where. While the Able Planet Clear Harmony headphones aren’t honking huge they mostly certainly call attention to your dome. But with that comes comfort and what seems to be a solid build. Like most headphones of a similar ilk these are largely crafted of plastic – aside from the ear padding – which in turn results in an extremely light weight build with little sacrifice in sound quality. In terms of finish I would have preferred them in all black as opposed to silver accents, but really, I’m splitting hairs.

While the Clear Harmony headphones core offering is the ability to actively cancel noise, they can be used in a passive mode, though the amplitude and frequency range will be greatly diminished. Nonetheless, it’s good to know that they can still serve as a functional pair of headphones even when the included AAA batteries run out of juice or the power switch is turned to off mode.

My initial testing of the Clear Harmony headphones took place on my 10.5 hour journey to Switzerland this Christmas. After extended wear of 6+ hours I’m pleased to report they’re very comfortable. Every hour or so I readjusted the placement of the headphones on my head since sitting on an airplane, as you can imagine, can unwillingly shift things around causing the pads, as soft and comfortable as they are, to rest on the top of my ears and cause a slight bit of irritation. But allow me to be clear, that’s more a result of my circumstance than the headphones themselves.

For those of you with a large dome size you’ll be pleased to know they’re fully adjustable and should fit even the biggest of heads. The power switch, as well as the headphone jack (the included cord is modular for storage purposes) are both located on the left headphone. Plugging in the cord as well as operating the power switch and installing the 2 AAA batteries are simple as pie easy.

The frequency range as well as amplitude of the Clear Harmony headphones can best be described as a light weight boxer who packs a heavy weight punch; quick, agile, light weight with knock out power. The frequency range as well as amplitude of the Clear Harmony headphones, to say the least, is very impressive, even give the age of the product, which are now bordering on 5 years old.

My experience with noise canceling headphones is very limited. I’ve tried out a friends Bose 15 headphones, which if memory serves correct seemed to cancel a wider spectrum of noise. The Clear Harmony headphones, however do not. They seemed to thrive best, in terms of noise cancellation, in situations, such as an airplane, which produces a consistent hum. Alternatively, take for instance the coffee shop that I’m currently sitting in. With the active noise canceling turned off and the headphones covering my ears, fellow patrons conversations are drowned out by not only the padding of the headphones, but the background noise created by the circulation system. But when I activate the noise cancellation that background noise is eliminated thus resulting in an approved ability to hear conversations. It’s perhaps safe to say that the Clear Harmony’s noise canceling ability is limited to mid to low frequencies, which unfortunately, for this reviewer, significantly diminishes their overall score.

At 4+ years old Able’s Planet’s Clear Harmony headphones might suffer from some what antiquated noise cancellation tech, but what it lacks in that department it surely makes up for it with its vast sonic capabilities that will continues to stand up to the test of time.

You can buy Able Planet’s Clear Harmony headphones direct for $349.99.



Christen Costa

 
Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."