Audio Monarch, Able Planet was out in full force at this year’s past CES 2012. They set up a slick booth and stocked it full of various audio solutions. After all was said and done, two solutions seemed to–ironically–speak loudest to attendees. One was their new Bluetooth headset, the BT400B. The other was their newest music-friendly on-ear set of headphones known as the PS400B. The latter is the solution currently cupped around my monkey ears–and what a blissed-out set of auditory nerves I have now!
Prosaic in the look and feel, the Able Planet PS400B set is not breaking new ground in aesthetics or visual allure. They come in a uniform black matte color with white lettering and minor silver highlights, which are mainly for the Able Planet logos. They feature a pair of seemingly familiar looking ear cushions and connect via a single 3.5mm audio cable. Over this tether, the PS400B support iPod, iPhone, MP3 players, Smart Phones and any other device with a 3.5mm audio-in port. Plus it all packs away in a standard soft carry pouch. No fuss. No muss! Right?
Wrong. “Simple” is an oxymoronic concept when speaking about this unit’s performance. It’s conventional look and ordinary aesthetics are far surpassed by how extraordinary these cans sound under the gun. Is it the “patented” LINX AUDIO technology? Possibly! But the set of ear cushions is no slouch either. Slip the PS400B set over your ears and the amount of ambient noise heard, is significantly reduced. The noise canceling ability surpasses that of the Razer Tiamat gaming headset we reviewed. A moderately noisy room–meaning below 85 dB–is rendered virtually silent. Give thanks to those mushy pillow-soft ear cushions. While effectively cancelling the noise, these audio earmuffs make way for long hours of closed ear jam sessions in complete comfort. All that’s left is to hit “Play” and let the world melt away as you enjoy your favorite playlists or movies.
But first let’s give a slight tweak to the bass on your equalizer or audio settings. The audio quality reproduced, is nothing short of excellent in a $100 offering. These are stereo headphones to boot. Not multi channel! Yet the sound is remarkably pure and rich. Crank the volume to the max and the clarity remains. No high-volume distortion or any other unwanted audio hiss! Still the bass is substantial, but suitable with a minor adjustments to your device’s audio settings. Ultimately, this will prevent overbearing bass, when the volume is maxed. Now you can expect a sensation of fullness and canorous complexity, especially when enjoying music produced from a variety of instruments.
The Able Planet PS400B set also features a in-wire volume control. It works well enough and functions by way of a dial. Dials are fabulous for more precise volume control. But they can also be easily jostled or accidentally bumped. So those who prefer +/- buttons for your volume control, may want to think twice. Regardless the in-wire vol. control is sans a mute button, which would have definitely been welcomed. The unit is however, compatible with other InWire solutions, including those with embedded microphones. So options are on the table.
Again, substance trumps style. It’s something we’ve seen time and again (*cough* SteelSeries *cough*). The Able Planet PS400B set belies its homely looks with big city voluminous sound and rock star performance at an honest price.
Bottom Line: Never judge a book by it’s plain black matte cover. Because once you put this book over your ears, all bets are off. Or something like that… Joking aside: this is an excellent product!
- Beyond stereo performance
- Amazing noise cancelling!
- Super comfortable
- In-line volume control
- Simple look
- Remember to check your bass levels
You can buy the Able Planet PS400B Stereo Headphones for $99.99.
Shawn loves gadgets, literature, history and games. For 10yrs+ he's straddled both the comic book & video game industries, as a writer, editor, marketing officer & producer. Shawn got his start in tech & games as an editor & Hardware Director for GameRevolution.com. More notable accomplishments include Executive Producer on mobile games Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved & The Shroud.