The Phiaton Primal Series 300 Noise Canceling headphones are supercompact and packed with features any frequent flier would lust after, but only those with a particular penchant for dance, pop, electronica, and hip-hop should consider picking up a set.
Phiaton edged its way into the headphone market last year with its MS 400 Moderna Series headphones, an eye-catching set that brought solid sound quality and comfortable construction to the table. Now, with the considerably more portable PS 300 Noise Canceling headphones, the company continues its tradition of sleek design and plush comfort.
These on-ear 'phones pack in a slew of travel-friendly accessories and, at $299, cost $50 less than the competition from Bose. However, the set failed to provide great sound quality across a wide variety of music, making it most suitable for only a certain type of listener.
The Phiaton PS 300 Noise Canceling headphones are very similar to the Bose On Ear headphones in design. Two small, oval earpads measuring 2.7 inches tall by 2.2 inches wide are designed to be worn on the ear rather than cupping it.
As with the Bose set, a single detachable cable descends from the right earpiece, although in the PS 300's case, the cord features an inline muting button that allows you to hear external noise without removing the headphones.
The style of the Phiaton PS 300 headphones varies slightly from the Bose, but we're rather keen on it. Rather than silver accents, you get champagne gold, and the outer covering of the earpieces is a textured black leather. It's a high-end look overall. Thanks to the padded, adjustable headband and super cushy earpads, the PS 300 'phones rival the Bose set in comfort.
As far as features are concerned, the Phiaton PS 300 headphones are better than the Bose QuietComfort 3, as they include noise-canceling functionality, but can actually be used without this feature activated. So, if your battery runs out midflight, you won't be stuck without music. Not that you'll have to worry about the battery dying anyway, seeing as how Phiaton includes an extra rechargeable cell in the package.
The extras don't end there. The Phiaton PS 300 headphones are pretty much a traveler's dream. The package includes a nice, hard-shelled case; an airline adapter; and a wallwart power adapter with snap-on attachments for various international outlets. To this you connect a compact USB charging unit, which directly accepts the rechargeable cells. In addition, you get a quarter-inch plug for use with home stereos for when you're not on the go.
In addition to the noise cancellation, the PS 300 headphones include a bass boost feature, which can be activated via switches on the bottom of either earcup. Flipping one enhances the low-end a bit, and turning on the second pumps it up even more.
Our main complaint is that the low-end can sound mushy for certain types of music--new wave and indie rock, in particular. Bass performs notably better for pop, dance, and hip-hop music, where it is generally more defined.