Able Planet Clear Harmony NC1100B (Black) review: Able Planet Clear Harmony NC1100B (Black)

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.7
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 6.0

Average User Rating

2 stars 4 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The comfortable and sturdy Able Planet NC1100B noise-canceling headphones offer effective noise-canceling circuitry, fold for compact storage in an included carrying case, have a volume control integrated into the cord, and are usable without turning on noise cancellation.

The Bad They're just as expensive as the Bose QuietComfort 15s but sacrifice sound quality for oversaturated bass tonality.

The Bottom Line The Able Planet NC1100B noise-canceling headphones match up to their Bose competitors in many respects, but the sound quality falls short and the noise canceling is lacking.

Editors' Top Picks

Able Planet makes a number of noise-canceling headphones, and the NC1100B is the Colorado company's highest-end mode with a retail price of $299.99.

Let's start with what's good about these guys. For starters, they're comfortable and appear to have a sturdy design and a nice soft-touch black finish. While the earcups aren't quite as soft as the Bose QuietComfort 15s, that they're a bit thicker and firmer doesn't hurt their comfort level and may be more appealing to some.

Aside from their black coloring, the NC1100Bs look similar to the QC15s (and QuietComfort 2s), with the same over-the-ear design and earcups that swivel and fold flat to fit in a simple black case. The resulting package is slightly bigger than a CD wallet, which makes it easier to tote, though it's still not terribly compact. As you'd expect from a set of headphones that are designed for frequent travelers, Able Planet throws in a two-prong in-flight adapter.

Like with Bose's active noise-canceling, the earcups' cushions effectively sealed off our ears from the noisy environment. Flipping on the noise cancellation dampened the noise even further. While the NC1100Bs aren't as effective at canceling out noise as the QC15s, they did noticeably muffle the sound of a very loud air conditioning that this reviewer has in his office (it isn't quiet as loud as the inside of an airline cabin, but not too far off).

Editors' Top Picks

 

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Where to Buy See All

Able Planet Clear Harmony NC1100B (Black)

Part Number: CNETNC1100B
Low Price: $89.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Color Black
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Additional Features LINX Audio
  • Type headphones
  • Headphones Form Factor ear-cup
About The Author

Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable e-reader and e-publishing expert. He's also the author of the novels Knife Music and The Big Exit. Both titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, and Nook e-books.