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Logitech has an extensive line of mobile phone and gaming headsets, but the company has made a few departures into the world of portable audio headphones with products such as the Curve Headphones and the Wireless Headphones for MP3. Another such product is its £100 Noise-cancelling Headphones, featuring a sealed earcup-style with passive as well as active noise-hushing capabilities.
Logitech wins style points for its Noise-cancelling Headphones' modern, yet understated design. The fully enclosed earcups, which twist to lie flat for easy storage, form attractively curved rectangles, and the black and brushed-charcoal colouring is sure to have universal appeal.
A soft, pleasantly squishy padding lines the inside of the cups and conforms nicely to the contours around the ear. If you wear earrings however, you may find the bottom edge of the earpieces pushes the backs of your earrings uncomfortably into your neck -- a typical problem with earcup-style headphones (and the reason why many women, and some men, prefer earbuds).
We also found that the headphones exerted a slight pressure on the back of our jaw, which turned into an uncomfortable twinge after an hour or so of use. The padded headband, though, is comfortable as can be -- it's adjustable and leans forward slightly for an ergonomic fit.
The Noise-cancelling Headphones come with a nice array of extras, including a removable audio cable that measures approximately 1.5m and is thinner than typical over-the-ear cables. There's also a well-designed hard-shell travel case, which offers a Velcro loop for the cable, earcup moulds, an AAA battery cutout (which is where you'll find the included AAA battery), a small square pocket with a picture of an aeroplane on it (for the included aeroplane audio jack adaptor), and even a slot for your MP3 player. The latter appears to be sized with the iPod in mind, but really any like-size (or smaller) device should fit.
Of course, the main feature of these headphones is the active noise cancelling, and it's a little difficult to tell how well this feature works. We don't mean that in a bad way -- the earcups on their own do such an admirable job of keeping out extraneous noise that it's hard to tell the difference when the noise-cancelling switch, which is located on the left earcup, is activated.
With no music playing, the feature does indeed appear to alter the hum of an office air conditioner from a low, distant ocean sound to a less insistent, albeit higher-pitched, wind sound. We're not sure which we prefer, though it hardly matters, because why would you want to sit in silence with a pair of headphones on anyway? It would be interesting to hear what it does to an aeroplane engine drone, though.
As for music, the Logitech Noise-cancelling Headphones are certainly up to the task, though the experience differs depending on whether you activate the noise cancellation. With the switch turned off it sounds okay, but as soon as you activate it, the mid- and low-ends really pop out. In fact, so much goes into it that the music sounds muffled for a second and a half before levelling off.
We personally preferred this richer-sounding music -- when the noise cancellation is off, it sounds hollow -- but certain listeners and discerning audiophiles who shun over-processing (and probably shouldn't be using noise-cancelling earphones anyway) may not take a shine to it.
Once we settled into the on position with a Creative Zen V Plus playing the tunes, we enjoyed plenty of detail and bass. In Bad Religion's Sorrow, the deep strum of bass was easily discernible even behind the frantic lead guitar. Every instrument in the hip-hop track Good Stuff by Kelis stood out, and Danny Tenaglia's dance track Moody was bass-tastic.
The processing that goes into the noise-cancellation feature can make things sound fake (or tubular and tinny), depending on the device playing the music and the person who's listening to it, but all in all, the headphones should satisfy a range of globe-trotting listeners. They're certainly a good alternative to Bose's expensive QuietComfort 3 headphones.
Edited by James Kim
Additional editing by Elizabeth Griffin