Phitek Systems isn't a newcomer to the headphone market in the strictest sense--the company is responsible for the technology behind other companies' designs (Audio-Technica's ATH-ANC7, for example)--but the OEM is now trying its hand at its own brand with the Blackbox line of noise-cancellation headphones.
It's clear that Phitek knows what it's doing. The compact C18 earphones certainly don't fail to impress, and we're not disappointed with the company's full-size model, either. The M10 Noise Cancellation Headphones ($179) are a comfy set with solid audio quality and a fair smattering of extras.
Overall, the design of the Blackbox M10 headphones is not particularly special or eye-catching, but neither is it offensive. Indeed, the set is quite comfortable, with cushy, memory-foam padding on the earcups and a padded, adjustable headband.
The M10 is not exceptionally compact: the earcups measure 3.6 by 2.8 inches and fold flat for storage, but the headband does not bend in. Phitek includes a nylon pouch for storing the headphones while not in use. This definitely comes off as a bit cheap next to the ATH-ANC7's hard-sided shell.
Other extras include an airplane adapter, a quarter-inch adapter, and several removable headphone audio cables with gold-plated plugs. But, of course, the main feature is the Blackbox M10's noise-canceling capability. A battery compartment in the right earcup, which can be exposed by twisting the outer shell, provides the power for this feature.
A switch on the left lets you activate the NC feature. Unlike the competition from Bose, the M10 can be used without the noise canceling turned on--always nice, since that means if you run out of juice midflight, you can still listen to music.