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Able Planet NC1000CH Clear Harmony review: Able Planet NC1000CH Clear Harmony

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The Good The Clear Harmony active noise-canceling headphones offer dramatic noise reduction and a rich listening experience.

The Bad The Clear Harmony is an expensive product, and Able Planet has yet to establish a reputation on high-end audio turf.

The Bottom Line The Clear Harmony holds its own against the competition. But without a price incentive, few users will risk choosing an unknown brand over an established one.

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7.6 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 9
  • Performance 7

Able Planet Clear Harmony active noise-cancelling headphones

Able Planet's Clear Harmony active noise-canceling headphones aim to compete with the well-known and expensive Bose Quiet Comfort series. The Clear Harmony headphones improve upon some of the design flaws of the Quiet Comfort (such as the inability to listen to music after the batteries have died), but the product is still pricey at just under $300.

As a competitor to a well-established luxury product (the Bose Quiet Comfort 2 and Quiet Comfort 3), Able Planet's Clear Harmony headphones have an equally luxurious quality. At a distance, the Able Planet Clear Harmony headphones easily could be mistaken for the Bose Quiet Comfort 2. The soft, padded black leather on the headband and the earcups feels comfortable and hugs the head with an easy pressure. The cups fold down flat for storage, and the removable 5-foot cable lets you easily swap in a replacement or use the headphones strictly for shutting out noise. The included carrying case comes with a 0.25-inch jack and two-prong airplane adapters. The case also includes a molded compartment that perfectly fits a full-size Apple iPod and would be suitable for other types of MP3 players as well.

Noise cancellation is where the Able Planet's Clear Harmony headphones really excel -- reducing noise by an unprecedented 18dB. We could detect a subtle white noise created by the noise cancellation, but that's a fine trade-off for how much background noise the headphones eliminate. The active noise cancellation can be turned on and off using a switch that can be accessed on the rear edge of the left earcup. Even with the noise cancellation switched off (or if the two AAA batteries that power it are removed), the Clear Harmony headphones still can be used to play music (unlike the Bose Quiet Comfort 2 and Quiet Comfort 3, which need to be powered to work).

Even with the cable removed, you can still take advantage of Clear Harmony's 18dB active noise reduction.

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