Able Planet Gaming Noise Reduction Headphones

January 25, 2009

Better Headphones for me

Each day, I do most of my work with the computer on my lap, the telephone at my elbow and a pair of headphones around my noggin. This multi-tasking lifestyle requires me to be able to place a Skype call, record a podcast, chat with clients via iChat and use voice recognition software while reading email, writing columns and surfing the Internet.

In the past, I figured that all headsets and earphones were the same. Similar to the guy who might run to Target to buy a cheap pair of sneakers, I didn’t know that a good pair of shoes or a great pair of headphones could improve one’s experience so dramatically.

Now I know.

In the drawer next to me sits a pair of $30 Logitech headphones that I have decided to donate to science because the Able Planet pair of True Fidelitys I’m wearing are light, comfy, superior in sound quality and outstanding for transmitting audio.

The model I have is the PS500MM. They go for about $100 and they were designed as noise-canceling gaming headphones. But I love them for everyday use.

The sound remains clear no matter how high I turn the volume and the earcups are more like pads that sit on my hears instead of around them. This lets in ambient noise like my cell phone, the UPS guy at the door and the sound of the tea kettle boiling.

According to the packaging, the frequency response is 20-20k Hz and the microphone sensitivity at 1KHz is -65+/-5db. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I know they sound really good.

Friends and clients I’ve spoken to have let me know that I sound clearer to them as well. It might be the supremely adjustable boom microphone or the technology. Whatever it is, I like it.

The only drawbacks are that they come with two 3.5mm plugs that you have to insert into a USB adaptor (included) if your primary listening source is your computer. I can understand that this might be great for other sources – having a separate in and out – but to me it seemed like a lot of extra wires.

By the way, the inline volume control worked well, but the sliding mute button feels a little cheesy and I was afraid that I’d break it if I were constantly muting and unmuting my audio.

Until I find something that sounds better – or these fail to meet my needs – I’m sold on them.