Not to be understated, the aural advancements in videogames over the years have played an important role in the way we immerse ourselves in virtual fiction. Just as the number of bits and pixels have upped the ante from generation to generation, so too have the number of lines of dialogue complemented the move from recycled MIDIs to fully orchestrated soundtracks. Thus, players nowadays are able to listen for their opponents in addition to simply watching out for them while in battle.
But the in-game audio is only as good as the technology which it's conveyed through. While TV and portable platform speakers emit sound, they're certainly not the most conducive to high fidelity. It's under such pretenses we examined Able Planet's “True Fidelity Active Noise Canceling Headphones with LINX Audio,” or NC300s, for short.
Available in both black and white variants, Able Planet's NC300s could be considered their mid-shelf option for those looking to escape into the audio side of their media. A more-affordable competitor to Bose's QuietComfort series made so popular by frequent fliers, the NC300s MSRP is set at around $149, but can easily be found for less than one hundred dollars at your favorite online retailer. With noise-canceling capabilities, the NC300 offer aural seclusion relatively inexpensively.
Able Planet's headphones are easily endorsed for a gamer on-the-go. Out of the box a single triple-A battery awaits comfortably in plastic wrapping to be unpacked and simply inserted into a trap door on the headphone's left channel cup. With the lithium cylinder in place, a flip of a switch on the same cup cancels out most ambient sounds that would otherwise cloud your ear canals. With the Active Noise Canceling effect turned On, you're welcomed to a fairly rich auditory experience with clear highs, just enough bass, and well-rounded-yet-unbalanced middles.
That said, a persistent white noise is apparent when no sound is emitted, and can be intrusive to soft melodies. Also, while you block ambient sound, your headphones make what you're listening to unmistakeably audible to those around you with leaking, nay, gushing clarity. The NC300s certainly aren't the most robust or mind-blowing set of cans to adorn your head with, but they suit their purpose, keeping outside noise clear of what can be intimate aural experiences.
Also included in the box comes both a quarter-inch home stereo and airplane adapter, making the default 3.5mm jack fairly utilitarian. Admittedly, the matte colored headphones are best suited for travel, with the inclusion of a handy carrying case. At home, the “pro” or “hardcore” gamer will be underwhelmed by their lack of directional surround sound capabilities. A similarly titled Linx microphone is available for purchase to make the NC300s an all-in-one headset, but is only applicable for those playing on a PC or Mac.
Light and comfortable for long trips, Able Planet's NC300 headphones deliver as an affordable noise-canceling peripheral for any traveling gamer. Pervading white noise and an unattractive band connecting both ear cups are fairly minor gripes considering the price point for any deal seekers. Librarians might not appreciate the amount of sound leaking from your headphones, and the pair might not be the go-to for any claiming prestige in Call of Duty, but those looking to get audibly closer to a Pikachu wouldn't be remiss to give Able Planet some attention.
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