I had never heard of AblePlanet before, that is until I met them at CES 2008. As I was walking past their booth they asked me if I was covering headphones. I responded that I was and I would be interested in seeing what they had to offer. After showing me their booth, they asked if I would be interested in reviewing some of their headphones. I of course answered yes, and they supplied me with a pair of Wireless headphones.
- Wireless infrared technology
- Featuring Award-Winning Patented LINX AUDIO™-a Hear the Difference™ technology
- Personal volume control
- 4 internal receiving diodes capture the IR signal 360 degrees
- Auto off sensors extend battery life
When I think of headphones, I always picture them attached to an MP3 player, radio or other music device. I really don’t picture them attached to a big screen TV or DVD player. The length of the cord is usually the biggest limiting feature. Headphones don’t usually have more than a 6′ cord. It is difficult to watch TV when you have to stay within 6′ of the TV.
The wireless infrared technology allows you to sit anywhere in the room and still hear the sound.
The signal is broadcast using an infrared (IR) signal. This means it is possible to have more than one pair of headphones receive the same signal. Each pair of headphones has 4 internal receiving diodes that capture the IR signal 360 degrees from the transmitter. This allows you to turn your head and not lose the signal.
The headphones have their own volume control which allows each person to tailor the sound to their own comfort level.
These headphones use a technology called LINX AUDIO. “LINX AUDIO creates high frequency harmonics that enhance sound quality and speech clarity of difficult to hear words or notes, and increase the perception of loudness without increasing volume. LINX AUDIO provides full rich sound and enhanced speech clarity even at lower volumes, which may lead people to “Turn it Down” to preserve hearing. An analogy of a richer sound might be the difference you hear when you play a “C” note on a piano, as opposed to a “C” Chord. The “C” Chord demonstrates the impact of adding harmonics to the audio signal.”
These headphones are the kind that go over your head, but they rest on top of your ears. They are made of hard black plastic, except for the part that actually touches the top of your head — it is made of black rubber. The cushions that go on the ears are made of a soft foam and they are comfortable to wear.
The right headphone has all the controls. There is a power button, a light that indicates the power status, and a volume switch.
The left headphone has a battery compartment which holds two AAA batteries. The batteries not only power the IR receiver but they also power the LINX AUDIO.
The transmitter has a simple design. The front is the transmitter part. The back has a power switch, power plug, RCA audio input and another input
There is also a very nice case that you can store the headphones in. The case has a enough room for the headphones, but not enough for the transmitter.
Unless you’re an audiophile and you have a really good ear, testing headphones can be difficult. I sometimes have a hard time telling the difference between a nice pair of headphones and a really nice pair.
These headphones are very easy to use and they sound great, as long as you are in range of the transmitter. The biggest problem I had was staying in the sweet spot. If I moved to a place where the signal was not as good, I would start to hear a lot of static. If I moved behind a wall the signal would stop completely. When I got back in range the signal would come back. I found that I could get about 11 feet away from the transmitter before static would start coming in. Also, if I was to high or too low I would hear static. For example, if I was standing up the signal would be ok, but if I sat down I could start to hear static. The head of the transmitter can tilt up and down to give a better signal. I was able to tilt it down and get a good signal both standing and sitting. I did experiance one anomaly that I thought I would mention. In one instance I was able to break my line of site with the transmitter, but I was still able to get a signal. The only way I could explain this was because there was a picture frame in the TV room that reflected the IR signal so that it was available in the other room.
There are a couple up sides to the IR technology. One is that you can have an infinite number of headsets using the same signal. The other is that many other devices use IR transmitters and these headphones should be able to pick up the signal. For example, my car has a built-in DVD player and it uses IR to transmit the sound to headphones. These headphones were able to use that signal without any problems. It would be nice in the future if the headphones would move to another technology that allowed both multiple headsets and also the signal could go through walls.
I did not have any trouble watching TV. One of the problems that can come from having wireless headphones is that the sound does not sync with the video. Usually when this happens the sound is behind the video, this is because it takes time for the sound to travel to the headphones. The sound from these headphones did not suffer from this problem, the video and audio were both in sync. The sound was also clear and very understandable.
The headphones are very comfortable. Unlike headphones that surround the ear, these sit on top of the ear. I have had trouble in the past with the around the ear type because they cause pain after prolonged use. I did not feel any discomfort from these headphones even after using them for several hours.
Warranty and Support
AblePlanet offers a limited lifetime warranty on these headphones. This is the kind of warranty I would expect from a company that has confidence in its products. They cover all defect in their workmanship, but they do not cover damage that is caused by neglect or misuse.
I am very happy with these headphones. The sound that I got from them was what I expected, and the wireless worked reasonably well. I highly recommend these to anyone looking for a nice pair of wireless headphones, but at the same time I also recommend that you try all headphones before you buy them. If you plan on walking around while you watch TV you may want to try out some Bluetooth headphones. At $179 a pair these are right in the middle when it comes to price for headphones, and before you spend
that kind of money you really want to make sure they are going to be the best for what you need. As always compare prices before purchasing.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|