Date: March 17th, 2010
Article by: Jackie Mueller (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited By: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Able Planet
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PRODUCT PICTORIAL AND WALKTHROUGH
The cord has gold plated 3.5mm jacks on both ends, as well as inline volume controls. Personally, I like the convenience of having the volume controls on the cord.
I'm impressed with the hard shell case; it's molded to fit the headphones perfectly and has a small pouch to hold all the accessories. The small pouch has Velcro on the back side and is removable.
PRODUCT USE AND TESTING
My first test with the headphones involved attaching them to my MP3 player and listening to music while I did some chores around the house. This was not only a test in comfort, but in fit as well. Wearing headphones so tight that they cause a headache is obviously not good, and too loose of a fit is also annoying. I was pleased to discover that even with constant movement the NC300B's stayed in place while still feeling lightweight and comfortable. My ears didn't feel too pinched and I could only barely feel the headband. After a long period of time my ears did begin to feel warm, but that is due to the design. Any pair of headphones with cups that fully cover the ear (and aren't ventilated) are likely to cause the same issue, but for me it wasn't a huge deal.
If you're not familiar with how active noise canceling works, the concept is pretty simple. A tiny microphone picks up ambient sound, and then the digital signal processing system determines what sound wave is required to cancel the unwanted sound. The end result is that this technology effectively “blocks” ambient noises like airplane engines and other lower frequency sounds. So while the roar of an engine will become muffled with active noise canceling, people talking next to you and other frequently changing noises (like a TV) will still be noticeable, although a bit quieter.
With that said, there is a big difference when listening to music with active noise canceling versus without – no matter what kinds of ambient sounds are around you. Additionally, the NC300B's feature the patented Linx Audio technology which helps to clarify high frequency sounds and filter out undesirable sound. The end result is that sounds are richer and fuller without having to turn the volume way up.
So how do the NC300B's sound? In a nutshell, very good. These headphones have pretty impressive sound given their entry level price tag. Music had very balanced sound with strong bass response (but not too strong) as well as good mids and highs. Audio books were very clear, even at lower volumes. I was even able to pick out sounds I've never heard before on songs I've listened to several dozen times. Gaming with them was great too; as you can imagine, noise canceling provides a benefit in games that require sneaking around and being aware of every little thing or person around you. Less outside noise allows for improved in-game awareness.
The inclusion of the hard shell case makes traveling with these headphones basically worry free. Unless they fall victim to some kind of extreme physical abuse, they should hold up just fine, even with normal wear and tear of everyday usage. The headphones themselves are built very well too; they definitely don't feel “cheap” and I expect them to hold up nicely for years to come.