Being the Co-Host on a podcast is awesome. Have I ever told you that? Well it is. One of the things that you learn when recording is sound quality is king. Good microphones are of course the major component in that but you also need a good set of headphones to keep the sound from “bleeding” into the mics.
This year at CES I made a concerted effort to check out as many full overhead cans as I could to see which ones were the best for me. One of my favourites were the iHome noise cancelling headphones.
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The iHome iB50B Headphones can be found at Amazon US for around $75
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- iHome iB50B headphones
- 1x Cloth covered lead
- 1 x carry pouch
- 1x Aeroplane adapter
- 2x AAA batteries
At first glance the headphones defy their modest $75 price tag with a solid construction and soft touch rubber finished with red and silver trim. They come with a detachable, cloth covered lead that has an in-line volume control which I was slightly confused by at first. Why would you cover a lead in cloth? Why would you have it detachable from both ends? The answer to both these questions is travelling. The cloth covering on the lead stops them from getting so tangled, and it actually works surprisingly well and the completely detachable nature means they can be wrapped and stowed safely instead of tugging on the lead at the headphone end. Incidentally the iHome packaging also comes apart and allows you to use the hanger as a helpful cord wrap.
In terms of comfort the headphones do not disappoint. The sponge padding is firm enough to offer support yet soft enough for comfort and the slight angle the cans are set at help them fit snugly on my abnormally fat head. I have also check with some non-fat-heads and they say they fit very nicely on them as well. The padding on the headband is much firmer than around the ears but you would expect that the plastic doesn’t cut into your scalp and after having worn them for 7 hours straight on the way home I can say they didn’t lose any of the comfort over time.
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One of the unique selling points of these particular headphones comes in the form of a battery powered noise cancelling system built into the cans themselves, this seems to generate a level of white noise to reduce the ambient noise around you. Even with no music on the volume outside is significantly reduced while wearing the cans with noise cancelling turned on. Another helpful feature is a little button on the side which mutes the music while the button is pressed. I found this particularly helpful on the plane home from CES when the stewards asked me a question.
And now we come to the big one. Sound Quality. For a pair of $75 headphones these really are very good. The active noise cancelling helps to increase that feeling of high fidelity sound and at full volume I experienced no distortion and had a pleasurably tingle when listening to my favourite music on full blast.
Having used these almost exclusively this week for both casual listening and for podcasting I can say that they are a bargain. For under a $100 these really do seem the best of the bunch. With overhead cans coming back into fashion they don’t look odd with me walking around listening to music through my HTC One either, which is a plus.