TRAVELING IN STYLE
Noise -cancellation headphones are designed with commuter in mind – someone who is going to be in a noisy, sonically-aggressive environment. With this in mind it makes sense that size would be a contributing factor in one’s final
The Phiaton PS300NC is one of the most compact on-ear noise cancelling headphones that I’ve had the pleasure of using. The noise cancelling ability of this headphone is top level and there is a very useful bass boost for those who prefer more subwoofer-like impact.
THE FIT & THE FINISH
The PS 300 NC is one of sleekest-looking noise cancelling headphones on the market today. The small, but plush earpads exert no stress on the ear. I prefer the PS 300 NC’s oval-shaped earpads to the more common round shape of other on-ear models. In addition to their already-small size, the headphones are able to be folded up and stored in an attractive and discreet protective carrying pouch. In this way, it makes for an ideal traveling companion.
Phiaton seems to have put a lot of care into the headphone’s design. While it is light weight, it does not feel cheap. The proprietary Phiaton battery installs into the right earcup. This battery needs to be charged in order to use the active noise cancellation feature. Thankfully, Phiaton’s design does not prevent the listener from listening to their music even after the battery dies. Additionally, Phiaton includes a second battery. In my test of leaving the battery on, I was able to get 13 hours of continuous active noise cancellation; a second battery means that the user can enjoy approximately 26 hours of continuous noise cancellation. In order to charge the battery you simply dock one of the batteries into the included charger. The charger plugs into any USB source. Phiaton also includes several power adapters so that the USB source can be plugged into a power outlet of most countries. Only one battery can be re-charged at a time.
As with their batteries, Phiaton includes two cables. The cable installs into the right earcup. One of the included cables includes an embedded smartphone remote/mic. The other cable does not include this feature. Finally, for the airplane commuter, Phiaton included a pair of airplane adapters.
ALL ABOUT THE SOUND…
My overall impression is that the sound here is above average in the on-ear noise cancelling on-ear market. Many will enjoy the bass boost feature which is easily activated by a switch on the bottom right earcup. For my personal taste, the headphones have enough bass without this boost switched on.
- Punchy, lively sound
- Vocals are forward
- Bass boost is optional
- Great for rock, hip hop, r&b reggae
- Highs are rolled off somewhat, which is not unusual in this market
- Sennheiser’s on-ear active noise canceling models PXC250-II, PXC310, and MM450 offer some serious competition.
- Not ideal for the avid classical listener
Taking a listen to the “Book of Liars” by Walter becker (a track which has continuously pulsating downbeat), I noticed how punchy the headphones were even without the bass boost turned on. Although the rhythm was certainly felt more with the bass boost turned on, the overall mix was slightly muddier.
Switching to Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on Prayer” I was highly impressed by the fullness of the synth at the song’s beginning. The bass was certainly punchier than usual as well. When the drums and guitar kicked in, I felt that the sound was slightly dark and muffled. The vocals are nicely forward however.
Over all my impression is that theses headphones serve rock music more than adequately. It’s not quite aggressive enough up on top for me to make it an ultimate recommendation for rock/metal heads. However, for someone who enjoys a slightly laid-back sound, the PS 300 NC is certainly a contender.
Before switching to Kanye West’s “All Of The Lights” I toggled the bass boost switch. BOOM! For the hip hop fan looking for the most versatility from an on-ear noise canceling headphone, this may be the one for you. When the bass boost is switched on, the bass is loose and very upfront; I’m talking about subwoofer bass. Over the course of a half hour I start to get a headache from over exposure to this type of boominess. It is quite a relief for me to be able to control the bass in this regard.
Listening to Fabio Biondi’s recording Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, I felt that the mix was too smeared and lacking in depth. I would not recommend these headphones to someone who listens to a lot of classical music.
The PS 300 NC are a stylish on-ear noise-canceling headphone, chock full of accessories, including an extra battery, an extra cable, smart phone functionality, bass boost switch and a compact carrying case. Most importantly, the music doesn’t stop just because the batteries do. Recommended!