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The AblePlanet PS500MMs are a set of on-ears with a microphone and

in-line volume control.





The ear cups are smaller than we typically see on a set of on-ears.





The back of the ear cups are semi-open. They can tilt back and forth

on the band.



The head band has soft padding on its underside and can extend.





Part of the way down the cord is the control pendant. The front of

the pendant has an on/off toggle for the mic, as well as a volume

control dial on the side.




The cord ends in two 1/8-inch plugs. The green one is the headphone

plug and the pinkone is for the mic.






Here's what the headphones look like on HATS. Note how much of

HATS's ears are showing around the padding.





In The Box

In the PS500Ms' box you'll find a pouch. The headphones are also in

there, but that's about it.



Durability     (*6.25**)*

These headphones seem durable enough. They have a thick cord, not a

lot of moving parts, and seem to be manufactured well. The ear padding

is covered by a soft skin that might be punctured if you have spiky

earrings, but should stand up to extended use. Also, the ear cups can

tilt, which can lead to wear and tear. The cord guards are decent. The

mic sticks straight out, so make sure you don't step on it.





Aesthetics     (*5.00**)*

For a set of headphones with a mic, these aren't bad. They do look

rather like the ones you see at a fast food drive through, but that

aesthetic comes with the territory. The tiny ear cups might make the

headphones look a bit strange on your head, but since we can only

fathom guesses as to what lies atop your neck, we can't really make a

judgment about that.


Overall, we liked the look of the PS500MMs, but the mic adds some

nerdy to the picture, and that's not a look that some people may find

appealing. Of course, this is our opinion, which likely differs from

your own personal style. What we're saying is this: follow your heart.



About our testing:**

For more information on our tests, read this



Frequency Response    


What we found:

The PS500MM headphones started out with a decent enough frequency

response. They had a good bass level that didn't get boomy towards the

low end. Then something terrible happened. After about 800Hz, the

response gradually begins to roll off. Just before 7kHz, the response

falls off precipitously, before bumping back up. After this point it's

a bit inconsistent.

The oddly inconsistent response lead to the headphones producing a

muffled, flat souind. The lower end fared much better, but the high-end

issues will likely turn a majority of listeners off of the PS500MMs.

Related content

How the AblePlanet PS500MM compares:

What is frequency response?

Your headphones' frequency response describes the degree to which they

emphasize certain frequencies. Some headphones actively crank up or

dampen frequencies to provide a dynamic, unique sound. Some headphones

strive for accuracy, trying to alter emphasis as little as possible.

How the test works:

To test frequency response, we employ our trusty testing companion,

HATS. We toss the headphones on HATS, then play a frequency sweep

through them. HATS graciously records the playback, using the really

expensive microphones it has for ears. Now that we have the recorded

playback, we can match it back up against the original sound file. This

way we can see exactly what the headphones are doing to alter the

music. If you have additional questions about our tests, despite this

excellently-worded passage, then this
is the link for you.


Distortion     (*10.20**)*

What we found:

The PS500MMs had negligible distortion levels, resulting in a good

performance score. What this means is that you'll hear the music the

way it was intendede to sound, without the headphones adding distortion

that wasn't in the original recording. We really don't have much more

to say about it than that. Please enjoy the complimentary block of

empty space before the comparison table!

How the AblePlanet PS500MM compares:

**What is distortion?

*Distortion refers to any changes the headphones make to

your playback. Typically this is unwanted, but several 'hip' genres

employ distortion filters heavily. If you are one of the cool kids who

listens to this sort of music, then distortion probably won't be a huge

problem for you. If you're a classy individual who likes classical

music and barbershop quartet-style a capella, the distortion

will likely cause your top hat to spring clear off your head.

How the test works:

This test is another marvel of juxtaposition. We put the headphones on

HATS. We play a sound file through the headphones. HATS records the

playback. HATS relays the data back to our computer (picture something

really cool and sci-fi for this part). SoundCheck then looks for

differences in the sound waves themselves, independent of emphasis and

other such nonsense. Using this data, we get the helpful graph above,

and that's how our distortion results are made. For more insight into

this process, click

this needlessly long, hyperlinked phrase.


Tracking     (1.71)


What we found:

As foreshadowed by the frequency response graph, the PS500MMs didn't

have the greatest tracking. It was pretty even for a long while, then

the right channel has a heart attack towards the high end and drops way

down, leading to the left channel seeming far louder at those


How the AblePlanet PS500MM compares:


**What is tracking?

*Tracking is a slightly unintuitive term that means 'the

degree to which both channels are outputting the same volume level.'

Basically, ifcertain frequencies sound louder in one ear than the

other, the headphones have bad tracking. If they're playing exactly the

same decibel level across the entire frequency spectrum, then they have

magically ideal tracking.

How the test works:

Our tracking test is basically the same thing as our frequency response

test, only more focused. Instead of looking at overall emphasis, we

only compare one channel to the other. When one is louder than the

other, the blue line in the graph above will rise or fall away from

zero. When the line goes above zero, it's indicating the left channel

is louder. When the line falls below zero, the right channel is louder.

As always, please direct all further questions to this



Maximum Usable Volume

What we found:

The headphones had a decent maximum usable volume. We were able to pump

them up to 121.89 dB without getting a high level of distortion. This

is loud enough that it's harmful over long periods of time. If you love

damaging your hearing, these headphones are for you.


What is maximum usable volume?

Most headphones are capable of meeting your volume needs. Turn the

volume up enough and they'll blast your ear drums to sweet oblivion.

The real question is whether or not you can deafen youself with a

relatively low distortion level. When volume is increased, distortion

gets exacerbated.

How the test works:

This test is a series of distortion tests. We increment the distortion

level each time until the overall distortion levels exceed 3%. If you'd

like more of an explanation, read our 'How We Test' article, here.


Isolation     (2.34*)*

What we found:

The PS500MMs didn't isolate from outside sounds particularly well. They

block out some high frequency noise, but don't do much for the low end.

This shortcoming probably won't be an issue, since you're unlikely to

be using these headphones on a noisy bus or train.

How the AblePlanet PS500MM compares:


What is isolation?

Isolation refers to the amount of noise a set of headphones are capable

of blocking out. There are currently two technologies on the market for

isolation: active cancellation and passive isolation. Active

cancellation uses super science power to actually negate incoming

sound. The headphones have a microphone and listen to incoming sound.

They then play back the same sound at an inverse amplitude. This

process is typically power-intensive and requires auxiliary battery

power. The second isolation strategy can be accomplished by simply

virtue of being solid. Passive isolation means something is physically

blocking your ear.

How the test works:

We test isolation by blasting the headphones and HATS with pink noise.

HATS records any sounds that make it to it's robot ears. We then

compare HATS' data to the original sound file to see exactly how much

sound was blocked out. To learn more about this test, read this



Leakage     (1*0.00**)*

What we found:

The PS500MMs did a good job controlling leakage. We found that a slight

whisper was all that was audible in a quiet room. Of course, this test

assumes you won't be yammering away on the microphone, asking for heals

or screaming obscenities at campers.

What is leakage?

Leakage refers to any sound that's audible outside of the

ear-headphones junction. Leakage is typically bad, because it's

annoying to everyone around you. In a private setting, no one will care

if your headphones leak. But if they are sitting next to you on the

couch or on the bus, they will care.

How the test works:

Our leakage test involves a microphone set up a few inches away from

HATS, which is outfitted with the headphones. The headphones play back

some pink noise, and the external microphone picks up anything that's



Short-Term Use    


We thought the PS500MMs were a bit awkward at first. They're on-ears

with tiny ear pads. It felt a bit odd to have such a small portion of

the ear covered. They weren't too tight or anything, they just took

some getting used to.


The ear cups are small, which feels a bit uncomfortable at



Extended Use    


Once we were used to the fit, the headphones were quite comfortable.

They didn't exert a lot of pressure, either on the sides or top of the

head. The mic can adjust to a comfortable position.




There isn't a whole lot you can do with customization. The PS500MMs

cover the basics, such as tilting ear pads and an extending band. You

can also bend the mic into various shapes, which was admittedly amusing

for a few minutes. There aren't any pad replacements, faceplates, or

other customization options included.




Cable Connectivity    



The PS500MMs' cord is 6.5 feet in length. The cable should be a good

length if you're looking to use the headphones for PC gaming. It will

not, however, be a good length of cord for console gaming, unless your

console is located very close to your couch.



The cable ends in two seasonally festive 1/8-inch plugs. One is for

the audio, and one is for the mic.




There's also a USB adaptor included that merges the two outputs and

allows you to connect them to a computer and use them as a seperate

sound device from your sound card.




Portability     (*0.92**)*


Due to their design, the PS500MMs aren't very portable. Their cord

is long and ends in two plugs. The headphones themselves are on-ears,

so they're not as portable as a set of in-ears, despite having the

tiniest ear cups ever. They also have a mic, which looks awkward

outside of the gaming/telemarketing setting.


The headphones also come with a small sack to carry them around in.

It doesn't help much more than any old pocket or brown paper bag would.



Maintenance     (2*.00**)*


Unlike most on/over-ear headphones, the PS500MMs aren't the easiest

set to maintain. You can remove the ear padding and there are a few

screws on the band, but otherwise there isn't a lot you can do to fix

or clean your headphones.



Other Features    


Battery Dependency

The PS500MMs don't require batteries, which is awesome. Batteries are

lame and always die at inopportune times. We have therefore awarded

these headphones some points, as our way of saying, 'Thank you!'



The PS500MMs do have a microphone. In fact, we'd wager a guess that

'microphone' accounts for at least one of the M's in the product's

name. The other M is probably some sort of adjective, like 'marvelous,'

or 'mighty.'



Speculation aside, the mic is implemented well. It's attached to the

headphones via a bendable arm. There's also an in-line control pendant

for switching the feature on and off.




Volume Control

There's also a volume control. It's a wheel design, which we're not too

keen on. Often the wheel is very easy to turn, so any movement on your

behalf will spin it in some direction. This being said, unless you're

playing some sort of team-based DDR variant on your computer, you

probably aren't planning on moving around a lot with these.







Both sets of headphones are a bit blah. The Apple headphones are

white and clean and were once chic. Now their charm has been laid to

waste by their rampant proliferation. The PS500MMs are decent enough,

but don't have any flair to them.

In terms of durability, the PS500MMs win this match-up by a long shot.



Sound Quality


The PS500MMs have a bit of an issue in their high end. The Apple

headphones have a much more even frequency response throughout the

whole frequency spectrum.



The PS500MMs had very low distortion levels. The Apple headphones

had a bit of an issue with their low end.



The PS500MMs have a bit of a spike in their tracking towards the

high end. If they hadn't had that, the two headphones would've had

similar tracking scores.




The PS500MMs have better isolation than the Apple headphones. Since

you're more likely to use the Apple headphones on the go, it's more

important that they have isolation (and they don't).




Both sets of headphones are slightly uncomfortable. While the

PS500MMs get more comfortable over time, the Apple headphones pop





In terms of being just headphones, we think the PS500MMs are better.

In terms of being a set of headphones with a mic, we think the PS500MMs

are better. The Apple headphones are better for portability, obviously.




The DT770s look better than the PS500MMs and have a slightly better

construction overall.



Sound Quality

Both headphones have a decent bass and an erratic high end. The

PS500MMs are more erratic in their high end, and dampen quite a few

chunks of the frequency spectrum.


Neither set of headphones has distortion levels worth worrying about.


While the PS500MMs have better tracking overall, that spike towards the

high end is definitely cause for concern. One thing to note is these

two graphs have different X-axis: the PS500MMs' graph only extends to





Both sets of headphones have similar isolation levels. Neither one

is particularly good.




We thought the DT 770s were more comfortable overall; the larger

cups are more confortable for extended use.




If you're looking for audio quality, the DT 770s are a much better

set of cans. If you're looking for a set of gaming headphones, the

PS500MMs make up a more budget-oriented option; purchasing the DT 770s

and a separate mic will likely be expensive and more awkward to use. If

you're a DIY-minded person, however, it might make for a fun project.




As in-ears, the SE115s are less durable than the PS500MMs. Neither

have an aesthetic worth mentioning.



Sound Quality


Both headphones screw up their high end with erratic responses. The

SE115s manage to be slightly less erratic.



Neither set of headphones have troublingly high distortion levels.

No one will notice any in either.



The SE115s didn't have any messups before the 7kHz mark (their graph

goes to 20kHz; we've since stopped displaying this information because

it wasn't 100% accurate). Aside from the PS500MMs' spike, both

headphones have equivalent tracking.




If isolation is what you're after, the SE115s are the way to go.




Most of the comfort/discomfort will come from the differing form

factors. The PS500MMs' on-ear design boasts small ear pads, which feel

a bit awkward initially if you're not used to them. The SE115s' in-ear

design mandates wrapping the cord around the back of your ear.




Obviously, these headphones are meant for two different functions.

The PS500MMs are meant for at-home gaming, while the SE115s are meant

for use with a portable media player. The SE115s have better audio

quality overall, but probably wouldn't be a good alternative if you're

looking for a gaming headset.

The SE115s also don't come with a mic right out of the box: it requires

a separate purchase.




The ATH-ESW9s are swanky looking and feature a slightly better

construction overall.



Sound Quality

Like some of the other comparisons, neither the PS500MMs nor the

ATH-ESW9s have pristine high-ends. The ATH-ESW9s botch their high-end

less than the PS500MMs.


Again, distortion won't be an issue for either set of heapdhones.


The ATH-ESW9s have no issues below the 7kHz mark, whereas the PS500MMs

have a significant spike.




Neither set of headphones do much to isolate you from outside sound:

both only block a small amout of high frequency noise, but let through

a lot of low frequency rumbles.




We thought the PS500MMs were a bit odd initially, with their tiny

ear pads. The ATH-ESW9s were also uncomfortable, due to their tight

fit. Unlike the PS500MMs, however, we thought the ATH-ESW9s got less

comfortable over time.



Unless you're looking for incredible audio quality, we'd recommend

the PS500MMs for gamers. For your purposes, gamer, the ATH-ESW9s are

too expensive and don't come with the convenient mic.



Meet the tester

Mark Brezinski

Mark Brezinski

Senior Writer


Mark Brezinski is a senior writer with seven years of experience reviewing consumer tech and home appliances.

See all of Mark Brezinski's reviews

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