The Able Planet True Fidelity NC300s are a set of over-ears with a removable cord.
Here's a close-up of the cup padding.
The active cancellation feature is controlled by a switch towards the bottom of the right ear cup.There's also two microphones for the active cancellation feature on the bottom of the headphones.
The battery well and two more microphones are on the tops of the ear cups.
In the box you'll find the headphones, a cord, a battery, a case, and two adapters: a 1/4-inch adapter and an airplane adapter.
We don't see any glaring durability issues on the Able Planet NC300 headphones, though it does have some smaller issues. The band isn't collapsible, which means it runs the risk of breaking if it gets bent the wrong way. The headphones do seem to be well-manufactured, even if their plastic design doesn't initially inspire much confidence. The pads are covered in a durable, leather-printed material, which means you should be wary of puncture damage; they won't likely succumb to normal wear and tear.
The cable is made of black plastic and seems durable. We pulled at it pretty hard and it didn't feel as though it was going to break. The worst that'll happen is it'll detach from the headphones.
The headphones look pretty good overall. They have faux-leather padding along the band and a solid design overall. They actually look suspiciously similar to the Bose QuietComfort 3 headphones. The small area where the NC300s' good looks fall short is around the ear cups, which look pretty plasticky. Overall, though, these headphones look pretty nice.
The Able Planet True Fidelity NC300s had some issues with their frequency response, namely in their bass frequencies. As you can see, towards their low end, the bass receives a great deal of emphasis. It just barely clips the end of our scoring limit as it meanders back to nominal levels. Although the curves are a bit bumpy, it's not something you'll notice. Towards the high-end, however, there's a pretty significant jump, after which point the curves get somewhat erratic. Overall, the main problem is with the bass.
We took these measurements with the active-cancellation feature off. To see the frequency response graph when the feature was turned on, check out our section on active cancellation.
The cord itself has some decent heft to it, and should last a while.
The NC300s aren't very portable. Their ear cups can twist to allow them to lie flat, but they don't have any additional collapsibility. The headphones do come with a case, but it's more for protection than a portability aid. The case has a single, tiny pouch inside: don't expect a Trapper Keeper.
While you can disassemble the NC300s, you can't get very far. You can take off the ear cups, and a piece of foam underneath them, but at that point you hit a dead end. The headphones also don't come with any cleaning tools.
The Able Planet True Fidelity NC300s use batteries for their active noise cancellation, but you can listen to music without them. The problem is, however, without battery-powered playback, the headphones are a bit quiet.
Active Noise Cancellation
The active noise cancellation feature isn't very good. As outlined in our performance section, the feature don't block out much noise. What's worse, it has an adverse effect on sound quality.
Frequency response was only slightly affected by the feature:
A big chunk of distortion crops up when the feature's on:
The design and build seems to be pretty consistent between headphones. The NC200s we got in had a fold in the middle of the band for collapsibility, but that's the only significant difference.
The NC300s tend to stay within the limits better than the NC200s.
The distortion got toned down a notch between the NC200s and NC300s.
Both headphones have similar tracking.
The NC300s blocked out much more bass noise.
Both headphones feature the same overall design and padding. There's really no difference between the two.
The NC200s are basically just a budget version of the NC300s. If you're looking for a budget option, stick with the NC200s. If you don't mind spending a bit more for the quality upgrade, invest in the NC300s.
The two headphones feature a very similar design. Both look somewhat plasticky and have leather printing on their padding. Both are roughly the same in terms of durability as well. We say this one is a draw.
The NC300s overemphasize their bass, but have a more consistent frequency response overall.
Neither set of headphones has an amount of distortion worth worrying about.
The AH-NC732s' tracking is a bit more erratic than the NC300s'.
The AH-NC732s can block out a bit more noise in the low end and high end.
We thought the AH-NC732s were a bit more comfortable. The NC300s' pads are a bit stiff, and the material covering the pads didn't create a great seal with our head.
The Able Planet NC300s have a better frequency response and more even tracking, which the Denon AH-NC732s excel at isolation. Since the headphones are roughly the same price, this decision is best left to your personal preference.
These headphones look alike, so aesthetics isn't going to play much of a role here. The Bose headphones are made out of better materials, however, and the discerning eye could probably spot that difference.
The Bose QuietComfort3's frequency response graph falls well below our bottom limit and becomes very erratic. The NC300s are far more accurate here.
Neither set of headphones had much of an issue with distortion. There's a bit of a peak towards the extreme low-end of the QC3s graph: disregard that. Our old graphs went down to 20Hz, even though the data in that region isn't 100% accurate.
The QC3s are significantly more erratic.
The QC3s manage to block out significantly more bass noise, but don't perform as well for midrange noise.
The QC3s padding is much more soft in general. We did find the NC300s were more comfortable over time, however, most likely because they weigh less.
The NC300s are the better set of headphones if you're looking for sound quality. The QC3s can isolate better.
Both headphones have very similar designs. We thought the ATH-ANC7s seemed a bit more durable, but really, there aren't any stark differences here.
The NC300s were a bit more erratic than the ATH-ANC7s.
Neithr set of headphones had noticeable levels of distortion.
The ATH-ANC7s performed better on our tracking tests.
The ATH-ANC7 features slightly better implementation of active noise cancelling.
We thought both sets of headphones offered more or less the same wear experience. They weren't particularly uncomfortable, but we weren't singing their praises either.
The ATH-ANC7 have an advantage over the NC300s in almost every category, including price.
The Able Planet True Fidelity NC300s are a pretty solid upgrade from the NC200s. Almost every area is improved, and the price has jumped to match. The headphones performed well on our tests for a pair of active-cancellers, but couldn't isolate as well as competing models. If you really want active cancellation, other headphones do it better. Not only is the NC300s' isolation weak, but audio quality takes a significant hit as well. Of course, if you're in a noisy area, chances are you shouldn't be expecting the most pristine audio quality. Overall, they're decent headphones if you're set on picking up some active-cancellers, and they merit consideration.
Meet the tester
Mark Brezinski is a senior writer with seven years of experience reviewing consumer tech and home appliances.
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