Plantronics goes into noise cancelling, cuts cords in the process

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We’ve seen plenty of headsets from Plantronics in the past, and now the company that has sent headphones into space is cutting noise from your overseas plane trip, with its first active noise cancelling cans.

It’s a new area for Plantronics, which has certainly dabbled in more than just a headphone or two here and there. We’ve seen fitness-friendly headphones, gaming headphones, Bluetooth earpieces for the business folk, and earphones for the casual listen as you wander through the streets.

This week, Plantronics is taking it a step further by engaging people who hate noise, or specifically, people who want the constant drone and hum of an aircraft or train to disappear, to fade into the back of their minds and amplify the sound considerably, letting the music overtake and dominate their ears.

To do this, the company has been hard at work on a pair of headphones that can kill the noise, and do so wirelessly.

The headphones are the Plantronics BackBeat Pro, and these rely on two microphones to do their noise cancelling bidding, listening to the sound outside the headphones and cutting it from the equation, while working with a Digital Signal Processing system to improve the sound on top of the removed noise.

Helping the sound are two 40mm drivers made from the commonly used neodymium, with support for Bluetooth 4.0 and AptX, streaming music to the handset wirelessly, though you can rely on a corded connection if you so choose. If you don’t choose, the Bluetooth is rated for Class 1, which Plantronics says should provide around 100 metres of wireless range, possibly more.

The headset can also connect to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously, part of the multipoint technology, and even offers as much as 24 hours playback of wireless streaming.

The Plantronics “DeepSleep” technology is also here, used in the BackBeat Fit headset as well, which the ability to switch the headset off for as much as six months and keep the same amount of battery (roughly) until you switch it on again.

And there are other things we’re keen on seeing, as well, such as the OpenMic button which will let you shut off the audio and hear what’s going on around you, controls on the side with a jog wheel included for ease of use, circumaural design for comfy ears, Near-Field Communication (NFC) pairing, and sensors in the headphones to pick up when they’re on and off you’re head to switch off the music when you’re not wearing them, the latter of which was previously seen only on one headset made by Parrot.

“Aussies love their music and want to be able to enjoy it on-the-go without any distractions,” said Peter Petrides, National Retail Sales Manager, Australia and New Zealand at Plantronics.

“We created the BackBeat Pro so that users can immerse themselves into their music and block out the noise whether they are travelling, working, or simply relaxing. With up to 24 hours of continuous wireless use and active noise-cancellation, the BackBeat Pro can be used not only for music but also movies and calls.”

Testing them briefly, we’re relatively impressed, with a large amount of sound on offer from the headphones and a solid supply of bass. The headphones appear comfy, and the cans even rotate so that they’re comfortable to wear when you’ve removed them from your head and have left them around your neck.

The look isn’t as simple as we normally like, but we could end up warming up to it, and are keen to give them a good flogging with the GadgetGuy Sound Test when they come in.

If you can’t wait, however, Plantronics will see these aeroplane ready headphones in stores from October 15, coming in with a recommended retail price of $349.