Posts tagged over-the-ear


vQuiet Over-Ear Noise-Canceling Headphones by Velodyne
Category: active noise-canceling, over-the-ear headphones
Works With: most heads
Price: $299

The renaissance of the over-the-ear headphone is at full tilt, and big, flashy cans are everywhere — a phenomenon you can, at least in part, thank Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine for. Thank, because it’s a good thing. Because interwoven among the vast army of styles and sounds arrayed for perusal are headphones that specialize: sets that may travel well, or perhaps sate an appetite for tech frills, or even quiet the noisy world.

Velodyne’s vQuiets specialize in all three of the roles mentioned above. As the name probably suggests, they’re the company’s active noise-canceling set, a task it accomplishes, if not excels at; they’re small and fold well, making them a great traveller’s companion; and the set sports a few tech frills. They even sound pretty good. Despite all that — or maybe because of it — the set feels more like a compromise between traits than a shining star.



Noise-cancelling headphones are suddenly all the rage. It certainly seems as if every big player in the audio game has at least one model that features active noise-canceling, usually accompanied by other luxury features — and with a corresponding luxury pricetag. Even manufacturers who’ve only recently begun making cans, like Logitech UE and Klipsch, prominently feature active noise-canceling in their model lineups.

It may even seem as if the technology has been added to some models simply because it’s become the feature du jour — an impression strengthened by the fact that not all noise canceling is the same. Not even remotely.

None of the headphones in our showdown — the Klipsch Mode M40 ($350), the Logitech UE 6000 ($200) or the Monster Inspiration ANC ($300), the noise-canceling version of the regular, passive Inspiration model we reviewed last year — exhibits the powerful noise-canceling ability that can almost completely drown out noise, like that of the Bose QuietComfort 15. Nor do they sit on the next level down, with NC performance similar to, say, Audio Technica’s ATH-ANC7b (although one here comes close).

These Scosche Realm RH656 ($130) headphones compete in the same league as with headphones like the Beats (formerly Monster) Solo HD, the Incase Reflex and the Fanny Wang 1000 Series. These ‘phones have a lot in common: they have smallish earcups that sit on the ear, instead of over; they all have track and volume controls (remember though that the volume control won’t work on Android devices); and they’ve all had a dash of fashion added.

But there are some key differences too. And as you’re about to find out, the RH656 does pretty well against its competition.