PlaneQuiet Platinum Active Noise Reduction Headset Review

If you are a frequent traveler that sometimes finds it difficult to relax with the roar of airplane, bus or car engine noise, I have a possible solution for you. It’s the PlaneQuiet Platinum active noise reduction headset from Outside The Box. These full-size over the ear headphones provide up to 18 decibels of active noise reduction. Let’s check them out…

PlaneQuiet headphones

First of all, be aware that this headset comes packaged in a sealed plastic case, that will require the aid of a knife or scissors to open it. If you find them at an airport shop, that might be a problem…

Hardware Specifications

Active noise cancellation: up to 10dB between 150-400Hz
Impedance: 32ohms +/- 10%
Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
Sensitivity: 112dB +/-3 dB/mW at 1KHz
Speaker element: 40mm; Magnet; Neodymium
Rated power: 40mW
Max power: 100mW
Cord: 1.6m length
Weight: 8oz.

PlaneQuiet headphones

Package Contents

PlaneQuiet headset
Zippered carry pouch
2 AAA batteries
Dual-pin airline adapter
1/8 in to 1/4 in adapter


Last year around this time, I reviewed a similar set of noise reducing headphones from AblePlanet. The Clear Harmony active noise canceling headphones. I liked them well enough except for the $350 price tag… ouch. For that reason, I was interested to see how the much lower priced PlaneQuiet headset would compare.

PlaneQuiet headphones

The headset is almost entirely made of plastic. There’s just a small strip of metal on each side of the head band. The design is not flashy, which is fine by me. There’s just a chrome colored badge on each earphone that has the PlaneQuiet logo on it.

PlaneQuiet headphones

The ear phones have soft padded leather cushions and the head band is also wrapped in padded leather.

PlaneQuiet headphones

Comfort-wise, I could find no faults with the PlaneQuiet headset. I had no problems wearing them for extended periods of time. They are relatively light weight, don’t squeeze the sides of your head and the head band doesn’t carve a groove into your skull ;o)

PlaneQuiet headphones

To use this headset, you first install the included AAA batteries into the attached controller. A set of batteries is supposed to last approximately 35hrs. The controller just has a simple On/Off slider switch to activate or deactivate the noise reduction feature. It does not have a volume control; you have to adjust the volume on your audio device.

You can then plug the other end of the cord into your audio player. A dual-pin airline and a 1/4 in adapter are also included. The head phones can be used without even turning on the noise reduction feature. Without this feature turned on, I found the audio quality to be adequate. Bass lines sounded thumpy enough, but for the most part, I think audio is missing some clarity and crispness. To me, music sounds slightly muddy. When you flip on the noise reducing feature, you get a small boost in volume, but it does not improve crispness… at least not to my ears. I did notice that these headphones do not have the loud hissing on the background. But, if you pause your music, while the noise reducing feature is on, you can hear faint white noise. I didn’t dislike listening to music through these headphones, but I would guess that a true audiophile (which I am not) would turn their nose up at them.

I wasn’t able to test these headphones on a plane, train or bus, so I can’t really tell you how well they will block out that level of engine noise. I did test them as a passenger in a car and promptly fell asleep while listening to music through them. I also found that if I have them on while typing on my computer keyboard, I can’t hear my key clicks. They even help to muffle (but not eliminate) noise from voices and a TV in another room.

If you’ve been interested in buying a set of over the ear noise reducing headphones for your next trip, but were deterred due to cost, the PlaneQuiet Platinum active noise reduction headset might be just what you’re looking for… as long as you’re not too persnickety about audio quality.

 

Product Information

Price:99.95
Manufacturer:Outside The Box
Retailer:ProTravelGear.Com
Pros:
  • Comfortable
  • Airline adapter is included
  • Good price
Cons:
  • Audio slightly muddy
Posted in: Audio, Video, TV Gear, Travel Gear

9 comments… add one

  • Mark Ryan September 16, 2008, 8:20 pm

    I travel over 150,000 miiles a year and never leave home without my noise cancelling headphones. I am on my 3rd pair. I have had 2 sets of Planequiet headphones and both had problems.

    Headphones with affixed wires are a nuisance. There are many times when you want to get out of your seat and having to figure out how and where to bundle the cord is a nuisance. I believe the affixed wires were part of the problem with my first set of Planequiet headphones failing. Originally Planequiet had a lifetime warranty. That was dropped a few years ago when the mfg would not back up the product.

    I have also found that without a hard case, the headphones will not last too long in a briefcase or computer case. Luggage of any kind gets smashed around. Headphones are not designed for this.

    The Planquiet Solitude headphones, my second set, did come with a hard case yet all the plastic pivots were not very durable even when packed in the hard case. Alll the other features I really liked. The pivots lasted 18 months and I was back looking for another set of headphones.

    I am now carrying a pair of Audio-Technica headphones and they are very nice. Over the ear cups, detachable cord, very light and battery efficient. The only thing missing is a separate volume control on the headphones.

    I have tried the Bose but really hate the fact that when the battery dies, so does all audio. Swapping batteries on a 14 hour flight is not fun especially if sleeping. There is a distinct difference between good batteries and dead batteries.

    The best advise if to try on the pair befoore buying. All earphone cup sizes are not the same. Not all hoops between cups are well padded. Not all have decent speakers for listening to music with great sound quality.

    [Edited at September 16, 2008 20:22:44 PM.]

  • Julie September 16, 2008, 8:59 pm

    Mark,

    Thank you for your comments and experience with these particular headphones. Now I want to try the Audio-Technicas.

    How do you think the audio quality compares to the PlaneQuiet Platinums?

  • Steve Ingraham September 17, 2008, 8:41 am

    I also travel extensively (200-250K per year) and I have used 3 pair of on ear/over ear noise canceling phones and 3 different in-ear noise suppressing phones.
    You should check out the new Sony noise canceling phones. They come in three flavors: digital (expensive), over ear (85% efficient) and on ear (80% efficient and much more compact to carry). I have the on ear version and it works the best of any of the external phones I have used (Aiwa, Sennheiser). Comfortable, decent sound, good battery life. And the price is right. Don’t confuse these with the $40 Sony Noise Canceling phones from Walmart etc. Those are essentially identical to the Aiwa. These come in classy black packaging, and cost in the $100 plus range. Definitely worth a try.

  • Julie September 17, 2008, 9:20 am

    Steve:

    Thanks for the tip! I’d more likely purchase on-ear style for myself. Although the over-ear are more comfy, they tend to make my cheeks feel a bit sweaty after extended use – eew.

  • Hai September 17, 2008, 10:37 am

    Julie,
    Thank you for another excellent review. I am currently looking for a good pair of headphones for use in noisy buses during my daily commute. My requirements are:

    • Noise cancel feature to work well. In the past, I tried some JVC pair and found their noise canceling feature to be less than adequate.
    • Comfortable. I had a pair of Bose’s original QuiteComfort and the comfort part is just a lie: the headphones squish my head so hard that I feel my eyes would pop out; the inner part of the cups bit into my ears.
    • Compact. I don’t mind the PlaneQuiet’s size, but for that size, the battery and control should be built into the the cups.
    • Last but not least, sound quality. This is the only feature I like about the original Bose QuiteComfort.

    I am going to research the Sony and Art Technica, but it seems the PlaneQuiet is not my cup of tea. I should mention that my current pair is the Etymotic ER 4, expensive, but excellent sound quality. They block out the ambient noises instead of cancel them, but they work well enough. Did I mention how compact they are? They only part I don’t like about them is I have to insert them deep into my ear canal, which gets uncomfortable after a while.

    Hai

    [Edited at September 17, 2008 10:42:49 AM.]

  • Jake Tongue September 17, 2008, 1:27 pm

    I think i’ll stick with my original set of bose quiet comforts

  • midknight September 24, 2008, 6:33 am

    lol, those are a dead-ringer for the Maxell HP/NC-II headphones I bought about 6months ago. Found a pic of them here:

    (http://ak.buy.com/dbassets/largeimages/085/202152085.jpg)

    They lasted about a month before the wire running from the headband to the housing on either side started to fray from repeated bending (poor design imo) and shorted out. At least I only paid ~$35 for mine.

    The cancellation wasn’t half bad, but they sounded lousy, even compared to my 10yr old Sonys. Enabling the active noise cancellation made them sound worse, they weren’t great to begin with (murky bass, tinny treble, and warbly mids). Gave up on active noise cancellation, passive sounds much better imo. Loving my M-Audio Q40s now =) Real quality. Cost about what Julie paid for these.

  • orbseemsnice October 2, 2008, 11:59 am

    I’ve been looking for a set of noise-cancelling headphones too. All the user reviews I’ve read have narrowed my choices down to Audio-Technica and Bose QuietComfort. Apparently the quality of the audio is roughly the same, but the true audiophiles seem to think Audio-Technica has better sound reproduction. However, for a long plane trip, supposedly the Bose are more comfortable. Arg! A choice between comfort and awesome sound.

    Battery life is also an issue. Apparently noise-cancelling headphones use batteries in the unit itself to provide power to the noise-cancelling feature (usually can be turned on and off). When the batteries die, no more noise cancelling. So carry a spare set – but then the airlines are starting to crack down on “extra batteries”.

    Also, from what I’ve read, noise cancelling headphones don’t actually cancel out all the sound, just most of it. And some of them introduce more noise than they cancel (in particular, the Sony noise cancelling headphones seem to have this problem). You have to be careful/You get what you pay for.

  • Wayne Herbert January 11, 2009, 6:56 am

    I would not purchase anything from the vendors of Plane Quiet. I bought their $200 Solitude headphones. They broke at the connection between the headband and headphone. A web search revealed this to be a common problem. Irritatingly enough, the “limited life time warranty” excluded this chief source of failure for these headphones. I was stuck with a piece of junk after two years even though I treated these phones with kid gloves.

    My request for warranty service was met with a $20 discount for the new headphones since the old Solitude ones are not being manufactured due to patent infringement problems. In short, they just blew me off.

    I ended up buying Audio Technica ATH-ANC7 noise cancelling headphones for $98 and they are far superior to the $200 Solitude phones I bought. Much better noise cancellation, better sound reproduction, and more comfortable fit. And, the swivels that connect the headphones to the headband are very robust.

    So, maybe these headphones are OK… but I can guarantee you that the company does not stand behind their products, and there is a great, inexpensive alternative out there (the Audio Technica – I’ve now owned 4 different brands and these are the best). I can’t see a reason for buying these headphones given such a great alternative, and the very poor service, warranty, and attitude of the Out of the Box folks, the manufacturers of these headphones.

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