Products & Reviews
The Best Noise Cancellation for Both Ears
Mon Jul 3, 2006 - 3:09 PM EDT - By
Table of Contents
> Overview Folding Conclusion
Overview Recently I reviewed UmeVoice's incredible theBoom headsets: the ear gel and hook style theBoom, and the over-the-head theBoom "O" with padded earpiece. I expressed my preference for wired headsets over Bluetooth units and tried to convey just how spectacularly effective both Booms are at canceling out virtually ALL background noise so you can, as UmeVoice says "whisper and be heard."
If you've bought or tried theBooms in a real-world situation, then you know just how superb they are. Read that earlier review, because everything I wrote about those two models' incredible mics applies to theBoom Quiet's they're identical.
But let's take this technology to the next level. Combine exactly the same amazing noise canceling mic with a high class, high style set of very comfortable, foldable, full-range stereo headphones with battery-powered Active Noise Reduction ("ANR") and you have theBoom Quiet headset.
The Quiets deliver "commercial-grade" noise reduction without excessive weight or bulk. They're as comfortable a pair of "cans" as I've ever worn, and I've been a headphone aficionado for decades.
Let me backtrack a bit. About twenty years ago I bought my favorite headphones of all time, Sony's model MDR-V6. While the shelf life of any Sony product is usually a year or two, they've made the V6s for so long simply because at $100.00 retail, you'd be hard pressed to find better-sounding headphones at triple the price. Studio engineers and recording artists love them, and those folks can afford anything. In 1989 Consumer Reports called the V6s the best headphones they'd ever tested at any price.
I'm passionate about quality sound reproduction call me a life-long audiophile with champagne and caviar dreams on a beer and burger budget, so when I buy audio gear, I want the most bang for the buck I can find, and those Sonys have been my faves since I first slapped them on my head long ago. "Low-Fi" speakers and headphones just insult me. I can't stand earbuds of any kind and won't use them.
Living in an apartment with paper-thin walls makes it that much harder to enjoy high quality, full-range sound at medium to high volume levels. I went from my parents banging on my bedroom door shouting "turn that noise down!!" during my high school and college years, to the same state of affairs with neighbors in a crowded building.
So as much as I'd love to own a mongo megabucks Dolby DTS THX seven channel 10,000 watt surround sound home theatre system, both my wallet and my living conditions say "no way" and I find myself using headphones for most of my serious listening.
Understand that audio and especially headphones are VERY subjective things. Audiophiles get religious about their favorites and endlessly debate and argue about them on sites like www.head-fi.org and many others.
Enter theBoom Quiet headphones.
Headphones with Active Noise Reduction aren't new. Bose, Sony, and other mfrs. have been making ANR cans for years. They typically go for $300 to $400. But UmeVoice's Quiets are a breed apart, because they're not just REALLY good-sounding ANR headphones, right up there with the best I've heard, but you can pop in theBoom mic and turn them into a noise-canceling headset too.
They are truly multi-purpose, and everything they do, they do well:
Very high quality, comfortable, "circumaural" (around the ear) full-range, dynamic stereo headphones
Battery-powered, electronic Active Noise Reduction to mask the racket of the outside world
Noise-canceling theBoom mic so your callers hear you clearly, even if you talk at a whisper while surrounded by noise Usability
Open theBoom Quiet's white box and you're immediately treated to an absolutely gorgeous black fabric covered, dual-zippered hard carrying case just bulging with accessories. "Wow look at all that stuff!" was my first thought as I pulled this gorgeous case out of the box and unzipped it.
Inside, I found the Quiets, folded flat in an unusual way, along with theBoom mic cushioned in a soft foam insert. The case's lid has a pocket with a clear window for business cards, $100.00 bills, or whatever else you want to stash in it, and two nylon velcro pockets one labeled "Audio" and the other "Cellular."
As I opened these pockets and explored their contents I found: The same "universal connector" as on the other theBoom models, with the same little silver, inline volume control wheel and mute button - this plugs into a port marked "audio in" on the left earcup.
A standard 2.5mm cell phone jack and cable, again identical to the other theBooms which plugs into that connector on one end and your Treo's bottom jack on the other
A dual-jack airplane headset connector
Another cable labeled "stereo headphones" which terminates in a 3.5mm mini stereo jack (for laptops or MP3 players), onto which you can pop a standard quarter inch stereo headphone adapter to jack into home receivers, tape decks, mixers, DVD decks, or what have you.
A soft vinyl drawstring carrying pouch
A pair of AAA alkaline batteries
An eight page, heavily illustrated Owner's Manual with the photos and text in this booklet, all functions of the Quiets are explained with crystal clarity. Unlike too many manuals I've seen, you're not left guessing what plugs into what, or which piece does what. Whoever wrote and laid out this slick little manual really knew what he was doing. Next Page: Folding >>
theBoom Quiet Stereo Headset from