On our desk this week - 3

Written by Wil Harris

November 4, 2005 | 10:54

Tags: #dab #digital #eksitdata #iriver #mp3 #t20

Companies: #creative #msi #pure

Creative HN700 Headphones

Creative have a long history of making soundcards, but they're also pretty well known for their ranges of surround sound speakers. Now, Creative are moving out into more diverse markets, and we're taking a look at a set of noise-cancelling headphones labelled the HN700.

On our desk this week - 3 Creative HN700 Headphones On our desk this week - 3 Creative HN700 Headphones On our desk this week - 3 Creative HN700 Headphones On our desk this week - 3 Creative HN700 Headphones
The headphones are collapsible. They run off two AAA batteries, and the controls on the side include the on/off switch and volume control. The material on the earpieces is faux-leather.

You'll notice in these pictures that there's no cord running to them. That's because you use a detachable cable to connect the headphones to your sound source. The good news is that when the headphone cable dies - as anyone who's owned a pair of headphones for more than a couple of years will tell you is sooner or later to be the case - you can just replace it, without having to replace the whole set. Useful.

How does the noisecancelling work, then? Creative launch a two-pronged attack on that unwanted noise. The first, passive noise cancelling, is by virtue of the Princess Leia-style design: by enveloping your entire ear, the headphones already block outside noise to a degree in a way that smaller bud-phones don't.

The second method is active noise cancelling: tiny microphones sample outside noise and an on-board DSP calculates an inverse waveform - anti-noise - which is then emitted inside the headphones, cancelling out the unwanted background noise. It works best for continuous droning - you will still be able to hear people talking. The effect is absolutely amazing. You can be sitting in a fairly busy, air-conditioned office environment, put these on, and suddenly hear (or not) complete silence. It's eerie.

You can either just sit back and enjoy the silence, or you can pump in some music from whatever sound source you like and enjoy the clean sound of the audio, free from distractions.

On our desk this week - 3 Creative HN700 Headphones
Office monkey
These headphones are perfect for those who travel frequently, whether on planes, trains, buses, wherever. They're even useful for the office monkey desperate for a few minutes of peace and quiet. In our experience of similar products, noise cancelling headsets can be wishy-washy at the best of times, and they often muffle audio unbearably. However, these are a really amazing find, especially since audio played over the noise cancellation sounds just as good as audio through a standard set of headphones. Even more amazing is the price - the HN700s come in at just £39.99.

In terms of the kind of stereo headphones sought after by audio purists, these clearly aren't in the same league as a set of Bose noise cancelling headphones which retail in the £200-300 range, but they are absolutely perfect for anyone who doesn't require quite that level of sound quality.

Name: Creative HN700 headphones
Buy it from: Lowestonweb.com
Cost: £39.99
Verdict: An absolutely stunning set of headphones for the price. Prepare to escape the humdrum...
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