Headphones are great; they allow us to listen to our music privately while in public places and they deliver better clarity than standard speakers. It’s akin to being enveloped in our very own little musical world where nothing comes between us and our music. Well, ideally anyway. In reality, there is often some noise that interferes with the headphone listening experience. It could be a tv in another part of the house, a jet engine, a crying baby or traffic. When life throws noise at you, what you need is a pair of noise-canceling headphones. And to that end, the Cleer NC headphones are just what the doctor ordered. Read on for my full review, and to see why they have earned a 2017 Top Pick Award.
- Speaker driver: 40mm
- Magnet: Neodymium
- Audio connection: 3.5mm stereo jack
- Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
- Playback time: Up to 22 hours
- Battery charge time: Up to 3 hours
- Battery type: Lithium-ion polymer
What’s In The Box
- Cleer NC noise canceling headphones
- USB charger
- 2- audio cables with inline remote
- Hard carrying case
- Flight adaptor
- Users manual
- Quick start guide
- Warranty card
- Acoustic certificate
The Cleer NC headphones have a classic design about them, nothing wild here. The cans, ear pads, and headband are all black. The adjustable metal arms connecting the cans to the headband are presented in a smoked chrome that is rather nice. On the outer part of the can there is a large LED C logo that lights up red when the headphones are in use. You can also turn the red logo off should you choose. The mesh on the inside of the cans is also red, and there is an L and an R printed to differentiate the left from the right. The earpads are also removable should you ever need to change them.
The feel of the Cleer NC headphones is very nice as well. They have a bit of heft to them that lends to the feel of quality. That heft can get uncomfortable if you plan on using the headphones for an extended period though. The outer part of the cans have microgrooves that give it textural as well as visual interest. On the left side you will find a three-position sound setting switch with OFF/PASC/ANC (more on these later). There is also an audio jack input and a USB-C charging port on the left can. The right can houses the on/off button for the LED logo on the side of the cans as well as a charge level indicator. Music, volume and call controls are on the audio cable remote.
Bass is the word that comes to mind with the Cleer NC headphones. The bass is big and booming, yet not annoying. If you are into music with loud bass, you will love these headphones. The mid-tones and the highs cut nicely through the deep bass. Though the focus is on bass, nothing gets lost in the mix. The sound and volume of these headphones are very comfortable, nothing here will give you a headache if the volume is a bit too loud.
And now to talk about that OFF/PASC/ANC switch I mentioned earlier. This switch controls the active noise cancelation (ANC), and the Psycho-Acoustic Spectral Compensation (PASC). Active noise cancelation is something with which most of us are familiar. ANC removes unwanted sounds by adding a second sound that cancels out the first. PASC is basically a bass booster that gives the low end a boost when the volume is turned down; this ensures that bass response is not lost when you lower the volume of your music. It works well when you have to have the volume lower, but for normal listening, you will want the Cleer NC headphones on ANC.
Now to discuss the active noise cancelation. When the ANC was activated, there was a slight hiss that seems to be a problem with most ANC equipped headphones. The hiss was very slight, and when music was playing it was imperceptible to my ears. The only time the ANC hiss was an issue was when there was no music playing. Other than that the ANC worked very well. It blocked almost all high-end sounds, with the bass from other music sources being a bit more noticeable. As far as ambient noise, the ANC did a good job of blocking everything but the loudest of sounds. I believe that the benefit of the ANC far outweighs the minor annoyance of the hiss.
Call quality is top notch on the Cleer NC headphones. During the call, I was able to hear the other party exceptionally well. They said I sounded no different while using the headphones than when I am using only my phone. I’m sure having the mic on the in-line remote and close to your mouth helps with the sound. The buttons on the remote handle calls. There was a slight learning curve to perfecting using the remote, but once learned it is rather easy.
Cleer states that the NC headphones have a playback time, with ANC active, of up to 22 hours. I tested the headphones with the volume set at 50%, and the ANC turned on. I was able to get 22 hours and 32 minutes of playback time before the battery gave out. The great thing about the Cleer NC headphones is that once the battery dies, you can continue listening to your music. The headphones themselves are not dependent on battery life. The battery merely powers the ANC and PASC function of the headphones.
The Cleer NC headphones are listed on Cleer’s website for $199.99USD, but right now you can purchase them for $89.00USD on Amazon. These headphones sound, feel and look like high-end premium headphones. I think $199 is a deal, but to be able to get a pair for $89 is a steal! At this price, they would even make great Christmas gifts.
If you have always wanted a pair of premium headphones but just can’t bring yourself to pay the price most cost, then the Cleer NC headphones may be what you are looking for. They have great sound, the ANC feature works very well, and they have a high-quality build. The Cleer NC headphones definitely deserve to be on your wish list this holiday season.