In my ongoing effort to completely isolate myself from human society, the Solitude Active Noise Cancellation Headset should have been a Godsend. I could have had everything: comfortable headphones and zero distractions from the peanut gallery. Alas, the headset didn't exactly wow me. Find out why after the jump.
The first thing you notice with this headset is that they're incredibly comfortable. Solitude must be given credit for this as this is is easily the most comfortable headset I've ever used, and I've used many, usually poached off my friends and family members. The cushioning around the ear must be made of bunny rabbit tails because they are considerably soft, almost suspiciously so. The adjustable size of the headset ensures that they fit quite well no mater how large your noggin is (within reason, Herman Munster). Comfort certainly isn't a problem with the headset. Sound, on the other hand...
How do I say this nicely? How about, the headset doesn't sound very good. There, plain and simple. Maybe it's because I'm used to in-ear headphones, specifically Ultimate Ears super.fi 5 Pro—the big brother of the super.fi 3 Studio that we gave away for the Gizmodo Idol contest a few days ago—and the feeling of guitars and beat machines knocking on my eardrums. They also don't come anywhere near as close to producing high quality sound as the Bose Quiet Comfort 3 headset that I've also used.
As for the noise canceling, allegedly the main selling point of the headset, I think it works, but again, not as well as the Quiet Comfort 3. Once the switch is flicked, outside noise seems to be altered, certainly lowered, but canceled? That reeks of marketing. The sound being produced by the headset also seems to get louder once the noise canceling is turned on, perhaps to draw your attention away from the fact that the noise canceling only works marginally. Two AAA batteries power the noise canceling feature for 35 hours or so; otherwise, the headset will function as "normal" headphones.
Overall, I'd say that the Solitude Active Noise Cancellation Headset is decent: very comfortable but with "just ok" sound quality, probably more on the "ok" side if all you listen to is rock and the like; anything with more than a couple of guitars and drums may have you scratching your head. At $200 retail, it's also not the cheapest headset on the block. The bottom line is, for $200, you can find better sounding headphones, but for superior noise canceling you will have to spend much more (the Bose Quiet Comfort retail for $350).
Product Page [Solitude]