Able Planet Linx Audio, Lost-Cauze Gaming Headphones Review
Comfortable to wear even for extended periods of time
Nice presentation; fits nicely inside the bundled case
Solid carrying case with number of accessories
Long battery life when using the ANC option
Very user friendly adjustable ear straps
Included extension cord opens up listening options
Detachable audio cord
No USB option
No Mic support whatsoever
Who the hell is Rafik Bryant?
Higher price point
ANC technology should only be used when louder background noise is present
Able Planet, makers of numerous types of headphones, has recently released their newest product, the LoSt-CaUzE Gaming Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation.
What does LoSt-CaUzE mean and why is it spelled all funny with capital letters where there shouldn’t be capital letters? Apparently a gamer by the name of Rafik Bryant was a winner of a worldwide Quake 4 tournament and actively endorses these headphones by slapping his name on it. I personally have no idea who this Rafik guy is, nor do I really care. If anything, I find it annoying to type out these awkward and uncommon names with strange spelling. The marketing of these headphones rely heavily on this alleged Quake champion, but it has no effect on the hardware whatsoever. Pun intended, the marketing behind these headphones is a “lost cause.”
Bad jokes aside, these Able Planet headphones provide a quality listening experience, but still contain a few flaws.
Upon first opening the box, I was very pleased at the overall presentation of the product. Housed within a solid, but touchy-feely hardshell case, the headphone sat snug within an elastic binding. Thanks to the 90 degree rotation of the ear cups, placing these headphones in this case uses a lower profile, making it that much easier to store and transport.
The unit comes with a several accessories. Besides the headphones and carrying case, a 6 foot extension cord, dual pin airline adapter, a ¼ inch stereo adapter, and 2 AAA batteries will all be bundled together. Everything can fit snuggly inside the unit’s carrying case.
One of the most important features other than sound quality is comfort when it comes to any set of headphones. Extended wear can often cause pain an hour into that intense gaming session. Luckily, these LoSt-CaUzE headphones are quite comfortable. The entire cup fits around the ear, blocks out a good portion of the outside noise and provides comfort. The unit as a whole is on the lighter side so the weight shouldn’t be a factor. Furthering the comfort level of these headphones are the well designed adjustable ear straps. Unlike most headphones, this Able Planet unit can be adjusted in the smallest increments, allowing all types of users to find their appropriate comfort level.
The audio cord is also 100% removable. This is a very welcomed feature as it makes storing and transporting the unit much safer, allowing the user to simply store the cord in a pocket as opposed to awkwardly wrapping the cord around the headphones. And thanks to the different accessories, users should have options to listen in wherever they go, especially on air planes.
Promoting Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology, these headphones claim to block more of the outside noise, keeping you focused on what you are listening to. To use this feature, 2 AAA batteries must be inserted into the unit (in the left ear cup) while the “on-off” switch must be activated. The manual states that one set of AAA batteries will last for about 30-35 hours when using this optional ANC feature. While this battery life fact is true, this ANC feature is only best used in certain situations. If listening with little to no background noise, then having the ANC feature turned on will actually make everything sound worse. This is because ANC actually works by adding in extra noise (sounds kind of like the static-like white noise) to mask outside audio pollution. So if listening to audio with little to no background noise, then it is recommended to not use this feature. But if you are trying to enjoy some music when on a train, bus, or especially airplane, this ANC feature will be better utilized.
There are two major disappointments with these gaming headphones. First, is the lack of a USB option. In my personal experience, I found that a USB enabled set of headphones delivers a higher quality listening and voice recording experience than a standard audio input. In fact, we record our mygamer Podcast with USB headsets and would never go back to using a standard audio jack due to some early issues that we faced. While still plug-and-playable, having a USB option could have only opened more doors for this unit.
The second biggest downfall is the complete lack of any type of microphone support. According to the game’s packaging and marketing, these are “gaming” headphones. But games now rely on voice chat for team based gameplay. I find it ironic that these headphones are marketed by the Quake 4 champion, a game that works much better with voice chat for multiplayer matches, but yet there is no microphone option! I don’t care how good these headphones are if I cannot converse with my online buddies. Without voice chat/mic support, these headphones are solely to be used for listening to music on your stereo receiver, your iPod, a PSP or DS, or when watching bad in-flight movies.
While providing a higher quality listening experience, I am a little disappointed with this unit. While the ear cups themselves are quite comfortable and the included carrying case gives the entire package a stellar presentation and the highlighted ANC feature works well in higher background noise areas, I find the total lack of mic support keeps these headphones in the “listening to music” only category. With a price of $199.99, there are some better options available – with voice chat. I don’t understand how these headphones can be marketed as “gaming headphones” when there is no voice/mic support. Since these headphones are marketed around this Rafik Bryant Quake 4 champ, it might be assumed that he doesn’t like to talk, only listen.
So are these headphones recommended? Well, it depends. If you want a richer audio experience, especially when playing in a public setting with heavy background noise, then these headphones are a great option. But if you are going to sit at your PC and play online multiplayer matches, then you might want to reconsider due to the lack of voice chat options.
Visit www.ableplanet.com for more.