There are few things in this world that disappoint us more than a product that doesn't realise its potential. The Creative HN-505 noise cancelling headphones fall into this category and just keep on falling.
- Reasonable sound quality without the noise cancelling turned on.
- Poor design, Look cheap, Noise cancelling doesn’t work well, Hissing sound in background.
These are very cheap looking headphones, which don’t perform well enough to be considered a quality product.
Price$ 79.95 (AUD)
First up, design issues need to be raised. The 505s look cheap, constructed of very simple materials. The white plastic headband is poorly constructed with visible internal components and sponge cushioning around the speaker cup. The whole headset folds up at various points to become compact for easy storage but in order to achieve this feat, corners have been cut, making the headset too flimsy for our liking. For example, the head is supported with just a single elastic band covered in a thin plastic sleeve. This is the pinnacle of the mediocrity of design, showcasing the shortcomings of the materials used.
Most HiFi noise canceling headphones have a large speaker cup which envelopes the ear to help the noise cancelling feature. This tends to prevent sound leakage and reduce ambient noise. The HN-505 doesn't have very large speakers at all and tend to sit on the ear rather awkwardly. The elastic is constantly trying to pull the headphones up while you are trying to bring them down so they sit on the ear properly. This struggle is frustrating and trying to find a comfortable position for the speaker cups is futile at best.
Despite this comfort issue, the headphones deliver a reasonable sound quality with quality mid-tones and reasonable bass. There is a little muting of the bass at high volumes but its nothing too horrible. The treble registers also tend to be produced well enough but violent pitch changes do tend to cause some treble truncation. However, the selling point of these headphones should be their noise cancelling feature and the difference between having it on and the regular sound is so minimal it will leave you wondering why you spend $80 on a set of headphones. Granted, this is a competitive price compared to the others on the market the noise cancelling on these headphones is substandard,. When the feature is turned on the volume is raised but that's about it. You can still hear everything around you, and they can still hear what you are listening too. However, as a bonus for switching them on you are rewarded with a low white noise hiss in the background of your music.
The price is great for these headphones but they just don't come up to scratch. It's a real shame too, because they have so much potential to bring noise cancelling technology within reach of the average consumer. Unfortunately, as they stand, they are nothing more than an unattractive set of headphones with a volume booster, which isn't something we can recommend. N90
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