Phiaton PS 210 BTNC Sound
The Phiaton PS 210 BTNC utilizes Bluetooth 3.0. Pairing the PS 210 BTNC is as easy as any Bluetooth device I've used and, in the month or more that I used them, I never lost that connection. The wireless functionality sounded just as good in my tests as the wired connection. Even with lossless files, the sound quality was overall undiminished from a wired connection.
Phiaton promises "Exclusive “EVERPLAY-X” Ensures No Interruption of Music!" on their webpage. I did not find this to be the case. Bluetooth connection varied widely from having near-perfect connection all over my home to losing connection when in my back pocket. I'd like to think that was because I'm so dense with muscle mass that the Bluetooth connection couldn't penetrate, but anyone who's met me knows that isn't the case. Regardless, if you are looking for a wireless solution, don't be surprised if you occasionally have dropouts. Regardless of what the press materials tell you.
The noise cancelling of the PS 210 BTNC was, in general, as good as others I've tested. Background noise was nearly fully eliminated when engaged. Even in extremely noisy environments (an enclosed pool area where my kids take swimming lessons was one of the more extreme), the PS 210 BTNC blocked out nearly all the noise. Without any content playing, the noise cancelling did add an audible hiss, but you will not notice it with music. The benefits of the noise reduction will far outweigh the slight hiss.
The only real problem I had with the noise cancelling was when I used the headphones outside. I can't say if it was caused by the poor fit, but when it was windy, the noise cancelling would add a very loud counter signal which was as ineffectual as it was distracting. It was actually worse than the wind itself. At first, I thought it was the wind and was unrelated to the noise cancelling but, a quick flick of the noise cancelling switch proved that the noise cancelling was the problem. All in all, I wouldn't call it a knock against the headphones as I most often used the noise cancelling indoors and not in windy environments.
I have to say that I was fairly shocked by how good the PS 210 BTNC headphones sounded. Even with the wireless connection, Phiaton has managed to make a very solid set of headphones. From their website:
"To provide listeners with rich, gentle-yet-powerful bass response, they feature Phiaton’s acclaimed “MaxBass Reflex” technology with a dual-chamber structure that virtually eliminates unwanted vibration and echo. Users enjoy carefully balanced low-frequencies and treble equalization for great sound quality with all music genres, from jazz and classical to rock, hip-hop and house."
I found that the bass response was respectable but not overdone. With some music, I preferred a bit of boost but that is more a personal taste and not, in my opinion, a systemic failing with the headphones. Bass extension was respectable but it was fairly obvious that the PS 210 BTNC didn't have the extension of other headphones in the same price point. That said, with a bit of boost, the overall presentation of the bass seemed more balanced to me perhaps because some of those lowest frequencies were more audible.
The top end of the PS 210 BTNC was very forgiving if a bit rolled off. They provided enough extension that you didn't feel you were missing much but weren't at all harsh or overly detailed. For a headphone that is designed with long listening sessions, perhaps when exercising or traveling, this is a good thing.
Left and right separation was very good though imaging wasn't as precise as it could have been. Considering the other features of the PS 210 BTNC, namely Bluetooth and noise cancelling, I felt that the PS 210 BTNC would stand up to many headphones in the same price category. To me, the PS 210 BTNC sounded every bit as good as many standalone $150 headphones!
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