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Wednesday February 1, 2006 4:52 am

Altec Lansing AHP712i Headphones Review

DescriptionAltec Lansing is known for giving audiophiles the quality in detail that they seek.  The AHP712i headphones were designed with those of us that love ear-cupped style headphones and refuse to migrate to the possibly more comfortable and stylish earbuds.  Considering you can get a semi-decent pair of headphones for about $30 these days, we decided to put these through a rigorous amount of testing to determine whether or not they are truly worth $150.  Check out the review after the jump.

The first thing that really stands out, once you have the headphones in your hand, is how incredibly light they are.  They do exude a sense of tech in their design with a metallic look with a smooth, black headband and ear padding.  On the package the words “More Sound. Less Noise.” are imprinted with an airplane image aside it.  Clearly, these were developed with traveling in mind.  I couldn’t help but imagine that they also wanted the listener to able to withstand them for long periods of time.


The second thing that you’ll notice is the noise cancellation trigger that comes attached directly to the headset.  These bring a clip for easy control.  On the trigger you have a volume wheel and a button that allows you to switch the noise cancellation on or off.  This particular function requires a “AAA” battery to operate.  At the top (shown below) is an empty 1/8” socket for either of the two choices of cable lengths - 2ft and 6ft.


The last thing you’ll notice inside the packaging is the carrying cloth case and the accessories - two 1/8” wires, airplane converter, and 1/4” adapter.  Something I found useful was the case has inner velcro pocket to put these small items in.

I decided to try the headphones on for comfort first.  They are indeed comfortable for extended periods of time and are quite adjustable for different size heads.  I found them to be very snug.  I then adjusted the headband for someone else with a smaller head than mine.  They found it to be just as comfortable and snug as I did.  Only two complaints arose about the design.  I ended up developing ear sweat after about 20-25 min of use.  I believe it was the leather-like material that caused that.  The other fault is that it claims to be foldable but the actual speakers just swivel flat.  There is no compact folding as I imagined.

MP3/CD Test

I noticed instantly that I was dealing with a high-quality set of headphones once the music started to play.  I was simply blown away at the amount of detail that I was able to notice within the various frequencies of quite a varied library of music.  There was a slight decrease in quality of the MP3 versions of the same songs, but that is the format’s fault, not the headphones.  I then tried the noise cancellation switch and was completely astounded once more.  It near completely blocked out surrounding noise in the environment I was in without blowing out my ears.  It even worked just as good with the volume at a substantially reduced level.  I also used them on the subway - which is quite noisy - and I was able to listen to music with almost the same intensity as a quieter environment.

Gaming Test

I decided to hook them up to various types of games and televisions.  There were a few combinations of Xbox, Xbox 360s, low grade and higher grade TV’s.  I even did a little bit of PC gaming with them.  I found they were an improvement in sound for both the television and the PC because of their clarity.  However, it wasn’t as noticeable as the previous test.


DVD Test

I tried this test on both televisions and PCs.  This was quite a different experience than gaming.  Even though I was using the same hardware, the frequencies came through so clearly that it almost simulated a home theater experience.  This was quite a rush on my laptop where I usually don’t get that kind of reaction from the on-board speakers.

Studio Test

The last and most grueling test was putting them in a studio environment.  Granted, they were not designed for this purpose, but for the sake of every single audio freak out there - I did it for you.  I already own a pair of high end headphones for this purpose, but I got some interesting results.  In a comparison test, I found it easier to listen to edits, pops, clicks, and hisses on the higher end headphones than on the AHP712i unit.  I tried using the noise cancellation during this process as well, but that only made things more difficult to the edit process.

Final Verdict

AHP712i Review Score What is really important to remember here is what you expect when you listen to particular types of media.  These are designed for music listening for extensive amounts of time.  They outperformed every pair of headphones I tested them against - except the recording studio headphones.  I found that I was able to listen to music and DVDs very accurately and how they were meant to be heard. I was disappointed that it didn’t bring a gold plated 1/4” adapter, or gold plated airplane converter.  These are essential to prevent corrosion over time - and look nicer, too.  However, both 1/8” connectors are gold plated on each end.  If you are looking for a great set of comfortable headphones I highly recommend them.

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