New Zealand-based Phitek Systems has released their first consumer product, the Blackbox M14 Noise Cancellation Headphones. The company is incorporating their experience in sound systems and avionics into a consumer product aiming to reach those frequent flyers and music lovers.
Phitek Systems has lots of experience in this kind of technology, being selected to supply noise cancelling headphones for First and Business Class services at Singapore Airlines.
The M14 comes in a hard shell, black, carrying case, with some accessories including a 6.5mm adapter and an airline adapter. It works with a single AA battery, which can provide up to 40 hours of noise cancellation goodness.
I have experienced the M14 in a few flights over the last month, including domestic (Wellington - Auckland, 45 minutes), short- (Wellington - Sydney, Wellington - Melbourne, four hours) and long-haul (Auckland - San Francisco, twelve hours) flights. In all those flights I had the opportunity to try their in-flight entertainment systems, with great results.
Even without turning the noise cancellation circuits on you can feel the quality put into the design and manufacture. The cups fit really nicely to ones ears, and the soft leather-style cover makes it sit cosy in position. Weghing only 180g, you can wear the M14 for long periods, great for those long-haul flights.
Once you turn on the noise cancellation circuit, you can immediately feel the noise reduction and an enhancement on the overall sound.
The M14 sports two 40mm Neodymiun speakers, delivering frequency response from 20Hz to 22kHz. Its electronic circuit can reduce noise up to 22dB.
I also tried the M14 in our home office, and that's where I found a bit of an interference, shown as a very faint "bzzzzz" in the background. I would say the environment though is very different from an airliner, since we have two desktop PCs, a laptop, a couple of Pocket PC Phone, three external hard disc drives, a DECT phone system base station and a Wi-Fi router. Despite all this "electronic noise" the M14 did a great job of eliminating the constant humming noise created by those computers and HDD.
In summary, greatly recommended device, for frequent travellers or office workers who want a quiet spot.
Single AAA battery
Works as advertised
Small interference when used in an office environment, due to "electronic noise"