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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Philips SHN2500 review

As a geek commuter I listen daily to approximately 2 hours of podcasts on loudly trains, so noise reduction is a great issue for me. Here are the options I've used so far:

  1. I started using an in-ear passive noise reduction from Thomson; it was a fair solution, cheap, power-free and small, but in-ear systems pose 2 problems:
    1. I could hear myself - just moving the jaw would produce inconvenient noises;
    2. It wasn't the best solution from an hygienic perspective, as you may imagine;
  2. After a while I bought an inexpensive HN-700 active reduction headsets from Creative; again a fair product, not the greatest on quality, but fair; the only problem I have with these is that portability can be an issue;
Today I've found what I thought would be a great buy: a dual cancellation noise reduction system (both passive and active) for about 40€, the Philips SHN2500.

The passive noise cancellation works as expected, the problem is the active feature. When I power the unit, a loud electronic rain (is that how it's called?) is all I get. No noise cancellation whatsoever. Not even on the low frequencies.

I've found this troubling review:
I have no idea how these can claim noise canceling. When turned on with low or no source volume, there is ZERO reduction in background noise of any kind. There is not even a trace of a microphone in the unit...it does nothing different with varying noise or location of the unit. The only reason people might think it is doing something is that it amplifies the source about 6 dB, drowning out other sounds equally. But if you return the volume to the same level, you'll hear exactly the same amount of noise. This product is fraudulent in its claim of active noise reduction.
If this is true, I'm afraid fraud would be the only way to address it. I'm returning this product first thing tomorrow.

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