Phitek BlackBox M14 noise-cancelling headphones
These noise-cancelling headphones block out a lot of ambient noise, but sound closed in
- Good active noise cancellation, comfortable, quality finish
- Audio feels closed-in, expensive, require AAA batteries
If you can afford them, BlackBox's M14 noise-cancelling headphones do a good job of blocking out unwanted background sounds. Audio occasionally feels closed-in and not as expansive as we'd hoped, however.
Price$ 374.95 (AUD)
The Phitek BlackBox M14 closed headphones deliver active noise cancellation powered by a single AAA battery. They are well constructed and reasonably comfortable for long-term listening sessions, and their sound is versatile enough for a range of musical styles. Audio can feel closed-in at times due to the design, but if you can live with this then you'll be pleased with these headphones.
Phitek is a long-term player in the active noise cancellation market and supplies noise-cancelling headphones to Singapore Airlines' first-class passengers. The BlackBox M14 is one of the company's first consumer-oriented products.
With a combination of rubberised and painted plastic for the ear-cups and soft leatherette for the ear-pads and headband, the BlackBox M14 headphones feel well constructed. The oval-shaped ear-cups take a few seconds to adjust on your ears, but the telescoping headband makes fitting the headphones easy. At 180g these headphones are light enough to wear for long periods, although the leatherette finish does get sweaty after a while — so quick breaks might be required.
Noise cancelling is activated by a switch on the left ear-cup. Phitek claims the headphones offer a reduction of up to 22dB on sub-1kHz frequencies — as with most active noise-cancelling solutions low frequency noise is effectively eliminated but higher frequencies are harder to equalise. The noise cancelling is quite effective, successfully removing the ambient noise in an office environment without adversely affecting audio quality. A very slight high frequency hiss was introduced but it was only audible when no music was playing.
Sound quality from the Phitek BlackBox M14 headphones is good, with bass and higher treble frequencies well covered. These headphones have a lively sound, with mid-range that is slightly recessed in favour of deep bass kicks and clean treble. The soundstage of the headphones is not as expansive as we were hoping. It's common for closed active noise cancelling headphones to exhibit a "canned" sound; while it's more than bearable we would have preferred the BlackBox M14 headphones to have more detailed stereo imaging.
According to Phitek an AAA battery is good for 40 hours of noise cancelling, so you won't be changing batteries daily. You will need to remember to switch them off, however, or replacing batteries could become a costly endeavour.
If you can afford them (and the ongoing running costs), Phitek's BlackBox M14 headphones do a good job of blocking out background noise and provide adequate sound quality.
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @Goodgearguide
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Is the world ready for a 4K phone?
- 2 D-Link Taipan AC3200 Ultra tri-band modem-router review
- 3 Dell XPS 13 (2016) review: Making the very best Ultrabook
- 4 Microsoft Surface Book review: The verdict on Microsoft's first notebook
- 5 Telstra Wi-Fi 4GX Advanced III review: Testing the world's first 600Mbps wireless hotspot
Best Deals on PC World
Latest News Articles
- Apple slates March 21 event, with 4-in. iPhone likely on the stage
- Convoy International restructures business focus
- ASUS launches world’s first liquid-cooled gaming laptop
- Tablets replace books for kids back at school
- Dell agrees to acquire EMC for US$67 billion
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCCommVault Backp EngineerNSW
- CCSenior Frontend DeveloperNSW
- FTSolution ArchitectVIC
- CCApplication Migration ArchitectACT
- CCSenior Project Manager - HealthcareVIC
- CCContract Programmer (Crystal Report/HTML/SQL) 160428/P/244Asia
- FTSupplier Relationship ManagerVIC
- FTManager; Enterprise ArchitectureNSW
- FTSenior Application SpecialistACT
- FTTechnical/Team Lead - .NetNSW
- FTSQL DeveloperNSW
- CCEnterprise Architect (Security)NSW
- FTSoftware (.Net) DeveloperACT
- FT.NET DeveloperWA
- CCSystems TrainerVIC
- CCContract Snr IT Assistant (IT Operation/UNIX) 160504/SITA/982Asia
- CCAWS ArchitectNSW
- CCBusiness Data AnalystVIC
- FTSenior Storage Systems EngineerACT
- FTSenior Business Intelligence ManagerNSW
- CCRemedy AdministratorNSW
- CCAnalyst Programmer (JAVA/Windows Programming) 160422/AP/544Asia
- CCTechnical ExpertVIC
- CCIT Solution Architect - ApplicationsNSW
- CCProject ManagerQLD