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How is the Iteknic Active Noise Canceling Headphones

*This article was published on turbofuture.com by Walter Shillington originally.

My naval career began as a radio operator onboard the Annapolis, a frigate based off the east coast. At that time short messages could be sent to the ship’s staff by their relatives. These were delivered by an almost extinct form of communication called Morse code.

As the youngest and most green radio operator onboard, my task was to man a headset connected to a bulky RACAL receiver and transcribe these messages.

It wasn’t fun. I sat in an uncomfortable chair, drinking stale coffee saturated with sugar and mixed with curdled Carnation milk. The air stank of stale cigarettes and the Annapolis’s unreliable stabilizers ensured a bout of seasickness was only one nauseating lurch away.

Because of the distance involved, Morse signals were often quite weak, forcing me to turn the receiver’s volume to max. The pops, crackles, and explosions of noise, common to high-frequency reception constantly assaulted my eardrums.

The headset consisted of a pair of tinny speakers encased within puck-like Bakelite cases. Depending on the strength of the curved metal strap connecting the speakers, they either constantly slid from my ears or pinched like crazy.

That was in 1976. Over the last 43 years, headsets have improved dramatically and my review subject, the iTeknic IK-BH002, incorporates many of these advances. It is infinitely more comfortable, connects via Bluetooth, includes a built-in microphone, and comes equipped with active noise canceling. I could have used one of these in the early days of my naval career.

Description

The iTeknic IK-BH002 weighs in at 535 grams (1.18 pounds) and, due to the inclusion of ear cushions designed to cover the entire ear, it is both larger and more noise resistant than the Bluedio headset I have previously used.

Its speaker cups can swivel and pivot, providing a comfortable fit, and both right and left arms adjust to conform to the size of the wearer’s head. These arms can also be folded, allowing the headset to fit inside a small carrying case.

The right speaker cup is equipped with a volume control, an on/off/pairing button, microphone, 3.5-millimeter input, and a switch which activates the active noise canceling feature. There is also an LED used to signal Bluetooth connectivity and one which indicates activation of noise cancelling. A mini USB input, fitted to the left speaker cup, is used for charging the device.

The microphone is of the cVc 6 (clear Voice capture) variety. Noise reduction algorithms reduce ambient sound and enhance the voice of the caller.

This headset is equipped with a 500mAH lithium rechargeable battery. According to the manufacturer, playtime runs between 15 and 20 hours. The battery can be fully charged within one hour via its USB connector.

Along with the headset, the box contains a 3.5-millimeter auxiliary cable, guide, and a rather nice carrying case.

Specifications

  1. Brand: iTeknic
  2. Model: IK-BH002
  3. Type: Over the ear
  4. Country of origin: China
  5. Weight: 535 grams (1.18 pounds)
  6. Color: Black
  7. Battery: 500mAH lithium rechargeable
  8. Battery life: 15 – 20 hours
  9. Charging time: One hour
  10. Speakers: 44mm drivers (1.75 inches)
  11. Microphone: cVc 6
  12. Connection: Bluetooth 5.0 or direct using a 3.5-millimeter auxiliary cable
  13. Noise suppression: Active noise canceling
  14. Accessories: Auxiliary cable, guide, and carrying case

The Manufacturer

Iteknic is trademarked by Shenzhen NearbyExpress Technology Development Company Limited which is a division of the Sunvalley Group.

Sunvalley was founded in 2007 and is the brand owner of RAVPower, VAVA, TaoTronics, Anjou, Sable, and HooToo. This company is headquartered in Shenzhen, China, and has subsidiaries located in San Francisco, Tokyo, Singapore, and Hamburg.

Bluetooth

This headset is Bluetooth 5.0 capable but can be used with earlier versions. It paired to both my computer and MP3 player quickly and without complications. Due to the inclusion of a microphone, the headset can also be used with a smartphone.

The theoretical maximum distance for Bluetooth 5.0 is 240 meters (800 feet). During my tests, however, both my computer and MP3 player were equipped with Bluetooth 4.1 transmitters which, unfortunately, have a much lesser range.

While listening to music transmitted from my computer, the headset worked perfectly until I entered my kitchen. Then, as I neared the far end of the room intending to brew a coffee, the reception began to break up. This was due to my computer’s older Bluetooth version and signal degradation caused by the pair of outside walls that separated the devices.

When I paired the headset to my MP3 player, reception improved. In this case, the MP3 player was lying on my desk. Because this desk is situated alongside a window, the signal was obstructed by only one outside wall.

Noise Canceling

There are two types of noise canceling systems utilized in conjunction with headsets. Passive noise reduction involves the use of materials in the ear cushions that deaden the outside world. This technique is useful; however, the most effective packing materials are very dense, adding extra weight to the device.

While every headset provides some form of passive noise reduction, the iTeknic IK-BH002 also makes use of Active Noise Canceling. When activated, the headset’s microphone monitors outside noises. Then the IK-BH002 creates sound waves that mimic the incoming noise in every respect except one: the headphone’s output is 180 degrees out of phase with the intruding waves. Active noise-canceling headphones provide a noise reduction of approximately 20 decibels, effectively blocking about 70 percent of ambient noise. These headphones are ideal for airline and train travel or any other location with a high level of background noise.

It works great for air flow, fans, and engine noise because these sounds are constant. If the intrusion is sudden or varying, however, compensation will not prove adequate. When I activated the IK-BH002’s ANC system, it negated the sound of my fridge’s compressor as well as that of my furnace’s blower and the fan in my office. When I ran my dryer, I could not hear the motor, but there was a faint clicking as wet clothing bounced against the inside of the appliance. In this instance the device’s passive noise reduction also proved useful. Then my nosey neighbor dropped over, anxious to gossip about the couple across the street. Sadly, the headset’s noise-canceling system could only slightly muffle her voice.

While active noise canceling cannot handle every type of unwanted sound, the system used in iTeknic’s headset worked surprisingly well. This feature can be used either while listening to music via Bluetooth or independently when you want to block out the world.

Test Results

I wore the headset while playing games, listening to music and watching Netflix. It can also be utilized with a Bluetooth capable smartphone.

Sound quality was good, and I was especially impressed by the bass response.

While I prefer well-fitting earbuds because of their light weight, this headset from iTeknic is very comfortable. Once I became immersed within the movie I was watching, I tended to forget I was wearing the device.

During a four-day test period, with volume level set to 75%, this headset performed effectively for over 24 hours before requiring a recharge. This represents excellent battery life.

The IK-BH002’s active noise canceling system is the most effective I have tested and, because the foam cushions wholly covered my ears, passive noise reduction is also good.

Fit and finish are excellent. I found no problems related to quality control.

Overall Impression

I feel that this headset’s sound reproduction—especially bass—was quite good. The IK-BH002 is comfortable and enjoys excellent battery life. If you are in the market for a moderately priced headset featuring active noise canceling, iTeknic’s IK-B002 should be on your shortlist. The manufacturer has provided the discount code U2B97NA6.

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