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Reviews Categories | Headphones & Boom-mic Headsets | SkullCandy Proletariat NC Help


Reviews Summary for SkullCandy Proletariat NC
Reviews: 1 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $99
Description: Active noise canceling over-the-ear headphones

*PRODUCT DISCONTINUED BY MFG*

Product is in production.
More info: http://www.skullcandy.com/
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You can write your own review of the SkullCandy Proletariat NC.

KI4STU Rating: 5/5 Mar 21, 2008 11:42 Send this review to a friend
Works well, excellent price!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Background:
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I acquired my pair for "free" through work, through an odd sort of bonus program we have. They seem commonly available via Amazon for around $70US. Before getting them myself, I ran through all of the reviews on Amazon, and they seemed worth the chance (I didn't want to *waste* my funny money, after all!). Now that I have had them for about a year, it's time to write something about them, since no one else seems to have written a HAM based review (that I could find)!

First Impressions:
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When I first got them, I opened the package, and promptly dropped them onto my tile floor. A piece of plastic on one side popped out of it's hole, but was easily put back in place... no apparent damage done. I installed the 2 AAA batteries that came with it (imagine that, batteries *included*), and put the things on my head. The room was instantly quieter, but this is the norm for most any over-the-ear headphones. I rapped my fingers on a counter top, and the rapping sound was attenuated, but still clear. Then I flipped the switch to turn the Noise Canceling part on. It felt as if I had suddenly taken up residence in my own little bubble world. Rapping my fingers on the counter again, I could strain to hear them, but the sound was definitely faint and muffled. Off to the rig...

I plugged these into my K1. One thing I noticed was that the "volume control" on the headphones played a part whether the active noise canceling was turned on or off. No big deal to me, but perhaps and interesting point. I flipped the switch on, and was again enveloped in audio darkness. The active NC circuit did create a bit of noise, but very very little. I would liken putting these things on, and turning the NC on to using a very narrow CW filter... everything around you just seems to disappear. Now to spin the VFO dial...

I tend to copy code via keyboard while I listen, and the clicking of the keys was almost imperceptible with the NC on. The feeling was a bit strange. I could see my fingers moving out of the corner of my eye, but I could barely hear them! It was a bit unnatural feeling at first, but a pleasant one still.

I tend to always tune up a band, and doing so the CW pitch rises as I tune through it. The CW was clear, the headphones definitely helping me to pick out weaker signals. But something strange also happened. As the pitch of the CW note climbed, it also faded from left to right. It was as if someone was twiddling a balance knob in sync with my VFO knob. This showed me, if nothing else, how much I rely on my hearing to give me a point of reference in space. With so little sound coming into my ears, I felt as if I was physically moving, floating in space, around this CW note. I have grown to enjoy the experience over time, but it is *definitely* strange at first. The biggest downside, for me, is my preferred CW pitch results in the "balance" resting slightly towards my left ear.

Comfort, Fit and Styling:
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For me, these are plenty comfortable. I have worn them for several hours continuously. There is a bit of discomfort, when you remove them... but it is no fault of the headphones (or is entirely the fault of the headphones?), it's a fault of the human brain. Removing them, you are suddenly flooded with the sounds of the outside world. The sensation is similar to tooling around a band and forgetting you have a very narrow CW filter on, then switching the CW filter off and hearing the world flood in.

The headphones fit me well, and offer what I would consider standard adjustments for headphones. The ear pieces can be adjusted up and down to accommodate taller and shorter heads. The springiness of the head band is sufficient to keep the cans comfortably squeezed against your head, but not strong enough to feel like your brains are being squeezed out.

The styling is perhaps not as refined as something like Bose headphones, but does have a well thought out look. The ear padding, as well as padding along the headband are real, soft leather. The manufacturer themselves seem to be marketing to the younger generation, which the name alone might imply, but the styling tends to follow. The headphones collapse down, and can fit into a small carrying sack which is included with them.

Worth Mentioning:
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I have never personally tried using these to listen to anything besides CW. I did bring them into work, and promptly loaned them to K4VD. He listened to his music for most of the day, on a pair of NiMH batteries that I had installed about a month and a half ago. I had put about 2 or 3 hours of use on these batteries. K4VD has put another full work day (~8 hours) on them. They've now been passed across the cube isle to another coworker, who has put a few more hours on them. The batteries are still going.

K4VD's first impression when putting them on was that they blocked out the world almost entirely. Then he switched the NC on, and the noise faded even more. He had considerable trouble hearing me talk, although not quite as much trouble as he has when wearing his Shure earbuds (~$400US). On the down side, when he turned up his music, I could hear it playing... outside noise was kept from his ears, but the sound of his music was allowed to escape.

I have never experienced dying batteries in this unit myself. I have always seemed to forget to turn them off at some point, and the batteries have died as a result by the next time I go to use them. That being said, I have used the rig one evening, gone to bed, and come back the next evening to find them still switched on. They still worked fine the second evening, and a few sessions beyond that. Basically, these things seem, to me, to do pretty well on battery consumption.

Overall:
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I would (and have) highly recommend these headphones. They seem a great value, given their quality versus cost. I have not personally tried some of the more expensive top-of-the-line headphones from other manufacturers, so can make no honest comparison. Still, they do as they claim, and do it well. The issue with balance fading with frequency shift would likely be imperceptible when listening to anything besides CW. So far, it is the only fault I can find in them. I was tempted to give them a rating of "4", but leaned towards the "5" in the end. If "4.5" were an option, it would be a better fit.
 


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