Active noise cancellation is great, but even in wired headphones, it requires either recharging or swapping batteries from time to time. With its new Q Adapt in-ear headphones, Libratone is looking to take much of the hassle out of noise cancellation, and it’s adding a few other features in the process.
The Q Adapt, announced on Thursday, use Apple’s Lightning adapter instead of a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. This means your iPhone or iPad can power the headphones’ noise cancellation, keeping the Q Adapt slimmer and lighter than most in-ears featuring active noise cancellation. It also means that if Apple does indeed ditch the headphone jack on its next iPhone, you’ll already have a pair of in-ears that work as intended.
Most active noise canceling headphones offer just one level of cancellation, usually aiming to block out as much surrounding noise as possible. This is great when you want to zone out or focus on the music, but it isn’t always ideal in real-world situations. For the Q Adapt, Libratone offers four different levels of cancellation. According to Libratone President Mike Culver, this is mainly meant to keep the company’s customers safe.
“We are bombarded with all kinds of intrusive ambient noise, no matter where we go. A subway commuter might want to completely cancel the urban blare that comes with trains and other audio distractions so they can enjoy pure music,” Culver told Digital Trends. “However, pedestrians or bicyclists need to let in some ambient noise, such as a siren, for safety reasons. Libratone’s Q Adapt in-ear earbuds let the listener control exactly how much noise they allow into their sound space through four levels of active noise cancellation.”
As with many of the company’s other products, the look is engaging without taking things too far over the top. The reliance on a Lightning connector shows that these in-ears are aimed strictly at Apple users, so it’s fitting that they come in four color varieties matching the colors of recent Apple products: elegant nude, cloudy white, stormy black, and rose pink. The cable is fabric-wrapped, which adds to the generally striking look, but also helps make it more resistant to snags.
The company supplies three different sizes of ear tips, so it should be fairly easy to find a fit, though you can always spring for third-party tips if prefer. The Q Adapt in-ears feature a built-in mic and remote, with a total of four buttons. Three are the standard volume up, volume down, and playback and call control buttons, while the fourth adjusts the level of the noise cancellation.
Libratone’s Q Adapt in-ears are priced at $180 and are available for pre-order from the company’s website as of Thursday. The earphones will begin shipping to customers in October.