By Alan Pierce

Providing Classroom Resources on New & Emerging Technologies 
Copyright © 1996 - 2016 Dr. Alan J. Pierce
You are welcome to print material from this website for use in your classroom.
     Of course the BackBeat Proís most significant feature is active noise cancellation that can turn the loud roar of airplane engines into a quiet whisper. Not only can you cancel noise from reaching your ears with these headphones, you can also activate its open mike feature to dial in the noise of your environment that you do want to hear. They see this feature as a plus but it seems to me that removing the headphones is a more appropriate way to listen to surrounding conversations; unless you are spying on the people around you.
The best way to prevent hearing loss is to reduce the volume of hazardous noise from a roar to a quiet whisper. You can accomplish this task by using active or passive ear protection. Passive noise cancellation can be rubber or foam that you squish in your ear or a set of headphones that are loaded with sound absorbing foam. Before active noise cancellation technology was invented, this type of noise cancellation was the only way to protect your hearing at a gun range or if you worked in an environment that included extremely loud machinery.
     BackBeat Proís active noise cancellation technology reduces background noises by creating an opposing sound wave that cancels out the background noise. To accomplish this task the noise cancellation electronic circuitry of the BackBeat Pro creates a sound wave that is 180į out of phase of the offending sounds. This second sound wave acts as an acoustical eraser eliminating most of the loud noise that you would hear if you were not wearing an active noise cancellation device. If you donít have to pump up the volume of your music or video games to drown out environmental noise you just might avoid hearing loss later in life.

Reasons to Drool
The automatic pause feature is amazing. The sound quality and the unitís ability to really pump up the volume actually surpassed all the wired and wireless earbuds and headsets that I have reviewed to date. The controls for everything from switching tracks to answering phone calls were easily accessible and the noise cancellation was extremely effective.  Look at the labeled drawing again to check out the location of all the BackBeat Pro controls.

Not So Cool
A hard case would have provided much greater protection for the headset then the supplied ballistic nylon travel sleeve.  When you activate the open mike you can hear your environment but no longer hear your video or music which continues to play. To me it is much more logical to just take off the headset, which will automatically pause your show or music, so you can actively shift your attention to your surroundings.
BackBeat Pro Wireless With Active Noise Cancellation
    The Plantronics BackBeat Pro are extremely well designed and have some amazing features, which includes extremely long battery life (up to 24 hours per charge) and an automatic pause and resume sensor for music and video. See photo 1. When you take these headphones off your head your iPhone, iPad, or Android equivalent senses that you have stopped listening and automatically pauses your show or tunes until you place the headphones back on your head. Sound reproduction is excellent and the volume control on the headset seemed to add a volume boost to the maximum volume of the devices that I used for testing. Before testing this device I have always found wired earbuds and headphones to provide higher volume than their wireless competitors.
     Another interesting feature was the pairing of two devices at the same time to allow you to watch a movie on your tablet and instantly switch to your phone to answer a call. To make the switch you press the phone button on the right ear cup of the BackBeat Pro. See labeled drawing to see the placement of all controls that let you personalize your listening experience. 
Plantronics realized that you will definitely want to watch a movie on an airplane or use the BackBeat Pro with a player that doesnít have Bluetooth. For these occasions they supply a 3.5mm cable for you to use when Bluetooth isnít available and they also supply a micro USB charging cable for you to use to recharge the headset. You do have to supply your own charging block to plug the unit into a standard electrical outlet.