Plantronics updates the BackBeat Pro cans

by Volker Weber


I have had only one complaint about the BackBeat Pro headset: it's comically large on your head. But it does sound really great and it works extremely well isolating you from the noise around you. And it can do that 24 hours on a single charge.

Plantronics has been updating this 2013 design and came up with something smaller and lighter. I can't judge it from the photos, but supposedly the new cans take up 35% less volume and are 15% lighter, while sounding even better. I will let you know when I have a pair.

Plantronics should really hire a design director. Both the more expensive "Special Edition" above and the normal BackBeat Pro 2 don't look very intriguing. What is special besides the colour? The case and NFC pairing. What? NFC pairing is a differentiating feature? You've got to be kidding me!

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Besides being an APPLE-Nerd i'm also a Sound-Nerd. My Headphone-Saga from last Weekend: Bought a new Beats Solo 3, nice pairing and Range, but everything else a big, BIG Dissapointment. Sound well below average, Comfort, what comfort? You cannot have this thing longer then a few minutes on the head without it hurting you. So, back it goes. I considered a few alternatives mentioned here and elsewhere but headed to Saturn FFM to try my two favorites, both Sennheiser. The new PXC 550 (Bose QC 35 Killer) and the older Momentum 2 Over Ear Wireless. I tested both (and a few others) for halve a day and found the Momentum Wireless the best all-around package for me. Portable, Comfortable (around ear), looks great and above all it Sounds amazing over Bluetooth aptX and even better on cable. It has acceptable Noise Reduction too, which i don't need. I really was very interested to have the new PXC 550 for the newest technology, but Soundwise it dissapoints, against the Momentum it sounds like the music was behind a curtain and the bass was to dominant and muddy too. Maybe this thing is only for Businesstypes, not for Soundnerds.

I too considered the Plantronics, but it's like you said: They should hire a design director. But after all, the Backbeat Pro 2 goes in the right direction.

Bernd Hofmann, 2016-10-18

Thanks for spreading the news! I very much like my old BackBeats and use them almost daily when riding my bicycle to work (off-road). They came, of course, as recommended by Our Good Mother vowe(tm).

Besides their size, I am only slightly bothered by two other issues I observed with these otherwise excellent headphones:

- Hissing sound. There is a distinct audible hissing noise when using Bluetooth audio, even more so with active noise cancellation. This normally does not bother me in otherwise noisy environments but becomes a factor when listening at home.

- Wind noise. Starting at fairly low speeds (well below 20km/h) the BackBeats suffer from strong wind noise. This gets somewhat better when turning on ANC but still remains rather annoying in everyday use. A cap helps, but looks pretty ridiculous on top of the already large headphones. Maybe I'll try experimenting with some kind of small aftermarket vortex generators, the likes you can purchase to stick on you car (see – just smaller... ;-)

Anyway, I am really looking forward to your review of the new generation. Maybe you could try them while riding a bike?

One last thing: In the technical specs for the new model I could not find any reference to the aptX codec, which the old version provides. Do you have any information on that?

Jörg Weske, 2016-10-21

Interesting. Those cans are definitely NOT made for cycling. I would not dare ride with them since they isolate me too much from everything around me.

Just from the looks of them, they should have less wind noise, and yes, they should support the aptX codecs.

Volker Weber, 2016-10-21

I have been following nearly every vowe-recommendation regarding Plantronics and am happy even with the most legacy doohickeys (PLT_K100 or Calisto 820 anyone?). But even the PLT Focus insists on telling me its status via voice, blathering into the calls I am trying to take that it is now connected, now disconnected from my PC and so on.

Has anyone found a way to tell the things to shut up and not interrupt the content? While it tells me "Battery good, 9 hours talk time, PC one connected, Phone one connected" I can't hear my calling party...

Armin Roth, 2016-10-24

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