Most helpful critical review
Very good for the price, though doesn't excell at anything
on 24 February 2015
Very good for the price.
As anyone who has read a bit on ANC will tell you, noise canceling works best with lower frequencies whereas for blocking high frequencies it's better to rely on noise isolation. True with these earbuds, as they don't block most of human speech spectrum. But I've been impressed when, after using them for 5 minutes and turning off the ANC I realized how noisy our office actually is with all the computers and AC and stuff.
I might be wrong, but I think the noise canceling in these headphones 1) attempts cancellation only for the lower end of the spectrum 2) adds a high-frequency hiss for the high-end spectrum in order to decrease the sound-to-noise ratio and thus mask some noise that is more difficult to cancel otherwise 3) slightly amplifies the signal in order to make the listened music stand out 4) filters out the lower end of the spectrum even when turned off (no bass when ANC off).
All these tricks are used to enable us to listen to our music at a lower volume and thus take better care of our hearing.
There's a more interesting effect I noticed when using them on the tube. There's a beat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beat_%28acoustics%29) appearing at times when the moves. I'm guessing there's a slight delay between the negative noise that the ANC circuit sends into our ears and the actual noise outside, which means that for repetitive noises this works reasonably well (like the hum of a fan) but in certain conditions when the frequency of the noise fluctuates (like when the train accelerates or decelerates) the negative sound wave might end up strengthening the outside noise and thus a beat is born :)
Comparing with my usual, cheap and discontinued Klipsch Image X1, I find the sound quality to be lacking in the DS102. With or without ANC.
Compared to the same Image X1 (ear canal phones, passive noise isolating) the DS102 with ANC on has almost the same noise blocking abilities.
Microphone placement is good when worn straight, but ends up behind the ear if wearing the headphones over-the-ear.
Microphoning effect almost unnoticeable when worn over-the-ear but very strong when worn straight down.
DS102 doesn't have an answer call button. If the intended use is with a smartphone I would recommend the DS101 model.
Comes with a splitter cable (TRRS to separate Stereo and Microphone 3.5mm jacks). Also included is an adapter for pre-iPhone TRRS jack.
- Average sound quality when compared to similarly priced passive headphones (which don't run out of battery);
- Average noise canceling when compared to high-end noise canceling sets (which cost hundreds of £);
- Slightly lower noise blocking when compared to ear canal phones (again, those don't use a battery);
- Great battery life;
- Cheap price;
- Would definitely recommend over iPhone's stock earbuds or most other stock headphones for that matter.