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  • Customer reviews

Customer reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars

on 17 January 2014
These earphones are a revelation.

I use them almost exclusively to listen audiobooks, so, unlike say, pop music, the signal itself is rarely loud enough to drown high levels of external noise
On a recent holiday, in a crowded and noisy bar, and around a noisy swimming pool, switching to 'mode 3' was like closing a heavy firedoor on the noise. They even reduce my wife's occasional snoring to a level where it can be ignored. Their ability to cope with fluctuating levels and a variety of types of moise, and not just a steady 'drone' as from car or aircraft noise is amazing.
They are the first I've used which stayed in my ears thanks to the memory foam buds.
Uncannily just switching on the noise cancelling with no signal present reduces external noise, a bit like electronic earplugs!

I would like to rate these phones at 4.75 stars (but the system won't let me)

The only reason I don't want to give them 5 stars is because after using them for a few months now I still can't find a position to clip the control unit which will reliably prevent the weight of the control unit pulling one or both of the phones out, and at the same time be easily accessible. The extension cable supplied helps a bit though.the control unit is awkwardly positioned on the cable which is a little too short.

I bought these after trying the DS101A analogue phones. I've since bought 2 extra pairs of these for 'everyday use'.

I couldn't find a source of replacement memory foam earbuds for these earphones but after reading a review elsewhere I discovered that 'Comply' fit o.k.

Mine came from iHeadphones who delivered very quickly and at an unbeatable price.
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on 25 July 2014
Pretty decent earphones.....very decent for the reduced price.
The only criticism is, as others have said, the cable length to the cancellation until is too short.
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on 13 March 2014
I did some research and concluded Bose QC20 should be the most effective ANC IEM. However, i feel it is too pricey for the sound quality it produces. So, I looked around on various manufacture such as Sony, Panasonic, AKG, Phiaton. I then decided to try Digital Silence's best model knowing Wolfson also manufacture ANC chipset for mobile phone. I also found some ANC effectiveness comparison graph which seems to be convincing, showing noise-cancelling 20-30dB across wide frequency range. [taobao...]

After trying it for few days, I am somehow disappointed with the performance of DS-421D ANC feature. For example, human speech and tube noise, the low frequency noise was cancelled out leaving the high frequency noise. These reduced noise was not intrusive but was still clear (without any music), especially when the background low frequency noise was greatly reduced. I also found that the ANC is less sensitive on quieter environment where it can't cancelled low volume noise. Perhaps, I am asking too much as probably ANC technology at the moment cannot achieve that. It may be useful for commuter who wanted to reduce very loud environment noise and enjoy music without having to pump up the volume too high (~30% less volume). The ANC has 3 modes, I found only Mode 1 & 3 are worth trying, Mode 2 created or let through some low bass noise. These ANC modes don't seem to do what they suggested by the manufacture. For example, office mode (mode 3) doesn't quite filter typing and human voice.

The sound quality was being praised by other reviewer. I found the frequency response range is quite wide (slightly wider than my Sennheiser IE7 and sony xperia heaset) with a V-shape characteristic. The bass go deep and highs go bright. The bass quantity is good, but the highs can be too bright at times while the mid is a bit soft. Its sound is not as well controlled, defined and wide in soundstage when compared to my IE7, but the quantity of bass/treble do exist. I would rank it as a very good IEM at £30+ price range. If you can get it at around this price range, it is probably a good IEM regardless the effectiveness of its ANC.

My last complaint is the eartips! The foam tip is giving best isolation but muffled the sound a bit. While, the silicone ear-tips don't stay firmly in my ears and do not provide good isolation. For the price of this IEM, the manufacture should have provided double flange eartips!!! Microphonic noise also occurs when I move the cable around and can be annoying. Microphonic issue is usual for IEM, and is more obvious on a ANC earphone. Regarding hiss noise, I am not too bothered as it can only be detected when listening to quite music in quite environment in which case I can simply turn off the ANC.

I tried my fiend Sony NC13 in the tube and still prefer 421D simply because of the sound quality. I would only recommended ANC earphones to those who need it for very noisy environment where eartips isolation isn't sufficient (e.g. tube, flights, construction, road works)
Comparison between [Digital Silence DS-421D] Versus [Sony NC13]:
Build quality: [Good] [Good]
Sound quality: [Good(deep bass, wide frequency)] [OK(Smooth sound, bass not deep, soft mid and high. Wider soundstage than 421D)]
Isolation: [Poor(eartip isolation not effective)] [Very good (eartips are comfortable and provides very good] isolation)
ANC: [OK(Good at lows, not good at highs)] [Not good(the ANC has very little impact. Less effective than 421D)]
Overall noise
cancelling/isolation:[OK(better eartip should improve noise isolation)] [OK(due to very good eartips)]
Price: [£60] [£50]
Rating: [3.9/5 stars] [3.5/5 stars]
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on 11 June 2014
I bought these as a replacement for a pair of the DS-321 which I really liked, but thought I had lost - as they appeared to have fixed all the things that were 'wrong' with the 321. i.e. the clip on the switch unit is now a small spring clip (easier to use); there is now a croc clip provided to clip the cable onto clothes (added one myself to the 321); the earphone cables are now equal length not asymetric; the buds have memory foam plugs as standard (I'd bought these separately for the 321 - they make them so much more comfortable and effective); 3 modes for the noise cancelling - plane / office / train. Good as they are, they didn't suit my ears as the drivers in the buds feel larger/longer than the 321 and don't fit my ears as comfortably (could sleep in the 321s on flights), and the NC seems more 'hissy' - when there is no background noise, there is a more obvious hiss. I actually found my 321s after buying these and have gone back to them in preference - and the 421s have been given to my girlfriend
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on 1 July 2014
Ok, now i was considering buying the Bose 15's at a much higher price point but settled for these buds as they are easier to sleep with them on a plane.

I wasn't expecting much in the way of ANC (active noise cancellation) but had read some reviews saying that is was OK but sound quality was very good so i took the plunge and bought a pair based on Wolfsons reputation for producing decent audio chips in mobiles and other site reviews.

Sound Quality:

While not a patch on my AKG's these are surprisingly good. If you aren't a fussy audiophile and think that headphones you buy in the supermarket or come with mobile phones are good then you will be very pleasantly surprised. I am impressed. The DS-421D headset sounds excellent even without ANC engaged.


I was equally impressed with ANC for a unit at this price!
The noise cancelling works. Don’t have unrealistic expectations, these will not deliver “digital silence”, but they will substantially reduce the noise. It is a bit like shutting it behind a door.

Dont worry about the three modes, just use the default mode 1. If you dont have access to an airplane (where this unit excels at blocking noise) a good way to test them is put the buds in your ears with the unit powered off, jump into a car (as a passenger for safety reasons) drive on the motorway and then turn ANC on. They also work well in an office, damping down noises like heels on floors, keyboard taps and background aircon units, I sometimes even just put the buds on with no music playing and enjoy the eerie silence when im hard at work in the office and don't want to be distracted :).

They come into their own during air travel !! thats all i need to say! Amazing.

Another thing to note is the 'monitor' button on the main panel, click that when ANC is active and the mics mute the music and amplify sounds so you can hear the outside world, very convienient if someone is trying to talk to you.

You get 13 hours advertised ANC wihtout having to charge the batteries, i would say that is a conservative time, have had almost 20 hours on my unit from a full charge! Also note that some other headphones with ANC stop working altogether when the battery dies (i.e quietcomfort 15) , these units will still provide audio without the ANC once the battery dies.

Hope this helps.
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on 28 June 2013
These Headphones are awesome. Great sounds and great noise cancelling feature, which is proven on my trip to work on the bus. I Would recommend these headphones to anyone.
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Sound is excellent. However, the box makes the cable heavy so you can't easily wear it when moving around. The earbuds will come out easily. The box's clip-on will break after a year along with the frayed cables. Usually earphones are meant to be mobile-friendly, but travelling with these, not the case so avoid if that's important to you. The noise cancellation is fine and works well on the tube or planes once it's adjusted to the normal loud sound in those settings.

The cables are terrible. Eventually cables twist for any headphones/earphones, but not to the extent where you can see the innards. Tried to contact the company through emails (no phone number, so that raised an alarm), provided pics of my busted up earphones but zero reply. Think if I ever get earphones again, it'll be for the Jaybirds Bluebuds X cause it's wireless and is suited to not fall out when moving around.
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on 11 November 2014
Smaller and more comfortable compared to the DS-321D version but not as good on the noise cancelling - there's definitely a buzz on all 3 settings.

The foam tips are great. Roll them between your finger to compress then hold in your ear for a few seconds while they expand back to size. Really good fit.

Nice that they work perfectly well without being switched on (most noise cancelling headsets have lower volume or don't work at all unless they're switched-on.

Cable doesn't tangle but makes noise when rubbing on clothes. DS-321D cable makes less/no noise.

I prefer the cheaper DS-321D except that I have to wear those over the ear and in (upside down for earbuds) because of the weird shape of those buds, and I like the foam tips on these. Couldn't they just use the buds/tips from these and the box+cabling from the DS-321D?
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on 14 November 2013
Great, comfortable headphones. Goods listening in non cancelling mme. When they have worked in noise cancelling mode they are great. However, this had not been frequent. Either they have a constant cracking, or an over riding interruption to the sound which is so irritating they have to come out! A real shame as they had potential to be a great product.
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on 13 September 2014
The best active noice reduction earbuds I have tried. Don't hesitate to get a pair while they are still available. The manufacturer has been bought ay another company and I don't think they plan to sell any consumer products...
I seriously consider getting a second set in reserve...
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