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Digital Designs Dd-dxb01 Mini-review

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I managed to borrow a set of these from the local shop to give a good workout on my reference headphone setup, so here's a little review :)

Setup:

Foobar with Kernel Streaming

USB output to Headroom Micro-DAC

Custom braided IC

Custom Triple-OPA2134 CMOY Amplifier, 2 current buffer op-amps per channel, DC coupled.

Headphones for comparison:

Digital Designs DD-DXB01, all vents open

Sennheiser HD595

Sennheiser CX400

AKG 201

First Impressions:

The headphones themselves are very nice and have a real feel of quality. Probably comes from each side being made mostly of machined aluminium which gives them a nice 'weight' although they only weigh 18gm.

They come with a cool little case that should give them good protection in your pocket although the zip feels a little bit cheap so don't stuff the case.

The plug is very slimline, as is the Y-splitter in the cord. The cord is just the right length to go to my jeans' pocket with a reasonable amount of slack for movement, I hate it when headphones have hundreds of miles of cord so is always good.

The sound:

I plugged them into my amp using a 1/8" -> 1/4" adaptor and fired up Foobar.

First thought was a big, resounding EHHH? These sound all wrong!!! Everything was all muddy and quiet...

I went through all my setup checking things until I found the problem. The plug uses 4 connections, presumably one of these is for the iPhone or something. To solve my problem I had to insulate the last connector on the plug. Probably related to me using an adaptor.

After sorting this I started over, queued up some of my favourite music and WHAM. BASS. Lots and lots of bass.

I have read a couple of reviews where people talk about the bass in these not being up to much, either they did the plug wrong like me or they're driving them with a radio they found in a cornflake packet because I have never, ever heard this much bass from a headphone before. In-ears always have a lot but this was something else entirely.

The next thing I noticed was how fast and controlled the bass is. Even with all the vents on the earpieces open they were accurate and punchy when they had to be, but put on some Jeezy - Air Forces and they dump like anything. Something seemed out of place, normally with that much rumble in my ears my whole body is shaking from a couple of thousand watts of bass.

They sound very warm and rich (oddly, very similar sound to DD's AW6.5 high-end components!), they're great on Jazz and Acoustic tracks. There's also plenty of detail, you can hear little details like someone skimming a cymbal or plucking a string slightly differently to usual.

If I had to nit-pick I would say the treble is a little bit harsh, I prefer my treble to be extremely smooth and at higher volume these did get a bit harsh for my tastes but I know a lot of people like that in-your-face treble.

The soundstage is quite narrow but it is with most in-ears and I'm kind of comparing them to my usual 'phones, HD595's, which have a very big, open sound to them.

Isolation was pretty good, they're slightly worse than my usual in-ears because of the vents but maybe that's also why they weren't at all uncomfortable even with all the bass, because excess pressure can escape that way. They would probably be fine for using on a bus/train to keep out most of the noise.

The rubber ear-tips are exactly the same as my other 2 sets of IEMs. It's critical that you get the best seal possible or they sound very uninspiring. Unless you have enormous ear canals I think the large tips are a waste of time, some people find them a bit more comfortable (or so I'm told) but I'm sure they must sound like crap, with me they just clog my ear. The small tips gave the best sound but weren't as comfortable, I find the medium sized ones to be a good compromise.

One thing to be aware of is that they are 16 ohm 'phones so although they don't take a lot of voltage to drive (good for portables) I think they take quite a lot of current. My amplifier is built with fairly large overhead for both current and voltage (24v rail-to-rail for anyone that cares...) and can supply about 10x the power rating of these headphones. I'm not sure if they would sound quite as good off a portable device, my iPod is a bit broken (mid-mod actually :lol:) so unfortunately I can't test that. Hopefully in the next day or so I'll be able to.

Conclusion:

Enormous bass, nice sound, decent quality. A great set of in-ears for a good price, especially if you're buying direct from DD.


goodgrammarbc7.gif

10.x volts fo' life!

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Great review, I think I'm going to go check these out, for some ear buds those sound like a great buy.


Current Systems:

2011 BMW 335i

Hertz HDP1

DC LVL3 12" Full Carbon Fiber

2002 Acura Tl
Kenwood DNX9980HD
2 DCLVL4 12" Subs with LVL5 Parts D.7 Coils
DC 3.5k
Hertz HSK-165 up front HCX-165 Rear
Hertz HDP4 Amp
DC Power Engineering 260 Amp Alt
Big 3 and amp powered with KNU 1/0
XS Power D2400 Up Front

i pulled out my dick in class many of times and had it shown. get over it bitch...stupid open legged hairy beavered bitch...

going over rms = smaller box, under rms = bigger box...

Low voltage doesn't blow amps. That's a myth.

A router that does the sub holes makes rounded edges also?

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