It looks like another one of those months where a number of headphones cross our desk every week. Each of them looking to specialize in their own ways. We have an interesting one this time around. A wired pair of headphones with noise cancellation, the Decoka DK100 ANC In-Ear Headphones. These headphones have a unique design and a great price.
To start with the design, the DK100 headphones for the most part look like many of your other wired models on the market. Silicone tips, ear rings, a 3.5mm plug at the end and an in-line controller. However, these differ when it comes to the puck you’ll find in-line near the plug. It already has an in-line controller, so your first thought is, “what the heck is this?”.
The puck contains a battery inside that is charged via a micro-USB port on its side. This is because this is the controller for your active noise canceling (ANC)–with an added bonus. There isn’t enough power that is passed through the cable from your device when it comes to a 3.5mm connection, so this is how it compensates for this. There is a small switch on the side to turn the ANC on or off, and the battery inside provides you with up to 20 hours of listening with it enabled.
As for the added bonus I mentioned, there is also a button labeled with “M”, which acts as your monitor option. If you click this button, it will pipe in the sounds of your environment so that you can listen in without having to take them out of your ears–in case the secret agent in you wants to listen in on what’s going on around them without giving away what you are doing (or so you can have an actual conversation or something).
Outside of that, the headphones look like and sound like most anything you find within the $20-$35 range. Which brings us to performance.
These headphones don’t sound bad at all. Their highs are quite crisp and enjoyable. They also have a decent mid-range which helps bring out a lot of the detail in what you are listening to. This means you are going to get really great vocals in music, as well as strings and brass.
The lows however seem to be hit and miss at points. Some things we have tested them against (like Velvet Revolver and Audioslave) resulted in a somewhat decent amount of bass. Other things we listened to that normally contains a good deal of bass, resulted in hardly any at all. This was a bit odd.
Noise Cancellation is also minimal, however it is there. It seems to mostly affect the mid-range of frequencies around you. However, you can still hear conversations and other noise despite it being turned on. You can hear your external noise drop slightly when you activate the ANC, but it simply sounds like you are filtering out only 15-20% of what’s there. For the price, I guess you can’t complain too much about this as you’re lucky to have any ANC at all.
Looking to the other side of the puck remote, the monitor button (labeled as “M”) does quite a bit more. When you press the button, it fades the music (or whatever you are listening to) down about 80% and pipes in the sound around you. It is “almost” like removing the headphones, which is kind of interesting. Personally, if someone is trying to talk to me, I would much rather take my headphones out in order to not look rude. However, if you suddenly would like to listen in without removing them (let’s say it is for safety reasons or you want to listen to see if someone is knocking at the door), they do a great job at this.
They come with three pairs of silicone tips and ear hooks to help find the best fit for your ears with. It is always good to try to get as tight of a fit as possible (without causing any discomfort). Especially, since you need to gain as much of your lows as possible, and a tight fit helps with this. There is a USB cable for charging the ANC/Monitor portion of the headphones with, as well as a small felt draw string bag for storing them in.
They are pretty good headphones when it comes to sound, although bass can lack quite a bit sometimes. The mids and highs are there though and the highs are super crisp. The battery life of the ANC/Monitor feature lasts up to 20 hours, which will be more than enough to get you through the day (as well as the next day). Although the ANC feature is minimal at best, anything helps and it doesn’t twist the range of what you are listening to when active. The monitor feature is pretty cool and quite affective. For $29.99, it’s hard to complain about much. The ANC might not be much, but if you want something really good, it is going to cost you much more than this.
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*Average price is based on the time this article was published
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