Review: dodocool ANC Bluetooth Headphones DA158
Reviewed by: J.Reynolds
Provided by: dodocool
Welcome to Myce’s review of the dodocool ANC Bluetooth Headphones (Model DA158).
dodocool is a Chinese manufacturer that is targeting the accessory market with high quality products, at aggressive price points. With the DA158 dodocool offers a set of quality, bluetooth, ‘noise cancelling’ headphones, with above average performance, that sit at a price point above typical entry point products, but well below professional grade products. Please read on to see if we feel that dodocool has pulled this off.
Here is dodocool’s specification for the DA158 –
A few points to note –
The DA158 headphones can connect to an output source in two modes. Firstly, in a traditional AUX-IN mode through the use of an audio cable with a 3.5mm jack (the sort of audio port that is used by the majority of smart phones, tablets, and computers). Secondly, via Bluetooth. The AUX-IN mode does not require the DA158’s battery to be charged. Bluetooth connection however requires a satisfactory level of battery charge.
In AUX-IN mode the DA158 delivers High-Resolution audio (much better than CD quality).
In Bluetooth mode the use of aptX enables the DA158 to deliver CD-like quality. Many low cost wireless headphones do not include the use of aptX so this is a plus point for Dodocool.
The Active Noise Cancellation can be engaged in both AUX-IN and Bluetooth modes as long as there is a satisfactory level of battery charge to do so.
The DA158’s battery is charged via a micro USB connection. dodocool claims up to 14 hours use and a charging time of 2.5 hours. In our testing we found that the battery lasted for around 10-11 hours without noise cancellation being enabled and for about 7-8 hours with it activated (at medium volume level).
When one first handles a product one can instantly sense if it feels ‘right’. It’s a mix of factors such as build quality and appearance, and I feel dodocool has got it right. The DA158 headphones immediately struck me as being a reasonable quality product. They look and feel well built and I expect they will prove to be durable.
The control buttons are placed on the front and back surfaces of the right hand ear phone and the connection points (for AUX-IN and USB) are at the bottom. The controls are intuitive and easy to use and supported by LEDs.
The DA158 headphones fold so that they can fit neatly into a good quality carrying case. The carrying case is a valuable addition that is typically only supplied with far more expensive products; another plus point for dodocool.
The DA158 headphones use ‘over the ear’ speakers (my personal preference). They are nicely padded with a good range of adjustment and I found they remained comfortable for at least 1 to 2 hours. The ‘over the ear’ speakers also provide an amount of passive noise cancellation, which is useful. I particularly like the quilted headband, which ensures the headset sits comfortably.
I tested the dodocool DA158 headphones using my Asus Maximus Extreme VIII, Z170 based Desktop PC, which includes an excellent SupremeFX Audio Processor with a separate headphone AMP. When connecting headphones in the AUX-IN mode the Audio Processor automatically detects and optimises outputs for differing headphone impedances. For the dodocool DA158 it detected an impedance of 29 ohm and set the amplification level to ‘performance’ (which is the same as it does for my own, far more expensive, Sennheiser headphones, and is a good sign). By the way, engaging the ANC functionality prior to connection compromises the impedance level so that the dodocool DA158 headphones are detected at 150 ohm and the amplification level is set to ‘powerful’.
The DA158 headphones are undeniably powerful and I feel they provide a strong sound stage for all types of sources, be it classical music, rock music, games, movies, or whatever. Subjectively, in AUX-IN mode they sounded nigh on as good as my prized Sennheiser’s; I have to admit this surprised me! Please bear in mind that I am not a serious, high end, audiophile.
So how about the Active Noise Cancellation (‘ANC’) functionality? I find that ANC works best to block out consistent, ‘droning’, background noises, such as those associated with Air Conditioning units, Aeroplanes in flight, Trains/Cars in motion etc.
I’ve found a convenient way to test ANC functionality. I turn up the fans in my Desktop PC so that they are clearly audible; with ANC turned off I then turn up the volume on the headphones until the background sound of the fans is drowned out (I find it is best to listen to a soft and continuous bit of music); I then turn ANC on and wait for 20-30 seconds (I imagine this gives the headphones a good chance to get a cancelling wave pattern going); I then turn the volume down to see how far I can go before I can again detect the background noise of the fans. I know this is not very scientific but it works and I found with the dodocool DA158 headphones it gives a convincing result as the volume can be turned right down without the fans becoming audible. I can’t comment on dodocool’s claims for the range of frequencies and decibels that their ANC supports but I do feel that most folks will be pleased with the capability.
Personally, I didn’t detect any drop in sound quality when using a Bluetooth connection compared to AUX-IN and although I understand there is a difference, detecting it is probably beyond my hearing capability. I also didn’t detect any background noise that may be caused by the ANC functionality itself, when the volume was turned down low with ANC in use.
My feeling is that the majority of typical users will be very satisfied with the performance of the dodocool DA158 headphones.
In conclusion, I believe dodocool has achieved its objective to offer superior performance wireless ANC headphones at an excellent price point.
I found the dodocool DA158 headphones available from Amazon UK (I went via dodocool.com) for GBP £64.99.
I am pleased to award the dodocool DA158 headphones our rating of "Excellent".