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XTZ Headphone Divine DSP Earphones Preview

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XTZ Headphone Divine DSP Earphones

XTZ Headphone Divine DSP Earphones

Summary

  • Product Name: Headphone Divine
  • Manufacturer: XTZ
  • Review Date: November 14, 2014 09:00
  • MSRP: $99 (free shipping inside US)
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now
  • Cable-free with Bluetooth 4.0
  • Bluetooth interface: HSP, HFP, A2DP, AVRCP
  • If the battery is low, you can still use the headphones by connecting   the by-pass cable
  • Up to 10 meters connection range
  • aptX® audio coding delivers CD-quality wirelessly over Bluetooth.
  • NFC pairing - just touch the devices
  • Optimized sound quality with DSP technology from Dirac
  • Light and convenient to carry
  • Strong construction to handle indoor and outdoor use
  • Works as a head-set with built-in microphone
  • 40mm Neodymium drivers
  • Output level 97dB / 1kHz
  • Frequency Response 15 – 32.000 Hz
  • Impedance @ 1kHz: 59 ohms
  • Multifunction key (volume, play, pause, answer)
  • Up to 14 hours of continuous play 
  • Ear-cushion and headband cushion in Korean leatherette 
  • Weight is 170 Grams, we have worked hard to reach a low weight, with long battery time and still have good rigid construction.
  • International standard Micro USB cable
  • Shows On/Off Status
  • 3.5mm Passive Connection 
  • Volume Control Up/Down 
  • On/Off Switch 
  • Microphone for phone-call and sound recording

When we caught wind that there was a Kickstarter out there bragging the worlds first DSP enabled headphones, we just had to take a closer look. For those unfamiliar with the term, DSP stands for Digital Signal Processing (oddly, XTZ states in one of their videos that DSP is Digital Sound Processing). DSPs are designed to change the incoming signal in some predetermined way to create a different sound. In receivers, all those "Rock Arena" and similar modes are DSPs. Similarly, all the room correction solutions like Audyssey, Yamaha's YPAO, Trinnov, and others are DSPs.

In the case of the XTZ Headphone Divine solution, naming them "DSP Enabled" is a bit misleading. It sounds as if the DSP is built into the headphones themselves. Instead, a specific app has been developed to improve the sound of the headphones to a level that is above what you'd expect for the price point. As is the case with nearly all Kickstarter campaigns, there is no actual product as of yet. Instead, they had an early-bird pledge deal of $79 for a set. Those have all been taken and the new price is $99 for a pair of the headphones.

headphone_devine

Frankly, the headphone design is ho-hum to us but if the sound is good enough, we don't care.

XTZ promises a lot with their Headphone Divine solution. The headphones are on-ear, the earcups can be folded inward for easy transportation, and they are Bluetooth enabled. Supporting aptX, the Headphone Divine can accept CD-quality sound wirelessly. While there is no battery indicator, XTZ suggests the expected battery life will be around 14 hours. In addition, the Headphone Divine comes with a detachable cable for wired use. XTZ says that you can charge the headphones while using the cable though, in our experience doing so usually introduces noise into the system.

XTZ has paired with Dirac to create a player that can be downloaded from the Apple or Android App store. Through this player, the Dirac DSP correction can be applied to the headphones. Dirac is well known to us as we reviewed their app for the Apple earbuds a while back and were impressed with the results. We fully expect that the Dirac processing will improve the sound of the XTZ Headphone Divine.

devine_correction

Now the question is if you actually want a flat response - some research suggests you don't.

On top of that, XTZ has a few DSP curve modifications available. At the touch of a button, you can modify the DSP to increase or decrease the bass and/or treble to predetermined amounts. According to the website, these curves are fixed and there doesn't, at this time, seem to be plans for user control.

Bluetooth 4.0 is enabled with its low power requirements for longer battery life. NFC pairing is available so that you can pair your NFC-enabled device with just a touch to the headphones. There is a mic onboard for calls and controls on the side of one of the earpads. Frequency response is promised from 15Hz to 32kHz through 40mm neodymium drivers. The weight is a light 170 grams or six ounces. Charging is accomplished through a micro-USB cable.

Conclusion

The XTZ Headphone Divine wireless headphones look to be an interesting offering. While we are always a bit wary of Kickstarters, this one has already more than doubled its initial goal. With Dirac DSP onboard, we expect that these headphones will sound as good as possible. The hassle of having to use the dedicated app might turn some people off, but if the sound is good enough for the $100 asking price, it might be worth it to others.

For more information, please visit their Kickstarter Page.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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