Monday, September 14, 2015

Review: Direct Sound Extreme Isolation EX-29 Headphones

Hello and welcome to this week's article! 
Today we will talk about headphones, and we will review a very particular type of headphones: the ones whose main purpose is to isolate the sound coming from outside.
Headphones can be used for many purposes, and most of the times they are for listening to something, but not always, or not just that.
Sometimes they are made specifically to isolate the listener from the external sounds (like the headphones used by those who use a jackhammer to not become deaf, or from those who needs to sleep frequently on a plane and wants to cut away the hum of the airplane engine).
There are basically two ways to lower the external noise with headphones: or by using an active technology (with battery powered headphones that takes the external sound with a microphone and creates for the listener an equivalent-off phase one to nullify it) or by using a passive one, which consists into applying certain construction criteria that leads to a significant decibel cut from the external sources.
Today we are taking a look at the Direct Sound Extreme Isolation Ex-29, the top shelf product of this company, which offers, by using a Passive technology, a decibel cut of 29 db.
The main purpose of these headphones is the tracking use: they are great as a monitor for the recording drummer, since there is no spill (so the click will not bleed into the overhead microphones, which is a classic drum tracking problem), and the track will be clear on the ears of the drummer, who will also be able to hear its recorded drum sound in real time.
Another typical use is when you have to to find the sweet spot while microphoning a guitar cab: although these headphones won't be able to completely eliminate the external sound, it will be lowered enough to make you focus on the signal taken from the microphone, and place it more consciously.
In conclusion these headphones do what they promise. the isolation is good enough, especially for tracking drums, and the reproducted sound is not bad at all: obviously it would be a risk to rely on it while mixing or mastering, but considering the price the sound is not bad.
If you own a recording studio, they are an essential tool!

Specs taken from the Direct Sound Website:

Type: Dynamic closed back headphones with closed back drivers
Passive Attenuation: 36.7 dB at 8,000 Hz, NRR 29 dB
Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz
Fidelity Response: TruSound tonally accurate
Drivers: 40 mm, closed back
Impedance: 32 Ω
Sensitivity: 114 dB at 1 KHz 1 mW
Cord: 9 ft (2,750 mm) premium twin-lead cable
Plug: Straight stereo 1/8″ (3.5 mm) gold-plated with screw-on 1/4″ (6.3 mm) gold-plated adapter
Rated Input Power: 500 mW
Maximum Input Power: 1,000 mW
IncrediFlex padded, fully adjustable headband
Foldable for storage
Convenient jack adaptor keeper
Made in the USA

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