Dodocool DA158 Noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones

[Dodocool DA158 Bluetooth noise-cancelling headphones]

Quietly impressive

Product name: Dodocool DA158 headphones
Manufacturer: Dodocool
Cost: 64.99 UK pounds (Currency conversion)
(Price and availability subject to vary according to country and special offers)


Reviewer: Nick Whetstone - TNT UK
Reviewed: April 2018

My Dodocool experience continues with a pair of Bluetooth, noise-cancelling headphones, another Bluetooth speaker, and a Bluetooth transmitter/receiver. First up, the DA158 Bluetooth headphones.

The DA158 headphones are significantly more expensive than the Dodocool DA108 earphones that I reviewed, but for the money you get a whole lot more technology. I am no longer surprised when I receive the products from Dodocool as I have become accustomed to the high standard of build quality and finish. The DA158s are no exception. Unpacking them from their classy looking black box, I found that they came with a custom clam-shell case that houses them snuggly inside The black case has an elasticated pocket in the lid where I found the instructions and connecting leads (charging and audio). Continuing the black theme, the headphones are beautifully crafted in aluminium and plastic, with some generous cushioning around the ear pieces and headband. Whoever designs these products, knows his (or her) stuff! It's the subtle little details that say "class" rather than "bling". For instance, the subtle embroidery on the padding of the headband, and the discrete name and and 'Hi-res Audio' badge. Each ear cup is clearly marked with a large and distinct 'L' or 'R', but on the inside where it won't spoil the appearance. The headphones feel 'right' in the hands, even before putting them on, and when they are on, they are very comfortable, (the ear cups are adjustable). After the in-ear type of earphones, the weight is noticeable, but I tended to forget about that after a while wearing them. At just 292 gms they are no heavier than most of the headphones that I have worn. I wore them for a couple of hours continuously before noticing a slight pain in my left ear, something that I eventually experience with most headphones.

Most people opt for small in-ear type earphones for music 'on the move', but if you prefer headphones, the DA158s will not overly burden you with their size or weight. Headphones are not just for on the move listening, and particularly the noise-cancelling type, like these DA158s, are popular in other noisy environments such as offices.

Specifications

The specifications indicate that the DA158s are more than 'bargain basement' items. The amount of noise cancellation is closer to professional noise cancelling headphones, than the usual consumer type. Fourteen hours of playback time should cater for most needs, and being able to view the battery status on a paired phone is another nice extra. If these headphones are connected via the auxiliary 3.5 mm jack socket, they comply with the High-Resolution Audio standard (24-bit/96kHz).

Pairing the DA158s with a Bluetooth device requires that a multifunction button is pressed for a few seconds. In practice I found that pairing could be a bit hit or miss, but was usually successful after two attempts. The exception was with the DA88 Bluetooth transmitter (another Dodocool product) that simply wouldn't pair with the headphones, although it did so every time with both of the Dodocool Bluetooth speakers (DA150 and DA84-1). The DA158s also paired successfully with a smartphone.

[Dodocool DA158 Bluetooth headphones with case.]

Using the DA158s was a little strange at first as I was not used to the noise cancelling technology. It was a bit similar to using a really good mains noise filter in a hi-fi system. Until you get used to the lack of mains related noise, the hi-fi can sound a bit lack-lustre. What I did notice was that the DA158s responded according to the quality of the source feeding them audio. My computer playing music from YouTube sounded worse than on my computer's speakers. It seemed to make the poor quality more noticeable. Then on the smartphone, streaming music from a decent source, the sound quality was very good. I appreciated the volume control built into the headphones, and the freedom of being able to get up and go to my kitchen and make a cup of tea while still listening. While listening to stuff from my Bluetooth enabled PC, I could move about 30 feet (9-10 metres) away before the sound started breaking up. The best sound quality came via a cable to the Dodocool DA106 portable audio player when once again, the DA158s were good enough to reveal the difference in sound quality of different recordings. After a while I actually quite liked the sensation of isolation from the outside world that the noise cancelling provided, making the listening experience seem all the more intimate.

My only gripe about the DA158s was that I couldn't use them with the DA88 (Dodocool Bluetooth transmitter/receiver), to listen to music from my hi-fi system. Whether that is a problem with the DA158s or the DA88, I could not say for sure, but the DA88 did work OK with both the Dodocool Bluetooth speakers. Other than that, if you want a good pair of Bluetooth, noise-cancelling headphones, that sound good, and won't make you look like a cheapskate while wearing them (in fact the opposite is true), the DA158s are well-worth putting high on your shopping list. As with all the Dodocool products that I have auditioned, the DA158s are all the more tempting due to the comparatively low price, considering their over all quality, and performance.


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Dodocool DA84-1 wireless portable speaker

[Dodocool DA84-1 Bluetooth portable speaker]

Having a laugh?

Product name: Dodocool DA84-1 Bluetooth speaker.
Manufacturer: Dodocool
Cost: 9.99 UK pounds (Currency conversion)
(Price and availability subject to vary according to country and special offers)


Reviewer: Nick Whetstone - TNT UK
Reviewed: April 2018

When I reviewed the Dodocool DA150 Bluetooth speaker, I was quite frankly in awe at the sound quality. Dodocool asked if I would review the much smaller DA84-1 speaker, and to be quite honest, I agreed to rather reluctantly. Given its small size, I wondered how it could even be worth listening to. Anyway, I feel that we should not limit ourselves to the 'best' equipment, and as Dodocool were sending the DA158 headphones, I thought that they may as well send the DA84-1 at the same time.

When I received the DA84-1, I was in even more doubt about the wisdom of reviewing such a device on a hi-fi site. Friends of mine had been using a similar, but considerably larger speaker with their laptops, and that didn't sound good; and there in front of me, in a dinky little plastic case, was a speaker many times smaller than that one.

Removing it from the case, the DA84-1 felt remarkably solid for such a small device. It is about the size of a gear knob on a typical family car. It is cylindrical, built of aluminium with some plastic, and finished in satin black or white. There is a grill at the top, and a multifunction button on the bottom, and a Micro-USB socket for charging. At the risk of sounding repetitive, like the other Dodocool products, it feels like a quality item. I was curious to hear what it sounded like, but at the same time, almost resenting the time that I would spend on this review.

[Dodocool DA84-1 Bluetooth portable speaker compared to an egg.]

Connecting the DA84-1 to my (Bluetooth enabled) computer was easy enough, and the two paired on the first attempt. It was then necessary to go to the Sound Settings in Windows, and make the DA84-1 speakers, the default playback device. I then popped a CD in the tray of the DVD player, and played some music. What can I say? The DA84-1, fed a 'light load', sounds simply amazing. By that I mean with something like speech, or simple acoustic music, it does a remarkable job or producing a clear, clean, easily audible sound that is no hardship to listen to. Even with rock music, it produces a likable rendition, and it is only when switching to something like my mains powered computer speakers that the limitation of their size becomes apparent. But, given their size, and think about it, what is the size of the battery inside them, or the size and power of the amplifier packed into that tiny space? - they are simply astonishing.

What would you use the DA84-1 for? Well, it does more than a good enough job to be used with a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. It is ideal of course for using somewhere away from a mains power source. Put it in a pocket, and you won't even know it is there. If I was using a smartphone, the DA84-1 would be an an ideal, carry-anywhere, option if I didn't want to wear earphones, or if I wanted to share some music with other people. The DA84-1 is one of the biggest surprises in my 12 years of reviewing for TNT-Audio, and a quick check on Amazon tells me that they sell for under ten pounds (in the UK at the time of writing). If that is not enough, the mighty midget has one more trick up its sleeve. If you pair it with a smartphone, it will act as a remote shutter release for selfies etc. Heck, I am going to say buy one just for the fun of it - it actually puts a big smile on my face when I listen to it (and the others who I have demonstrated it to)!


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Dodocool DA88 Bluetooth transmitter/receiver

[Dodocool DA158 Bluetooth transmitter/receiver]

Good when it works

Product name: Dodocool DA88 Bluetooth transmitter/receiver
Manufacturer: Dodocool
Cost: 18.99 UK pounds (Currency conversion)
(Price and availability subject to vary according to country and special offers)


Reviewer: Nick Whetstone - TNT UK
Reviewed: April 2018

Last on the list is the Dodocool DA88 Bluetooth transmitter/receiver. Basically this item is for use with items that don't have Bluetooth functionality, for example, Dodocool's own portable music player, the Dodocool DA106 portable audio player. The DA88 is connected to such a device via a standard cable with a 3.5 mm jack plug at either end (a short one is supplied with the DA88), and then paired with a Bluetooth speaker to play music wirelessly through that speaker. You can of course connect a hi-fi, TV, or other audio device to the DA88 for the purpose of wirelessly streaming music to a suitable receiving device. There is very little else to say about the DA88 other than can be derived from the specifications.

Specifications

[Dodocool DA88 Bluetooth transmitter/receiver.]

To use the DA88, there is a switch to change operation between transmitting and receiving, and then a multifunction button on the same side is pressed for a few seconds to turn it on, and pair with the item that it is transmitting to (or receiving from). I found that the DA88 connected to both the Dodocool Bluetooth speakers that I had available, ie the DA84-1 as reviewed above, and the larger DA150 speaker. However, for some strange reason, it would not pair with the Dodocool DA158 headphones (reviewed above), nor would it be recognized by my Bluetooth enabled computer. So I was unable to try it in its receiver mode. I reported my findings to Dodocool, and no doubt their engineers will look at this issue, but be aware of the problem before you purchase this item. Hopefully it will be addressed because I can see one popular use for this item being to stream sounds from a TV to Bluetooth headphones.

Reader discounts

Please note, TNT-Audio DOES NOT supply these discount codes. We apologize if you live in a country other than those for which supply discount codes are provided, but understandably it would not be possible to supply codes for every country. If you have a problem purchasing the reviewed items, please contact the supplier, and not TNT-Audio!!!

Italy
Mini speaker:
Purchase link here offering 3 EURO OFF COUPON CODE:BTDPFZRA

Headphone
Purchase link here offering 25 EURO off with coupon code:AGOX45WV

UK
Mini speaker:
Purchase link here offering 20% OFF coupon code:ZKND9XF6

Headphone
Purchase link here offering 35% OFF coupon code: A2NBA2QA

USA
Mini speaker:
Purchase link here offering 31% off coupon code: AOOEBWOV

Headphone
Purchase link here offering 54% off coupon code:HR7GR62G

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