A Parcel arrived in the post this morning…. Something I have been awaiting for WEEKS…. What a sight to see finally in the “flesh”.
The ALL NEW Digital Designs DXB-03, Digital Designs’ latest product to hit the personal audio market.

The Un-boxing

Unboxing the DXB-03 you will find the all natural cloth carry bag, the detachable “TPE coated”, Oxygen free Audio cable with an integrated mic for Handsfree use, and to top it off the headphones themselves. When perusing over the Digital Designs DXB-03s, the things that really stood out were the adjustable (brushed stainless steel) padded headband, the warm natural look of the natural wood speaker housing, and the plush soft leather earpads (with so many audio manufacturers now opting to use synthetic leather or vinyl it was a VERY welcome surprise the smell and feel real leather).

The Specifications

Frequency Response 20Hz – 20KHz
Nominal Impedance 40 Ohm
Sensitivity 113+/3dB At 1KHz1mW
Speaker Size 50mm
Left & Right Balance < 3dB(20Hz10KHz 1mW)
Rated Input Power 30mW
Maximum input power 50mW
Cable 1.2m TPE Material
Plug 3.5mm gold plated
Mic Digital Multi Directional

The Features

Natural finish Bubinga wood housing
Bubinga wood is most typically grown in more tropical climates and is more commonly known as “African Rosewood”. Bubinga has an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, torsion strength, and shock resistance. Bubinga is a very durable wood due to its oily nature, which provides protection from insects, decay, and wet surroundings. Due to the natural grain, colouring, and durability of Bubinga, its other common uses are: table tops, fine furniture, veneers, inlays, and more important to audio lovers, in the construction of musical instruments, such as guitars and drums.

Large vented chamber for rich acoustic transfer.
These sound vents can be found hiding under the Stainless steel housing connecter hoop, tucked away for subtly to keep the overall look of the headphones clean and crisp.

Durable cable with TPE coating and OFC wires
What is TPE you ask? So did I, so I did a little research and found some very interesting facts. TPE, or “Thermoplastic Elastomers”, (Also called “Thermoplastic Rubbers”) have an extensively wide variety of uses from the automotive world, to home appliances, to more extreme uses such as snow mobile tracks. TPE is being utilised more and more now as electrical cable jackets and inner insulation, and as seen here in some headphone cables.

OFC wires, OFC stands for “Oxygen Free Copper”, what this means is that each strand of 100% copper has been through a process of metal fusion to reduce the level of oxygen in the metal down to .001% or below… ok what does this actually mean to us, the consumer? It means that the Digital Designs DXB-03 utilize top quality copper to deliver the best possible sound clarity.

Detachable audio transfer cable w/ integrated handsfree microphone
Digital Designs have done something I haven’t seen yet personally on headphones, they have made the audio cable detachable at each earpiece, while there may be thoughts of quality loss in the audio signal, let me assure you with the gold plated connectors on both the plug and socket ends there is no loss in any quality whatsoever.
With today’s ever increasing portable world, and the growing number of people preferring to use their Cell phones as a one stop shop for calls, emails, internet, and music, Digital Designs have also opted to add to the audio cable, an omni directional handsfree microphone.

The Lowdown

Digital Designs have played in the portable audio world for a while now, with previous products such as the Digital Designs DXB-01 earbuds, and the first of the real wood Digital Designs DXB1.1 earbuds. The new DXB-03 is Digital Designs first push in the very competitive ‘over ear’ headphone market, and I don’t think they could have done better job, thinking outside the box with their design and choice of materials.

I decided to give the Digital Designs DXB-03 a little listen to with my chosen ‘wear in’ track for a short time, then, as you should with all audio gear new from the packaging, I left the headphones to ‘wear in’ for a time before putting them through their paces. Firstly I must say, after the ‘wear in’ period you could easily head the difference in the tone (this was backed up also by my fiancée who also listened at the beginning and after). There are many out there that I am sure never bother with the ‘wear in’ process, I have always found benefits to wearing in gear, but it is a personal preference.

For those interested, here is my wear in process:
1) Select a track that is long (use repeat if necessary), has a good mix of highs and lows, and
most importantly (if using digital music) ensure it is of the highest quality you can get (this
once again is personal preference).
2) 1 hour – low volume
10 minutes – no music
2 hours – mid volume
10 minutes – no music
1 hour – slightly louder that you would generally listen to day to day

Now, with the ‘wear in’ process complete I can FINALLY sit back listen and enjoy!

For the purpose of this review, I chose the same tracks used in a previous review, listed below.

Tracks:
a) Easy Listening (Track: Hotel California)
b) Rock (Track: November Rain)
c) Drum and Bass (Track: Music in my mind) {Chilled Deep Dubstep version}
d) Dubstep (Track: Reality)

The above tracks allow me a chance to review the wide range that the Digital Designs DXB-03 boasts.

From the first moment I heard the strings plucked on the first song, I knew I was in for a treat. How crisp and exacting every string sounded; how natural the bass from the bass drums pounded. Moving through the song just left me wanting more, so I must admit, before moving onto ‘track b’, I diverted for a moment to “Guns and Roses” Sweet Child of Mine.
The sound reproduction through the Digital Designs DXB-03 was just so exacting yet natural, not a single snare lost in bass could be heard.

After my little diversion, I moved onto ‘track b’. I chose this song (for those that don’t know it) as it includes much more sound than just what is in the music, I wanted to test (as much as the response from the speaker), the clarity in the rain at the end of the track. The second half of the song, somewhat descends into chaos that poses quite a challenge for a lot of headphones, and I must say, the DXB-03s are among the more precise I have heard through this section of the song they MORE than surprised me in their ability. At the end of the song, as the music makes way for the “rain fall”, I struggled to believe that I was not listening to the real thing outside, again reinforcing the clarity the Digital Designs DXB-03s possess.

Moving forward it was time to challenge the low range ability of the headphones with ‘track c’….

Ok, it just got REAL!

Anyone who knows this track (and for those that don’t, I urge you to listen to it) it has a good range of lows, mids, and highs. With the ‘bass drop’ about 1 minute into the track I could not believe my ears, not only did the Digital Designs DXB-03s handle the bass drop, they seemed to wake up and REALLY come alive! Every note appeared as if it were coated in silk as it flowed into my eager ears. The ability to handle the electronic music was incredible.

Last but by no means ever least, I moved onwards to ‘track d’. Another more little known track by “AaA” This track is a real challenge of both highs and lows… but enough about the track, back to why you have read this far.

From the piano key strikes at the offset of this track, to the ‘bass drop’ at 40seconds, right through to the final note played at the end, the Digital Designs DXB-03s had my ears revelling and begging for more! Where other headphones have failed before (literally in one case, but that’s another story), the Digital Designs DXB-03s relished and thrived with the chaos of this track, with every note and bass tone ringing as true as a church bell on Sunday.

After sitting through the above tracks (and others) multiple times, the one other stand out thing I MUST note, is just how comfortable the Digital Designs DXB-03s were and are, from the lightweight construction, the lightly padded metal headband, to the SUPER plush leather ear pads, the Digital Designs DXB-03s are a pleasure to wear for extended periods. Once done, feel even better for putting them away in the all natural cotton carry bag that is also given with them

Overall

Where to start?

From the first note to the last tone, the Digital Designs DXB-03 just kept going from strength to strength.

Listening through the different tracks, I found overall the sound quality to be incredibly precise, yet still very natural.

There is one aspect of the Digital Designs DXB-03 headphones that took me by surprise and that is the incredible low frequency response while still being able to produce incredibly accurate mid and high notes from each single speaker.

I will say, when playing digital music with low hard bass frequencies such as drum and bass, and Dubstep, the bass really does step it up a notch (something for those not so used to bass to keep note of, and adjust as required for desired results).

All in all, I would HIGHLY recommend the Digital Designs DXB-03, not only to the discerning Audiophile out there, but also to ANYONE that is appreciative of clear, well balanced, precise audio that also has the ability to ‘drop the bass-line” when required.

 

Build Quality

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Versatility

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Sound Quality

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Value for money

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”[OUTLWD] Factor”

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[OUTLWD] Factor:

What is The “OUTLWD” factor?

The [OUTLWD] factor is my overall rating taking all factors into consideration, and the overall factors that I feel could make the entire experience better.

 

Key: ¤ = 1 Star ½ = ½Star

 

Aaron “OUTLWD” Bublitz