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Reviewed on: SoundStage! Solo, March 2022

I measured the Denon AH-C830NCW earphones using laboratory-grade equipment: a GRAS RA0402 ear simulator and an Audiomatica Clio 12 QC audio analyzer. For isolation measurements, I used a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface, and added the KB5000/KB5001 simulated pinnae with the full Model 43AG ear/cheek simulator. I wasn’t able to get my usual logarithmic chip frequency-response measurements using my Reiyin WT-04 USB Bluetooth transmitter to send signals from the Clio 12 QC to the headphones, so I used FFT spectrum analysis instead, which looks somewhat different. I was also unable to do distortion measurements. These are “flat” measurements; no diffuse-field or free-field compensation curve was employed. If you’d like to learn more about what our measurements mean, click here.

Frequency response

This chart shows the AH-C830NCW earphones’ frequency response. This is flatter than we usually see with earphones, but flat isn’t necessarily good with earphones or headphones. There’s more lower-midrange energy than we usually see, which my ears mistook for excess upper-bass energy.

Frequency response

Here we can see the difference in frequency response with noise canceling on and off, and with Ambient mode activated. Clearly, there’s very little difference, which is admirable—we still see too many headphones and earphones that sound substantially different when noise canceling is on.

Frequency response

This chart shows the right-channel response of the AH-C830NCWs compared with a couple of other true wireless models, and with the Sennheiser IE 300s, a set of passive earphones I like. (The Grell TWS/1 earphones’ response is shown without SoundID activated.) It’s obvious how much flatter (and therefore more midrangy) the Denons are than the others.

Isolation

In this chart, the external noise level is 85dB SPL (the red trace), and numbers below that indicate the degree of attenuation of outside sounds. The lower the lines, the better the isolation. We’ll start by showing the differences among the earphones’ three listening modes: noise canceling on and off, and Ambient mode on.

Isolation

This chart shows how the AH-C830NCWs’ noise canceling performs compared with some other leading true wireless models with noise canceling. It’s not Bose-class, but more than good enough to bring airplane cabin noise down to the point where it won’t interfere with your listening.

Latency

With the Reiyin transmitter, latency was usually around 120ms with the SBC codec. (The Reiyin doesn’t have AAC, so I couldn’t test that mode.) However, latency occasionally jumped to about 220ms.

Bottom line: The AH-C830NCWs have an unusually flat frequency response, which you may or may not like, and the noise canceling is very good.

. . . Brent Butterworth
brentb@soundstagenetwork.com

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