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Reviews Categories | Headphones & Boom-mic Headsets | Direct Sound - Extreme Isolation Headphones Help

Reviews Summary for Direct Sound - Extreme Isolation Headphones
Direct Sound - Extreme Isolation Headphones Reviews: 15 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $139
Description: Specially designed closed earmuffs that passively attenuate surrounding sound by 29 decibels and a custom fitted, high quality stereo speaker assembly produces a frequency response of 20 - 20,000 Hz.
Product is in production.
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W1EBM Rating: 5/5 Jul 10, 2008 08:32 Send this review to a friend
Excellent headphones  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm a CW operator, and after reading the reviews....bought the Model EX29...and love 'em.

Very comfortable. Totally blocks out the ambient noise. Crisp CW tones. And nice fidelity on SSB & AM too.

Now, back to the DX.
K8MFO Rating: 5/5 Mar 14, 2008 11:05 Send this review to a friend
Best I have used!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
A couple of months back I read the review by AF4OX of the EX-29 headphones. For the last 50 years I have messed around with virtually everything made, from military surplus to Heathkit to Kenwood to Heil. All have been disappointing in one form or another. Not so with the EX-29 phones. I will never own anything else in the future. The design eliminates any and all background noise in the shack (even the blower on my AL-1200 amplifier), and I continually think that I am listening to a high quality speaker, but I then remember that I don't have one of them! My operation is 99.99% CW, so I don't have the need for a microphone very often. I'm sure I could glue something to these phones if I felt so inclined. The mechanical construction is superb -- you could probably pound in fence posts with them if you wanted! Big time winner product!
W8FN Rating: 5/5 Mar 4, 2008 14:09 Send this review to a friend
A Contester's Dream!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
In nearly 30 years of active contesting I've tried most of the popular headsets and headphones. The long hours spent listening to heavy QRM in a contest puts a premium on comfortable headphones that have good quality sound reproduction and are easy to drive with the (usually lousy) audio stages of most radios. Although I don't operate very much phone, I do sometimes work a phone contest, so it's nice to have a headset that combines these virtues with a good boom microphone.

My limited phone operating activities just don't justify the expense of premium headsets such as the David Clark and Sennheiser units, so I've made do with various types of Heil sets (and survived a disastrous encounter with the dreadful MFJ Pro Set knockoffs). None of these has been satisfying. I've mostly used the Heil Pro Set over the years. I never have liked the sound of the headphones in these units; I would describe it as "muddy." The 200 Ohm impedance of the Heil phones makes them very difficult to drive. High impedance phones require an audio amplifier stage that can produce relatively high voltage. This is way beyond the capabilities of my Yaesu FT-1000, which uses simple op amps as headphone drivers. It's necessary to crank the volume way up to hear anything -- this overdrives the underpowered op amps and produces spectacularly bad sound, a sure-fire recipe for fatigue in extended contest operation. Additionally, I like to monitor my outgoing phone signal to be sure I'm not inadvertently putting out garbage from RF getting into the audio circuits or over-aggressive use of the radio's speech processor. The Heil phones have very little isolation from outside sounds -- this makes it virtually impossible to monitor outgoing transmit audio without inducing feedback.

A few weeks ago, I happened to see AF4OX's review of the Extreme Isolation EX-29 headphones. I decided to order a pair and see how they would work. Right out of the box I was impressed by their high rejection of ambient noise and the high quality of their audio reproduction. They sound at least as good as the Sony MD-7506 phones I use for regular CW operation, and their 32 Ohm impedance makes them 3dB more sensitive than the Sonys (and 8dB more sensitive than the Heils). I rooted around in my junk box and found a discarded Heil BM-10 headset (another disaster) that had a functioning microphone. A few minutes of work to disassemble the Heil set produced a nice little boom microphone that I initially attached to the left earcup of the EX-29s with some Velcro. A few experimental sessions with this cobble showed promise, so I resolved to do a full shakedown of the hybrid in the upcoming ARRL DX SSB contest.

And now ARRL SSB has come and gone. I did a modest effort, probably 12 hours or so over the contest period. The EX-29 / Heil hybrid passed with flying colors. I emerged from the contest weekend with far less ear fatigue than I had ever experienced before in a phone contest. The high noise isolation and high sensitivity of the phones meant I could keep the radio volume nice and low, so I didn't experience the "stuffed ears" sensation from excessive volume I usually have after a prolonged operating stint. The phones are extremely comfortable and clamp very nicely over my glasses without leaking sound, and the generous volume inside the earcups gave my ears lots of clearance -- no more sore ears from wearing headphones!

Monday night after the contest I removed the Velcro pads and glued the base of the Heil microphone boom to the left headphone earcup with high-strength epoxy. I believe I've finally solved the headset problem once and for all.

The Extreme Isolation EX-29 headphones are highly recommended.
AF4OX Rating: 5/5 Jan 3, 2008 14:12 Send this review to a friend
Goodbye Noise  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I wanted to find a headset that would reduce amplifier noise and kitchen clatter. The article by Eric Scase, K3NA in NCJ Jan/Feb 2007 got me started. I first built a high isolation headset using the "kit-bash" model in Eric's article. I used an AO Safey hearing protection headset plus an old cheapo headset. This homebrew headset really reduced the noise and helped pull out weak signals. However, it was hard to wear for an entire contest because of the pressure on my ears and eyeglasses. Eventually I accidently broke the headband while trying to bend it. But this showed my the value of more isolation. Next, I purchased a Heil Proset, partly because of the claimed isolation and partly because I wanted a boom mike for contesting. The boom mike worked great, but the isolation was much poorer than my homebrew headset. This despite the claims of Heil for 20bB isolation. Going back to the NCJ article I decided to purchase an Extreme Isolation headset from Direct Sound designed for drummers and other musicians.. They have two models and I went with the higher rated EX-29. These at least match my hombrew headset and are MUCH more comfortable. The claimed isolation is 29dB and on the packing box is a table of isolation vs frequency measured according to ANSI S12.6 - 1996

125Hz = 12.2
250Hz = 18.7
500Hz = 25.2
1000Hz = 30.6
2000Hz = 33.9
3150Hz = 35.1
4000Hz = 37.1
6300Hz = 36.3
8000Hz = 36.7

I am extremely happy with this headset and recommend it to anyone. I am looking at a way to equip it with a boom mike

W7YC Rating: 5/5 May 26, 2005 09:22 Send this review to a friend
Great for Field Day  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I've been looking for a set of passive headphones, which provide a high level of ambient noise attenuation while not giving me headaches after extended wear.

Having seen these advertised for musicians, I decided to give them a try, and I have been very pleased with the results. Phones are surprisingly lightweight for the amount of isolation that they provide. They have very large padded ear cups, which fully enclose the ears, reducing ear fatigue. Excellent for a noisy Field Day or contest environment.

The 9-foot straight cord allows more mobility around station equipment. The cord's light weight makes it more pliable than on some other models although it may be less durable if used in an extremely rugged environment. One thing to note is that a separate cord runs from each phone and joins together in a Y-shape on the main cable. I have not found this to be a problem.
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