Toybox: Noise-cancelling earphones for quiet times

C14 earphones will come in handy when you don't want to mess up your hair-do

I’ve been enjoying the silence here at the Toybox open-plan headquarters this week. Local audio technology company Phitek sent a pair of Blackbox C14 noise-cancellation earphones to test and they do actually work.

We have reviewed Phitek’s big, soft headphones before and know they work really well, but I had wondered about the performance of the earphones.

Well, the short answer is they do shut out office noise, such as chatter, keyboard clatter and the dull drone of office air-conditioning.

When using them, it’s like having two big balls of cotton gently pressed into your ears. They are also reasonably comfortable given they are earplugs, being more comfortable than my white Apple earplugs, for example.

However, I had some problems fitting the C14s into my ears — but this probably says more about my ears than the fit of the ear plugs, as they come with three different sizes of eartips — and they did stick out of my ears a bit. So, if you are looking for discreet earplugs, these are not for you.

It takes a bit a fiddling to get them fitted correctly — they do go quite far into your ears — but then they should stay put.

When you turn on the noise cancellation technology, like magic, noises are instantaneously dampened. The noise cancellation power button is located on the little black box — also holding the included AAA battery — that goes in your pocket or around your neck, using the neck strap (also included).

Although I prefer the squishy, headphone version for comfort, I’m thinking the C14 earphones will come in handy when you don’t want to mess up your hair-do or when you are wearing glasses, which could otherwise be a bit squashed under the cans. They would also be good for any situation where you would like to keep a low profile and don’t feel like donning the big headphones.

The C14s also get extra points for ease of storage — they will easily fit into your pocket or handbag. They come with a soft pouch and a card case for storage.

The earphones also come with an adaptor for use on airplanes, a 6.5mm audio adaptor and a one metre audio extension cable.

The C14 earphones are available from various electronic stores and duty-free shops, as well as from the Blackbox website. Recommended retail price is $199. There is a special student deal on until 27 March — students can pick up the earphones for $99.

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