Last October, XTZ Sound introduced Headphone Divine through a Kickstarter Campaign designed to raise $25,000 for development costs and reduce the end price for customers. The campaign was a huge success with 900 backers pledging $114,815; enough funds to crush two of XTZ’s Stretch Goals and breathe legitimate life into the headset’s existence. To those of you that backed the project, I believe gratitude is in order because it’s a fantastic hi-fi product.
Headphone Divine is the Swedish company’s third headset offering, with the other two being earbud styles (Earphone-12 and EarphoneSports). It’s an on-ear design that offers Bluetooth connectivity and a host of other impactful design and tech features, including a free XTZ Player App that delivers Dirac DSP software designed specifically for the headset.
Delivery and Unboxing
Divine was drop-shipped to my East Coast residence, arriving a few days after receiving shipping confirmation. This is the second XTZ product I’ve reviewed in recent months and both appeared on my doorstep lightning fast. I said it once and I’ll say it again: this kind of shipping speed is great news for US customers. Packaging for Divine is excellent, with a sharp looking exterior box and interior form-fitting foam. Items in the box include a manual, a plush self-closing storage pouch, a dual jack airplane adapter, a 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter, a mini-stereo connection cable (with microphone and action button), and a USB charging cable.
XTZ Sound went the extra mile with excellent packaging and accessories.
My initial impression of Headphone Divine’s fit was a tad underwhelming. The earpieces didn’t grab my head firmly and the entire unit felt entirely loose. But, after a few simple squeezes and adjustments to the headband, Divine’s fit felt, well, divine. Perfectly snug and extremely comfortable. Initial impression stricken from the record. It has stayed that way for nearly 60 hours of listening and is showing no sign of losing its shape.
Charging requires the use of XTZ’s USB charging cable. A wall plug attachment isn’t included, but I found charging via my computers’ USB slots to be quick and convenient. The headset has red, blue, and green LED indicator lights that show when the unit is charging, charged, powered on, and powering off. Their programmed flashing sequences are intuitive and easy to understand.
A comment about battery life: XTZ says that Divine is capable of 14 hours of playback at full volume. My times between charging (not full volume) far exceeded 14 hours and often left me wondering if the battery would ever die. The good news is that Divine lets you know when it’s time to recharge by broadcasting a subtle set of tones. That’s a nice touch.
XTZ Player App
As mentioned above, owners of Divine have access to the XTZ Player App which provides Dirac DSP designed specifically for the headset. The App, itself, is simple to use and automatically integrated with the music library on my iPhone. It’s as easy as downloading and opening the App – it can’t get much simpler than that. The App’s interface allows music to be searched by Playlists, Artists, Songs, and Albums. Once a song is playing, one of five preset DSP filters can be applied (Boost 1, Boost 2, Boost 3, Boost 4, and Bright 1). The Boost filters progressively thicken the depth of bass and brighten the treble, while the Bright filter makes the sound a tad lighter in the lowest of frequencies.
The XTZ Player App is easy to use and offers five different Dirac DSP modes.
The App works in both Bluetooth and corded listening modes, and can be turned completely off (if desired). After hours upon hours of listening, my ears gravitated to the Boost 3 mode for most songs. It adds a pleasingly rounded and controlled depth to songs that fits my tastes perfectly. For those songs where it added too much of a boost, the XTZ Player App allowed for instant mid-song changes to filters (so dialing the DSP back is easy to do).
It’s worth noting that Headphone Divine is the world’s first DSP enabled wireless headset. And from my experience, that’s a worthy badge to carry because the addition of DSP really makes the Bluetooth experience soar.
Design and Tech
Headphone Devine is solid to the touch, featuring high quality plastics, metal hinges, and soft leatherette surfaces on the headband and ear pads. I have zero qualms about its build quality. It’s relatively light, weighing-in at a mere 6oz, allowing for hours of use without discomfort. I’ve worn the headset while working, walking the dog, moving about the home, mowing the lawn, and cranking-out time on an elliptical machine. It matched all of those activities with ease.
The right earphone features the headset's onboard functionality.
The left earpiece is home to the ministereo jack while the right houses an on/off button, charging port, indicator lights, built-in microphone, and a panel containing touch sensitive feature buttons (volume, pause/play/answer, forward, and back). The buttons are easy to use while the headphone is being worn and intuitive confirmation tones are smartly integrated for usability. I did manage to use Divine for phone calls in a variety of environments, and in every instance my phone conversations went smoothly (I was told my voice was audible and clear).
Headphone Divine has a closed-back design with swivel earphones that collapse flat for storage.
Divine offers quite a bit of wireless tech in the form of Bluetooth 4.0, aptX, and Near Field Communication (NFC) pairing (Windows and Android only). Without NFC, the pairing process with my iPhone and Mac were painless and easy.
The headset’s speakers have 40mm Neodymium drivers with a lab measured frequency response of 15Hz-32kHz. It’s reported output level is 97dB/1kHz. As you can tell from photos, the drivers are housed within closed-back construction.
I put Headphone Divine through the sonic wringer, throwing everything I could its way. I listened to over 40 hours of music stored on my iPhone and Mac computer, mixed with another 20 hours of my favorite podcasts and music from streaming services.
To make one point clear, the XTZ Player App only applies DSP modes to music stored directly on a device. That means that podcasts and streaming music need not apply for added tonal polish. Quite frankly, I have no qualms with this caveat and thought the headset performed admirably when dealing with those kinds of media.
On the stored music front (processed by the XTZ Player App), Headphone Divine hits a home run. Bass is thickly textured and tight. Highs are crystal clear and pleasing. Balance is abound. The headphone produces a very well rounded stereo impact and is easy on the ears.
Using Divine in Bluetooth mode with the App engaged leads to a dynamic listening experience across all genres of music, with the added convenience of walking away from a source device (signal drop-off occurs about 40-feet away from a source). XTZ tells me that true critical listening should be done via corded playback. The XTZ Player App still works with the unit corded to a source, and I would agree that the resulting sound is a smidge better. Highs are sparklier and bass is a tad more robust. All that being said, the difference is not great enough to ditch Bluetooth for everyday listening.
At $179, Headphone Divine offers everything needed for a steal of a price. The headset’s sonic features (including the option for DSP), usability, and build quality make it versatile and multifunctional while keeping focused on the task of producing excellent sound. If you’re in the market for an affordable high performance wireless headset, then Headphone Divine should be on your short list. It certainly gets my seal of approval.
For more information about Headphone Divine, visit http://www.xtzsound.com.
•Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX® audio codec
•Bluetooth interface: HSP, HFP, A2DP, AVRCP
•NFC pairing (touch devices)
•Wireless connection range: 10m (32ft)
•Built-in microphone for hands-free phone calls
•Dirac DSP technology with the XTZ Player App for optimized sound
•40 mm Neodymium drivers
•Output level 97dB / 1kHz
•Frequency Response 15 – 32,000 Hz
•Impedance @ 1kHz: 59 ohms
•Multifunction key (volume, play, pause, answer)
•Battery: 14 hours of continuous playback at full volume, mini-stereo cable enables use with low battery
•Strong construction to handle indoor and outdoor use
•Ear-cushion and headband cushion in Korean leatherette
•Weight: 170g (6oz), lightweight and rigid construction
Button and cable functionality:
•International standard Micro USB cable
•Indicator lights: On/Off and charging status
•3.5mm Passive Connection
•Volume Control Up/Down
•Microphone for phone-call and sound recording
Please use the XTZ Sound Divine 100.33 Speaker Review Discussion Thread for questions and comments.