Since we published our review of Blackbox M14 a few months ago Phitek has released a smaller version called the BlackBox C14, which I am reviewing this time.
The small BlackBox C14 comes in a box with a hard shell carrying case and adapters that allow you to use it with a variety of sources – mp3 players, stereo receivers and airplane plugs. Inside the box you will also find a couple of adapters for other standard plugs (dual pin aeroplane and 6.5mm stereo connectors). It also comes with three extra pairs of silicon ear plugs.
The BackBox C14 provides response in the 20Hz through 20kHz range and uses a pair of 9mm Neodumium drivers. The active noise cancellation circuit reduces up to 18dB bwtween 20Hz and 1kHz. And all this on less than 60g total.
Unlike its bigger brother, the Blackbox C14 is an earphone. Because of its very small size the noise reduction circuit is actually housed in an external box - the "medallion" - which also stores the AAA battery it needs to operate.
The device does not actually need power to be used as a standard earphone, but you will need the battery to turn the noise reduction circuit on.
And it works. I have used the BlackBox C14 for a couple of months, and right now I am writing this review while wearing the earphones on a flght between Australia and New Zealand. I have used these on my way to Australia, and felt it to fit very comfortably, even after the almost four hour flight. And the battery can last for up to 40 hours, which can guarantee it works even on thos twelve hour long haul flights if needed to - or for a full work week if used in the office.
The noise reduction is noticeable, but it is not as deep as you can get from the bigger over-your-ears headphone model. It does work well though and I feel much better leaving all that background humming behind.
When operating with batteries and the circuit on you also notice a bigger range and a deeper full sound. It is really incredible watching an in-flight movie or a DVD on your laptop while wearing those small headphones.
The external box is minimalist, entirely in black, with the BlackBox logo on top. A blue LED lets you know the circuit is active, and two slider controls allow you to switch the circuit on/off and adjust the output volume. One of the flight attendants actually thought this was a mp3 player and commented on how tiny the box is.
A small loop is there so that you can attach the supplied neck strap to it, but I couldn’t get it done – the space is too little and I might need a needle or pin to actually pull the provided neck strap around. I will try again later.
I also had some good results while using it in the home office, and like the previous model it did a good job of hiding the background noise coming out of the heat extraction fans – a couple of desktop PCs, a laptop and a two or three external drives can make a lot noise that you don’t notice until they are gone.
Overall I am pleased with this model, although I wouldn’t mind a smaller carrying case – although you might see it as practical to carry a small mp3 player, spare battery or adapters.
efficient noise reduction
stylish and beautiful presentation
Too little loop to easily attach the neck strap – once it is there don’t take it off!