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Denon AH-C830CNW sits open on a rough concrete surface.

Denon AH-C830NCW review

No app? No problem with these noise cancelling champs.
By
February 22, 2022
7.9
Denon AH-C830NCW
The bottom line
The Denon AH-C830NCW is an example of a well-executed, zero fuss set of earbuds. There's no app, but outside of no volume controls, it already sounds good, Bluetooth is stable, and the ANC is great. What more do you need?

Denon AH-C830NCW

The Denon AH-C830NCW is an example of a well-executed, zero fuss set of earbuds. There's no app, but outside of no volume controls, it already sounds good, Bluetooth is stable, and the ANC is great. What more do you need?
Release date

September 17, 2021

Price

$159 USD

Dimensions

2.2 x 2.3 x 3.5mm (earbud)

Weight

5.3g (earbud)

53.6g (total)

Model Number

AH-C830NCW

Waterproof

Yes

What we like
Comfortable
Good noise cancelling
Great sound
Easy to pair
IPX4 rating
What we don't like
Earbuds are big
No volume controls
Latency with Android for video
7.9
SoundGuys Rating
8
User Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Sound Quality
9.6
9.3
9.0
Bass
9.8
7.6
8.0
Midrange
9.9
8.5
9.0
Highs
9.2
5.6
6.0
Isolation / Attenuation
5.7
8.6
9.0
Active Noise Cancelling
8.0
8.7
9.0
Durability / Build Quality
8.1
7.8
8.0
Value
8.0
10.0
10.0
Design
7.0
6.1
6.0
Connectivity
5.0
8.2
8.0
Portability
8.9
9.0
9.0
Battery Life
5.2
10.0
10.0
Feature
6.7
5.6
6.0
Comfort
8.9
7.0
7.0

Maybe you had a nice stereo receiver in college by Denon that you later (regretfully) downsized around the time folks switched to streaming lossy files and gave away CDs. Well, it turns out Denon produces active noise cancelling (ANC) true wireless earbuds. Now you don’t have to sacrifice real estate in your home to hear your music well. In fact, you can take it with you. Let’s see if the Denon AH-C830NCW is any good.

Who might like the Denon AH-C830NCW?

  • Anyone who likes their music to sound good will enjoy how the Denon AH-C830NCW sounds.
  • Commuters will like the great isolation and ANC from Denon’s earphones.
  • People who don’t want to fuss with their earbuds don’t have to worry about apps should get this.

What’s it like to use Denon AH-C830NCW?

The front angle of the Denon AH-C830CNW shown in close up.
Glossy plastic feels nice and premium, but it can be difficult to grasp.

The Denon AH-C830NCW appears inspired by a certain Apple product. It works like most other true wireless earbuds with touch controls and stems. Inside each stem is a microphone system along and an oval-shaped 11mm by 10mm dynamic driver rests inside the more bulbous part of the housing. Each bud weighs a featherlight 5.3 grams and feels sturdy.

In the package, you get three silicone ear tips: 14mm, 12mm, and 10mm. The 12mm fits my ears perfectly out of the box, but some might need a third party option. Even without stabilizing wings, the buds stay put. You can take them to the gym with the IPX4 water resistance, but maybe skip the run if it’s downpouring.

The earbuds and two extra sets of ear tips alongside included USB-C cable included with the Denon AH-C830CNW rest on a piece of rough wood.
It’s a pretty standard set of accessories, and USB-C cables seem to get smaller and smaller.

There’s no app for the AH-C830NCW, which means you don’t have to agree to any invasive user agreements. Although, I can’t help but notice the buds automatically rename as “Jasper’s Denon AH-C830NCW.” So I guess usage equals some implicit permissions.

A sturdy, bulky case

The Denon AH-C830NCW matte charging case feels substantially built with little plastic flex and no hinge play. It snaps shut using the magnetic lid, with a USB-C charge port and pairing button on the back. You can stand the case up, or rest it on its back with the lid propping it up.

A hand holds the closed case of the Denon AH-C830CNW in front of metal vents.
The matte plastic case is easy to grip.

All of this is at the expense of the Denon AH-C830NCW case looking a bit bulkier than some competitors, but it’s still fairly pocketable. I have confidence in this case and prefer its size if it holds up longer.

How do you control the Denon AH-C830NCW?

You control the earbuds through a series of taps that result in a pleasant blip sound. The only flub here is that it’s really easy to accidentally register a command once you remove the buds from your ears and place them in the case. For the most part, the pads trigger appropriately, which is good because there is no companion app to alter settings.

I do wonder if Denon could’ve taken another cue from Apple and used squeeze commands on the stems, because I’m tired of hearing my finger smack my ear. While the magnets in the case secure the buds, the glossy plastic means the buds often slip from my fingers when removing them. Denon could have left more of the buds exposed to grasp.

Denon AH-C830NCW playback commands:

ONE TAPDOUBLE TAPTRIPLE TAPTAP AND HOLD (5s)
LEFT EARBUD
ONE TAP
  • No ANC
  • Ambient mode
  • ANC on

DOUBLE TAP

TRIPLE TAP

TAP AND HOLD (5s)
  • Bluetooth pairing

RIGHT EARBUD
ONE TAP

DOUBLE TAP
  • Skip track

TRIPLE TAP
  • Previous track

TAP AND HOLD (5s)

You can use either the left or right earbud for mono listening as well. Just place the unused bud into the case and audio switches to monoaural. Playback commands will switch to the left bud if you replace the right, which is great from an accessibility perspective.

Denon AH-C830NCW call commands:

DOUBLE TAPTAP AND HOLD (2s)TAP AND HOLD (3s)TAP AND HOLD (5s)
LEFT EARBUD
DOUBLE TAP
  • Answer call
  • End call

TAP AND HOLD (2s)
  • Ignore call

TAP AND HOLD (3s)
  • Activate smart assistant
  • Cancel smart assistant

TAP AND HOLD (5s)
  • Mute
  • Unmute

RIGHT EARBUD
DOUBLE TAP
  • Answer call
  • End call

TAP AND HOLD (2s)
  • Ignore call

TAP AND HOLD (3s)
  • Activate smart assistant
  • Cancel smart assistant

TAP AND HOLD (5s)
  • Mute
  • Unmute

How do you pair the Denon AH-C830NCW to a phone?

A hand holds the open case of the Denon AH-C830CNW outside by concrete and metal vents.
Its Google Fast Pair compatibility allows subsequent uses to pair quickly.

You’ve got a couple of methods at your disposal for Bluetooth pairing the AH-C830NCW. When brand new, you pop the case open and it’ll automatically enter pairing mode. The case’s LED will flash white, and from there, you can select the headset from your phone’s Bluetooth menu. If that doesn’t do the trick, press and hold the button on the case back for two seconds. This also works for pairing additional new devices.

Alternatively, you can tap and press the left earbud for five seconds to enter pairing mode. That’s handy if you don’t have the case nearby. The buds can store eight discrete devices for pairing, but if you have trouble reconnecting, just “forget” the AH-C830NCW in your device Bluetooth settings, and try again.

What Bluetooth codecs does Denon AH-C830NCW support?

The Denon AH-C830CNW earbuds in close up resting on rough wood.
Your audio automatically pauses when removing a bud and plays when putting it back in.

You get two options for Bluetooth codecs: AAC and SBC. While AAC is going to be your go-to if you’re operating iOS, SBC tends to perform more predictably with Android. Because there’s no companion app, you’ll have to go through your Android settings and then Developer settings to change the codec. That’s annoying, and most people won’t bother, which is where a companion app would have been nice.

Our tests reveal 310ms of latency over SBC. Anecdotally, I can confirm on Android the latency makes every video look like a dubbed Kung Fu movie. If you’re using Android and plan on watching a lot of video content, try something with aptX-Low Latency codecs, or aptX. iPhone users may fare better here.

Related: The best Bluetooth speakers

The AH-C830NCW runs Bluetooth 5.0 with Low Energy compatibility, and I experience zero connection hiccups. Some true wireless earbuds require you to keep the case on hand for pairing, but not the Denon AH-C830NCW. I easily leave the case at home and go for walks without any connection issues.

How long does the battery last on the Denon AH-C830NCW?

The Denon AH-C830NCW lasts 4 hours, 22 minutes with ANC on during our standardized tests. That’s an okay result. If you listen to your audio at higher volumes, your battery life will deplete quicker. Fortunately, the AH-C830NCW has a case with three extra charges to top it up.

Does the Denon AH-C830NCW have good noise cancelling?

Chart illustrates the isolation and active noise cancelling performance of the Denon AH-C830NCW.
With ANC on you can expect anywhere from 10dB upwards to 40dB of noise cancellation through a combo of good isolation and noise cancelling.

The Denon AH-C830NCW has rather good active noise cancelling for earbuds in this price range. Toggle on ANC and low-frequency rumbles become 35dB quieter at 100Hz. You could definitely take these on the bus or subway and keep your music at a reasonable volume to preserve hearing. I scarcely hear an idling bus as I walk past.

Some environmental sounds that reach your ears will have altered frequencies because of the disproportionate application of ANC. As you can see in the chart above, some frequencies receive more or less attenuation. This is effectively like applying a filter, so some sounds come through (yes, quieter) but sometimes a little strangely. For example, my aging refrigerator’s hum sounds more like a low whistling whoosh with the ANC on.

Related: The best noise cancelling earbuds

To turn on ANC, you have to cycle through no mode and ambient mode. These trigger through tapping the left bud once per mode. With no mode on, the earbuds’ passive isolation significantly quiets your surroundings across the frequency spectrum. It’s not quite Shure AONIC Free levels of isolation, but it’s pretty good. While typing on my keyboard, the clicks and clacks register quieter.

How does the Denon AH-C830NCW sound?

Chart shows Denon Ah-C830NCW frequency response performance compared to our house curve.
In cyan, the AH-C830NCW mimics our house curve (pink) pretty closely.

The Denon AH-C830NCW sounds very good. This and the ANC are the main reasons you’d pick up the AH-C830NCW. Its frequency response follows our target curve really well. In the bass and mids, it almost perfectly matches up. Areas in which it deviates include an under-emphasis of about 5dB at 3kHz. Meanwhile, between 6kHz and 9kHz there’s approximately 5dB exaggeration, and again above 10kHz. This is noticeable, but not unpleasant.

Lows, mids, and highs

Listening to Remembering Me by Cate Le Bon I have no issue discerning any of the instruments. Le Bon’s high vocals come through clearly. Percussion comprises mainly of a drum machine loop, and it’s at an appropriate volume. Bass and low synths play loudly enough to give the song some oomph. At the 2:59 mark, a crescendo of electric guitar and synth are reproduced pleasingly.

Cueing up Faron Young (2007 Remastered Version) by Prefab Sprout the Denon buds reproduce rockabilly inspired guitar with a balanced twang and snappy snare and hi-hat. The walking bass line thumps with just the right amount of volume and Paddy McAloon’s tenor comes through clearly. The only nitpick might be that the under-emphasis around 3kHz might contribute to less attack on crash cymbal hits compared to the high-frequency ring in those boosted above 6kHz.

Can you use the Denon AH-C830NCW for phone calls?

A man looks to the left about to press the touch pad of the Denon AH-C830CNW.
While Denon supplies the buds with a suite of commands for calls, the mic quality isn’t good outdoors.

If you like to take calls outside, this is not the pick for you. In ideal circumstances, the microphone array on the AH-C830NCW does an alright job capturing most voice types. In indoor settings, it prioritizes your voice well. Where it really struggles is in windy and echoey circumstances, and it’ll sound like a processing glitch. With that said, if you’re just using the buds indoors, it’ll do fine.

Denon AH-C830NCW microphone demo (Ideal):

Denon AH-C830NCW microphone demo (Wind):

How does the mic sound to you?

149 votes

Should you buy the Denon AH-C830NCW?

A birds-eye close up of the Denon AH-C830CNW in the case.
No apps also mean no updates, but unlike most video games these days, Denon has created a finished product without requiring patches.

Yes the Denon AH-C830NCW is worth picking up for listening to music. It’s a true music-oriented earbud. Ordinarily, we call out manufacturers for not including apps for things like EQ, but most people don’t need to equalize these buds. Rather, it already sounds good. Sure, there’s no surround sound, so if you’re wanting that you’ll need to buy something like the Sony WF-1000XM4. Then again, if you’re using something like Amazon Music, you don’t need a specific pair of headphones or earbuds to enjoy spatial audio, so the surround sound feature isn’t as important as it once was.

The Denon AH-C830NCW also comes in at an okay price, knocking out the noise cancelling performance of some of the best ANC contenders out there. Its ANC does the job handily, though lacking adjustability an app might supply. Even with ANC toggled off, the isolation softens incidental noises.

The Denon AH-C830NCW true wireless earbuds in black against a white background.
Denon AH-C830NCW
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

In daily use commands mostly trigger when you want and the buds stay connected and in your ears. The only true annoyance is the lack of volume control, which the left earbud should have been able to accommodate, given that during audio playback it only controls ANC with single taps.

Related: The best aptX Bluetooth headphones

Additionally, latency with video could be a deal-breaker for folks who want buds for more than music or podcasts, although it’s possible iPhone owners will have fewer issues over AAC. The microphone’s poor off-axis rejection suggests limited usefulness outside ideal settings. If you want buds for productivity, the Denon AH-C830NCW isn’t there, but if you want buds for music and noise-cancelling it’s good.

What should you get instead of the Denon AH-C830NCW?

The Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless is held outside, sitting in its case.
Sennheiser has a more compact take on true wireless earphones.

Given that the Denon AH-C830NCW has a weak spot with latency, it’s worth looking at alternatives with lower latency. For iPhone users, it’s easy to recommend something with the H1 chip like Apple AirPods Pro. Alongside the seamless device switching and Spatial Audio (where available) on Apple Music, the AirPods Pro should function with your iPhone with low latency.

Android users should look at earbuds with aptX to minimize latency with videos. The aptX equipped Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless sounds very good with a helpful companion app and ANC. The isolation performs better on high-frequency noise than the Denon buds, but Denon ANC attenuates more low end than the CX Plus.

If you’re more productivity-minded and using Android, you could try the Jabra Elite 4 which has a far better microphone, a higher IP rating, and a longer battery life. Its ANC and sound quality are also quite good. iPhone users, However, won’t get to take advantage of AAC.

Frequently asked questions about the Denon AH-C830NCW

Pop the buds back into the case. Leave the lid of the case open. Press and hold the button on the back of the case for 10 seconds. Finally, shut the lid and you’ve completed the factory reset.