Beauty isn’t everything. There’s an old song by Jimmy Soul that goes: “if you wanna be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife.”
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I guess. Some folks will dig this design, or maybe the Captain America or Iron Man versions you can also get. These have plastic construction throughout, long plastic fake strain reliefs that have sharp edges, and shiny gold plastic accents. The build quality is such that I am certain that I could break the headphones with my hands. The cable has no strain relief at the jack end, in addition to the fake strain reliefs at the transducer end. The big housing had difficulty getting a good fit in my ear.
The aesthetics aren’t the only failing. The tips included are somewhat bizarre. There isn’t really a medium included. There is a medium-small and a medium-large to go with the normal small tips that are included. All tips are longer than normal. I’m normally a medium, and the medium-small are too small, leading to insufficient seal to get full bass response. The medium-large tips fit me (large tips normally don’t), but they are slightly too large, which makes it so I feel the pressure on my ears. At least the improved bass response is pretty good on the medium-large tips.
They sound pretty great, though. Big soundstage in all dimensions, clear instrument separation. Nice timbre to instruments. Bass that is warm while remaining clear and having some texture without infusing anything into the mids. Good performance with all kinds of instruments. I wouldn’t be surprised if these are some of the best sounding IEMs in my upcoming $50 shootout (a ways off, expect lots of these impressions first). I’ve listened to some others in this price range that aren’t coming close to the sound of these.
We’ll have to wait and see what to make of these in full. Will the sound quality make up for the other failings?
Thank you, Penon Audio for supplying this review unit.