Saturday, 4 April 2015

Trinity Delta Review

Trinity Delta Review

Thanks to Trinity for the sample and collaboration.

First Impressions:  Well what I have here clearly isn’t what the rest of you will get.  I’m running on pre production “prototypes” so my packaging is, err a poly bag.  So I guess that means I should crack on with the listening.  Before I do that though, I do see a little tube with the selection of “filters.”  Yes the Delta is one of those sound variable IEM’s that gives a reviewer 3 times as much work, sigh.  Still if you’re going to have just one IEM I can see why it could be handy to have one you can tailor to your tastes.

So in the ears and the filter in them is the “silver” one.  I think that’s the flat one.  Hmm going by the colouring surely the silver one ought to be the trebly one, black the bassy and the goldish one the flater one in the middle.  I feel confused.  Anyway, clarity right off is most impressive.  Rather V shaped sound going on here mids could do with more prominence but the treble for a BA seems quite excellent.  I think the DUNU- DN-900 may be in for a bit of a kicking.

Source: Hisoundaudio Studio V 3rd Anv., FiiO E7/E9 combo, HiFiMAN HM-650, Nexus 5, 1G Ipod Shuffle and the Graham Slee Solo Linear Ultra.

Lows:  Deep inside we have a big dynamic doing the low end and depth wise it shows.  Now it changes quite a bit with the different filters.  The silver ones seem to be most sealed and there we get the most V shaped and impactful punch.  The depth feels if anything thing rather slanted upward as it descends.  Poppy, punchy power all the way.  It’s rather rambunctious and eager to show off.  The goldish filters in and they seem rather more vented and it gives a much more open acoustic style.  As with open headphones the lows feel more grown up and begin to fall off rapidly as it descends low.  The black one though, it’s a bit of a queer duck.   Its open like the gold but it also has a filter that sizeable sedates the treble so comparatively the bass and mids come out more.  In regards to the bass, it keeps the open air and while it does suffer the open drop off you have cranked the volume to compensate for the filters muting.  The end result is you sacrifice the deepest lows for a vastly more noticeably nuanced bass.  It feels authoritative and detailed.  It is also agile in a way that kinda takes aim at the DN-900 and sadly for Dunu its a clear level or two up on it.  Sure you need to work the amp a little harder to make it sing but I figure if your buying £90 IEM’s that’s not going to be that big a problem for you.  

It comes down to a question of taste.  The gold and black filters give open styled bass with the black being quantitatively much greater.  Open headphones give vastly more articulated bass and far more agility.  Closed gives you that heavy, weighty and solid impact at the expense of nuance and lithe control.  Silver gives you power and punch, black gives you gloriously talented skill.  Gold gives you treble.

Mids:  Oh those filters, once more the black one is the one that appeals to me.  It mutes the top end and being open it loses the punch of a closed IEM.  The mids then have the best opertunity of the three to come forth and play.  They are still not what I’d call middy and I do love mid centric stuff.  Here it’s clear and detailed.  It’s very middling tonally, perhaps it’s the slightest hint towards liquid, it is a BA after all.  Vocals are reminding me of the old but glorious KC3.  It sacrifices a hint of breathiness to give you a somewhat monitor like deadness.  It feels that teeny bit dead inside.  Then I compare it to some other IEM’s and what’s instantly apparent is that its competing at a level above things at the same price.  I know price wise you don’t have to go up too far before you find its comparable.  Vocally it’s not exciting and it’s not particularly emotive either. Nevertheless these are vocally the equal of the triple driver DN-1000 rather than the 900 which is quite something. 

Swapping to the silvers and the vocals start to sit back a bit.  They retain their vocal darkness, if anything thing its fractionally more dark but more focused.  The quantity though is what’s really different, the highs and bass both take a step forward leaving the vocals in a valley.  Its that classic V shaped sound signature.  The clarity is still excellent being highly articulate with poppy mediocre vocals.  Breathy subtle vocals aren’t so breathy however.  With the gold ones the bass takes a dive so vocals are a sliver lighter tonally, it is not what I’d call open and breathy vocally, think more rich and fluid.

Highs:  For a single BA doing the mids and the treble, I am most impressed.  It’s still a BA so it has issues with treble extension as they all do, if you want the very highest highs you should still look to a dynamic.  Otherwise it’s bloody good.  Head to head with the 900 and this bests it.  The 900 is more narrow and focused where the Delta has a greater width and breadth to it.  It still has that monitor esq hint of deadness to it so some may like the more alive 900 but in terms of technical ability we have a winner here.  With the black filter and its treble filter tames the more brutal aspects and while I could see some finding it too sedate the quality is exemplary.  It is my favourite filter.

Swapping to the silvers and that V shaped brutality kicks in and while head to head its competitors it is excellent.  For my ears all a little aggressive and dazzling.  BA’s in my opinion can be too edgy up top and while this puts up a truly valiant effort the MA-750 feels ever so more naturally capable.  With the golds in its just the same as the silvers but sans big bass.  In theory that should make it one for treble heads, it does this by increased venting so I’m not sure treble junkies will love the resultant loss of sound isolation.  The gold filter really does show off just how detailed and capable the driver in side is.

Soundstage:  So so.  Size wise there is nothing super special here.  It’s bigger with the silver and golds in, both being open.  So you get more a hint of air and breadth but its middling in scale.  Putting in the blacks and things take on a bit more of that monitor deadness.  Things feel more closed in and a bit more intimate.  They take one a monitor esq enclosed and darkened room feel to them.  The blacks feel VERY well integrated for a dynamic/BA hybrid.

Fit:  Good.  The angle of the cable coming out the buds id have preferred at 90 degrees to improve wearing up fit but they coped okay.  Wearing down they were likewise effortless to stick in your ears.

Comfort:  Worn up or down their very ordinary shape made for very ordinary fit.  No issues whatsoever.

Microphonics:  None.  Even wearing down if you’re one of those people how insist doing so.  The cable is great quite frankly.  I mean if you will consult crazy earphone like us these are the things that get done right.  Yes Klipsch I’m looking at you, the Custom 3 may have sounded wonderful but the cable was worse than if you had used a coat hanger.

Cable:  Its practically perfect in every way.  Its exactly what I would have picked for them.  Shocking I know.

Amped/Unamped:  These have been built with phones in mind.  They were easily driven to excellence out of just my mediocre Nexus 5.  The bass did loosen up a bitty and the treble took a bit of a quality knock (the phone just hasn’t the treble quality of better sources.)  so you can perfectly happily use these out of a phone and get a great deal out of them, they don’t “need” an amp but….. frankly when you are getting to this quality level you are missing out if you use just a phone.  I realise there are better phone outputs than my Nexus 5 but if you think that any phone matches truly dedicated, quality outputs you are mistaken.  Out of big and ever so slightly expensive Solo Linear Ultra they look on a new degree of ass spanking goodness.  You throw power at them and they make good use of it.

Still if you must use your phone, these work well even with sucky amp outputs.

Isolation:  The black and gold filters are both vented so neither isolate massively.  The black ones were a bit better but nothing to write home about.  The blacks were fine for day to day use, being sat on a bus but they are not sealed so I’d skip for a Tube commute or flight.  The silvers being more sealed were a bit better but these remain so so isolators.  It goes without saying, its more than enough to get you run over if you aren’t using your eyes around roads.

Accessories:  You get a fair package.  Funky triangular case, 4 pairs of tips but I think foamies might also be coming.  Then lastly the little metal tube for the filters.  Pretty much what you really want.

Value:  Right now I’m inclined to say it’s my favourite IEM I’ve to date heard for £90.  Best however is always arguable and an abstract term so there is no such thing as “best” rather there is a best for you.  This won’t be everything to everyone, the filters do go some way to making this something you could gift with confidence the recipient will be pleased.  Most buyers will quickly find the filter for them based on their own preferences which for me was the black.  It was bassy and middy and with a price point busting detail level.  At the Kickstarter “earlybird” price they are an outright steal.

Conclusion:  Okay, I pretty much hate music tuning filters.  I have 400 million IEM’s and I know very well what I like and can extrapolate from others writings what is and what is not going to be for me.  Everyone doesn’t have that luxury so I do understand where tuneable filters come from, if you are going to buy just one IEM and you aren’t super sure what’s you and what isn’t, it negates the risk somewhat. 

The gold filter, it’s the kinda trebly one.  Or the flat / neutral one.  Actually with really well recorded things I found myself enjoying it in small doses.  It’s so open and detailed.  However it’s just the sort of thing I’d want a bass boosting amp for.  Err or just use the black filters.  Still treble heads will like I’m sure but to me it seems a shame to net get the most out of that dynamic driver too.

The silver one was not really to my tastes, with its big V shaped sound.  The bass is big and potently punchy, the treble is crisp and dazzling.  It’s a thrilling and dramatic sound.  You get all the oomph that dynamic can give you down low and the crispy edgy BA treble up top.  Both are clearly exceedingly accomplished, I get that, I really do.  Still I found myself gravitating to the black filters again.  The Silvers are just to WAAAA!!!!!!! for little old me.

Then the black.  They just manage to nudge things into an ever so much more grown up, mature sound.  The word monitor keeps flitting into my mind.  They aren’t truly monitor flat dullness but they have that acoustic deadness in the background.  Like every little imperfection and reflection that’s not supposed to be there has been suppressed by taking out the bottom layer of the dynamic range.  That faint wisp of hiss and openness has been Dolby’d out and it leaves something feels so sonically pure.

Music feels like anything extraneous has been gently erased and you’re left with this darkened pit of acoustic goodness.  Everything feels very controlled with an overshadowing darkness.  That darkness pervades everything.  Visually you might think of it as a well calibrated TV that to appreciate it you require to sit in a dimly lit room.  Once you get the acoustic room levelled properly then you can full appreciate the full range of what is being displayed before you.  The black filters give you that appropriate room and then the music become the true centre of your focus.  You can notice and pick out tiny little details that you otherwise would miss because your senses are too busy being blinded with your TV set to “shop” mode.  You know that mode, where the brightness is set to 400% colour, is at max, contrast is at max, edge “enhancement” is turned on etc etc etc.  It pops visually but subtlety is eradicated and along with it a boat load of nuance.

I do rather fee that if your spending best part of £100 on an IEM you will be more drawn to the subtly of the blacks.  Perhaps you may use the Deltas as a transitional IEM, using the silvers as an option to take you away from your former audio listening days and gently ease you into the maturity of the blacks.  For the cash it’s a great and versatile option.  Personally I’d never use the silver or gold filters.  The black ones though, let you see what the drivers can do inside it and when you power it well, feeding it a quality source, they absolutely shine.

Trinity Delta Quick Review

Trinity Delta Quick Review

Thanks to Trinity for the sample and collaboration.

Brief:  Yet another new UK firm kicking some serious arse.

Price:  £90 or about US$137

Specification:      Balanced Armature + 8mm neodymium dynamic drivers, 3 x Interchangeable tuning filter system, Impedance 16Ohm, Sensitivity 110 +/- 3DB,   Frequency response 19 - 21000HZ, Gold plated 3.5mm Jack, 1.2M Cable length

Accessories:  Filters, bunch of tips and a wee case.

Build Quality:  Looks great.  The jack is particularly sturdy and the cable is perfect.

Isolation:  It’s a bit filter dependant.  Black, okay.  Silver, okay, about normal for a dynamic.  Gold, meh.  I could live with these for normal out and about but not really Tube stuff.  More than enough to make you road kill if you don’t keep your eyes open though.

Comfort/Fit:  Very good on both accounts. 

Aesthetics:  Bland.  I like the gun metal colouring but it’s very subtle looking overall.

Sound:  Filter dependant.  The golds are the open trebly ones, which if you want bass light and treble I’d always go for a single BA myself and get isolation.  Still it’s an option if you want.  The Silver, it I can see as appealing to some.  It’s big, brash and highly V shaped.  The bass is hard and punchy, the treble dazzling and attention seeking.  The mids get a bit overshadowed but are still clear and detailed.  Though for me the black filters are where these come into their own.  The bass loses it furthest depths and the highs mute themselves considerably.  In short, they grow up.  The bass takes on a nuance and control that was too busy punching you with the silvers.  The highs are refined and detailed superbly for a BA, especially for a single BA doing the mids too!  The mids, they have a darkness, a certain sense of the void about them like your listening to everything in a treated acoustic chamber.  Everything that bit deadened taking away all the little noises that aren’t supposed to be there. Its offers a beautifully dark background to more fully display the fullest range of colour and shading before you like a properly calibrated TV might in a faintly lit room.  The littlest of differences that you might otherwise miss out on in a less controlled environment.  So much detail yet so subtle in its display yet so apparent when you seek it.  In short its price point leading goodness.  Top class bass, mids and dynamics.  Bar setting audio quality.

Value:  Right now as good as it gets. (Kickstarter early bird offers are stupendous value.)

Pro’s:   Truly fine audio quality with a sumptuously black background. Glorious.

Con’s:  Plain looks.  Gold and silver filters not subtle about the treble.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Trinity Hyperion Review

Trinity Hyperion Review

Thanks to Trinity for the sample and collaboration.

First Impressions:  Once more it’s a pre-production sample I have so just a bare bone affair, IEM and a bag of tips.  So I guess straight in the ears they go.  Gosh, very open and airy sounding.  Vocals especially have a very airy take on them and quite some prominence, not particularly mid centric but they do like to jump out a bit at you.  Treble seem likewise very open and airy.

Source: Hisoundaudio Studio V 3rd Anv., FiiO E7/E9 combo, HiFiMAN HM-650, Nexus 5, 1G Ipod Shuffle and a Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear.

Lows:  For something of this price bracket unusually the bass is not taking centre stage.  It’s not lacking in absolute terms but it’s comparatively somewhat behind what you’d normally see around this price.   It’s really very controlled and has I nice element of depth to it that tries very hard to go down linearly.  At the lowest ranges both it and human hearing drops out and so it does roll off.  It’s clearly going for quality and measuring well over quantity.  That’s fine by me as bass is the one thing dap’s and bass boosting amps are all set up to enhance anyway.  Still it’s pretty reticent to jump forward and show off, you have to goad it with some heavy bass tracks for it to come out and even then, upper mids and lower treble still like to command your attention.  Comparing to the GR06 and its clearly much more linear and accurate than the rounded humpy bass of the 6.  There just isn’t all that much of it. 

Though please note, if you hook it up to a powerful amp the bass becomes remarkably deep and linear for their price point. GR06 and RE-300 with ease beating linearity.

Mids:  Very spacious and airy.  They have masses of breadth to them and an exceedingly explicitness to them.  Once more clearly they have gone for a quality and measuring well feel.  It’s very explicit nature makes it very well suited for well recorded and well mastered tracks.  The like of The Beautiful South and Susan Wong both sound exemplary on them and vocally are even GR06 beating.  There is just more detail and more expressiveness.  You slap on some Nora and she sounds superb, all breathy and lingering.  Guitars likewise particularly suit the dryness and twang excellently.  Creamy though, not so much and by not so much I mean not really at all.  The Hyperion feels like it’s trying ever so hard to express every last detail where as something like the BA drivered PL-50 makes creamy and expressively detailed look utterly effortless.

Quantitatively its all pretty much in line with the bass and the treble.

Highs:  The hardest bit to get right and we get a really nice offering.  That air, open and expressive nature shines here with the highs on the whole sounding very detailed and delicate.  If you keep yourself to sedate and calm treble then they are fantastically good for the money.  All that air and openness makes everything feel hyper explicit and the spike they have is much less noticeable.  The extension beyond that spike is very good too.  The trouble is if you start playing more active treble and things that err toward sibilance then the treble spike of the Hyperion begins to start making itself known.  It also tends to drown out somewhat the extension and decay too.  This is not something unique to the Hyperion, highs are the hard bit to not get something wrong.  The GR06 has a similar spike that can get ear stabby but its overall more mellow warmth softens it somewhat.  The cool dryness of the Hyperion ensures it stays right up front and in your face.  If you hurl fast, scratchy treble at it it will serve it up, brutality intact.  My treble sensitive ears did not love this.  For the price though I think I’m being a little overly picky.

Quantitatively the treble can get really quite prominent.  It is a little out there in front of the mids and therefor the bass too making this somewhat of a fractionally treble focused IEM. Using foamy tips does tame the uppers a tad nicely though and with well mastered treble its really rather enjoyable.

Soundstage:  Outstanding.  For something cheap like this it’s vast sounding.  It has oodles of breadth, a goodly amount of depth and height too.  The air and openness as I have mentioned are clear stand out features.  They are just huge of you feed it a cool, dry track.  Its integration is pretty good too.  Though that upper mid/treble spike and general treble abundance make instrument placement seem odd.  The treble regularly sounds very upfront and in your face with the mids and bass placed behind it.  You may get space but you don’t get things arrayed before you they feel one hiding behind the other.

Fit:  Great, tiny things that just went in ears and that was it.  Up or down it was the same story.

Comfort:  Their teeny dimensions meant they pretty much instantly melted away once in.

Cable:  The new cable is super lush.  Some double weave wrap thing that leaves it super flexible and zero cable memory.  A particularly top quality cable for something so cheap.

Build Quality:  The cable as I said is awesome.  The jack then, it should be pretty damn indestructible though the shrink wrap over the spring is a touch stiff.  The buds though are rather sturdy little things being carved out aluminium.   They feel as nice in the hand as they look to the eye.

Amped/Unamped:  Actually I think if anything they have been made with warm and pretty puny amps in mind.  When you hook up the a phone, the treble seems to calm itself a bit.  The phone just hasn’t the power behind it to make that treble stand out and berate your ears.  Since I now have an Iphone for these things, swapping to it and I guessed right.  The Iphone is a bit warm and hasn’t the oomp in its little amp to really make the treble dazzle like it does of the Solo Ultra.  I could see the combination working to boost the warmth of the low and and toning down somewhat the energy and edge of the treble.  Certainly form my own assortment of sources, consistently they were softer and less edgy when paired with warm sources.  Oh and the little 1G Ipod shuffle, known for being a bit brutal up top, oh there were not a happy pairing. 

So while power isn’t needed for the Hyperion, their comparative bass lightness meant that adding in a little baby amp with a bass boost button was rather fun.  So you don’t need an amp for power but I can see the bass boosting potential here and its just a bit of naughty fun.

Isolation:  Pretty fair.  It’s about the norm for dynamics these days.  Perfectly grand for normal out and about or on a bus.  Probably not for a daily Tube commute but for the odd flight or visit to London am sure they would do fine.  Clearly more than sufficient to make you road kill if you don’t keep your eyes open when in motion.

Accessories:  They will come with a bunch of tips and a nice little case which is all you could want really.

Value:  Pressing off out the door with a retail price of £30 these are erring towards bargainlishous.  They aren’t going to be all things to everyone, certainly if you’ve only got bright DAP’s you might want to stear clear but in terms of quality, they are going head to head with the RE-300 and frankly they trade blows, for the most part, evenly.  So what that means is for the money you cant get better, you can get different but not better.

N.B.  I have just had it confirmed that the Kickstarter price will be just £20.  Uberbarganlishious!!!

Conclusion:  I have some mixed feelings about the Hyperion.  The detail levels it can spit out are just incredible for the cost.  The openness it exhibits lends well to this and they make everything hyper detailed.  It bests the RE-300 in terms of details, though the 300 has a greatly warmer and richer tone.  Yes, the world has gone crazy.  A HiFiMAN IEM is the bassy option and lacks in detail retrieval.  Who would have ever seen that coming a few years ago?

Treble, at cheap a price point you are not going to be able to nail perfectly, if you could we would no longer have expensive IEM’s.  My own inclination as you go down the price scale is to dial back the treble.  The Hyperion does not do that at all.  It keeps that treble right up there and even with a warm DAP in play, if you throw a trebly track at it, it tries its little heart out.  It does every damn little thing it possibly can to get everything spot on and it can’t quite manage everything.  Come on though, the thing is only 30 quid.  You feed it a brash high end and it dishes out all that brashness and more.  With smooth and rich tracks its crisp dryness find a much more suitable pairing.  Nevertheless it put a truly valiant rendition of Owl City’s “The Bird and the Worm.”

The Hyperion feels almost a bit too good for itself.  In its own price range, the RE-300 goes for a vastly warmer sound and much easier on the ears for it.  If you are willing to pair it with a nice warm DAP you will be highly rewarded though.  It’s a real enthusiastic little go getter.  For just £30 these feel like a total steal, I mean I could maybe see this sound quality level at the price but to get it and have such solid construction too?  I’m pretty sure there is a pact with the devil somewhere however seeing as I’m not Bob’s first born I can live with it.

Trinity Hyperion Quick Review

Trinity Hyperion Quick Review

Thanks to Trinity for the sample and collaboration.

Brief:  Teeny tiny baby dynamics

Price:  £30 or about US$45

Specification:      8mm Neodymium Drivers, Impedance: 16Ohm, Sensitivity: 108 +/- 3DB,  Frequency response: 20 - 20000Hz, Gold plated 3.5mm Jack, 1.2M length cable

Accessories:  Some tips and a little case.

Build Quality:  Lovely.  The cable in particularl is a double braided thing, super flexable and good quality.  The buds are pure metal, clean and simple carved aluminium.

Isolation:  Pretty good for a dynamic.  Just fine for normal life, out and about, on a bus stuff.  Not really for lots of flights but hey, would do in a pinch.  Naturally enough to get you run over if you aren’t using your eyes.

Comfort/Fit:  Excellent.  Things are tiny, in the ears they go and all done.  Happy to sit there all day too.

Aesthetics:  I like them.  I’d like more if brushed aluminium but I’m nit picking

Sound:  Great.  I think these have the same driver in them as their siblings, the Techne.  Here though no changeable filters.  For me that means only good things.  First off you don’t have to take three different points into account for tuning and these are half the price.  When you half the price of something that buys you a lot more leeway in terms of my expectations and competition.  These feel much more even tonally, the bass hasn’t the quantity the Techne can put out but it’s most impressively linear as it descends.  The mids have good breadth to them, breathy and highly detailed.  The highs shimmer quite well but do have a little spike in the mid/treble reagon that get a bit attention seeking.  The likes of Nina Simone or Maria Carey’s ballads are highly impressive.  Sure, its’s no PL-50 but the mids don’t feel like they have two giants standing on either side threatening to beat the bejesus out of them if get uppity.  Their only really acoustic flaw is that spike in the lower treble that likes to leap out from time to time but otherwise it’s a highly pleasing, broad soundscape.  Even then I feel like I’m being a little hard on them to make note of it.  Its detail levels are top class, full of delicate background instrumentation, so soft and subtle that it belies its price point.  It’s not going to please everyone though, it’s not especially bassy which is unusual at its price.  Normally low priced stuff lives by more bass means “better” and as such you get a far more composed and even handed sound.  The bass is a might soft and the treble hasn’t the world best extension but most music isn’t at either extreme anyway.  What we have in the Hyperion is a really friendly, really competent, all-rounder.  For the money, I presently believe it to be best value you can get, especially if you’re in the EU as these are already taxed where as its competition from the Far East would not be.

Value:  Great.  Sounds and looks fab.  Would make a great wee gift IEM.

Pro’s:   Pretty. Sounds even and accomplished.  Great breadth. Bass linearity.

Con’s:  Not ass bassy as some would want.  Bit of a lower treble spike.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Sennheiser Momentum 1.0 On-Ears Review

Sennheiser Momentum 1.0 On-Ears Review

First Impressions:  Wahay! A Sennheiser box that’s straightforward to open, think that might be a first.  Not there is anything “wrong” with their normal boxes, just they have the most infuriating habit of wildly over engineering them, making it not obviously apparent how you’re supposed to get into the damn things.  Ooh pretty case thing.  Wait, there is a baggy too?  Ooh and two cables.  A normal and a phone one, its kinda nice to get both.  Personally it seems a little wasteful as surely you’re going to pick one and use that permanently?

Slapping them on my ears and you will doubtless be shocked, shocked I tell you, that these are really heavy in the bass.  Waaa, a bass heavy Senn, noooo surely not, lol.  You probably also won’t be shocked that these are acoustically reminding me of the Momentum In-Ears.  I had figured the Momentum line would share a tuning style and it seems they do.  That warm, lush bottom, broadly spaced mids and a little flare up top.  It’s not quite as delicate a flare up top as the In-Ears, maybe a little burn in will settle that down?  Let’s find out.

Source: FiiO E7/E9 combo, Hisoundaudio Studio V 3rd Anv., HiFiMAN HM-650, 1G Ipod Shuffle, Nexus 5.

Lows:  Sumptuous. As you already knew these are really quite large in the bottom end.  Like its IEM kin its pushing toward the realm of more bass than I want, though I do think here it’s comparatively a little less.  I suspect that may be down to my having trained myself to listen to the bass and so I think I’m a bit less susceptible to the mental trickery where by the rest of your ear feeling bass tricks you into thinking there is much more than strictly is.  Still it’s quite a bit and given you feel it too it’s probably easily enough for all but the most crazy bassheads.  I did notice that on the lower powered sources the bass took on a slightly more punchy character as more is found in poppy music.  When you stepped up to more powerful ones it slipped to being more of a controlled, powerful but more articulated bass.  I don’t know if that’s deliberate but it’ll appeal to both mainstream poppy listeners plugging into their phones and to more discerning listeners with more potent DAP’s.  So power wise the rule is, the more you have the more controlled it is, the less the more aggressive it got.

Depth is good, as you would expect but it does dissipate more than what I’m used to with sealed IEM’s.  I would that it were more linear as it descends but the headroom graphs say it is already, I can only presume my ears, therefore, are not getting a perfect seal.  Such is a price to be paid with on rather than over or in ears.

Mids:  Nice.  They are in a clear bit of a valley but they are well articulated with good breadth to them.  They tinge on the warm but they have a fair degree of air which contrast against each other well.  If you pair it with a richly warm source you get mids that swing that way.  Richer, more liquid and creamy.  A crisp, snappy source and those mids dry right up, more breathy and cleanly open.  It’s nice it’s so versatile.  Detail retrieval on them is really quite good but it’s not the most readily apparent.  With these being quite V shaped the bass and treble like to fight it out for the front of the stage.  The mids can quite regularly feel like they need to get up off their backside and start belting it out.  Still we knew going in these weren’t going to be midhead cans.  It reminds me lots of their In-Ear brethren.  Good quality, greatly versatile but too reticent to stand up at the front like they ought to, even on very midcentric tracks.

Strings are likewise great, highly versatile and a surprise hit pairing with Elgar’s cello concertos.  There isn’t much bass and almost no treble to dominate so strings have a lovely dash of liquidity and a soupçon of dry twangyness.  Hmm for all its mainstream pretentions the Momentum On-Ears makes for a really not bad classical listening headphone.

Highs:  There is a really treble flare going on with the Momentums.  Senn’s normally are quite V shaped and this while not as linearly dominant as the more usual Senn signature, they follow the “Momentum” sound signature.  They have that big, rich and quite rotund bass, valley for the mids and then a lightning narrow flare for the treble that then gently decays away.  It’s a good style to produce a heightened sense of clarity and yet not be too aggressive.  The trail away adds to that delicately detailed impression.  It makes it seem of the highest quality by being highly explicit in that spike but quickly rounding and softening to be smoother on the ear.  While it is somewhat easier on the ear my ears still find it to be a little bit demanding.  It liked to leap out and show off just how clever it can be.  Yes dear that’s very nice but I would steer clear of bright and aggressive sources.

Outright quantity isn’t super-duper vast but it’s pretty elevated, its general refinement means despite its quantity I’m not sure treble heads would be quite satisfied with it.  Quality wise though I don’t have much to fault.  It’s well detailed, it isn’t directly abrasive and it does a convincingly metallic impact with a very well controlled shimmery decay.  It’s more grown up than it is party beast treble.  Nevertheless its quantity was pushing my tolerance limits.

Fit/Comfort:  Hmm, well fit I felt was good but I did get a bit of bass trail off which would suggest a leak.  I never felt that getting a good fit was a problem though.  Comfort, hmm well it has a reasonable clamping force, which I absolutely accept is needed to keep them on your head when walking about.  Still, it did somewhat squish my ears onto the arms of my glasses.  It did after an hour or so began to make the backs of my ears hurt a bit.  So while they do stay snuggly on your head when you walk about I’m not sure I’d be happy suggesting to glasses wearers that these are something you’d want to use at stretches of several hours at a time.

Cable:  Both cables are rather thin feeling.  Obviously they are removable and so replaceable if you kill them.  One has no mic, the other does.  It also has volume buttons but they didn’t like my Nexus 5, oh well.

Microphonics:  Not really any but once or twice I did hear the mic catching on my collar.

Phone Use:  Despite being Apple orientated the mic did work fine with my Nexus 5.  The mic though was a little far from my face I was told I did sound a tad muffled.  The mic really did like catching on the other side of my collars so I’m putting it down to that.  I still could carry on a conversation fine so it worked sufficiently well.

Amped/Unamped:  These got increasingly maturely natured the more power you threw at them.  I just happen to have a Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear here and out of that, the Momentums sounded really quite grown up. The highs especially grew in their refinement.  The bass too was quite noticeably more even tempered and articulate.  On the other end, the 1G Ipod Shuffles liked to make things more aggressively vigorous.  More pithy, punchy bass, more sparkly and edgy treble.  I’m pretty sure this will suit everyone.  Those I’d expect to like more punch and dazzle are those I’d assume would have more basic sources and those who want more grown up refinement are the more likely to have superior amping.  So I’d say it’s a win win for everyone.

Isolation:  Hmm, it’s okay.  I could I suppose be able to use these out and about.  I wouldn’t though, less for my being interrupted but for the amount these would leak.  It’s not like its terrible but I would never want to be THAT GUY sat on the bus irritating all around him.  Given their grippy clamping force it’s maybe something that could suit a gym though I thing they look a bit too nice for that.   They are suede for god sake.  Maybe more sit in Costa or Café Nero and get some work done listening to soothing music.

Accessories:  You get a not bad haul.  There is the case, then a little baggy and the two cables.   Can’t really imagine what else you could want for them.

Value:  Their pricing seems a bit all over, I got them for just £66 from Amazon Spain.  At the moment they are £106 on Amazon UK yet only US$100 on Amazon US.  At that US price its greatly awesome value.  The UK, well it’s not that they don’t sound good enough to cost that, they do with some ease but wildly differing prices irk me.  Still that aside these are premium sounding and premium feeling product.  This is possibly also due to the launch of the 2.0 versions.  Given Senn has done this before I’d imagine the 1.0 and 2.0 version to sound near, if not identical.  So could be a way to bag yourself a bargain as I feel I have done.

Conclusion:  The pricing weirdness I don’t like, I did see that some colours cost slightly differing amounts too so it could be that the production run of colours hasn’t paired up too well to the sales of the respective colours.  Still I got the blue for a bargain and I’m just fine with blue, the pink though, err I’m not so sure about.  I’m also unsure about the new 2.0 versions.  I am currently working on the assumption Senn has done as they did with the IE8 to IE80 move.  It’s technically a new version but by all accounts I’ve seen they sound the same.  I would therefore presume that the 1.0 and 2.0 versions also sound the same.  It’s a guess but even if I’m wrong, I’m having absolutely zero with how good these ones sound. 

Tonally they have a rich nature which works well for me though I do from time to time still find their inclination to get a little over expressive up top a teeny bit much for me.  Yes it’s good, yes it’s refined, yes its shimmers beautifully but it’s that pin sharp spike that when subjected to hard or aggressive music I find tiring.  I feel like it’s trying just too hard to keep pace with its low end and I wish it wouldn’t.  The low end feels much more effortlessly agreeable.  Rich, weighty, warm and there is a casual feeling about it.  It’s just strumming away, no stress or strain.  It’s just getting on with it as casually as you could please.  The treble feels like it knows it isn’t quite as good but is ever the more determined to keep up and its gets a little ratty doing so.  The mids, well they are like, well they remind me of Jane Horrocks character in Little Voice.  At the beginning, when she is so meek and retiring yet with such potential if you can only eek it out.  Elgar’s cello concertos do what they can in that regard but the mids just never want to take centre stage vocally.

In terms of balance and audience, as with the In-Ears Sennheiser have shown they can tailor things enough to win praise from the audiophile community and yet be mainstream enough to also cater to the taste of a mainstream audience.  It’s a careful line to walk and they do it quite masterfully.  For me I’d still like more mids and a smidge less treble but hey, given all the coverage the Momentum range has been getting it’s pretty damn clear the Sennheiser have a goodly bunch of winners on their hands here.  The On-Ears 1.0, if you can bag a set at some of the low prices it’s been at then it makes for a most excellent bargain.  Sure it’s not perfect, it clamps a bit hard, some colours are clearly acquired tastes but on the whole it’s an excellently build product that looks good and sounds even better.