Radiopaq Pops review
First impressions: for the first 2 min or so I thought there is something wrong here but then music appeared. Astonishingly impressive music too but playing about with them on the bus going home i just found it next to impossible to get them into that fit sweet spot where the music worked. It felt like the drivers were super sensitive to pressure and their fit just utterly muffled the sound. I was deeply deeply unimpressed. Once i got home it was time to play with the tips and i found that slicing the tips just a little let the air pressure equalise when putting them in. This made getting that fit right sooooo much easier and when you get the fit just right god these things came alive. I was so astonishingly impressed i had to send them to soozieq to have a listen for a couple of days just o have someone to go OMG about them with.
Thankfully tips wise ive discovered that shure E2c tips fit on the radiopaqs perfectly, particularly the orange foamies which the wonders of ebay provided me with. While still not perfect the orange foamies go along way to fixing the fit sensitivity they have.
Packaging: the box looks great but is a bit of a bugger to get open for the first time, when you buy them you will see what i mean. A little bit of clear plastic holding other bits of clear plastic together means you cant see how to open them. Also i did kinda feel it a bit stingy that there is no little case or bag for them. Its not a big deal but given the springyness of the cable a little baggy would be rather helpful, but again its no big deal
Source is a 5G ipod line out via and icon mobile amp. Will also test via just hp out on ipod too
(btw if these things have any burn in required I can’t say i noticed any)
Lows: the lows are big fat and abundant. Im not really a bass lover and i cant say i love the bass on these, its a bit loose, there is too much for me and its just a bit too flabby. Then i remember these are meant for pop, people want some big fat ass bass on them and they do it very well, frightengly well for £60 which is something i keep forgetting. These are not IE8 competition really but that’s the comparison i keep jumping to in my head. The IE8 does everything better, no question but they cost like £200 so they had bloody well better. The bass on the pops is so strange, its so huge and abundant but it never feels like its bleeding in to the mids or taking over anything. In fact it never feels like its dominating anything even though its so huge, if you like a big fat wedge of bass then you will like these.
Mids: the mids are on the whole quite clear and forward but there is a few songs where the vocals seem to be far more distant most often on male quite low vocals. Its very clear the sound signature on there is a W and if the vocals fit outside then they fade away a little. Again its not really a big problem or anything. The mids just work so much better on things a little higher which shockingly is what you likely to find in pop music. Really oddly they don’t seem to like Vanessa Carlton terribly much, usually vocally she stands out above the music but on the pops she doesn’t. Not that she sounds bad in fact the vocals all sound good on the pops, really good for £60. If you like some girly pop then these do them really very well, oh girly boy bands come out well on them too.
Highs. Hmm got to say if you get the fit perfect then the highs are great but usually an acceptable fit means the highs are just rather good. Most of the time thy feel slightly veiled but for the cost they are great. With their sound sig i keep comparing them in my head to the IE8 and they just always come up lacking but they cost 4 times as much. They highs are good and detailed but never overwhelming, a very nice crispness to them. Very nicely in line with the mids and lows.
Soundstage: well there isn’t the illusion of music coming from all around you but they certainly give a huge sound, they sound vast and abundant but don’t give very much in the way of airiness or space but they give a huge wall of sound that can be really really fun.
Comfort: comfort is great, the things are rather small and have no problem disappearing right inside my ears. Nice and small, zero issue on the comfort front. Well other than i think these can be a bit tiring to listen to all day, the sound is so huge on them after about 4 or 5 hours my ears feel as if they need a break. Not really a problem or anything but still could bother some.
Fit: well this is where my only really complaint with the pops is. The fit is so sensitive, the drivers demand that the pressure on them is just so and with the stock tips i found it a total bugger to get them just right. Now the issue is largely solved with the shure orange foamies but its still not perfect which a huge shame. I can easily see normal people (ie non head-fi’ers) buying these trying them on and just getting this horribly muffled mess. At first i thought they had to be broken they just sounded so crappy. How this issue wasn’t picked up in pre release i really have no idea as its a huge problem i think. Now in all fairness soozieq didn’t seem to have this problem and yes ive mostly fixed it but be warned. If you get them and they sound crap then you really have to play around with the tips and do try some orange foamies, really i think radiopaq need to bundle them with them, or i guess complys could work too but i haven’t tried them.
Cable: cables fine, a bit stiff but nothing too bad, i really wish they had included a little neck tie slider thingy. Then it might have been possible to wear them over the ear and pull them tight to hold them in place. With the cable being a bit stiff you just have to wear them down. Micrphonics isn’t terrible or anything but id have been happier if i could wear them up.
Isolation: great with the stock tips that i hate and not so much with the orange foamies, think about senn cx300 level of isolation. Okay but nothing to write home about but fine for on bus use.
Unamped: well i find they really don’t seem to care if they are amped or not, yes they do improve amped most in the highs but thats prob more to the ipods line out being better than its hp out, no great night and day difference like say there is with the C751. If your using an unamped rig then these will do you fine, given most of their buyers will be using an ipod hp out they go rather nicely together. In fact now using the hp out i cant say i really notice any difference. I can if i A B A B them but really nothing major.
Value: oh hell yeah, these things are great value so long as would want the kind of sound they deliver. If you want neutral and balanced go look somewhere else. If you want something that’s erm well, errr suited to pop music then these rock. Big thumping bitch ass bass, good clear mids that come through great, Katie Perry yes you can indeed sing. Highs that offer some great clarity and detail but aren’t too sharp on the senses. If you like to listen the latest Now 407 or whatever number they are now up to then these go so well with that kind of music. They give a really fun and alive sound, definitely not for critical listening but if you want something that will make you bounce then they do it really fantastically well for £60. Every complaint i have about them isn’t really anything so major that you wouldn’t buy them, the tips is a problem yes but a fixable one everything else just pails into insignificance.
Final Conclusion: If you want something kinda cheap and a big spade load of fun then these could be just what you are looking for.