Thursday, 21 April 2011

Sunrise i100 Review

Sunrise i100 Review

Thanks to UKheadphones and Sunrise Audio for the samples.

First impressions: Well I wasn’t expecting to get anything else in the package, erm what are they? (I later found out they are to be called i100’s) obviously it’s got a mic on it so it’s easy to tell what market this will be aimed at. Sound wise the first thing is these aren’t vented, at all, which I can tell is going to be a problem for me as it always is. That aside I kinda like them, so much, much cleaner than the Xcape V2 they came with. Hopefully I find a tip that will aid with the venting issue. Of to burn.


Source 1G iPod Shuffle with a 75 ohm adapter added (predominantly)

Lows: Very clean, very controlled and maybe a little light. I say light but by that I mean compared to what many might want but I think it’s a spot on amount, particularly after spending time with its siblings (Xscape v2) they are such a breath of fresh air. So airy, light and natural sounding. It has decent depth, decent impact and it knows its place so well. Oh god so well. This is one of the best controlled and even handed low ends on things I’ve heard for a while. I really do find myself enjoying the low end on these far more than I would have expected to. Quantity wise its sitting at around M3 levels, enough for most I’d think and very much in line with everything else, no frequency range is particularly dominant.

Natalie Imbruglia’s “Satellite” has a good low running through it but it never dominates and the i100 treats it exactly how it’s supposed to be done. Deep and rising up in abundance when it’s called upon to, its impressively pleasant to hear.


Mids: lovely, a tiny touch on the dryer side of things but this only serves to inject they tiniest touch of added air and breath to things. It sounds great and again I find myself really enjoying listen. The Beautiful South’s “Old Red Eyes is Back” it done perfectly. Okay so it’s not perfect but for something of this pricing its really very, very pleasent on the ear. The mids are maybe the tiniest bit recessed behind the highs and bass but as a mid lover it’s not enough to upset me so I can’t imagine most would notice anyway. I like these.

Highs: This is where I find it uber easy to tear stuff apart especially cheap stuff because the highs are the easiest bit to screw up and nothing causes offense like a brutal gritty top end. Sunrise pretty much nails it here, for something than won’t cost the earth its remarkably balanced and even handed. That’s really the running theme throughout with these but it’s true. They do everything well. The highs here can extend decently well, they have enough edge to have some sparkle and enough delicacy about them to shimmer and decay. It’s taking the middle path and getting a bit of the best of everything. Now it’s not the best treble in the universe and it will get a little bit more distant if there is too much going on and there is some big bass diverting its attention but that is just what it should do. When you push it, it still remains composed yet lively and never begins to break up and become unruly. Well done Sunrise.


Soundstage: Pretty good, it’s a dynamic but its closed so don’t be expecting vast sweeping plains before you.

Comfort: For me it was great well, see fit.

Fit: A bit of a pain really, not physically painful but I could easily see it becoming so. I have in the past had major issues with unvented IEM’s (unvented dynamic one’s anyway.) It makes it a pain to get them sitting right to get these to sound good and in the past the playing about, adjusting, pulling out, pushing in all creates pressure on my ear and can become really painful. So be warned if you have issues with unvented stuff then these may not be the ones for you. It’s a real shame too as the one black spot these have for me.

Cable: Nice, nothing magical but has a good texture, rubbery and the jack feels really very solid.

Microphonics: Worn up not really any, worn down you do. They do come with a shirt clip so that goes a long way to controlling the issue.


Phone use: Well I tried these with my phone (ZTE Blade) and it didn’t play well. I honestly think that’s more my phones doing as the Ety mc3 played even more badly with them. I never actually use my phone for music so it’s never bothered me.

Build Quality: The buds don’t really look that special but everything feels solid, the jack particularly so. It all offers a good tactile experience and I see no reason to think it won’t stand up to plenty of wear and tear.

Accessories: Well I got nothing but it was a pre release sample so no retail bundle.

Value: Well it’s hard to say given that there is no pricing out for the i100 but unless Sunrise do something stupid I can’t see thin not being great value (so long as the venting issue isn’t a problem for you.) These make a great balanced noise and that’s pretty uncommon from what I’ve seen of the mic’d market.


Conclusion: I feel a little torn about these, I loved the sound of them but the venting issue meant it took me about 10 minutes to get them to sound right and it’s frustrating as hell. I couldn’t see me wanting to bother with that out and about. That said it’s an issue I have and not everyone does so you may be fine. I want to just ignore it as issue for a minute but I can’t, it potentially a huge issue for some so be aware of it. If you’re lucky enough that venting not a problem for you then these are a fantastic little mic’d IEM. It does a little bit of everything and does it mightily well.

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