E’NOD Waveport Waterproof Earphones / DAP Review by mark2410
TLDR? Try here http://www.head-fi.org/t/817728/e-nod-waveport-waterproof-earphones-dap-review-by-mark2410#post_12802802
First Impressions: Now this is going to be a little bit hurried as they are currently in the midst of their Kickstarter campaign and as such, time is of the essence. With that in mind I didn’t expect these to come in nice packaging but they have. I good solid box with a magnetic clasp. Opening the flap you can see what’s inside and they look not bad sitting there. Once inside the plastic window and pulling out the innards you have the Waveport’s, a heap of tips and the charging system. You have a normal micro USB cable and a charging dock / clasp thingy. While it looks rather nice I can’t help feel little sorrowful at there having to be a proprietary dock that just begs to be lost. Still there is a good reason for it. You see these are IPX7 rated. That’s good enough they say to use in the shower or even to go swimming with. The down side to that is these being Bluetooth means you’ve got to have your phone to hand too. Ahh but you see these also have 8GB of storage in them so you can play music directly without the need to connect them to Bluetooth anything. That’s kinda cool no?
In the ears and instantly I notice that they are super-duper tightly sealed. No big surprise there but I can feel the pressure inside my ears. The seal with the silicon tips is totally air tight. I can foresee that foamies are going to be getting swapped in. I have been told that for swimming you must use the something whatever (omniseal) tips they have. I’m not a big swimmer so I’m thinking that’s not going to be an issue.
Source: Itself and a Nexus 5
Lows: Having swapped in foamy tips I notice that I have quite noticeably reduced the level of seal involved. It’s much less extreme but it’s much more gentle on my ears. Pushing in and pulling out a lot can be very wearing on sensitive ears. The bass I note has declined somewhat and the bottom end a little absent. Still it’s pretty good. Pop’s got enough to be bouncy and rhythmic. I dare say these are more aimed at those out running, sweating profusely or in the rain than they are a relaxing bath use. Yeah there are aiming at providing you a bass beat to keep you moving. Acoustically even swapping back to the tight sealing silicon’s that the depth is, well a bit so so. Good enough to provide a fun time but these aren’t really up there where there price point suggests but of course you’re not just getting earphones but a DAP and Bluetooth and a mic and waterproof functionality.
Quantitatively they are reasonably. Not the bass monsters you might expect. A bit on the elevated side but not massively so.
Mids: Not bad. Once more I get the feeling there are not aimed ale gloriously sweeping vocals but want to belt out rhythmic poppy tune. Something fast, lively to get the blood pumping and you bounce all over the place. It a good fun time with a rather nice tone vocally. Detail levels are not bad too, still they are more suited to the lively pop type mid-range. If you’re looking for lingering sweeping nuanced vocals it’s not these. They are more simplistic and about having a bit of a fun party time.
Highs: The definition level are okay, they aren’t detail monsters and do break up a touch in the uppers but as I’ve mentioned, these aren’t about audiophile purity. These are about getting your bottom in gear and keeping it moving. You want a fun, lively excitable sound and that is what these provide. Their clarity is more than sufficient for that job. Extension is a touch so so but again, these are poppy fun cannons not purist audiophile earphones.
Quantity wise they are all pretty much instep with each other so you get an overall rather balanced sound signature, a little elevation to the bass and a fractionally more to the treble but it’s all about lively and excitable.
Soundstage: Actually bigger than you would think. Being super tightly sealed I’d expect a more in the head, close in sound but the drives must be some distance away as they sounded rather wide. Unexpected and enjoyable.
Fit: Well they by their very nature seal extremely tightly. So for me and my crappy sinuses when inserting and removing did place some air pressure on my ear insides. Then it would take a little while to equalise and if I moved my jaw about I could create pressure issues. These are properly water tight, they are very sealed. While not hard to get a good fit I’d hate to have to be removing and reseating these if people kept interrupting me.
Comfort: Great mostly, the air pressure when fiddling could get a little wearing on my ears but their actual on my ear fit, that was totally fine. Comfy to wear for hours.
Microponics: None. Well there is basically no cable to transmit anything anywhere. I did get the occlusion effects from my heels striking the ground but that’s not really a shocker.
Aesthetics: I have grey pair here but the also come in blue, green and red. I’m pretty sure that the grey one is the best looking, to my eyes at least. That said I do kinda like the look of the blue one too. Actually I think these are more rather nice in the flesh than they do in photos. I can’t quite put my finger on what but the matte soft touch plastics and its light absorbency just works for me.
Build Quality: Well with their being water proof that means that bits must be super snugly fitted together. If they aren’t the thing would die when it went near water thus you can expect that the fit and finish has had some real care and attention lavished up on it. Now as best as my eyes and fingers can tell the build looks very good. I really cannot find any blemishes or misfits anywhere.
Cable: Yey, there is sort of a cable but it only runs round the back of your head from one ear to the other. You can run these with a Bluetooth connection to your phone or if you want you can store music on it directly. That means not only is it wireless it can be completely untethered too. I mean if you’re swimming you aren’t really going to have your phone on you to stream from are you? With these you can use them in either mode for say swimming and tethered to your phone for running or round the rest of the gym for example. What more could you want?
Isolation: The unsurprisingly rather isolate well. Being super tightly sealed as they must be you get a good amount of noise isolation. They are still rather shallow fitting thus they aren’t up there with Ety’s but for a dynamic its absolutely first levels of isolation. Should be easily enough for just about everything, even should do for the odd Tube commutes or flights. Now naturally that means you will not hear external sounds. Be it traffic, your mother, your wife, that screaming baby two rows down or the wheeled chariot of death hurtling towards you. Eyes people.
Format Support: Now they only talk about mp3 but I copied across a bunch of FLAC files and they for the most part played fine. Once or twice a couple of songs hiccupped like the bit rate got a bit too much. However, FLAC is overkill for these anyway, it’s just I had a collection I use and just lazily copied over. Still I’m pleased to see the ability there if you want it.
Battery life: They say it’ll give you 6 to 8 hours of music or 6 hours on the phone. That’s more time than I think I spend on the phone in a month, err a quarter too probably. Music that seems a fair range estimate to me. It was easily sufficient to see me through several sessions. I would recommend though you charge after every use because otherwise you’ll forget and one day they will die in use. There isn’t really much in the way of a battery indicator.
Controls: Now the Bluetooth controls, they all worked great just like you would expect. However the DAP mode, where it plays back its on-board music, well that was different. There is a volume up, volume down button. The only controls you get is a play / pause / skip. I thought oh maybe a double press will track skip, right? Wrong. Like I’ve been seeing on android lately, long holding the volume up button will skip to the next track. Likewise along press on the volume down button will go back one. You won’t be using them lots, plus it’s a little too easy to press more than one button at once with their being on opposite sides where you want to hold it when pressing. Not to mention pushing them about and exerting some pressure on your ears.
Accessories: A nice little bundle, you get a handful of their tips which I really very much liked. Very Sony hybrid like tips with a translucent skirt and a more solid, opaque whitish core. You seem to get a lot of them, and well, if you look very closely you have two different types. At first glance they look the same but half of the 8 pairs have a filter in them so that when you look through the inner core you can see it obscuring the light. This is the water proof magical filter thing and they are the tips you must use if you are going swimming with them I am told. You get a micro USB cable, the charging cradle / dock thing. You also get a rather pleasant and tactile baggy for them to live in. Additionally you get a strap thing to hold the things, err, together in some fashion. I think they are for keeping them tight on when swimming maybe.
Value: Well atm they are on Kickstarter and you can get the “Kickstarter Special” which will get you a pair forUS$49 when they start shipping. If you go up to two pairs you get two for US$85 (or US$79 if you’re quick.) Those prices you’re getting potentially a great bargain. Even at the normal price of US$90 they still rather significantly undercut the only competition I can see which comes from Sony. Their closest with on-board storage and Bluetooth from Sony I see at £130 and that only gives you 4GB storage and its only IPX5/8 rated whatever they mean by that, surely its one or the other? As is often the case if you’re willing to jump in early you get rewarded for doing so.
Conclusion: These, I wasn’t super loving when I started but they have grown on me. I got past the fiddling about, seating then reseating them, putting constant pressure then suction on my ear insides and that tires me out super-fast. Once I stopped playing about and just got on with listening they settled and I began to enjoy them. I know these are meant for sporty type uses but I found you know what else they are good for? Housework. Yeah cleaning and tidying up crap where you need both hands, with no big wires dangling about the place and no big on ear wireless cans. They go on and leave you utterly unencumbered, which I guess is the whole idea. No wires, no nothing to get in your way. It’s really very liberating.
Sound quality on these is nice, but it’s not anything special which I don’t mind as you gain in other areas. Namely the no wires, the on-board storage and playback, then the Bluetooth and phone functionality too. That all eats up some cost and so I think their normal price seems more than fare in comparison to what else is out there. However with it being still in its Kickstarter, you are looking potentially at a great bargain. You could for ten bucks less than normal for one pair, order two. One for you and one for the good lady wife perhaps?
So would I / should you get one? Well I’m not sporty, I really ought to be more so but I’m not, still I find the utter absence of encumberment to most liberating, it feels so freeing. You, well if you want that unattached feeling and you ether want to use in the pouring rain or in the shower, great stuff. Swimming with earphones too if you wanted, that would be so strange but hey the option is there if you want it. With them going for their Kickstarter price you may want to give a them a spin because you won’t get this feature set elsewhere for anywhere near the present pricing.