Sunday, 2 October 2016

1MORE Triple-Driver In-Ear Headphones (E1001) Review by mark2410

1MORE Triple-Driver In-Ear Headphones (E1001) Review by mark2410

Thanks to 1MORE for the review sample.

First Impressions:  It was a little while ago now, back at Canjam London and while doing an extremely bad job of getting round all the exhibiters I was chatting to someone.  We chatted about a variety of items and he asked if I had been to the 1MORE stand yet and tried their Triple-Driver.  I said no I hand not, he promptly said he thought they were the star of the show for their price.  So naturally my interest was piqued and made it my next stop.  I had a try with them and instantly, within seconds I was asking, what did you say they cost again, having thought perhaps I’d misheard.  No I hadn’t.  Right then I thought, I want a pair of these into review and they were gracious enough to oblige.  Suffice to say my first acoustic impressions were extremely positive.  Seriously though, is that really their name?

Once I got back home and slept for three days I opened up the box.  I’m used to new companies having a good product but the packaging, well they can sometimes be rather janky.  Oh dear god that’s not the case here.  The box even has a metal, real metal, magnetic clasp on the side for its book style opening.  Oh my god how much attention to detail went in here!  It’s absurd. The main body too opens like a book revealing underneath little boxes containing your various bits.  A ton of tips, a little case, which is lovely btw, then the manuals and a last box for the adapters.  Now I don’t really care about adapters as I never use them but, omg how nice are these ones.  Good god these make the most excellent of first impressions.  While its only September this has “Christmas gift” klaxons going off in my head.

In the ears and having leapt to the big foamy tips since they sit rather shallow, yep they sound damn good.  If hadn’t just went and checked their price I’d be doing it again.  While these have a name that I think is stupid but oh my god they sound good for the money, Jesus Christ these are good.

Source: FiiO E7/E9 combo, Hisoundaudio Studio V 3rd Anv., HiFiMAN HM-650, 1G Ipod Shuffle, Nexus 5, Lumia 735 and Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear.

Lows:  I just don’t know what to say.  I’m metaphorically speechless.  I know these are boosted in the bass like most things and while a bit more than I might have chosen myself they are perfectly fine for my ears and tastes.  I know to really place their quantity I have to A/B them to a few different things but I can’t seem to take them out of my ears.  In very bassy tracks they are pushing towards too much, not bass head levels but the dynamic in them is capable of shifting some air.  Still its quality, damn, it’s really good.  I’m my head I’m thinking of the US$100 RE-0 and this is waaaaaaaay more the crowd pleaser.  Flicking back and forth with the PMV A-01 MKII and the GR07 this is the bigger bass and I think it’s even more accomplished.  It needs a little bit of power to be its best but its quality is most impressive.  Being like the other two, shallow fitting the bass has trouble getting really low down.  I think in part by there being a larger air pocket but that price tag… god these are really good.  The bass is just about spot on perfect for me.  It’s going to be a little heavy for real audio purists and potentially not quite bass head satisfying but its excellent.  The balance between fullness, impact and smoothness feels so bang on, it can do them all as whatever the track requires.

One thing to note though is that it wants some power to make it be its best.  My Nexus 5 makes the bass a little softer, less agile and frankly coming from the Solo Ultra it’s a real disappointment. 

Mids:  Like the mids the have struck a fantastic balance between the various directions it could go in, it does them all excellently well to.  They aren’t as middy as the GR07 or A01MKII but it feels a very natural decline.  They are also a bit more creamy too, vocally there just isn’t that degree of breathy airiness.  Whatever, I don’t care these sound fabulous.  They just manage to come across as so natural.  My dispassionate self can tell they have a bit of a creamy flavour to them but I just can’t make myself care.  These are pushing the love’em button in my head somewhere.  I get that the creamier presentation should be obscuring the finer details of a track but I’m so drawn to more dynamically paced songs that it can’t say I notice any obfuscation.  My brain and ears can tell there is, technically I’m certain, really well recorded stuff but it’s like a sweet glaze in its addition and influence I love it.  So what it’s not on paper perfect, whatever.  They are so acoustically flowing and lovely, that with the right vocals you just melt.  So gloriously and wonderfully pleasing.  If I was making a chart topping music IEM this I think is the balance I would come up with.

Quantity, it’s a bit receded over the bass but the mids and bass are trading blows.  There is a bit of weight that counters any airy openness.  These offer vocally a more enclosed feel.  Not up close and intimate but more like a private performance in your living room.

Highs:  Ahh, well they are great, they really are.  The GR07 I think perhaps best0s them in its ability to offer a more open decay.  These are still a bit weighty and enclosed which tames the decay of a metallic note.  The detail levels though are still absolutely excellent.  They aren’t the most obvious ever as they don’t really hurl it at you but listen and there’s rather a lot of detail.  This is a little dependant on the power you feed them.  From the phone and well, it softens and loses a fair degree of clarity.  Out of the Solo Ultra and they get seriously nice.  A little gently rounded edge to the initial metallic impacts for a BA driver but I’m very happy with that.  For a BA it is really quite refined and it feels almost magically so for their price tag.  One bit I’m not so wild about is the hiss.  These aren’t notably sensitive so they aren’t really hiss monsters but they must have a little peak where his sits as tracks mastered with a lot of hiss are very noticeable.

Quantity level is rather in line with the mids, so both sitting behind the hefty bass.  It’s highly clean and unencumbered though.  I’m assuming a 3 way crossover because the bass doesn’t seem to encumber anything and as with the mids and treble.  Also there is a slight dip at the mid/treble cusp so they are very resilient to sibilance.  Some really excellent work here.

Soundstage:  A good sized room.  These can sound rather full-bodied and significant yet their mid-range with it being a bit creamy errs towards intimacy.  The treble too errs towards a subdued, richer response so they don’t give the impression of vast openness.  Not an in your head feel but that of a decent sized room, you and the band.  Instrument separation is alright, nothing special.  There is a bit of an ever so slight dip at the bass/mid/treble cusps but for what I believe is a 3way crossover, it sounds very well integrated together.  Very pleasing.

Fit:  They are intended to be worn down but I don’t like that.  I wore them up and so long as I used the biggest tips (they are kinda shallow sitting) I was fine.  In and they were done.

Comfort:  So long as you’re happy and comfortable with them sitting rather shallow your fine.  They by their shape can’t go in deep.  If you’re used to deep earphones this can feel a touch insecure but you get used to it quickly.  I was happy to wear these for hours.  Well so long as I wasn’t going too crazy with the volume dial as these can move a bit of air low down than can be tiring.

Microphonics:  Wear down you get a lot.  Their cables woven outer combined with a relatively still cable and wearing a collar, oh it got irritating fast.  So wear them up like I like to do anyway and it’s cured.

Aesthetics:  They look alright.  Their colourings are nice and they are nicely put together but, their shape just didn’t wow me.  Nice I guess but visually nothing very special I don’t think.

Build Quality:  The buds are very nice.  That box is insane and so are the accessories, that little case and the adapters are super, super nice.  The cable, err well, I don’t love it so much.  It’s a bit too stiff and kink ridden. Still for the price and how these sound it is instantly forgiven but it wouldn’t be my first choice of cables.

Cable:  Yeah, I’m not loving it really.  It works fine, sounds great but it reminds me a little of the cable on the notorious KC3.  It’s not anything like that bad but it a bit stiff and kinky.

Isolation:  Alright.  For it being hybrid and thus having a dynamic it’s pretty alright but it can’t compete with sealed all BA IEM’s.  You can absolutely them use fine for out and about, on a bus and you could probably get away with the occasional Tube commute or flight.  As ever my warning, they will be easily enough for you to not hear the instrument of your death approaching you if you aren’t open eyed near traffic.

Accessories:  Wow, crazy stuff.  That airplane adapter and the shirt clip thing are just soooo nice.  The case too, it’s lovely and my nose believes its real leather.  Oh and you get a heap of tips including some rather nice foam ones.  Some very nice offerings.

Phone Use:  I made a phone call and they worked fine, I was heard clearly at the other end.  The buttons for play/pause and the track skip buttons all worked fine too.

Amped/Unamped:  Do you “need to amp them?  No, you don’t “need” to amp them.  However you really, really should.  Out of my meh phone they sounds good for the money, very good but they made me sad.  Slapping them into the big Solo Ultra and they just became so much more everything. Like a Cinderella transformation.  Sure she was pretty dressed in rags but with a little bit of magic applied, the hair the clothing and there is a small yet massive change.  Here an amp is like the fairy god mother, the greatness was there but you need that little magic sparkle to see how truly mesmerising it can be.  So when you buy a pair and you think wow these are really good, your next thought should be how much better will they be if I amp them really well.

Value:  So while they are £95 verses US$99 and that irks me a touch it’s not all that for from the exchange rate plus VAT.  Still at that price, yeah there is nothing that I know that can match them.  Of course the A-01 is a bit cheaper so is also excellent value, this is a clear and significant step up from them.  These are excellent in every way, every aspect of them.  Short of you needing Ety levels of isolation these are now my generalist default IEM recommendation.  They are sweary word good.

Conclusion:  So yeah, just go buy a pair.  These may not be perfect, you know I don’t really like the cable very much and they sit kinda shallow and I like deeper.  Deeper gets you more isolation.  Their looks also, yeah they are fine to look at but nothing special.  They sound incredible though.  No ifs, no buts, no caveats, they sound amazingly good.  Okay maybe a tiny caveat as that they want power to be their best but come on, that would be like moaning your Ferrari cant corner so well in a wet muddy field.  They are excellent, simply excellent.  From the bass to the treble these are fantastic, seriously fantastic for the money. 

Seriously, just go buy a pair.  I’m sure amazon will happily let you return them if you don’t like them.  I would be very surprised if practically anyone returns them.  They are acoustically fantastic in every regard and short of you hating anything with less than perfectly neutral bass I can’t see anything not to like about them.

So would I / should you buy a pair?  Yes.  These are cracking little beasts and I’d say buy a pair before there is a shortage and they put their prices up.  You will simply not get this good audio quality for this price anywhere else, not that I know of.  They are simply superb sounding and truly sublime value for money.

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