1MORE Capsual Dual-Driver In-Ear Headphones Review by mark2410
Thanks to 1MORE for the review sample.
TLDR? Try here http://www.head-fi.org/t/827769/1more-capsual-dual-driver-in-ear-headphones-review-by-mark2410#post_13058464
First Impressions: Yeah yeah, don’t ask why they call them in ear headphones, they just do. The box, well, 1More have put some serious effort into making same fancy ass boxes. I know intellectually that box shouldn’t matter, it is not important but they do go somewhat to creating peoples first impressions of a product and the impression it gives is superb. Such a fancy box. Go have a look on YouTube and I’m sure there will be someone “reviewing” them which really just consists of them opening the box and saying yeah they sound great. Still the box opening is impressive. Now having had the Triple-Driver before it was crazy good and so I have high hopes for these. The only thing I note is these are priced so closely to the Triple’s these will need to really do something special to get a recommendation over their siblings.
In the ears and, well no surprises that they are great. The bass is a little more BA like than dynamic, it must be a smaller driver, nicely articulate but not so eager to get explosive. The treble though I can hear it beginning to break up at the top. Hmmm I’ll need to whip out the Triples to check but for the 10 quid difference in these and the Triples these are not coming off that well. Not bad or anything but I’m not seeing quite why I’d suggest these over their siblings for the sake of a tenner?
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: Unusually presented. They are a dynamic, they are but they are much more BA like in their presentation. It’s not a huge dynamic driver so it’s not a big air mover and thus you get a rather more BA like even descent. It’s quickly paced, its nimble and nicely articulated but…. well while it’s really good for a dynamic I’d be tempted to have used a BA instead inside them. If you’re not going to let a big dynamic do what big dynamics doo well, why use a dynamic? You know it’s actually a little funny. If these had come out a couple years ago at this price I’d be going nuts how great it is but I just can’t quite get the Triple out of my head. Ahh the capsule puts is such a good performance but the Triple best it and what’s worse, the Dual bests it (Dual review coming shortly.) The capsule in raw audio terms while excellent on its own has made some compromises. Apparently the capsule has been made with people in mind that need little things, little tiny earphones that can melt away under a helmet perhaps. Now while they do that well, ditto for sleeping the fact is there has been an acoustic compromise. It just hasn’t quite the skill of a good BA low driver and it hasn’t the presence of a good and good sized dynamic so its depth peters out a little early. Not that it’s bad or anything but its siblings are so stunningly good the little capsule comes up a little short beside them.
Its overall quantity level is a tiny bit elevated but otherwise it’s a fairly natural level. Nothing over boosted nor particularly attention stealing.
Mids: Very good, I can’t quite tell which of the two drivers it is but I believe it’s the BA. The vocals are a touch thin and focused. They are also slightly slanted towards girly vocals than they are male. There is a certain fullness and body they just don’t really have in the lower vocal depths. It’s all so clean and nicely articulated. I can’t help but feel bad for them, they are really very nice but with its siblings beside it it’s just not quite as wonderful as they are. They both haunt had to make compromises to get into that teeny tiny body they have. Yet I don’t even want to say if you ride a motorbike then great for you as I don’t think you should be using earphone and on the roads other than walking. You won’t hear traffic and while I don’t care if you get yourself killed so much it’s those you’ll take with you. Everything I play on here sounds great it is, no really it’s all great. Really great sounding. And then I pick up the Triple and the Capsule just falls that little bitty short. I know I’m not being fair to it, I should be treating it on its own merits, I know that yet I can’t stop myself. Yes if you must have something tiny and your budget can’t cope with a q-JAYS or an AAW Q then sure this is super small, and it sounds really good.
Highs: Well, it’s the same story. Its good, really it is really good…… but its siblings exist. Now this and the Dual seem dangerously close acoustically and while I think the Dual is a little over edgy at times it seems to be the better resolving. There is just something with the Capsule that they can sound broken up at times. I’m not sure if it’s something everyone would notice but with the good amp out and with the lighter DAC in use you can hear its being a little brittle and scratchy up top. For the money its not something I would normally have any issues with, treble is the bit that is really hard to get right and it’s why you get earphones that cost very much more than these. Yet its siblings are soooooo closely priced and because they haven’t gone for a teeny tiny housing they haven’t had to compromise anything. It is always an enjoyable rendition though, don’t mistake my pernickety nit picking as saying they are bad, for they most certainly are not. They just aren’t quite as good as its siblings is all.
Quantity wise they are rather naturally balanced. The treble isn’t very pronounced and especially in treble relaxed tracks they can be quite subdued. It’s only when you fire up some bright splashy treble that you really notice them come to the fore. So not really one for treble heads, it’s only a light, faint little diminishing of treble.
Soundstage: These maybe by their shape. The dynamic I thing being a little pushed back that these sound a little bit bigger than you would normally find in a BA only affair. Not that they are vast they do have a good degree of sideways space and I good bit of distance. Not so much the roundly enveloping sound stage as it lacks a bit of depth but its width is great. Nicely open too.
Fit: Well the fit may be somewhat intended to be worn down but if you flick them round they can be worn up just fine. That’s what I did and they worked great, no issues at all to speak of.
Comfort: Great. The things are really small and you can completely forget you’re wearing the things after a minute or two. Tiny and weigh hardly anything. So you can wear them all day long without any issues. I’m also told you can wear them under a motor bike helmet perfectly comfortably too. Though I’m going on record as saying I do not advise you to do that. If you’re riding a bike you should not be using any earphones. Now if you want ones for sleeping in, that’s different. These would work great and you can stick them and in put your head down with no problems at all. I slept with them to test them, no issues here.
Microphonics: If you wear them down you do, you get quite a bit actually too. Plus there is no chin slider either so I’d say wear them up. Wearing up you don’t really get any unless you go out of your way to tap the cable.
Aesthetics: Well this in one issue that while its siblings may sound better, these look waaaaaaaaay nicer. Now the Triple does come in a silver that looks fab but the black and gold then the white and gold of the Dual, yeah the Capsules are considerably better looking. Yeah visually there isn’t much competition these look rather good don’t they.
Build Quality: Well they would appear to be first rate. Without ripping them to tiny bit or borrowing a time machine they seem good. They look really very good and put together.
Cable: It’s nice. I’m not generally wild about weave coated ones but it seems good. Nicely flexible and the jack and Y splitter are metal so there isn’t anything I can fault with it.
Isolation: They may be hybrid but they almost isolate like an all BA. Not quite BA levels but damn close. So easily fine for on a bus, out and about walking and they might just do you for flights and Tube commutes too. Naturally that means you will not, even with no music going, notice traffic so if you’re going to do that go get a donor card first.
Accessories: Well. To me it seems like these have been made to be about the looks and such crowd. You see while the Dual and Triple get a nice little hard case these for some reason get a little pleather baggy. I mean it’s a niceish baggy but yeah, can I have the hard case please? Otherwise you get 4 pairs of silicone tips and a little rubber sheath thing for the buds, not sure why you’d use them but they are kinda cool.
Phone Use: I fired up the phone and gave a call out, I was told I was audible but that I sounded like I was underwater. A little strange but conversing was easy enough so who know what the cause of that was. The control buttons all worked fine too. Yep the play/pause etc etc button and the volume up and down controls worked fine on my Nexus 5 too. Nice.
Amped/Unamped: Now in terms of needing outright power to be their best, well no they didn’t really need gobs of power. They sounded good out of anything but….. they were not the loudest things ever. I noticed it on the phones that the volume dial was going up a little higher than normal. Not that I couldn’t make them go louder than I’d ever want with even the phones they still wanted a little more juice than most. Yet weirdly like I say they didn’t especially need tons of power to sound good. Of course the better amps sounded better but the gulf wasn’t vast. A little bit strange they behaved this way but whatever.
Value: On their own merits yes they are really nice value. Really good audio quality for a really competitive price. But….. its siblings. Unless you need something with tiny buds or just can’t abide its sibling’s looks then I cannot see many situations where I’d say save the tenner and take these over the Triples. Yes they are good value and you get your money’s worth but the Triples are better. I do like the Capsules but I just don’t know why you’d pick them unless you need something really tiny that you can sleep with in your ears.
Conclusion: Ahh. I feel bad for them. Well not really but you know what I mean, they have so much going for them. They honestly have so many great qualities but…. the Triples are only a tiny bit more and beat them in almost every regard. Looks and size aside which for me aren’t the best reasons to pick an earphone I just cannot for the life of me see me ever saying to anyone take these over the Triples. Seriously I’d sooner tell you to skip a meal or two and get the Triples over these. Not that there is anything wrong with them, it’s just the Trebles are that bit better all over the place.
Now the Capsules on their own merits are a great little IEM. There is nothing it does badly, in any regard it’s a good solid option with some pretty capable acoustic chops. There isn’t anything it screws up. Acoustically it is really nice and really capable. It’s pretty to look at. It’s really super comfy to wear all day long. It is really nothing but positive things I can say about it. It’s a good choice and I’m sure that anyone who buys one or gets one as a Christmas present will be thrilled with them. Honestly I don’t see anyone being unhappy getting the Capsule.
So would I / should you buy one? Me, no. In a heartbeat I’d take the Triples. No question. You? Well if your reading this your probably a bit of an audio buff so likely for you, you’ll likely go with the Triples too. However if you want a gift for someone, where its looks matter and its tiny proportions matter too, then sure why not. The capsule is a good sounding, quality product and I really cannot envisage any one being presented with a pair and being disappointed by them.