Sunday, 11 December 2016

1MORE Dual-Driver In-Ear Headphones (E0323) Review by mark2410

1MORE Dual-Driver In-Ear Headphones (E0323) Review by mark2410

Thanks to 1MORE UK for the review sample.

First Impressions:  This is the second things I’ve had from 1More and this is the next rung down from the Triple-Driver I had before.  It was nothing short of brilliance and was one of the stars of Canjam London this year, its quality to cost ratio had to be scaring a lot of makers out there.  So this, well it’s got some serious living up to do.  The box, well aside from being unable to slide off the band thing, so I had to rip it which I don’t like doing, then opening up the flap, is nice.  I had forgotten how nice a box 1MORE put together on the Triple.  This is a seriously impressive start. It isn’t quite as fancy as the Triple but come on. They really have the presentation thing down cold.  Hmm I’m not sure I’m wild about their colouring scheme though.  It would appear that the Triple, Dual and a single driver version all utilise the same housing and they are differentiated by the colour scheme.  The Triple had the black and gold thing, these are white and gold.  I’m not sure I love it, it’s a little bit feminine, bit girly looking.  Not that such things bother me, I’d wear a neon pink earphone covered in rhinestones if it sounded great still, this wouldn’t be my visual top choice.  Mind you there is something such about the cable.  The white with the tight cloth weave on it, there is something almost silvery about it.

In the ears and well, god damn it they are good.  I say damn it because the better things are the more time they take to review, the more things you need to listen to, to really grasp the most intricate of nuances and details.  These are going to certainly require my pulling out their big brothers and some A/B’ing but right now I can say with confidence.  These are sweary word good.  The anly real question is looks aside why would you pick these over their Triple driver siblings?

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:  Well the plain and simple fact of the matter is these are outstanding.  If I hadn’t played with the Triple’s previously I would be screaming form the roof tops as to just how superb these are.  They are stunningly good, the tuning on them is just fantastically good.  These are so good there really isn’t the words to quite say how well done these are.  They are so tuneful, so playful, so marvellous, so vigorous, so adeptly polite, so versatile!!!!!  Good god these are such fantastic generalists I think we can safely say the GR07 is no longer the king of the generalists for the price.  The things is though, while these are by any measure stunners, their siblings, the Triples, are just as good in the bass.  The may be technically over heavy but the way human hearing works they don’t sound especially so and the tonality, good god that chap they brought in to tune things knows his stuff.  Now for HeadFi it is a bit over heavy so purists may tur up their noses a bit, these are more bassy than they should be, they are no question.  However they are so well done.  They are just so well articulated that despite the boosting, even on very bass heavy tracks it’s near impeccably behaved. 

As faults go, there really is none to speak of.  A truly superb showing.

Mids:  Ahhh now here we just start to get a sliver of differentiation from the Triple, it’s not huge, it really is not at all huge.  Running them both out of my phone I can barely spot the difference at first.  More drivers does not always men better.  And the mids are just not so detailed and difficulty that you can focus in on something as spot the change.  The Duals are F*ing bloody good.  Bouncing from the fat blond girl to Barbara Streisand and they effortlessly change, in an instant, good god they can do anything you ask of them and do it stupidly well.  When you’re trying to find faults and trying to track skip, this is so distracting.  I keep hitting tracks that are so enjoyable that this is eating waaaay more time than I want it to.  They are just so bloody good.

Tonally they are practically perfect.  I could say that on occasion they can be a tiny sliver warmed, slightly buttery too.  So the most breathy vocals aren’t quite as breathy and dry as they could be but I’m looking for problems.  If you just listen you would never notice anything wrong.  They are near tonally perfect.  In quantity too they are a hair behind the slightly big bass but they are so unencumbered by the bass.  There are flawless, really they are just excellent.  Anything that came on them was just food for the soul and I find I’m adoring them in a way that’s crazy for 80 quid.

Highs:  Ah ha!! I’ve found where they differentiate form the Triple.  Okay now its not a big change, seriously its soooo not a big change but if you keep your ear pealed and listen from a good source, and with a wall mastered trebly track and playing at good bit rates you can tell.  Yes you can tell that these don’t do quite as well as the Triple.  However they are as close as near damn it to be almost inseparable.  The Triple is just that fraction more noticeable and more detailed.  It can resolve that tiny bit more detail but when running off my phone I really don’t feel like I would notice in use.  These are superb, outstandingly excellent audio quality.  They do like to have a bit more power than the Triples though, when amped well they are super close but on the Lumia which is brighter than the Nexus 5 you can see more a opening between them.  The little BA driver in them is working its little socks off and the two of them in the Triple have an accordingly easier time of it.  Still, its freakishly good performance. 

In terms of quantity they are very near the bass / mid line, just a hair behind the bass and matching the mids.  They are though not the most edgy treble for a BA.  So they aren’t as instantly in your face with details in the way some BA’s like to do as to bump up the perceptibility of the detail retrieval.  Still they quality if you listen to them driven well is so good.  Big name venders should be looking at 1MORE and be worried.

Soundstage:  Good.  A nicely sized room, power and scale they can do with ease.  Distance not quite so well and they aren’t super with the forward and back distance.  Instrument separation though is really quite good, and at the same time is pretty well integrated.  There is little to fault them on.

Fit:  Great.  I could wear them up or down as I felt like with no bother at all.  I mostly wore up and with the foam tips on it was great.  In they went and that was it, job done.

Comfort:  Excellent.  While I’m not wild about their size and shape once they were in my ears I never noticed them.  They aren’t the most deep sitting so for IEM’s there are a little shallow but I only find that an issue if you wear down.  Wearing down I feel like things are going to get pulled out of my ears, up I never have that issue.

Microphonics:  Well there is no chin slider so if you wear them down, you do a bit.  The cable is pretty good though.  Now wearing up which can look a bit off with their shape but it removed the issue.  Seems odd that they would miss out on a chin slider given the attention to detail they otherwise have.

Aesthetics:   Hmmm.  Yeah I’m not wild oubt the shape of the things but that isn’t really the issue.  The thing is, these are white and an almost rose gold colour.  Now I’d happily wear hot pink earphones if they sound great (which these do) so I don’t really care, much.  Still, come on, these look super girly.  I mean yeah, but no, no that colour I just can’t see many males going for it. 

Build Quality:  Well like pretty much everything about them, I can’t fault anything.  They are metal buds, the Y splitter and jack are metal, the cable is a cloth weave thing, it’s all visually impeccable.  There really isn’t anything that I can question in their build, they are flawless little buggers.

Cable:  Visually it’s super pretty but it’s a tiny bit kinky.  It’s not so kinky that it’s a problem but once or twice when unravelling I’ve seen a kink or two and had to stop to unravel the cable properly.  Can you tell I’m reaching for complaints?

Isolation:  So so.  They are not bad or anything and with their being hybrids they aren’t usually bad or anything for things with a dynamic in them. They are about whit is typical but then you add that up with their sitting relatively shallow.  They are fine for most uses, out and about, on a bus.  Even the odd flight or Tube trip you’d survive.  Naturally what you may not survive is crossing roads if you fail to use your eyes properly, you won’t hear traffic.

Accessories:  So mostly good, okay mostly good but I’m not super totally pleased.  You see, they have a nice case that’s usable, some silicone tips, a nice shirt clip and an aircraft adapter.  Yet no foamy tips, seriously stuff the aircraft adapter and shirt clip if needs be.  Not that the silicone tips where bad or anything but with such a lovely packaging it surprised me there wasn’t a pair.

Phone Use:  The buttons worked fine and I was told that I was clear on the other end.  That was with me wearing them up too sat hi mic up nearer my ear so that’s good.

Amped/Unamped:  Ahh just like their siblings, the Triple, these you do want to amp if you can.  There is no question they respond very well to having power thrown at them.  That little BA doing the mids and treble by itself needs that power even more than the Triple does.  Okay, okay, so they don’t exactly “need” to be amped but they are of a quality level where you see the natural benefits from it but that the drivers in them are capable.  They need given power to really perform at their best and when you go from a well amped source to your phone, well they just have a spark of life sucked out of them.  They will perform well and beat most things at their price but I know there is more in them.  Like a layer of mist having creeped in and hiding things from me.  They want power, they want a lot of it and they are good enough to really reward you if you use a proper output for them.  By proper I mean not your phone.  Your phone will make them sound good but not all they can be.

Value:  Well if I’d never heard the Triple id be saying woooooo shut up and take my money!!!  The trouble is I have the Triples here and while there may not be a vast gulf in their performances, there isn’t a vast gulf in their price either.  I mean if your budget is ultra-strict these are great value, absolutely no question of that, you more than get your money’s worth.  But…… I just don’t know when I might ever say, save the 20 quid difference and get the Dual over the Triple.  Unless you really want their white and gold colouring I just can’t see me ever saying get these to anyone.  The Triple is soooooo near, just 20 quid more and while many may barely notice the improvements the Triple offers over the excellent Dual’s it still makes me pause.  Yes the Dual’s are on their own merits excellent audio quality for you money, they really are. (But buy the Triple instead.)

Conclusion:  Well these are little stunners, they absolutely are stunning, no question about that.  However…… if I had played with these before the Triple I could more or less leave that statement on its own but I have played with the Triple.  The fact is while they are acoustically very similar (both stunning) that I would 99.9 times out a hundred always say get the Triple instead.  Unless that 20 quid difference is crucial to you then just trust me and take the Triple.  If you don’t you’ll always wish you had even if you couldn’t tell them apart acoustically.  The only reason I can realistically ever see taking the Dual’s is because you love their colouring.  That’s it, while they sonically stunning the only reason to buy them is because you think they are more pretty.

In terms of negatives, well there isn’t any per say.  If we forget the Triples for a moment, there is nothing that the Duals aren’t superb at, except maybe isolation.  They aren’t the most high isolating things ever but they would easy do most people for most uses.  There really isn’t any down side.  Well they look rather girly if that counts.  That really is about as bad as I can find to say about them, they look girly and an all BA thing can isolate better.  It’s hardly a damning list is it?

So would I / should you buy one?  Me? If the triples dint exist, yes in a heartbeat.  You?  Well if you’re a girl and you think these look more pretty than the Triple then sure, absolutely and you will utterly adore them to bit.  Otherwise, I’m always going to say take the tiny bit more wallet pain and get the triples.  While they may be cracking things on their own it’s impossible to view them out of context from the Triple and the Triple just pips them sonically.  A stunningly and mightily significant dual driver hybrid from 1More that will likely and undeservingly fall into obscurity, ever so faintly outshone by its superior sibling.

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