One of my favourite albums is Marillion’s “Misplaced Childhood”. I wore out the cassette tape (remember them?) listening to it and I knew the album inside out. When I first listened to it on CD I noticed things I hadn’t heard before, particularly the singers wail as the guitar solo started, so I had to go back and listen to the tape again to see if it was there which, of course, it was.
Since upgrading from my trusty Sennheiser CX400’s to the Apple In-Ear’s I’ve heard things that I’ve never noticed before. The faint echo of Imogen Heap’s voice in “Hide and Seek”. The tail of the vocal delay in Def Leppard’s “All I Want is Everything”. It’s weird, but in a good way. They’re bringing out details that seemed buried before.
Once you get them seated in your ears – this is a bit tricky at first – they have a nicely neutral sound to them, with perhaps a touch of emphasis on the vocal range of frequencies. Compared to the Sennheisers they sound slightly bass shy, but it’s actually all there and extends a little deeper. Everything I listened to sounded just as it should have. Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall” sounded punchy and clear, with all the elements of the production clearly audible and crisp sounding. Hybrid’s “Disappear Here” sounded epic, the vocals spine tingling. I do feel you have to drive them a little to get the best out of them though.
Outside noise attenuation is excellent and, once the headphones are snuggly fitted in your ears, they cut down the sound of the outside world very well indeed. This makes them perfect for travellers.
The headphones come in a small triangular case which serves as a very neat little storage solution, although it can be a little fiddly to wind them on. The cable is pretty much identical to the headphones that come with the iPod, with the addition of the little remote module on the right hand ear piece. The remote is very useful, providing play/pause, volume and track skip functions all with three buttons. The centre button handles play/pause and track skip (2 clicks for next, 3 for previous) and works with recent iPods, and the iPhone 3GS and 4. It works with earlier iPhones with the exception of the volume control.
The headphones come with two additional sets of different sized silicone ear pieces, in a cute little pill shaped case, so they should fit most ears pretty easily. The mediums that come fitted work perfectly for me. They also come with a spare set of filters, which can be unscrewed from the headphones themselves for cleaning. They are tiny though so you’d have to be careful not to lose them! On the whole they seem very well thought out.
Overall I’m very pleased with these headphones. Definitely recommended if you like your iPod/iPhone audio accurate and detailed. They are very reasonably priced for what you get.