Tuesday, October 23, 2012

[REVIEW] Sony MH1 – The Best Kept Secret

Right when MH1 ‘LiveSound’ was first announced over a year ago by Sony Ericsson (*now ‘Sony Mobile’, after Ericsson sold its share of the company to Sony early this year), I wasn’t really paying much attention to it – Why wouldn’t I, or any audiophiles in that matter? After all, it is just a “headset” by the company’s smartphone division in Eupore, not from the famed headphone team in their Japan HQ. The bias kicked in and soon I have forgotten all about it. Fast forward to a couple of months ago, I was offered a chance to review the recently released Sony Bluetooth headset for Android, the MW1 ‘Smart Wireless Headset pro’, and find myself very impressed by the sound quality of - not only the BT unit itself, but also the IEM it bundled with. It turns out to be the shorten version of MH1 adapted for the BT headset. I immediately know it is an IEM that deserved to be reviewed as a standalone product before I can review the MW1. It will help to complete the story of MW1, and really give credit to the EU team that developed the excellent sounding headset.


Sony Ericsson MH1 in bulk packaging from DX.

Spec
Driver: Closed 5.8mm dynamic transducer
Nominal Impedance: 15Ω
Frequency response: 1Hz-20kHz
Max input power: 67mW
Bass sensitivity: 125dB/V @ 40Hz
Mids sensitivity: 115dB/V @ 1kHz
For Android smartphone:
Music controls: play,pause, next/previous track
Volume control: up/down



Accessories and Build Quality
Normally I’ll start by talking about the packaging in this section of the review, but since I didn’t receive the full retail packaging, I thought we will skip that part. Accessories wise, you will get a shirt clip and 4 pairs of silicone single flange eartips (S, 2xM, L).

The IEM comes with 4mm wide flat cable in asymmetrical length (J-cord), and the Y-splitter is made in such way that cable must be looped behind the neck. While the cable itself is indeed durable and tangle-free as advertised, it is also a bit cumbersome and microphonics – good thing that the shirt clip helps to manage the issue to an acceptable level, but they are not completely gone. It would have been much better if it uses the smaller and oval flat cable found on Sony’s own XBA series of IEM. The cable is basically the only real complaint I have against the MH1, otherwise I would have been absolutely happy with it.



The included eartips are an improved version of Sony’s own Hybrid style silicone eartips that first appeared on EX700 and still used on the latest XBA series. The bore is just a tiny bit wider which results in lesser hinder on sound transmission while the flange has been extended for a more secured fit. Like the original Hybrid, these should have been sold separately as accessories as well, but unfortunately they are not.

Just 3 inches (or 75mm) underneath the left earpiece is the remote and mic. It has volume control as well as play/pause button (or to receive and hang up call) that should work with most of the current Android smartphone and tablet (*see next section for more detail). There is also an extra ‘smart’ button for assigning extra function, but unfortunately it only works with Sony own Xperia series of smartphone.


MH1 LiveSound (top) and MH1C Smart Headset (bottom)

Variation and Confusion
Bear with me here in this section as it is quite important if you are interested in getting a MH1. Let’s begin by explaining two standards used in making the 3.5mm TRRS plug on headset – OMTP and CTIA (both are organizations for mobile standards). For OMTP, the TRRS plug is wired as [Left-Right-Mic-Ground] (from tip-to-sleeve); for CTIA, the TRRS is wired as [Left-Right-Ground-Mic]. Since OMTP was initially endorsed by Ericsson (and Nokia, which still uses the OMTP standard), all of their cellphone, including those under the Sony Ericsson branding, uses this standard. It also got adopted by a few other cellphone manufacturers as standard before mid 2011, such as LG, Motorola, Sony and Samsung. In mid 2010, the OMTP organization transitioned itself into another organization (the WAC, if you are interest to know), and the OMTP standard for headset was subsequently being phased out by most manufacturers within the following year (* it takes time to sell off old models) in favor of the CTIA standard. Part of the big reason for adapting the CTIA standard might be due to the fact that it is the standard used by Apple on their iDevice, which represent a big share of the headset market. Standardization demands from political groups (i.e. the EU) also played a role to push for one headset standard that will work on both Android and iOS, as well as most dumbphones (except for Nokia, which doesn’t like to play with other for now).

Now that we have learned about the two standards, let talks more specifically in MH1. When MH1 was first announced, it was named ‘LiveSound’ under the Sony Ericsson brand and complied with the old OMTP standard. But when Sony bought out Ericssion’s share of the company and began to introduce their own Sony Xperia brand of Android smarphone, they start to adapt the CTIA standard on all their headsets. The new MH1 (*referred as MH1C, ’C’ is short for ‘CTIA’ presumably) is then renamed as ‘Smart Headset’ to differentiate itself from the old ‘LiveSound’ version. It was supposed to be a fairly easy and clean transition, but unfortunately it isn’t. Some of the new MH1(C) with CTIA wiring is still being sold on various part of the world under the ‘LiveSound’ moniker while other parts of the world already use the new ‘Smart Headset’ moniker. One thing for sure, if you see a MH1 with an old Sony Ericsson logo on the side, it is the OMTP version and not compatible to the newer Android smartphone. If it only has Sony logo stamped on the side, and being referred as ‘smart headset’ or with model name MH1C, then likely it is the new CTIA version. However, the only sure-fire way is to check with the seller for compatibility. In the event that you have acquired the wrong version for your cellphone, don’t despair – an inexpensive TRRS smart adapter will allow OTMP headset to work on a CTIA cellphone (and vice versa). This is by far one of the smallest I have found, and has pretty good build quality: here.


MH1 and MH1C is close to identical on the outside.

Last few notes on this topic: (1) CTIA plug is compatible to almost all typical 3.5mm TRS socket, meaning you should be able to use the headset as typical IEM on any mp3 player (i.e. iPod, Cowon, Sansa Clip, etc). OMTP plug on the other is not compatible to most 3.5mm TRS socket and only sound normal with the TRRS smart adapter mentioned before or when you pressed the call button on the remote. (2) Given Apple iDevice also use the CTIA standard, you can use the MH1C on any iDevices as well, but the volume control and smart button won’t work. Only the call button is functional. [UPDATE 30th Oct. 2012] I just got my Nano 7G and can confirm the mic won't work on it. Given I have tested the mic on my Nano 4G and it works, the current conclusion is - MH1 will likely work only on older iDevices but not the latest generation. Apple must have changed something along the way...[UPDATE again] As I was playing around all the different headset I have to figure out just which headset works with Nano 7G (and possibly iPhone 5) and which isn't, I stumble upon a solution to let MH1's mic and call button to work with Nano 7G and it is quite simple - it seems what Apple has done in the recent generation of iDevice is they have changed the resistance inside the remote that needs to trigger the mic and call button function, thus making some headset work while other won't. So how do we trigger the mic and call button function on MH1 (and likely on other headset that current don't work with the latest iDevice)? Easy, just press either Volume+ or Volume- button when you plug the headset in and release it when plugged in. The volume control still won't work, but it will give you the ability to answer call and play/pause music (single press), skip to next song (double press), back to previous song (triple press), voice over (long hold) and voice memo recording.

Just for fun, I ordered a pair of MH1C from DealExtreme and see if it is legitimate or not (*I also have the real MH1C sample directly from Sony). It turns out to be the real deal and it is the newer CTIA version as well. From the lack of packaging however, I’ll say they were probably taken from a full retail Xperia smartphone package (*some of the higher end Xperia smartphone come with MH1 as stock) and sold as a standalone product. Still, given I only paid less than $30 for a pair (retail is around $80), I’ll say it is well worth it. However, do note that even though I have received a real MH1C, it doesn’t mean you will too. Similarly, you can find a lot of ‘bulk’ deal of MH1 / MH1C on eBay, which may or may not be the real stuff. So buy it at your own risk.

Sound Quality
The IEM was given over 50 hours of burn-in before the review. At first, the bass can be a bit boomy while the presentation is more upfront than it should. In time, bass will settle down and the sense of space will improve. I do recommend a minimum 50 hours of burn-in (100 hours if you can) with MH1, but it is not mandatory. The IEM will sound good out-of-the-box - burn-in just tightens up the overall presentation and resolution.

The overall sound signature of MH1 is warm and sweet, while well balanced in all frequencies. Bass extends down to 10Hz and hits with really good quantity and quality. Not the fastest or biggest impact around, but nothing to be ashamed of even among bass monster. Mid is sweet and right in the butter zone to give the right balance of intimacy and texture while still maintains a good sense of layer and space. Treble extends up to the very top, but it is more about smoothness than it is brightness. While analytical listeners might not find the sparkle or crispiness to be enough for their taste, it still however compliments the mid and bass impeccably and doesn’t feel lacking in anyway. Soundstage is rather good. By no mean the best of the best or endlessly large, it does portrait width and depth in a very 3D, well layered and resolving manner within its own confine.

What I have noticed as I listened to MH1 during the course of evaluation is that this is an IEM that truly has bare minimum weakness in overall tuning. In fact, it excels in almost any genre I can throw at it – Pop, Alternative Rock, Vocal, Folk, Country, and even Classical – just name it. Granted it might not be the best at every genre, I will say it has some of the most consistent performance across the board… Okay, may be Electronic can use a bit more sparkles, but that’s about it - and it is not to say Electronic isn’t enjoyable on MH1 at all.


MH1 LiveSound (left) and MH1C Smart Headset (right)

Verdict
As I have mentioned before, the only complain I have with MH1 is its cable. I just wish that it was less awkward, which would have made the IEM a smashing success. Beyond that, it is a fully capable IEM that can actually compete easily with IEM that cost 3 times its original price, right at the edge of top-tier category. Even Sony’s own XBA-4 is not that far ahead of MH1. If you are like me, please put aside your bias against headset and give this a try. If you can get a real MH1 with those $30 bulk deals, it would be an absolute steal – much like the craze over ADDIEM (Apple dual driver IEM) a few years ago, except this is much better sounding and an even bigger bang for the bucks. I’ll wholeheartedly recommend it with a Sonic Diamond [4.95 / 5].

*A big thanks to Sony Mobile for the MH1C sample.

Check out The List for numeric rating.

146 comments:

Anonymous said...

So this for $28 is absolute steal! My best deal ever is some ie80 for $47 from taobao. It turned out identical sq and build to my 100% genuine ie8. What an deal- and they are going strong for half year at least.

Anonymous said...

Price on ebay is only $22 with free ship and i doubt that making mobile phone earphone fakes is profitable.

Anonymous said...

Just to let everyone know...Brainwavz R1 dual driver is overrated! Both the tweeter and woofer distort near higher volumes. Its not junk, just not for all music types...especially not for rap and hip hop. Major fail!!

Zaini said...

any idea where to get this locally Tai?

Tai / ClieOS said...

The problem (or should I say 'lucky for us') is Sony includes this in for the higher end Xperia phone, so people just take it out and sell it on the cheap.

@Zaini, If by local you mean Malaysia, you should try Sony Style. It will be on MSRP though. If you want it cheap, you'll have to take the risk on eBay.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this review! I own Xperia P for a two months, and it's a really good phone in terms of music experience, so I was thinking what decent headset I should buy.
I was considering SM E10, Meelectronics CC51P, NuForce and others, but now that I know that Sony Xperia Smart Headset are great, i will definitely buy them!

One thing though. I assume you are familiar with Jays. I'm not really a fan of flat cord, because it makes IEMs feel heavy in the ears, you feel like they are about to fall out of the ear canals. However, Smart Headset has a asymetrical cord, so I assume this is not the case here?

Tai / ClieOS said...

Yes, I did review a-JAYS quite some time ago and can understand your concern. MH1 flat cable isn't quite as bad as the a-JAYS. Asymmetrical design does help a bit, but I think you will probably find the shirt clip helpful in keeping it in place as well as cutting off microphonics. Overall, a better experience than a-JAYS for sure.

Anonymous said...

That's great, really. Than I guess I will be getting those in bulk version tomorrow in one of GSM accesories butiques, there's plenty of them in my neighbourhood. This way I can at least hope to get real ones taken out of the box with the phone.
Looking forward to enjoy these, once again thanks!

Oh, btw, maybe next time you write a headset review you can shed some light on whether the mic works well, if you are audible "on the other side" etc?

Tai / ClieOS said...

The way I look at it, it is 'an good IEM that happens to be a headset' more than 'a good headset that happens to be an IEM' :p

Ok, confession: I used it straight out of a Sansa Fuze more often than I have with my smartphone, so I am not terribly concern about the mic's quality. As long as it works, it would be fine by me (very low standard here).

Anonymous said...

Very interesting, was planning to buy the FXD80, but going to try this out first. Just placed an order on ebay.

Anonymous said...

Hello
How does female vocal sound on these?

Tai / ClieOS said...

Vocal is quite good, but this isn't a mid centric sounding IEM nor is the vocal very forward. If you like your female vocal is a little on the bright side, this isn't it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you.I see.I'm looking forward for your XP series review(especially XP3).I keep hearing that female vocal quite good on XP2 and XP3

Anonymous said...

After reading your review last night, I quickly jumped onto Yahoo Auction Hong Kong and got myself a bulk version at ~US$17. Completed the trade in person at a subway station at noon today. Hoping I did not get a fake. Sounding ok so far.

Kochaye.Kharabat said...

I hope you can test phillips SHE9900, they are on sale and they sound great for their current selling price.

Anonymous said...

Men, I did buy them, as I yesterday said I would. They are amazing, and I say that even without burn-in. Obviously I don't have your experience with higher tier products, but f.e. when you say that the soundstage is good, I think it's awesome ;)

What I actually find annoying are not the cords, but eartips. (well, the cord noise is an issue, but otherwise they are quite comfortable IMO, definitely much better than jays). There is this strange sensation of them sucking air in your ears, hell, I'm not sure how to describe it. It happens when you try to put them deeper into ear canals. Seems like they are supposed to be worn not so deep, however, the isolation might be compromised. I will test them outdoor later, indoors it's fine.

Tai / ClieOS said...

Phillips is kind of hard to find locally (well, except for the really low end one).

If you feel over-pressured in the ear when inserting an IEM, or sucking when removing, it could mean the seal is too tight. Try the smaller eartips. If that doesn't help, try this: http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/epinsertvideo.aspx

Anonymous said...

how did you find them on DX? i searched ´sony mh1´and no results

Tai / ClieOS said...

They are not listed properly so you can't find them by searching 'Sony MH1'. Try 'Sony LT28i' instead.

Anonymous said...

thanks, that worked, but they´re cheaper on ebay. the white ones are also original ones, right?

Anonymous said...

how would they compare to the M5?

Anonymous said...

I for one also like to hear Brainwavz M5 comparison.Looks like M5 have much more sparkle and cpispiness

Tai / ClieOS said...

I'll assume the white version is real as well.

AS far as M5 goes -
Do I think M5 has more sparkle? Yes.
Do I think M5 is overall better? No, M5 is still a step below MH1.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tai,

Thanks for thet ip and great work with all you reviews! I never liked silicones, which comply foam would you recommend on this? Thanks.

Tai / ClieOS said...

Comply T200 seems to be fine with the MH1, T140 (Whoomp! for Apple dual driver) can be used as well, but you will need to push it in with a bit of force.

Anonymous said...

sorry to be impatient... but how is the mw1? does it pair with the MH1 better than the Fuze or ipod? How about with other phones/iems?

Great find, btw!

Tai / ClieOS said...

MW1 review will be out either by Sunday or Monday.

Devirdaim said...

Tai I need your opinion. I was looking for the best extension and micro details, so Re0 was at the top of my list. Since I have read your Mh1 review, I ordered a pair from ebay. I know these 2 are from different sound category, but can you help me to realize, if I loose too much treble volume while listening mh1

Tai / ClieOS said...

So you are looking for really extended treble? If that's the case, MH1 isn't what you are looking for. Your original choice of RE0 might be more fitting. However, you should be the judge as to whether MH1 has enough micro-detail to your liking.

Anonymous said...

Tai, you once said that Audio technica earphones are good for J-Rock and J-Pop. well, you were right!

do you think Sony, JVC and other jap companies are good for that music too?
(yes, i´m considering these MH1 and FXD...)

Tai / ClieOS said...

FXD80 should be pretty good with J-pop, and so should JXT90 as well. I would consider the top-end EX series to be good with J-music in general, but not so much with MH1. Though I will say MH1 is generally good at most genre, it is developed by a Sony Mobile European team, and so it is not tuned with J-music in mind.

Jack said...

I have just ordered this from ebay for USD27(inclusive of expedited shipping to singapore).
Hopefully the MH1c I receive is genuine and real.
I wonder how this will compare to my Gr07 :)

Alvin J. said...

They are $19 on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-Livesound-Headphones-Earphones-Head-sets/dp/B008CCSD7K

Legit?

Tai / ClieOS said...

It is Amazon so it must be real.

Techno Kid said...

For $25 shipped on Amazon I'm thinking about getting a pair even though I really don't need them. Hows the bass on them, would you say around the same ballpark as the EPH-100?

Anonymous said...

will the MH750 work when plugged to a regular mp3 player like the MH1C?

Tai / ClieOS said...

Yes, I'll say MH1 is right in the same ballpark as EPH-100.

The current generation of MH750 should work with mp3 player. Not sure about the previous generation and have no way to tell them apart from the outside.

Devirdaim said...

I wish I could read from you about other MH series iem's. My latest concern is, if MH650 sounds way better than MH750 or they are just about same.

Tai / ClieOS said...

My venture through the MH series will stop at MH750 for now. No further planning to review the other MH headset since I have other IEM to attend to.

Anonymous said...

how does this compare to the TDK EB950? I find the TDK hard to get in malaysia.

PradeepVizz said...

my brother just pointed out this and i had just ordered the TDK EB 950 last week, curious how it compares to this. thanks

Anonymous said...

the only difference I know is the EB950 controls works on the iphone while the MH1c works for the sony experia phones only.

Tai / ClieOS said...

Please read back the review on which version of MH1 might work with iDevice. It is not as simple as 'work / doesn't work'.

Anyway, MH1 is a minor step up from EB950.

Techno Kid said...

I knew these were going to sound good but they're quite a bit better than I was expecting. They're balanced with crisp yet not harsh highs, very nice and detailed mids and a spacious cohesive soundstage, very nice find my friend. I could easily see these selling for $150 or $200 just based on the SQ.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tai, how would you compare the MH1 to FXD80 and FXT90?

Tai / ClieOS said...

They are more or less in the same level of SQ with different pros and cons. JVC presentation focuses more on upper vocal but still has good extension on both ends. FXT90 has the best soundstage and separation but suffered from an edgy female vocal. FXD80 is the scaled back version of FXT90, but it doesn't have the same edgy issue. MH1 has the best balanced and smoothest of FR among the three but might not be the best choice if you are really into a bright sound.

PradeepVizz said...

@clieos, thanks for the comparison info :)

Anonymous said...

clieos, does the mh1 have more detail , and less boomy bass , compared to the brainwavz M5?

Tai / ClieOS said...

No, I won't say so. MH1 still has quite a lot of bass and definitely not as bright and detail orientated as M5.

rachmawati ida said...

dear clie, what i should choosed beetwen ath ckm500 and sony mh1c..i prefer iem with wide soundstage,more bass and detailed treble..mid? not my emphasis choice..thanks for your advice.

Tai / ClieOS said...

Actually I haven't listened to CKM500 before, but your preference doesn't seem to fit into MH1C sound signature. What you want is a U-shaped FR curve (or 'balanced' sound signature as I call it). Fischer Audio Consonance or Brainwavz M4 might be more suitable for you.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Thanks for the review.

I'm curious to know how these fare against other value earphones. It's just that there are SOOO many earphones these days labeled as more or less "the best thing since sliced bread", it becomes more difficult to pick.

Would you be able to put these in order? Philips SHE3580/3590/3575, Vsonic GR06, Soundmagic PL11, Superlux HD381F, MEElec M9 or M6, Sennheiser CX-300 II, and the Etymotics ER6i. I know I'm asking for a lot (particularly the old ER6i, which is my measuring stick per se), but if I could just get a simple comparison with just any two of these, I would greatly appreciate it.

Are these REALLY that special for the price?

Many thanks!

Tai / ClieOS said...

You question has been largely covered here: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/541204/
(except for those IEM that I haven't heard before)

Anyway, as far as sliced bread is concerned - you actually do need to like sliced bread first, then whatever is 'better' than it will make sense to you. If you hate sliced bread, then you can throw everything out of the window!

What I am trying to say is, an IEM is only going to be good if you like its particular sound signature first. Randomly picking one IEM doesn't really help you find the sound you prefer. If you like ER6i, then you will like prefer an analytical sound, and thus MH1 will not likely to be something you will enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the prompt reply. All those IEMs I've mentioned are actually the ones I like. I only threw in the ER6i because it was the most... "technically impeccable" IEM I've ever heard. I'm not saying I'm exclusive to analytical sounding IEMs, but I've just put it as a reference point as it's the most detailed I've heard. Certainly not the most fun, but it's unbelievably detailed imo. I like every one of the IEMs I mentioned, but I was just curious how much better the MH-1C could be. It's just that most earphone reviews tend to exaggerate to a great degree, no offense intended.

Anyway, I appreciate the giant IEM comparison guide. Seems like the MH-1C is atop your value list. I'll be getting one soon.

Cheers.

P.S. Aside from the ER6i, the Vsonic GR06 is my fave.

jugate said...

THERE is BOOMY (or solid bass) WARM bass like panasonic 350/355 or Eterna v1?


thanks a lot!

jugate said...

in other words, is better that eterna in some ways?

Tai / ClieOS said...

Yes. Less fun, but overall more technically balanced.

jugate said...

thanks a lot!

Anonymous said...

Just bought an MH1C from a local dealer and listened to it after burning it in overnight(though i intend to burn it in the recommended 100 hrs) and I have to say that it's smashing! One thing though, I've seen in some pictures that the filter mesh is transparent surrounded by a darker circumference while the filters on mine look somewhat white and look cottonish? Did I get an original or are my worst fears realized?

Tai / ClieOS said...

You'll be fine. The one you have is the newer filter material that is meant to be more moisture resistant.

Unknown said...

Hi Tai..

i hate flat cable, Can I re-cable using
MEElectronics M9 cable? Inspired your mod RE0

Tai / ClieOS said...

I have seen picture of recabled MH1, so it is possible. I don't see why MEElec cable won't work.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for responding again Tai, may your reviews multiply! ;)

DigiKunt said...

Got the MH1a with the smart wireless headset
they sound dreadful, flat as a pancake. They're quiet too and they seriously hurt my ears. They fall out of my ears. Cable is joke, any movement & its transfers to ears. My old el cheapo EX76LP sound much better!

DoubleDozer said...

Hi CliOS,
you said Comply T200 "seem" to be fine ...
any safe confirmation meanwhile?
I think/hope Complies are the only solution for me (mic-side always fell off immediately)

thx

Tai / ClieOS said...

T200 is the one that fits most secure among all the Comply I have tried.

DoubleDozer said...

thanks 4 info ...& merry christmas ;)

Macne said...

I'm torn between these and the brainwavz m4s. which one should i get if you do not consider the price difference?

Tai / ClieOS said...

Both have big bass, but MH1 is warmer in the mid and smoother at the treble while M4 is sparkly on the treble and recessed on the mid. Well, pick your own poison.

Macne said...

thank you for your insight :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Clieos.
Does it sound overall better than Yuin PK2 ?

Tai / ClieOS said...

Don't own a PK2 so I can't compare.

Anonymous said...

Just to double check...Is this the correct one? http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sony-Headset-SmartKey-Control-XPERIA/dp/B008OG16EQ/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&m=AVCPN5MMMVONL&qid=1356632916&s=generic&sr=1-5

Tai / ClieOS said...

Yes, that looks to be the MH-1C.

Unknown said...

Hi tai,

how you managed to "break" re0 for recabling?
I can't separate my m4 and sony mh1c for this..



Tai / ClieOS said...

Most IEM housing are glued together. You just need to find the right place to pry them open.

Anonymous said...

Very impressed with your review.. I stay in India. Can you please tell me where can I get this with less shipping charges

Tai / ClieOS said...

You'll be best to look for local store first. Otherwise, eBay's offer might come with free shipping for around $35.

Unknown said...

Thanks for help Tai

http://img267.imageshack.us/img267/5115/dsc02380i.jpg

M4 recabled, next now mh1c

PradeepVizz said...

Managed to get this just this week.. was having the TDK EB950 & BA 200. I kind of like the sound of MH1C as it sounds little different than the TDK's.

The only thing i was not comfortable were the eartips, reading through the comments i got my answer as T200

Unknown said...

t100 or t400 works on Mh1c?

Tai / ClieOS said...

The answer can be found on previous comment.

OneBitWonder said...

Thanks for the review! I recently got the MH1C (Smart version) and while it sounds exceptionally great for the money, I found an annoying issue when using it with my iPod nano 4G.

When the strain relief at the headphone jack gets bend, the player will spontaneously play/pause/skip tracks as if I were pushing buttons on the remote (hold switch doesn't seem to affect this behaviour).

This happens a lot in situations where the cable is constantly moving like when I'm walking with the iPod in my pocket. Makes it nearly impossible to use these IEMs during my commute.

Anyone notice something similar?

Tai / ClieOS said...

I have a Nano 4G as well but no problem at all. It is likely the headphone socket of your Nano is getting loose (which is a common problem) and the connection get shorted every time the plug is moved, which is similar to what happened when you use an iPod remote and so your Nano 'thought' you want to skip / pause songs.

OneBitWonder said...

Tai, thanks for the reply!

That might be an explanation. However, I'm unable to reproduce this issue with any of my other IEMs (one also with L-shaped jack), nor my other headset. It happens only with the MH1C on the Nano. Oddly enough it does not seem to happen on my iPad mini.

Are you using an MH1 with adaptor or the MH1C?

Maybe I'll try recabling it like some of the other commenters. Anyone had any success, yet?

Tai / ClieOS said...

I have tried both MH1 w/ adapter and MH1C without any problem.

There are a few example of MH1C recabling on Head-fi if you search around.

Nick H said...

Thank you very much for the heads up on these. I took a roll of the dice on eBay, and got a MH1c for $40 shipped. Even before burning in, I'm loving 'em. The photo of the handset wasn't the best, and didn't show the logo so I was a little nervous, and adding to that the seller indicated it might take up to a month for them to show.
But a week later, here they are and with the more recent configuration with just the Sony logo on the ends.
J.Garcia's 'The Pizza Tape' sounds amazing, to me, even prior to burning in it compares favorably to Hippo VB, Fischer Silver Bullet and Xears XR120Pro III. White Zombie's 'Electric Head, Pt. 1...' cranked up does have a bit of boominess mentioned above, but not terrible. Looking forward to hearing it after letting it burn in.

Anonymous said...

I bought a pair off ebay and after a month the mic stopped working. Any idea on how/if I can get them serviced/replaced?

Tai / ClieOS said...

Your best option is to contact the seller and see if (s)he can help you for a warranty claim.

micheal schnitman designer/inventor/musician said...

must say. i bought these (15$) after reading your review, love them . amazing performance for price.
one thing i just could not do with is the flat cable.

-cable is heavy for these small earplugs.
-not symetric cables RIGHT/LEFT cause more pull on one side.
-the flat cable is very audible , any touch or move on it makes strong "thump" noise heard in ear.
-flat cable also makes positioning earplugs very hard. they fall very often. a lot head turning , sports etc.... are not possible.
- the Remote heavy , and not visible for button pushing and is so far up that every touch on it would pull earphone out of ear.

so i modded my MH1 : )

opened the MH1 cable, took an old sony earphone cable and soldered it
link: http://oi49.tinypic.com/2r6cxv5.jpg ( or see my profile picture )
now they are super light and super fun and stay in my ear no matter what..

just ordered another pair and gonna mod them into a cast fit to my ears !

hzant6681 said...

Hi ClieOS,

A million thanks or rather i must say i can't thank you enough for this review. I bought these for a cheap throwaway price of Rs.1000( Indian Rupee) that's approx $18. They sound so beautiful already without your burn-in recommendation.Having listened to The Re-Zero & DBA-02's regularly for over a year, I can now understand, what you mean when you say these are very good musical IEMs. These are so smooth & enjoyable and the feeling i get is very different from my analytical IEMs, which always used to make me concentrate & appreciate the details in a particular track. With Mh-1 the same track sounds good without my attention its a new experience for me. There is enough micro details in highs to satisfy me yet they are smooth & extended, smooth & detailed midrange ,good soundstage. These are very similar to Re-262, i think the difference is not huge, except for the slighty boomy bass.Hope the bass tones down as i use them. Thank you! ClieOS for introducing me to such a lovely sounding IEM for such insanely low cost .Also I thank you for giving me advice & suggestions on IEMs whenever i needed. I probably wouldn't have embarked or experienced such a wonderful journey of auditory pleasure, if not for good people like you,ljoker & esanthosh.:-)

hzant6681 said...

Hi CLieOS,

One more advice from you, Assuming Eterna V1 is same as the original Eterna. How does MH1 compare to Eterna? Is it better sounding overall? Does it make sense buying the Eterna, now that i have the MH1. Thank you.

Tai / ClieOS said...

I have mentioned this before - Eterna has a special way of presenting the music that makes it really fun and enjoyable. But technically it isn't a particularly strong IEM. Unless you are looking specifically into that kind of sound, I'll generally will MH1 before Eterna.

hzant6681 said...

Sorry i didn't go through the all the posts but thanks for mentioning it again. thank you clieOS.

Luger said...

Took a chance on an original Ericson with the OMTP wiring (very hard to get non-Hong Kong MH1C right now), knowing I could buy an adapter if I needed. Was ready to order an adapter - my flacified Sansa's wouldn't work properly if the plug was put all the way in. Then, I plugged into my usual FiO E6 - Yes! Yes! Yes! I love my RE0 except for the thinnish bass. This is truly warmer, deeper, and still sufficiently analytical for my taste. It also has a wonderful soundstage. Not bad for ~$30 shipped. Not bad at all. I might even get used to the stupid flat cord... Thank you so much for your advice. To think, I almost bought some S4's on half price sale. Look what you saved me from!!

Anonymous said...

Best OMTP to CTIA adapter I could find is official Sony/Ericsson, the EC250. It can be found on Amazon for less than $6 right now. Looks similar to the MEE adapter, but cheaper. Definitely well made. http://tinyurl.com/c9uad3q

Luger said...

I ordered a mixed-size set of Comply T-200, because i really love the T-400 with my REO, and this size has been recommended here as the closest model.

The result is, at best, mixed. Well, I tried the small, but they fall out. The medium, which is my regular size, fits well, but when it is time to take the iems out, the foams stay in my ears. I can verify that, regardless of tip size, the fit on the MH1 for me is fairly loose.

Any suggestions?? I don't mind the originals from Sony, but the seal is only so-so; bass is better (like these buds need more...) with the Comply. But, digging them out of my ears each time I tug them out isn't cool.

Might the Whoomp be more secure? Even the T100 might be acceptable, as long as I can get them off once in a while for their H2O2 bath. Shure Olives?? What size?

I'm stuck in this quandry I thought the T-200 would get me out of. Throw me a rope!!

Luger said...

You stuck in the new threads? Please help me out here - this is too much money going to tips for these iems. Please. TIA, ClieOS.

Tai / ClieOS said...

Yes, Comply Whoomp should be more secure as it is a much tighter fit, but it will be harder to put it onto (or off) the nozzle. Olive will be way too tight - but it is do-able (barely) if you really push it hard. You might need to use something else to expend / relax the inner tube first. Mid size should be fine. Unfortunately getting the right eartips and fit are mostly a trial and error process, and vary from person to person so there isn't any easy and cheap way to go around it. Anyway, you can also consider modifying the eartips. Simple mod such as putting a spacer tube between the nozzle and the eartips can help to tighten up the fit as well.

Anonymous said...

hello tai, how would the MH1c be against the soundmagic e30 in terms of soundstage and treble. As you have rated them so high, it sure would be better than e30 but would like to know in what aspects? i like e30s open and airy neutral sound. i am open to try a different signatures.

Tai / ClieOS said...

If you are looking for more detail or wider soundstage from E30, then MH1C isn't it. The improvement from E30 to MH1 is in the denser, fuller, more textured mid to bass range. If you are lloking for E30 direct upgrade, perhaps VSONIC GR07 MK2 or TDK BA200 will be closer match.

Bernkastel said...

Hi Tai,

I had the Meeletronics SP51 and really loved their sound, cable and isolation but i accidentally lost them :( wich IEM would be a good replacement?? I listen mostly jpop/jrock. My options and its local price.

SP51 /w mic - $57
MH1C - $53
M5 /w mic - $49

MH1C seems like a good option but im doubtful about the J-flat cable and possible microphonics, I need your advice.

Thanks in advance, keep up the good work :)

Tai / ClieOS said...

If you have no reason to want to upgrade and quite happy with SP51, then I'll advise you stick to what you know you'll like. As you have noticed, the cable on MH1C isn't great. Some people just can't stand it and I really can't speak for you on this.

Anonymous said...

Hi ClieOS,

How does this compares against Etys MC5? Looking for an affordable upgrade of $100.

Tai / ClieOS said...

No comparison, even if both are the same price, MH1 is still going to be much better than MC5.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tai,

Thank you so much for the input!

kartikk pandian said...

hi tai,
what do you think of the mh1c for rock music compared to the vsonic r02 silver

i am able to get the mh1c(for around 35$) & my budget is 50$

Tai / ClieOS said...

That should be a pretty big jump in SQ.

Osama said...

Hi Tai,
I like to hear pop, hip-hop, alternative ,some R&B, dance and rock. Basically anything I like to hear.
What will be the best headphone I should get?
Sony MH1C, Brainwavz M5 or is there a better option for this? :)
Price range is not a problem as I want to invest in something really good.

Tai / ClieOS said...

There are always 'better' option out there, depends on how much you are willing to spend and how far you are willing to go. Please check out The List - I'll suggest you start by the Warm+Sweet sound as it is generally the less picky of music genre.

http://www.inearmatters.net/2009/01/list_01.html

Osama said...

I knew that I should look into that signature :)
I saw your list many times before, so basically the HifiMan RE400 or the Sony MH1C will be a sensible choice as they both are highly regarded while being less than half the price of other close top tier IEMs in the list?

Tai / ClieOS said...

Yes, I'll say so.

sobriety said...

Hi Tai,

Thank you for your compilation and reviews and I am a big reader of your blog here. Please keep up the good work!

Just an opinion from you. I have both Sony mh1c and hifiman re-262 (may get the re-400 soon), and I am loving these IEM so much. However, I am pretty tempted with JVC FXD-80 but I have not really got a chance to hear them out in detail. On a brief tried for few mins (a new unburn unit), I find the isolation not good and very airy. Noted that that have 4 vent holes behind, and highs is pretty harsh too.

Could you advice the true sound characteristics of this JVC FXD80? Is it really that airy different from mh1c & re-262, or I could do better with other tips, maybe a bi-flange etc. After burn in, does the high and vocal sound harsh? My kind of music is pretty mixed but I am more into musical, female vocal, opera, new age. How would the fxd80 match up with Sony mh1c, Hifiman RE400 & RE-262? Thanks!

Tai / ClieOS said...

FXD80 is vented on the back to give it the airy sound and lack of isolation, so you definitely hear it correctly. Given all your current IEM seems to be on the smooth side, I won't surprised that you find FXD80 to be bright. These won't change with burn-in, and eartips will not alter the sound significantly either. If you like it on first impression, you will probably continue to like it. Otherwise, you might not want to spend money on what you don't like. If you like smooth sound, FXZ200 might suit you better.

Unknown said...

Hello! i bought a pair of MH1C through ebay for 13€...i just received them and they sent me the MH1 instead. I tried them expecting they wouldn't work because your review says only MH1C would be able to be used as normal IEM's in any device (music players...). Tried them on my phone (Nokia Lumia 710...CTIA) and sound worked (not controls) but very low and nothing impressed. Also tried them on my laptop and also worked, this time better sound but not blown away (not an audiophile). So this was awkward...wasn't MH1 only supposed to work in Sony-Ericsson phones soundwise (apart from controls)? And MH1C on all devices soundwise and partly in controls on other modern phones? So if im correct and understood you correctly then not only have i received an MH1 instead of an MH1C but it's a fake MH1? It certainly looks authentic phisically in all aspects...doesn't have the Sony-Ericsson label on cable as in most pics i've googled though. Also doesn't come with the clip and the authentic sony hybrid-like tips i've seen in your review and pics i've googled...the ones bundled are generic and unconfortable. Any suggestions? I'm very confused. Thanks!

Tai / ClieOS said...

There is no fake MH1 or MH1C as far as I know, but everything is possible (though unlikely), I guess. MH1 / MH1C doesn't need a Sony smartphone to sound good. You might have also received a defective pair as well.

Try to give it some burn-in. Basically, run it with semi-loud music (without hearing any distortion) continuously for a day or two.

Unknown said...

Thanks, they do look original. But, don't i need the 4 pole 3.5mm Male to Female adapter you mentioned to make it sound correctly. I've read in some forum that it sounds but not rich within all its capabilities without this adapter...or by pressing the call button. They do sound tiny in my phone and they don't wow me through my laptop, they sound like from out of a can. Other thing is tips, the bundled ones are not the originals i've noticed. Does it matter soundwise? Should i buy others? Thanks for the tips!

Tai / ClieOS said...

The easiest way to be sure is to press and hold the center button on the remote when listening to music. If it suddenly sounds better, then you know you are not getting the right sound. It also means you need a smart adapter.

The bundled eartips is a big plus to the overall sound, but you can use any eartips that has a wider nozzle opening to achieve the best SQ. If you can't find any quality eartips, Sony hybrid or clone can be used as well.

Saethyan said...

Is it possible to have found this in Romania at a GSM online store for a measly 9$??? I think they are trying to clear stock. It's the older version, the MH1, it looks genuine, and comes in bulk, with the plastic bag. If i do find it in stock, i'll quickly order 2 or 3 pair, maybe 2 for me and 1 for a friend. :D

Saethyan said...

And 1 small question, if i need an adapter, could you link me one on amazon, it's the only place i can get it.

Tai / ClieOS said...

Never know any smart adapter on Amazon. You will have to find one yourself.

Jace said...

Does the MH1 sounds the same as the MH1-C?

Also, the adapter you mentioned for the MH1 is only needed if I want to use the control buttons on the headset right?
Otherwise the jack for the MH1 can be use with regular MP3 Players, yes?

Tai / ClieOS said...

The MH1 and the MH1C have the same driver, but due to a filter upgrade in between them, they sounds slightly different - though not enough to say they are two different sounding IEM.

The adapter is a MUST if you are trying to use MH1 on regular mp3 player.

Saethyan said...

Sorry to budge in here with links, but would any of these 2 appear to work?
http://www.amazon.com/ELP-Black-Headphone-Adapter-iPhone/dp/B00ADK6CN6/ref=pd_rhf_gw_s_t_1
http://www.amazon.com/ELONGPRO-Black-Headphone-Adapter-iPhone/dp/B0099ENZSM/ref=pd_rhf_gw_s_t_2

If they are actually what is required for the headphone, it could help people out.
Also, is the adapter mandatory for listening when plugged directly into a soundcard, I have a fairly new Asus Xonar U7.
Thank you!

Jace said...

So no music will come out from the MH1 without the adapter(Using a Sansa Clip+)?

Tai / ClieOS said...

@Saethyan - No, those won't work. They are not smart adapter. They are designed for first gen. iPhone that has a recessed headphone socket where many regular sized 3.5mm plug can't fit in.

Sorry it is a bit confusing but there is no simple way to explain it - if you have MH1, very likely it will not sound correct in any regular source, mp3 players and soundcard included. That's where you need a smart adapter. If you have a MH1C, then most likely you won't have any problem.

@Jace - you will still hear sound, but it will be distorted / strange sounding

Jace said...

Hmm...
So what I need for my MH1 is a OMTP to CTIA adapter.
Specifically the TRRS smart adapter you had mentioned.

Lastly just to confirm, the TRRS adapter have to be the 4 pins/poles version right?

Thanks for all your attention and advice.

Tai / ClieOS said...

Well, 'TRRS' already means 4 pins - Tip, Ring, Ring, Sleeve, respectively.

There are some rare female TRS to male TRRS adapter that could work as well. This kind of adapter is not for 'smart' purpose, but only to convert headset (with mic / control) into headphone.

Saethyan said...

Thanks for the link with the adapter. I didn't have a paypal account, and previously had only ordered once from another country, but seeing that it's 4$ with shipment it was really worth it. Got 2 MH1's coming tomorrow (the MH1C would have been 10 times more expensive! in my country - 90 $), and 2 adapters in the next month. Until the adapters get here will I still be able to hear the normal quality of the sound by pressing the center button on the remote, or this only partially fixes the sound issues?
Thank you for your dedication, your reviews and your help!

Tai / ClieOS said...

Well, you will have to keep holding the center button down and I am not sure that's a solution at all.

Saethyan said...

lol? they don't work well with my phone (have to push the button), buy work with my sound card, don't have to push the button. XD???

Saethyan said...

They do sound amazing with my phone, something seems a little bit harsh with the soundcard,and just a bit low in volume. (asus xonar u1 and u7 seem to have a little bit of an issue regarding low impedance phones because of their internal resistance, i think). Anyway, an amazing purchase, waiting for the adapters atm, will use them with the pc, after letting them burn in a bit, and gonna post again in the future, about their sound and whether the adapter makes a difference when hooked to the soundcard. (pushing the button doesn't).

Jace said...

Hi Tai,

How would I know if the 3.5mm TRRS adapter I bought converts to OMTP or CTIA?

Is there a difference in 3.5mm TRRS adapters?

Tai / ClieOS said...

Well, it will either say it is a 'smart' adapter, or say it will convert an iPhone headset to old Samsung / Sony / Nokia compatible (or vise versa). If it doesn't say any of those, never assume it is.

There are mainly two kind of TRRS adapter on the market. Most of them are just 1st gen iPhone 'size' adapter, allowing bigger TRRS plug to fit onto the recessed TRRS socket on the 1st gen iPhone. The 'smart' adapter that convert OMTP/CTIA are much rarer.

Jace said...

Okay, thanks for the explanation.

Luger said...

For those who missed it, Amazon has an adapter that works for the OMTP to CTIA problem: http://www.amazon.com/Sony-EC250-Headphones-Adaptor-1249-0456/dp/B009HW15UG. I used tinyurl the last time. only $5 US. Hugely faster delivery for me than waiting for the Lunashops adapter - 30 days and still waiting. The volume control and pause/next track etc feature works for me on my Samsung android just fine. YMMV.

Jace said...

Here's a low priced MH1 (OMTP/Sony Erricson version) from eBay:
http://tinyurl.com/lowpricedMH1

It cost less than US$15, including shipping.
I bought one from there and can confirmed that the seller has the real MH1.

Reminder:
You will need a TRRS adapter for the MH1 to work properly with newer phones/mp3 players.

Jace said...

These are the accessories that came with my MH1:
http://oi41.tinypic.com/2exsltz.jpg

It consist of:
1x clip
2x small GreenHeart packets, each containing 4 pairs of eartips.

The eartips looked exactly like the ones shown in the review above.
For me, I had received black and green coloured eartips, 4 pairs of each colour.

Tai / ClieOS said...

Yep, those look alright.

Francis Woo said...

Wait till you try the Piston I E M from XIAOMI at 99 yuan! It will knock you out!

Tai / ClieOS said...

That's under my radar as well. I'll see if I can get a pair for later review or not.

Francis Woo said...

I got a couple during my last trip to Beijing for some of the Xtremeplace members!
I posted this in the above forum...

The Piston is ergonomically designed, looks svelte and expensive! It has a wonderful mid and hefty bass with loads of extension to please the bass lovers! It's very composed when playing all genre of music and songs. It's also clean and smooth at the top and dynamic when called upon to deliver! You can listen for hours without getting fatigue. Guess these sum up my impression of this $20 In-Ear Phone! ;D

Cheers

eric seno said...

Hi ClieOS

Can I use mh1c or different iem to a 2011 xperia model phone as my pmp? Or I still need converter?

Tai / ClieOS said...

@ eric seno, hard to say. You should be able to find out whether your Xperia smartphone is CTIA or OMTP by googling.

Nepkp said...

The MH1 is completely unusable because of the earbuds falling out of my ears. I tried every size and none of them are good. I am glad I did not pay $80 for them, they are not worth the $20 that I did spend. Too much hype, and they don't deserve it.

Tai / ClieOS said...

I guess I'll start with the obvious: 1st, have you pushed the eartips into your ear canal? Some new user thought IEM's eartips are supposed to just sitting loosely on the ear canal, which of course will not give you any secure fit. 2nd, have you loop the right cable over and behind your neck? That will help to take away some of the cable weight that will pull on the earpiece. Lastly, have you used the shirt clip? That will further help to secure the cable so it won't pull on the left earpiece.

As mentioned in the review that the cable on MH1 does left a lot for desire. But If you have done all the above and the earpiece still loosen very easily, then you might want to look for over-the-ear or large size IEM as small IEM might not fit you that well.

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