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Earbuds Roundup

I have always want to do a short comparison of my earbuds collection, but the task of listening them very critically in one session isn't for the faint of heart - while I have listened to each of them fairly extensive in the pass, it still took me over 4 hours of going back and fore (almost back breaking work) just trying hard to sort them out. With over 20 earbuds currently in my possession, I realized a compilation with detail review of each will be a massive undertaking that I can't sure I can finish in a satisfactory fashion or even have the time to do so. So the decision went to separate them into categories based on my own interpretation of SQ, complete with a simple impression. Hopefully this is enough to provide some useful info for those of you who are interested in earbuds. Cheer.

Category 1: THE GREAT
  1. Sennheiser MX985 - Share the top spot with TM7. Warm and rich, not as wide a soundstage as TM7, but more immersive. Excellent all-arounder.
  2. Blox TM7 - Lush, lively, dynamic with an excellent 3D soundstage and life-like presentation. Great all-arounder.
  3. Blox ANV3 - Almost the same as TM7, but slightly less lush and more forward.
  4. HiSound Audio Living - Lean, clean and analytical. Fit is finicky to get the bass out. Scale well with a bit of bass boost.
  5. Yuin PK1 - Effortless sound but does require an amp. Warm, a bit slow on speed and attack so it might not be best for fast music.
  6. Creative Aurvana Air - Clean, slightly lean, great detail, wide open soundstage. Finicky on fit.
  7. Ubiquo ES903 - Warm and mid centric, excellent vocal but small in soundstage. More of a Rock and POP maintream sound.
  8. Blox M2c - Fun, lively, clean and specious but slightly short in depth. Great for just sit back, listen and enjoy. Good upgrade for PK3.
  9. Audio Technica CM707 - Warm and thick to almost veil. Would have been great if it has better treble extension.
  10. NineWave NW-Studio Pro - Very warm, full and forward with a great bass and vocal performance. Slightly rough on the 12kHz region. Intimate sound.
  11. CrossRoads HR1 - Not as effortless as PK1 but still pretty good. More balanced and slightly mid focused with a better sense of speed.
  12. Sunrise AS-Charm - Very warm, a little mid centric, good with vocal and laid-back music. Smooth signature with a weakness in air and soundstage.
  13. Sennheiser MX90vc - Excellent sound. Warm but overall balanced. Fit can be difficult at first with the twist and fit system and it will need an amp to sound great.
  14. AKG 319 - Little warm from being balanced and very decent mid / lower-mid performance. Balance and smooth overall.
  15. Sennheiser MX760 - Also a fairly balance sounding earbud that is cleaner and more transparent than MX90vc, but has a lot more low end resonance which lead to slightly artificial 'surround sound' effect.
  16. Sennheiser LX90 - Same transducer as MX90vc with almost identical sound signature. Good fit is not easy to maintain (which is why I rank it lower than MX760), also requires an amp to sound at its best.

Category 2: THE GOOD

  1.  Bang & Olufsen A8 - Bass light but very airy and detail, great synergy and sound with a warm amp.
  2. HiSound Audio PAA-1 Pro - Rich, warm but most neutral, smooth and relaxing. A bit slow and flat in dynamic.
  3. CrossRoads HR2 - Not as bassy as PK3 but has a slightly more spacious, neutral sound.
  4. Yuin PK3 - detail, fairly balanced and pretty good bass impact. Lively presentation.
  5. Blue Ever Blue 328R - Warm, well textured with a deep bass that captivates the audience.
  6. Sunrise AS-Feeling - Warm yet fairly detail, good body and balance.Smooth top-end and a generally enjoyable soun.
  7. Apple Earpods - Fantastic bass response and sweet vocal but let down by weak treble and detail. Silky smooth to almost a darkish presentation.
  8. Sennheiser MX581 - Similar to AS-Feeling when used with foam pad, slightly less dynamic but better on soundstage
  9. Sennheiser MX580 - Neutral to balanced, very good soundstage but dry and grainy mid and a little edgy on treble.
  10. HiSound Audio PAA-1 - Bassy with really good rumble. Dry mid with grainy treble. Not far apart from the two Senn. above.
  11. Marshall Minor - Warm, smooth, laid back, slightly thick but not to a point of feeling veil. Well rounded bass that required a good fit to show.
  12. Final Audio Design Piano Forte II - Warm, mid dominance, thick and tends to be a bit veil.
  13. Panasonic RP-HV600 - Neutral and a bit lean on mid with a tunable XBS switch.
  14. Sony MDR-E888 - Good bass impact but too mid focus, bloated in a sense.
Category 3: THE DECENT
  1. SoundMAGIC PH-10 - Well balanced and smooth sound, but soundstage is a bit small. Very well controlled.
  2. Panasonic RP-HZE70 - Clean and airy sound but can't get a good fit easily despite of the earclip.
  3. Sony MDR-E805 - More upper mid focused, airy and detail but can be harsh at time. Wide bud, not as comfortable.
  4. Panasonic RP-HV337- less bass than MX500 but very clean and more detail.
  5. Sony MDR-A34 - similar sound signature as MX500, slightly less detail and soundstage but sweeter in vocal. The headband makes it very comfortable in long term use.
  6. Sennheiser MX500 - BenQ rebranded (same Foster-JP model ), warm but over all balanced, slightly congested in mid.
  7. Apple iBud (new gen.) - very similar to MX500, slightly less sparkle but have a stronger bass slam. Said to be a tuned variation of the same MX500 series by Foster-JP.
  8. Sunrise AS-Miss - Full and forward mid, Good vocal. Very warm and can be a bit congested especially on complex music.
  9. AKG K311 - Big warm bottom, good detail but not airy enough. Excellent build quality.
  10. JVC HA-F130 - Very lively presentation with PK3 like signature, but lack control.
  11. Sony MDR-PQ5 - Very warm, full to slightly thick, lacks a good treble to show detail.
  12. Sony Ericsson Bass Flex - Warm mid and bass with a good impact. sweet vocal. Stock earbuds for many SE cellphone models.
  13. Sennheiser MX50 - Not as easy to drive, warm mid but still airy.
Category 4: THE BAD
  1. Panasonic stock earbud (L0BAB0000188) - Warm, smooth but lack detail.
  2. Creative EP380 - Very warm, bloated mid, small soundstage.

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Disclaimer: All trademarks and logos in the website belong to their respective owners. Beside getting free review samples, I don't work for or get paid by anyone to write anything on this website, or anywhere else in that matter. Also, free review samples are never sold for any financial gain. I do buy gears and review them, but for simplicity you (the reader) should always assume what I review is free sample in nature (and thus comes with all the bias). The website does have Google Ads and Amazon Associates enabled (which I have no direct control over their content) - though I don't write review for a living, nor does the ads generates enough money to cover my breakfast (in fact, not even one breakfast per week). Listening to music and playing with audio gears are purely hobby for me. In short, I am just an audiophiles who happens to have his own blog. Not a journalist who happens to be an audiophile. Oh, and excuse my writing as I am not a native English speaker and can't afford a proofreader. Also, just because I don't write in a negative tone doesn't mean I don't write down the negative aspect of a gear. Please read them carefully.

Important: All postings are my own personal opinion only and should not be treated as absolute truth. I do get things wrong just like everyone else. Always do your own research!

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