Earbuds Discussion Thread

I’ve been really interested with earbuds recently because of reading @Rikudou_Goku 's thread, so I made a general earbuds discussion thread. Feel free to discuss anything related with earbuds. Review, stream of thoughts, impressions, questions are all welcomed here.

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Sharing some useful posts made on the earbud thread at head-fi.

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My experience with earbuds so far

I’m very new with earbuds, and it had been quite surprising, but with a little drawbacks.

Before I went in to the earbuds world, I don’t really know what to expect. My closest expectation was for it to be kinda like IEM, but I don’t really like IEMs to begin with. I think IEM can be great, but you can’t hum or sing along when you are wearing an IEM. You know how you can hear yourself so loudly when you are wearing an IEM? I think that’s really annoying, but surprisingly that problem was completely eliminated in earbuds. I could talk freely and hum as much as I want, and it doesn’t become annoying. For me, the ability to hum and talk freely is quite a big advantage over IEM, but that doesn’t make earbuds leaps ahead of IEM.

So before I talk about the drawbacks of earbuds, I got to tell you that I’ve only tried 2 earbuds so far, the Yincrow X6 and the Faaeal Datura Pro.

Let’s get to the drawback. THE FITTTTT. It’s kinda a hit or miss for me. I feel like the Datura Pro keeps on falling out of my ears while the X6 fits snugly, but gives me wear fatigue after 10 minutes. Maybe I simply haven’t found the right shell shape for my ears, or maybe there’s some kind of foam rolling for earbuds to improve the fit? Other than that, the earbuds’ fit and shape give it an inherit problem, weak bass or poor quality bass. While the X6 does extends low, the bass quality is simply not the same as the ones in IEM or headphone. I think the sub bass decay so fast, but the mid bass decays kinda slow (?). It’s weird to be honest. I think this may be caused by the non-existent seal. So the driver can’t keep the pressure for a long time, but that’s just my speculation from my limited experience.

X6 and Datura Pro shell comparison

Brief Datura Pro impression

I think many people said that this earbuds is great for vocal, but personally I think that’s not the case.

The biggest problem with the Datura Pro is its tuning. IDK what it is, it’s just weird. Vocals sounds nasally, especially male vocals, and the fact that it doesn’t have any bass at all make things even worse. In terms of timbre and tonality, I can’t really say it’s natural because of that weird tuning and lack of bass and even lower mids. For resolution and detail, it’s okay I guess? The lack of treble extension also have quite an impact for the detail retrieval. So for sound, it’s a meh for me.

I’ve tried to EQ the Datura Pro because ppl in head-fi said it shines with EQ, but I haven’t found the right EQ to make it shine.

What’s interesting about this earbuds tho is its build quality. I think it’s gorgeous. The cable feels okay. I was kinda hoping for a more supple wire, but it’s alright. The shell is beautifully built. I love it. The other thing that’s interesting is how burn-in affects this earbuds. I think this is one of the few ones that actually change quite substantially after a burn in.

I tried the foams and I find them unpleasant for the sound. I think the full foam made the mids even weirder, so voices are even more nasally and kinda kills the treble. The donut foam made the Datura Pro a little bit too bright. So, I bought a silicone ring and I think this is the best one. It improve fit and comfort, but doesn’t affect the sound.

Brief Yincrow X6 impression

I really love the X6. This is the complete opposite from the Datura Pro. The X6 extends low, making instruments and vocals sounds full and satisfying, and I think they are also more laid back sounding.

I think there isn’t much else to talk about the X6. If I want to nitpick the X6, I would say that it kinda lacks in detail retrieval and the bass can have a little bit more quality (a little bit tighter and more resolving), but hey the X6 is already so cheap. What more can you ask.

After these two earbuds, I’m really interested in what an earbuds can do. So, I’ll definitely buy more of them.

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Its possible the shape of the MX500 isnt perfect for you. You might wanna try some “PK” shelled buds or perhaphs try those silicone covers instead of foam. Different foam doesnt affect fit that much in my experience but there are different foams out there like the donut foams or just a full foam with less density/more-porous, they affect the sound not the fit though.

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I’ll definitely try the PK shell.

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Maybe you could try this one?
2/9 of those options are PK shells …possibly with the same sound as that MX500

I already ordered those from @Rikudou_Goku 's recommendation. Should arrive this week or next week.
Edit: Oops just realised I bought the MX500. Gonna order the PK one. Would also be interested to compare the two shells of the same earbuds. Maybe they do something to how it sounds.

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Wait, so the ones you already bought were these from my link?
And accidentally the MX500 shell?
:rofl: :rofl:

@Rikudou_Goku Just a quick question buddy…out of curiosity do bud “covers”? makes as much difference to the sound as tips do with IEM or is it more a comfort thing?

Yea dude, didn’t read the description properly :man_facepalming:

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Different shell = different sound

Foams for buds make a drastic different in sound to me. A LOT more than tips for iems.

I dont use silicone covers though, so I cant really comment much on those.

Basically.

Full foams: warmest

donut: balanced

naked: brightest

(then of course a more porous foam, will not be as warm as a more dense/less-porous foam)

(I always use full foams though)

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Yeah, makes sense the tonality would vary.

Yincrow X6 Impression

They look like a set of cheap earbuds. Arguably cheaper looking than the cheap looking Monk+ which I also own (due to the plastic cable). The cable itself is fine, not microphonic. The earbuds fit me well and are comfortable. Foams are a pain in the arse to fit (is there some method to this, other than frustrating manipulation for 10 minutes?). I fitted the full foams, not the ones with the hole (which seems to be somewhat randomly located).

I Have a Love (Overmono Remix) - For Those I Love (Male vocals, electronic music)
Male vocals a little recessed (possibly due to the basted booss [note intentional spoonerism]). Some treble elements feel muted. There’s a kind of warm fuzzy quality to the overall sound. Nothing is really as snappy or tight as I would expect.

Grapes of Wrath - Weezer (Male Vocals, Brass Instruments, Strings)
Same story here. Most of the impactful elements of the song have a kind of rounded off quality. Blobby? People speak about veil. To me this is veiled.

Afrique Victime (Male Vocals, Guitars, Drums)
Guitar that comes in at 1:05 sounds good. But when the rest of the band kick in shortly after, I get that rounded off sense again. However, the interspersed guitar licks still pop out. Whatever frequency (higher) that they are at, is well represented, but the stuff in the mids gets a bit muddy. Kinda reminds me of the sound out of some average car stereo. It all feels messy at the end when there is a lot of competing information in the mids and predominantly lower treble.

Paprika - Japanese Breakfast (Female Vocals, Synths, Brass, Cymbals)

Female vocals are not bad here. The vocals are the strongest element of the presentation. Maybe when the harmony elements come in from 0:38 the harmony singer can be a bit muted. Also on the drums throughout, to me they seem down-mixed and a little lost. These elements are not jumping out of the mix.

Movement 6 - Floating Point & Pharoah Sanders (Electronic, Saxaphone, Orchestra)

First 3 minutes are quite sparse. Mostly sounds ok. Then you start getting competition from the Orchestra. Generally speaking I think presentation here is fairly natural. The loop that refrains throughout is sometimes a bit hidden.

He Said She Said - CHVRCHES (Female Vocals, Electro)

Bass is very boomy. I think it results in less perception of detail/texture to the bass hits.

Again i think the female vocals sound pretty good. Some of the subtle details like the reverb effect on the lead vocalist can get a bit lost in the mix when there’s more stuff going on. Maybe something like a blending effect (probably just due to the elevated bass). (I’m not really sure what the frequency response of this thing looks like).

Days Like These - Low (Male Vocals, Guitars, Heavy Distortion)

General warm, fuzziness added to a fairly cold, stark song. Lead vocal ok, backup harmony vocal hard to pick out, or at least it’s not jumping out. Lots of little details just blended in.

Conclusion

I bought these because I like the form factor (sometimes). There are times when I would like to use something light and comfortable that doesn’t block out the outside world. It seemed from reviews that reviewers considered these substantially better than the VE Monk +. To me, the monks sound more natural, resolve detail better, and have a wider soundstage (which in itself can be a consequence of the frequency response). Some deep bass moments are lost on the monks, such as @5:07 on the Floating Points track above. The Yincrow resolves this, but that’s all I can say about it. The bass is too elevated, and bloated.

Worth whatever I paid for them ($10 or something)? Probably, just about. Recommend to anyone? No.

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I listened to lbbs again, from the iPhone dongle and my trusted es100. The more I listen to it, the more I appreciate it, for 2 main reasons:

  • the sound is so open, so airy that it really is refreshing after having listened to iems
  • I totally hear what happens around me, so I can listen to music while working or looking after my kids

Yes, it could do with more bass out of the box, but it sounds very good without anyway.

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wow, forgot there was a bud thread here lol.

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One extra thing regarding the openess/airiness of the buds that is I think heavily overlooked is the health aspect (when not listened on the go with cranked up volume obviously). This not-so-restricted flow of the air is much healthier to your ear canal (speaking of moisture condensation/increased temperature/wax bulid up/inflammatory processes and infections that are much easier to get with IEMs).

My two go-to buds are still the LBBS and M2S pro.
LBBS for mid-foward/reference needs
M2S pro [stock driver/filter] for a fat low-end that still has mids and treble.

On the other hand, my experience tells me that buds Can irritate your outer ear very quickly. I love the lbbs, but the comfort side of things isn’t very good for my “special” ears and concha.