Pros: One of the best earphones out there for $30, Durable, Excellent carrying case, Bass tuning system works well
Cons: Uneven treble, Max bass configuration is boomy
First, I’d like to thank the folks at Narmoo for providing a sample of their R1M earphones for review.
In recent years, the IEM market has sort of exploded, seeing a number of established players making a go of things and a number of impressive upstarts, often aiming for the top by attacking the bottom, releasing high performing earphones for low prices. Enter Narmoo, a company I’d never heard of until an e-mail showed up in my inbox. I have before me their entry level offering, the R1M, an earphones that should appear somewhat familiar to those who frequent this site. Though it’s not identical, the R1M bears more than a passing resemblance to the MEElectronics SP51 and XePort 5010, two earphones that, like the R1M, feature a variable tuning system.
Design and Build Quality
Despite sharing a similar gimmick with the Xeport and MEElectronics ‘phones, it doesn’t share the same housing design. The R1M’s housings are noticeably larger with large, flat strain reliefs and flat cables. A noticeable and welcome difference between the R1M and the SP51 and 5010 is the larger screw caps, which share the same color scheme but are easier to keep track of.
Packaging and Accessories
The R1M is most notable in this department because its packaging is one of its accessories. The R1M arrives in a large, rectangular clamshell zippered carrying case, which is probably the best I’ve seen from any manufacturer at any price point. Though it’s a little big for a pocket, it has space for the earphones, accessories, and probably your phone in its two mesh pockets.
Being large, straight-barrel IEMs, your level of comfort is going to be highly dependent on the size of your ears/outer ear canals. Personally, I found them to be inoffensive and unobtrusive, despite their large size.
Right in line with the other adjustable bass earphones I’ve reviewed, the R1M has a warm, bass driven consumer-friendly sound. Even with the silver caps in place, the bass is accentuated and powerful but also controlled and never muddy or muddy. Being the unapologetic basshead I am, I went for the gunmetal caps which offered the best balance of low end authority and quantity without overwhelming the presentation so impressions going forward will be based on how the R1M sounds with the gunmetal caps in place.
Like I said earlier, the low end is powerful and authoritative. In terms of quantity, it offers sizable impact and presence but falls short of bass monsters like the XK-DUN CK700 and Monster Miles Davis Tributes. That’s not a knock against the R1M though and the accentuated bass should be pleasing to discerning bassheads.
The midrange is slightly warm and well detailed, especially for an earphone in its price range. It’s impressively clear and serves up plenty of detail and is mostly free of bass bleed and actually sounds a bit thin at times. The high end is a tad uneven at times, sometimes coming off a bit shrill and dry but this was mostly situational.
The presentation is warm and decently spacious with a nice sound stage and solid imaging. As I said before, the low end is the cornerstone of the R1M’s sound signature but it knows its place and rarely steps beyond it except when the black caps are installed, which can make the bass a bit boomy.
At a price of $29.99, the R1M is highly impressive, delivering sound quality well above what I would’ve expected. The adjustable sound signature is highly detailed and well defined, despite some issues with slightly muddy bass with the black caps installed. But, the remote and microphone for smartphone users and excellent carrying case make the R1M an attractive prospect. Though Narmoo is certainly diving in to the market as a relative unknown, it should certainly be on your radar now.