Rich, balanced sound - great controls for Samsung phones. Incredible value.

A Review On: OEM HS330 Stereo Handsfree Headset in-ear Earphones Flat Wired Dual Earbuds w Microphone for MetroPCS / Boost / T-Mobile / Sprint / Verizon / AT&T Samsung Galaxy S3 S4 S5 Mini, GALAXY S5 S4 S3 S2, S5 Sport, ATIV S SE Neo, Galaxy Note 3 2 1,

OEM HS330 Stereo Handsfree Headset in-ear Earphones Flat Wired Dual Earbuds w Microphone for MetroPCS / Boost / T-Mobile / Sprint / Verizon / AT&T Samsung Galaxy S3 S4 S5 Mini, GALAXY S5 S4 S3 S2, S5 Sport, ATIV S SE Neo, Galaxy Note 3 2 1,

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Review Details:
Audio Quality
Comfort
Design
Microphone Quality
Value
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Price paid: $18.00
julian67
Posted · 1442 Views · 8 Comments

Pros: Natural tone from heavy bass through clear highs. Great for vocals. Nice balance. Inline controls.

Cons: ? Not for Apple products (incompatible controls). Beware fakes.

I have a Samsung Galaxy Note GT-N7000 (original Note) and most aftermarket earphones have iPhone controls or none. So after reading about different compatible products I decided to try Samsung's dual driver IEMs as much for the best possible inline smartphone controls as for the audio quality. It goes without saying that the inline controls are well designed, easy to use and the mic is of good quality (and Samsung phones also have very good noise cancelling to minimise wind noise via the mic). I have been surprised and delighted at the sound quality for music playback.

I mostly listen to classical and choral music but also some rock and occasionally some electronic. A realistic and natural tone really matters. My main complaint with budget IEMs is that they usually have overly big but ill defined bass, either splashy or overly smooth highs and a midrange that varies from mildly recessed to really indistinct - this kind of kills natural voices and acoustic instruments as comprehensively as possible. My second biggest complaint with IEMs is that if you want isolation (I do) it usually comes at the expense of a rather closed sound. Ported IEMs can sound really nice and airy but I can also hear the traffic and the blowhards blowing hard into their smartphones. No thank you.

Of the better IEMs I've owned I had some UE600 (single balanced armature) that were OK but rather thin in lower frequencies and Shure SE215 (single dynamic driver) which are a bit bass heavy with rather rolled off highs but do render voices and unamplified instruments well. I think these Samsungs are superior to both. The bass is really weighty and natural but without dominating the midrange, so voices are not recessed or swamped. The higher frequencies sound really good as well. I am now convinced that Samsung's design of dual drivers with one inverted driver and slits and ports for airiness actually does produce an earphone with a very natural sound, decent isolation, and which does not sound closed or in-your-head, like most IEMs but still manages decent isolation. It does that magic and very non-budget thing of maintaining the mids and highs without ever getting harsh or bright.

As for the physical aspects of the design I don't care one way or the other about colour or flat vs round cables and all that stuff. These have flat cables and it seems they do resist tangling and never get knotted up. I like that there is a slider so I can minimise flapping cable and cable noise. The inline controls are below the right earphone so if you have poor eyesight or it's dark there is no problem differentiating left and right.

People get extremely excited about little factories in Southern China, small high end shops in the US or Europe, or emerging global players such as Xiaomi. My suggestion is to also pay some attention to a certain Korean heavy weight industrial power because when it comes to innovative design and economical manufacture on a vast scale they might not have fashionable status or snob value but they do make a seriously good earphone, good enough to put some famous audiophile products to shame despite vast price differences. If Samsung ever stop being incompetent/negligent at marketing these kinds of accessories then companies like Shure and Logitech and Sennheiser may experience a very uncomfortable wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee moment.

I was impressed enough at the sound quality of these and the great value that I bought a second pair just in case I break or lose these.

Buying: if you buy from ebay or amazon marketplace for $3 then please don't expect anything except a piece of fake plastic crap. Buy the real thing from a reputable retailer. A genuine pair only cost me £11 in UK direct from Amazon UK and they are even cheaper in US. If they don't sound superb you got a fake.

8 Comments:

Yes, I was also pleasantly surprised by the earbuds packaged with my S5. They're less of a hassle to take in and out and clean than my Triple.Fi's, without really taking quality down that much. Very very surprised.
Off the wall isn't it? My Samsung dual drivers cost me approximately sweet F.A (OK £11 delivered!) as an aftermarket item. I'm a little surprised that Apple's (not cheap!) dual BA IEMs get a certain amount of reviews while Samsung's (very cheap!) dual dynamics get approximately zero coverage and reviews. I bought mine mostly for the compatibility and inline controls for use as a phone headset with my 1st gen Note and was genuinely surprised and delighted that the sound quality is way above average. I bought a spare pair without having to think about it (another £11 omg!). Imo they equal or better my Shure dynamics (SE215 which cost 7 times the price). Yes my over-ear Sennheiser Momentums reproduce the human voice in a more convincing manner but their retail price is more than 20x that of the Samsungs and I would spit razor blades if the Senns didn't do something to justify the premium. But the value of therse Samsung IEMs brings bubbling up from dimly remembered economics classes thirty years ago the expressions "economies of scale" and "those prices are BS, beat them down!". Or something like that. Hello Prof. Soper.
I bought a pair at a Samsung store in Chile so I think these are legit, it costed me abot 33 USD . My impression is that the highs are the main focus of the presentation and they extend almost forever but I miss more detailed mids and the bass is seriously placed in the back seat, lacking texture and depth while being very fast and controlled at the same time. Maybe I got a lemon
I guess these sound more like a single driver BA than a dual dynamic
I would assume a less than ideal fit. There's certainly no lack of bass with mine. I find it's nicely balanced for an IEM. Mids are very good, highs are natural and not harsh or over extended. The bass is certainly emphasised, as it needs to be to compensate for lack of moving air and bone conduction experienced with loudspeakers, and to help mask ambient noise.

If you examine the IEMs closely you see that there are two ports, one facing down and one facing into the ear. There is also a grooved section cut from the shaft. It really makes a difference if these fit well and the tips can make a surprising difference as well. I tried mine with some generic foam tips (EarphonesPlus Squish Fit, Large) which pretty much covered all the ports and filled the groove. They increased isolation but made such a big difference to the sound that I went back to silicone tips. It's definitely worth trying different tips.

I would assume that if you really can't get a decent balanced sound from these then you have a defective set.
Just saw your second reply. I think these sound completely unlike a single driver BA, for example the UE600 I mentioned in the review. It doesn't seem like we're both hearing the same product i.e. a genuine, working Samsung dual driver IEM with appropriate fitting tips.
I just ordered a pair based on your review, nothing to loose at that price $8 AUD del from the UK
At that price you have no chance of receiving a genuine item.