Pros: Great sound with DSP processing on, good sound with it off. Split chord length and an in-line microphone
Cons: App only available on iOS devices, music has to be stored locally (no iTunes Match)
I've had the JCV Victor FX500 / FX1000 earphones for several years now, and been very happy with the sound. The plug is now hanging on by a thread and I wanted something new before it breaks. After a bit of research I found out that XTZ, a company from my own country, had developed an earphone with DSP correction for the iPhone. There are two versions of these earphones, the EarPhone 12, which is just the phones, and EarPhone 12 Sports, which has an in-line mic, ear hooks and a clothes clip. The one thing I had been missing with the JCVs was a mic so I chose the Sports.
The housing, though it looks like metal, is made of durable plastic, something I think is good since it keeps the weight down. They are quite big for in-ear phones but fit comfortably nonetheless, and the ear hooks attach and detach easily. The combination of the gunmetal gray housing and the black and red narrow but flat tangle free wire is cool and sporty. There are magnets in the back of the earphones that makes them attach like a necklace while not in use, something I found pretty useful.
The sound out of the box was pretty damn good for an earphone in this price range, but when I installed the XTZ Player and turned on the Dirac DSP correction, Just WOW. The soundstage opened way up, the clarity in the bass and highs improved greatly, and it just put a smile on my face. There are 6 different corrections, the standard, 3 bass boost modes, a Bright mode and one for when you use ComplyFoam buds. The bass boost is very well done and doesn't detract from the detail in the sound, and is perfect to use when listening to older rock or other music that can be a bit thin. I haven't seen much use of the Bright option, since I like the level and clarity of the highs a lot, but for some recordings it is appropriate.
Compared to JVC
Without the corrections on the JVC phones does sound a bit better, as they should, being almost 3 times as expensive, but once the DSP is on the XTZ:s even surpasses them. They isolate much better, and the cable means they tangle less. The sound is a bit more linear, and the bass is great on both but even better on the XTZ.
I recommend these earphones wholeheartedly, and I can see myself replacing the JVCs with them full time.