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Review: Ankit Stay True - the real Skull Candy

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Introduction:

The new kids on the block, Ankit’s lineup of four style-conscious earphones aims to bring together looks and sound in an attempt to appeal to both the audiophile and the fashion junkie. Though the stylistic merits of the earphones can be disputed, their all-around competence when it comes to sound quality is quite surprising. Hence I am reposting a review written by me for another site, slightly condensed and adapted for a head-fi audience.

Packaging & Accessories:



The Ankit Stay True earphones are packaged in a colorful cardboard blister pack. Though Ankit doesn’t go to the same great eco-friendly lengths as Thinksound with their packaging, the company promises to go one step further and plant a tree for each earphone they sell. Although I was impressed with the colorful and humorous packaging, pickings are rather slim in terms of accessories. All you get is three sets of silicone tips. Not too impressive for the $50 retail price.

Design & Build Quality:



The entire Ankit range implements 3D metallic designs affixed to the earphones to achieve a unique look for each model. In addition, the sliding cord cinch on each model has a unique topical design to match the housings. Ankit claims that each unit is hand-assembled, and the build is actually rather impressive. The 3D metallic skulls on my Stay True model give the earphones a nice weight, the housings to which the designs are attached are made of a thick, sturdy plastic, and the 46” cable is thicker than average and rubberized to reduce tangling. The stems of the earpieces are made of a hard plastic, though, as is the plastic sheath on the 3.5mm plug. No real strain relief there so being careful with the cords is probably a good idea.

Fit, Comfort, & Isolation:

All of Ankit’s earphones utilize an ergonomic, angled-nozzle design. Despite the moderate heft of the earpieces, I found them perfectly comfortable for very long stretches of time. The included silicone ear cushions are fairly standard and the earphones provide above-average isolation, slotting somewhere between shallow-insertion earphones such as the Meelec M6 and PL50 and the true straight-barrel in-ear designs such as the Nuforce NE-6. Microphonics are fairly low, which is a good thing since the skulls don’t make the Stay True too conducive of over-the-ear wear.

Sound:

Testing note: All on-the-go listening was done via an unamped Sansa Fuze using a wide range of tracks in mp3 (bitrates ranging from 128 to 320kbps) formats. Critical listening was done via an optical-fed iBasso D10 using only WMA and Flac lossless files.

The technical specifications of Ankit products are not published, not unlike those of Monster IEMs, but the sound speaks for itself. Ankit’s marketing mumbo-jumbo lauds something called ‘G-Bass Technology’, which is said to reduce low-end clipping and provide deep, clear bass. Obviously, then, I was expecting Bose IE-levels of distortion and Skullcandy-like subwoofer impact. But I was pleasantly surprised by the well-controlled low-end punch of the earphones. The bass response can occasionally be slightly boomy, but no more than certain head-fi favorites and certainly not enough to make the Ankits sound unbalanced. Sub-bass extension is very reasonable although there is a definite mid/upper-bass emphasis that gives a small amount of coloration to the midrange. The end result is vocals that are slightly on the warm side of neutral. Clarity is good and the mids are lush and thick, though some detail is glossed over. Treble presentation is soft, almost timid, but at least they steer far clear of sibilance. There are some peaks in the lower treble but not enough to call it harsh. I would personally prefer a more upfront presentation of the high end, but of course forward treble is harder to get ‘right’ on a budget earphone. Soundstaging is average, with adequate width and depth and decent separation. Drums are sometimes brought too far forward for my liking, but for the most part everything is positioned properly in the sonic stage. Overall, the sound is natural and boasts good dynamics and a surprising amount of clarity, definitely an enjoyable signature all things considered.

Summary & Conclusions:

The Ankit Stay True earphones offer an ergonomic design, above-average isolation, solid build quality, and four unique visual styles. With sound quality to match their practicality, the Ankit earphones should not be dismissed as another blingy Skullcandy or EarPollution competitor. Smooth, natural, and very enjoyable, the sound is refined enough for these to be among IEMs to consider in the sub-$50 range. If turning heads is a priority alongside all of the usual concerns, the Ankit earphones might just beat out the best of the rest in the crowded market.

Edit: here's a link to the manufacturer's site that showcases all of the designs (TheAnkit.com).

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post #2 of 15
Skulls are so cliche. That aside, I'll remember these to recommend to my more "fashion conscious" friends.
post #3 of 15
i think i saw one of those last week on the bus or subway or something very similar..turned my head for sure
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post
i think i saw one of those last week on the bus or subway or something very similar..turned my head for sure
Did the person wearing them look anything like this guy?
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Having had to wear these for a couple of weeks, I can attest to their head-turning ability. Wearing TF10s franken-style turns far less heads.
post #6 of 15
Thanks to Joker, I was able to try the Ankit out for a while. They are quite well built and are a serious earphone. Not the best sound for $50 but for the combo of fashion and sound they are worth the price. One of their styles would be a good gift for someone.

They sounded a bit thick for my liking with the stock tips so I settled on some bi-flange tips to lighten them up a bit. Fairly quick and agile with some good PRaT. Pretty tight bass and nice separation. Always a fun listen. Look like something similar to Skull Candy offerings for sure. They are better than most of the Skull Candy stuff like the Titans. More impressed with them than I thought I would be after checking out their website.
post #7 of 15
I refuse to believe that those skull ones sound good. The butterfly ones, however, are just my speed.
post #8 of 15
Thank you for the review.
Skull Candy currently has 189 headphone. It's not surprised some of them sound good. Just a matter of which ones.
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jant71 View Post
Thanks to Joker, I was able to try the Ankit out for a while. They are quite well built and are a serious earphone. Not the best sound for $50 but for the combo of fashion and sound they are worth the price. One of their styles would be a good gift for someone.

They sounded a bit thick for my liking with the stock tips so I settled on some bi-flange tips to lighten them up a bit. Fairly quick and agile with some good PRaT. Pretty tight bass and nice separation. Always a fun listen. Look like something similar to Skull Candy offerings for sure. They are better than most of the Skull Candy stuff like the Titans. More impressed with them than I thought I would be after checking out their website.
Ah, I probably should've mentioned that I found these best with the Jays silicone tips but they sound pretty good either way. Thanks for your impressions .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post
I refuse to believe that those skull ones sound good. The butterfly ones, however, are just my speed.
Well, I wanted the teddy bear ones but my girlfriend said she would leave me if I wore those outside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by david1978jp View Post
Thank you for the review.
Skull Candy currently has 189 headphone. It's not surprised some of them sound good. Just a matter of which ones.
I doubt there's anything worth the full retail price in Skullcandy's (incredibly massive) lineup. This is based on my experience with the Ink'd, FMJ, TiTans (oh how people love these), and GI. The earphones in question here are not actually made by skullcandy, which is probably why they are good.
post #10 of 15
I WANT THOSE!!!!

(the skull ones, of course )
post #11 of 15
White cable w/ skulls. FAIL!!
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post
White cable w/ skulls. FAIL!!
Yes I was rather confused by this design choice as well, especially considering that the other models come with black cables. The cable is surprisingly similar in texture to the cabling on iBuds, albeit thicker. But it carries pretty much zero cable noise, which is something a couple of big-name manufacturers out there could take note of.
post #13 of 15
Oh ****ty... THey are the REAL Skullcandies XDXDXD
post #14 of 15

Can buy the butterflies for a girlfriend next time. Haha.

post #15 of 15

WTH...

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