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2013 Head-Fi Summer Buying Guide (Over-Ear Headphones)
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ESMOOTH - Gorgeous headphones... - Page 4post #46 of 1353/25/11 at 11:56am
Head-Fi's Best Sellerspost #47 of 1353/26/11 at 4:14pm
ES 610 BB Review: (Hope this isn't s'posed to go elsewhere?)
I noted one reviewer said he felt qualified because he was human and has ears. Well, I do too, and I love music, but I am 57 years old, so maybe my ears aren't what they should be. I will try to be brief; I received 3 different pairs of headphones/earphones from ESMOOTH, and this is just about one of them - the small wiry looking, bamboo ES 610. The "ES" is short for ESMOOTH, the "BB" stands for Bamboo. The 610 is beyond me!
The good: Genuine wood. Very light and comfortable. CAN sound reasonably good under certain conditions! (See below).
Note that they are closed headphones, so very little sound leaks in or out.
The Not-so-good: Seem quite fragile. Sound quality unmodified is questionable.
I have compared them to the following headphones that we have in our house - of similar format (small on-ear):
AKG K 450
Senn PX 100
Cheap no-name brand supplied with old Creative sound card - just for fun!
Sources listened to:
iPhone 3gs - with and without fiio E5 amp via line-out (Wave files)
Sony Minidisc MZ-25 - with and without fiio E5 amp (Prerecorded mini-disks prpppp - (Pre-recorded - bought, Minidisks)
Sony Walkman DNE1 CD player - with and without Fiio E5 via lineout (CD)
Zoom H4 recorder - with and without Fiio E5 via lineout- (Wave files)
--Sony Vaio P series notebook pc via headphone out (Wave Files)
Asus Xonar Essence STX Soundcard, via headphone out. (Wave and FLAC Files stored on the hard drive, via Foobar)
(SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE ABOVE - LOOKS OK IN EDIT WINDOW BUT NOT IN THE PREVIEW!)
Music listened to:
Various modern and classic Rock
Various Classical music.
Specifically concentrated (to make it easy for me) on:
Midday (Avoid the city after Dark) - by Yusuf-who-used-to-be-Cat-Stevens, and who I will see live in Stockholm on 7 May (!!!)
Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D - because it's just my favourite piece of music.
First - how do they look?
They are real Bamboo, and the frame/headband is thin wire with plastic joints. It looks light and flimsy, but feels reasonably durable.
They feel very light and comfortable, but the folding system seems fussy and impractical.
I opened them up to check that the wood is real (the finish is so smooth that they could have been plastic) and the wood is real. The drivers are part of the baffle, and the baffle screws into the cup with 3 screws onto a simple plastic frame that is glued inside the cup. When screwed into place there is a slight gap between the cup and the baffle, caused by the fact that the plastic lugs inside are slightly longer than the depth of the cup (hope I am making sense). It appears that this is deliberate, because the ear cushions use this gap to affix themselves to the baffle. I have tried to show this in the photographs. This worries me and I may try sealing this gap and just glue the cushions on! But perhaps the cushions close the gap sufficiently, it's a tight fit.I thought it would matter, sound leaking round the baffle, but of course it would leak outside of the cushion, and away from the ear, so maybe no problem?
So - to the sound:
I first listened to them on my iPhone, directly from the headphone out and was very disappointed, no bass, little treble and slightly distorted mids.
Gave them to my kids (5) who listened to them on their various mp3 players for a week and said basically the same..., but I reckon that at least gave the headphones a bit of a burn in.
I listened to them again this week, and thought I heard a slight improvement. I opened them up, glued some "deadening material" inside the cup (see pics) and also put some wool inside (left over from some speaker refurbishing), tried them again on my iPhone, - definitely an audible improvement.
My youngest son is a keen guitar player and he has a recording device called a Zoom H4, quite an interesting little toy that records in stereo onto a SD memory card. It has a headphone out and a line out.He wanted me to listen to something he had played on his guitar, and I was surprised by the quality of the sound. Tried the esmooths, sounded ok, tried again from the line-out via the Fiio E5 - pretty good with wave files. So I thought, perhaps the iPhone headphone out is not driving them properly. I listened to them connected to my PC with the headphone out of the Asus Soundcard. Not bad.
Tried the other combinations listed above, and the conclusion is that with the right source and some small mods these headphones sound ok.
They are certainly better than the "no-name brand" supplied with our old sound card. I would say I prefer them to the Koss Porta Pro's as well, not as much bass, but possibly a flatter frequency curve, and clearer midrange. They sound particularly good with violin music, I guess it's the colouration that the wooden cups give to the sound.
I remembered I have a spare pair of cushions for my AKG K 450's, and I replaced the stock cushions with those. They are bigger, but softer, and fill the gap in the baffle better. The bass sounds a lot better now, not as deep as the AKG's or Porta Pro's, but clear. A more coloured sound than the Senns, and not quite as clear, but a similar sort of frequency response (in my opinion and to my admittedly imperfect ears).
So overall I would say, cheap at 25 USD, but the postage kills it, unless you are buying several (as presents?) Interesting appearance, not bad sound with some minor mods. (Although I don't suppose many of you have spare AKG cushions lying around, and they cost about 20 Euro's from the AKG guys in Germany.
Hope the above is of interest to some of you.
Edited by mrenard - 3/28/11 at 1:53ampost #48 of 1353/26/11 at 5:21pmpost #49 of 1353/27/11 at 1:18pmpost #50 of 1353/28/11 at 1:08ampost #51 of 1353/28/11 at 1:37ampost #52 of 1353/28/11 at 2:25am
Steven Fu, of Esmooth sent me the following:
"We'll be at HK Electronics Fair in April, welcome to visit our Booth.and will discuss more details if you're coming.Our Booth No:5A16U ), near to the Apple electronics show Zone."
So, if any of you happen to be there....(I won't be in Hong Kong in April, I will be in Finland).post #53 of 1353/28/11 at 7:09am
She's pretty! Anyway, I'd love to see some pictures of what the others you bought look like on a real person, anyone I mean not just trying to see your daughter I promise. I ask this because as much as I don't care for fashion, I would definitely like to get these as a guilty pleasure if they look good enough.post #54 of 1353/28/11 at 7:15ampost #55 of 1353/28/11 at 1:58pm
Also if you happened to have gotten the ones that are styled like Audio Technica's is there any chance you could possibly take them apart as well with pictures? I'm considering ordering those to take apart and try Ad900 drivers or something in them if they'd fit.post #56 of 1353/28/11 at 2:06pm
Yes, the big esmooths are my next project - this coming weekend. How about putting ortho's in them? I have suggested that to esmooth!
A point on the little ES 610's I reviewed, - sometimes I wonder how my brain works - or doesn't. I said they folded in a "fussy and impractical" way. Beacuse I was folding them MY way...
They fold like this: Just like on the esmooth website (and the first page of this thread!) Quite neatly.post #57 of 1353/28/11 at 2:23pm
interesting finding, and very good looking headphones models, i checked the headfonia.
i was just thinking about putting an ortho on those small wooden cups. would a 40mm driver fit in the ES 610?
and nice to see actual picts of a person wearing them, i had no idea they were so smallpost #58 of 1353/28/11 at 2:24pm
I've never heard Orthos, but what I was thinking was making my own Audio Technica woodies and saving some money. I've heard they sell the drivers pretty cheap if you ask, so I was going to go that option for my first DIY project.post #59 of 1353/29/11 at 12:32ampost #60 of 1353/29/11 at 7:18amInteresting..
Thing to note, bamboo in Asia is cheap, so it being made from real bamboo isn't really a selling point.
I remembered something about bamboo's sonic quality being poor when compared to mdr whilst researching A5 speakers. Apparently, bamboo isn't a good material to use if you like bass. Something abt the wood being porous?
Anyways from the mini reviews, this would be consistent with what I found.
+1 pretty daughter =X
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