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[REVIEW] ECCI PR401

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Again, I’ll like to thank delonicdevil for sending me the samples. ECCI has been quite a budget oriented brand on all their previous IEM, having bang-for-the-bucks factor almost as good as its competitors in the sub US$50 category (PR100, PR200 and PR300 have been reviewed here). However, the new PR401 is aimed at a higher ground, pushing for a US$75 price tag and a place in the most crowded part of the IEM market.

 

PR4-1.jpg

 

SPEC

Driver: 10mm Closed Dynamic

Frequency Response: 10Hz ~ 20kHz

Impedance: 32 ohm at 1kHz

Max Input: 40mW

Sensitivity: 103dB/mW at 1kHz

Cable: 1.4m flat cable

Gold plated 3.5mm straight plug

 

PR4-2.jpg

The three pairs of Sony Hybrid clone are not part of the standard accessories, but extras included by delonicdevil.

 

Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality

Packaging is pretty much the same as the previous models - a small paper box with the hard case inside, and all the accessories and the IEM itself are sealed in the hard case. Accessories have been good on all the previous models. They are good in both quantity and quality. This time however, ECCI has decided to cut the number of silicone eartips to half and only includes the normal wider bore single flange eartips but not the narrower bore eartips.  I am not sure why they don’t want the narrow bore eartips with the PR401, but luckily delonicdevil has decided to make up the difference and put in three pair of extra Sony Hybrid style single flanges eartips on the PR401 that his sells. While the original eartips are pretty good in their own right, Sony Hybrid style eartips just sounds better and more balanced (which is what I use). If you got your PR401 from someone else, I do recommend getting some Sony Hybrid eartips as well. Beside the eartips, the rest of the package is similar to previous models. You will get a shirt clip and of course the good nylon hard case.

 

Build quality has always been above average for the three previous models, and so is the new PR401 – though the company does venture out with a new design. First, the earpieces are still made entirely out of aluminum, which is good. It has a rounded shaped like an earbud. I have average sized outer ears and find no problem with the earpiece, but those with really small outer ears might want to take a more careful look before getting the IEM, especially those who have difficulty with your typical earbud. The IEM also features a new flat cable which is quite popular these days because they don’t tangle much. I am not a big fan on flat cable because they add unnecessary weight, though I have to say the flat cable on PR401 is slim enough that I won’t mind using. The only downside about this cable is microphonics. While the material itself is not particularly more microphonics than a big portion of other IEM out there, it is the way it likes to rub against the clothing that worsen the issue. I presume it has more to do with the larger surface area with rubberized finish as I find just the same problem with a-JAYS, which also features a (even wider) flat cable. The good news is PR401, unlike a-JAYS, can be used with a shirt clip. Another way to deal with the issue is to wear the IEM over-the-ear, but the lack of cable slider makes it hard to secure the cable behind the ear. I actually use the shirt clip as a cable slider in one occasion – not particularly good looking but at least it is functional.  On the plus side, the flat cable seems a bit more durable than typical rounded cable, so even the small strain relief on the earpiece doesn’t bother me much. The strain relief on the 3.5mm plug is however quite decent.

 

Beside issue with microphonics and the lack of cable slider, overall I am very happy with the IEM build quality and the fact that ECCI is able to maintain the same level of craftsmanship over their product line, regardless of price.

 

PR4-3.jpg

 

Sound Quality

As usual, 50 hours of burn-in is given to the IEM before the review. Though burn-in doesn’t seem to improve the sound quality, I have to say I was already impressed by PR401 upon first listen. In many ways, PR401 is the improved version of PR200 and PR300 combined - more mature, refined, and spacious, but retains most of the goodness from both. It really graduated from entry level IEM (where the rest of the PR series are) to become a seriously good mid-fi IEM in its price category.

 

The overall sound signature of PR401 is balanced with a slightly V-shaped like presentation and a faint sense of warmness. Bass is impactful, good in body, depth, texture, while has a decent decay and quantity (*with Sony Hybrid clone) - not larger than PR200 or PR300, but not too far away either – and definitely show a greater degree in control and refinement. Mid is more recessed than PR300, but also shows a better sense of distance and space while still retains a good amount of the warm and sweetness in the vocal, the improved decay in lower mid (compared to PR300) helps in giving a fuller sense of body and texture despite being less forwarded. Treble is similar to PR300: forwarded, full of detail and sparkles while ever so crispier and still sibilant free. Soundstage and image is quite good: airy, spacious and layered.

 

While in first listen, PR401 might not be as apparent as a big jump from the PR200 and PR300, but the devil is really in the detail. It is the refinement in sound on the PR401 that makes it truly stands out from the rest of the series.

 

PR4-4.jpg

 

Verdict

While PR401 is considerably more expensive than the lower models, it has the improvement to show what it worth. While having some minor issues on the design, it is still overall a very solid IEM, both on build and sound quality. With the price tag of $75, it is also a very strong contender in the sub$100 market. It won’t get a perfect score from me, but still enough for a Sonic Diamond recommendation. Please refer to the list for numeric rating.


Edited by ClieOS - 12/23/10 at 12:33am
post #2 of 25

Thanks for the review. I've been looking to get an iem that more suits my preferences than having 2 bassy dynamics. How much more bass would you say the PR401 has than the PR300 and how's the bass texture and extension? Also regarding the midrange is it recessed like say the TF10 or just a tiny bit.

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

PR401 bass is more than PR300, but not by a lot. By itself, I won't call PR401 to be a bassy IEM. The quantity is what I consider to be more than average but much less then bass monster level (if we were to assume PR300 as the 'average'). The overall presentation is similar to TF10, but because PR401 has lass bass, it appear to be less V shaped than TF10. Beyond that, the mid is actually presented in a similar fashion on both IEM.

post #4 of 25

I've never been a fan of flat cables but the trend seems to be moving towards flat cables with all the flat cable earphones that have been coming out. Since they can be used with a shirt clip and I can put on my own chin slider I suspect microphonics won't be too bad.

 

How's the isolation like with the sony hybrids and is there any driver flex? I bought the NE-700X recently but I've found that it's still a bit too bassy for me and I wanted something with less bass and the fit is not the best for me with those. I'll probably end up selling those and buying a pair of these. I did like the PR300 so hopefully I'll like the PR401 as well after I get around to buying it.

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 

I am not much fan of flat cable as well, but the cable on PR401 is more usable than that on a-JAYS for sure. Isolation is decent, comparable to other in PR series but nothing to write home about. I don't have any driver flex on all the PR series, including the 401.

post #6 of 25

i got myself a pair of pr401. the review is quite accurate with the sony hybrid tips. i changed the tips to Audio Technica medium silicone tips and it made the pr401 sound even better. there is lesser sibilance, mids get more prominent, bass gets tightened up and overall imaging is strengthened as well.

post #7 of 25

ClieOS, do you think I should just get two pairs of small and two pairs of medium Sony hybrids? As example, the large triple flanges on the M6 were too big; I use the small triple flanges. Also, the default double flanges on the RE0 and Xcape v1 were just fine. Thanks :)


Edited by jarrett - 5/21/11 at 7:52am
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 

You sound more like a mid size to me, but I guess the safer bet is to order both mid and small size.

post #9 of 25

Thanks. Just about ready to pull the trigger on them - my 5th IEM! Those Shure SE215 sound interesting too, but bass orientation isn't my thing.

post #10 of 25

Well this is dumb. I ordered from lendmeurears, was told they were out of stock, waited a week for restock, nothing still so I'm asking for a refund. Would it be so difficult to update the website with this information!

post #11 of 25

You know there is something utterly ridiculous about the whole IEM scene, but I can't quite put a finger on it.

 

- Too few international sellers

- Warranty is a bit of a joke since replacements don't exist

- Website stock isn't maintained (budgen, gd-b, lendmeurears)

 

A lot, imo, just seem to be setup to take money.

 

ECCI Audio...no new news on their website since Jan 2010...the PR401 isn't on their website?

 

Do you think reviews should tap into "living with" the purchase should something go wrong? This especially applies to owning any Fischer Audio

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jarrett View Post

You know there is something utterly ridiculous about the whole IEM scene, but I can't quite put a finger on it.

 

- Too few international sellers

- Warranty is a bit of a joke since replacements don't exist

- Website stock isn't maintained (budgen, gd-b, lendmeurears)

 

A lot, imo, just seem to be setup to take money.

 

ECCI Audio...no new news on their website since Jan 2010...the PR401 isn't on their website?

 

Do you think reviews should tap into "living with" the purchase should something go wrong? This especially applies to owning any Fischer Audio

 

You make some really great points, the reasoning behind this is cost though.  These companies that you describe above are the ones that have just started and need some way to expand, and upkeep of their own store may cost them much, that's why they use third-party resellers.  Lots of companies start like this, and eventually expand.  Now, I'm not going to say this is 100% true, but it is part of the reason.
 

 

post #13 of 25

Thanks

 

I am hesitant to start a new thread about it because I know in my heart I'm probably wrong. I'd say 4 out of 5 can be relied on


Edited by jarrett - 5/30/11 at 5:41pm
post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 

ECCI doesn't have a good website because it is basically a family business where no one in the household really knows how to run a website. Besides, their main market is really in the China mainland and all the marketing and advertising are carried out in the local forums and Chinese media. Best Buy or Amazon won't pick these brand up any time soon, so all it is left are a finite number of small international dealers that venture out a limb to take them out of China. If you are concerned about these kind of operation, then perhaps it is just easier to stick to the big brand.

post #15 of 25

Got my refund quick!

 

It concerns me a little, I'll just try to be more wary of supply and the places I'm purchasing from. Shall I jump on the GR07's now ClieOS? lol

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