PAA-1 PRO earbuds
I’m not a big fan or user of earbuds but I was given the opportunity to evaluate the PAA-1 Pro and since I enjoy testing and evaluating IEM’s, how could I pass it up? Many thanks to Jack at Hisoundaudio for the opportunity to give these a listen.
Packaging was a clear plastic box and included are 3 sets of foam cushions, a shirt clip and the buds. No carrying case. Build quality seems very good. Strain reliefs are built much like most earbuds I’ve seen and part of the plastic housing. Cable is of normal thickness and is rubbery feeling. It is somewhat tangle prone but much less so than the Apple ibuds or SoundMagics cable on their IEM’s. There is no chin slider. Plug is straight and gold plated.
Fit is typical of any earbud. The biggest drawback for me on earbuds is that they become fatiguing, fit wise, over longer periods. In other words, my ears become sore and uncomfortable but this is with all earbuds and is not exclusive to the PAA-1 Pros.
All testing was done on an Apple iPhone 4, nano 6g and laptop computer with Spotify with a wide variety of music. The PAA-1 Pros were given 130+ hours of burn in before testing started.
My initial impressions was, wow these can pack a bass punch! I was not expecting an earbud to be able to portray bass this way. To experienced earbud users, this may not be a shock but to me, an IEM user, it was quite a shock; especially considering you do don’t get a seal with earbuds.
The overall sound signature is weighty, warm, big and smooth. Bass is big and packs a really good punch without too much mid bass emphasis. Bass control is average; slightly loose but with excellent weight and realism. The overall effect is very pleasing, very rich and natural. There isn’t a large mid bass hump, so the bass does not encroach upon the midrange.
The midrange is pretty clear and laid back with vocals being projected upfront. Upper midrange is especially laid back in comparison to the edgy and hot upper mids of the stock Apple iBuds. In comparison, the Apple iBuds come across as having greater clarity but at the cost of edginess and fatigue. There is a small veil in the transition from bass to mids and can seem a little congested in faster, more complex passages but in no way affects the clear presentation of vocals.
Treble is very smooth, laid back and fatigue free. On some sources, like my laptop computer, treble can seem somewhat recessed obscuring cymbal details; but on the iPhone 4 and nano 6g, cymbals are more prominent in comparison. I don’t find the iBuds to really have more treble, rather it’s their aggressive upper mids that give the impression of a brighter phone. In reality I find cymbal crashes quite similar and the overall presentation is noticeably more natural on the PAA-1 Pro.
Soundstage is impressive. It is very wide and airy with a good impression of depth. Instrument separation is probably the weakest aspect of PAA-1 Pro. It’s a little difficult to pinpoint location cues but the overall presentation is pleasing and organic sounding and dynamics are superior to iBuds.
From my search attempts, it appears the PAA-1 Pro go for about $40 to $50. If you prefer the fit and ease of use of earbuds, I can definitely recommend these as replacements over stock earbuds, with a fuller, meatier, richer sound with really good bass impact, forward vocals and smooth, non-fatiguing treble.