I know there's another thread about XePort stuff, but I wanted to make a dedicated thread for reviews and opinions. If the mods decide that merging would be better, that's cool too, but I really think that XePort deserves some attention.
XePort is a relatively new company from San Diego that has three extremely cheap models out—the 3010, 5010, and 7010. Creative names huh? Well they were kind enough to send me each of them to review. I got them today and I felt they were good enough to bother writing initial impressions on in the midst of the Monoprice 8320 fever.
Ironically, the bottom-of-the-line 3010 ended up being my favorite of the lot. It’s not the most detailed, but for the under $50 class, I don’t look at technical abilities as much as how inoffensive the sound is. The 3010’s actually sound like something I’d buy for $50, even $70. Bring on the flames! But seriously, for $10, IEM’s should not be this clear. Bass isn’t exactly plentiful, but I was just listening to A Fine Frenzy’s One Cell In the Sea, and I actually thought I was using something that’s much more expensive than $10. Now, they’re hardly neutral. They’re incredibly bright actually, which is quite strange for an IEM under $50, because this is the prime bass heavy price segment. Instead, XePort made a bright, slightly midforward IEM that just sounds wonderful with indie and stuff like that. If I had more money, I’d stock up on these and give a pair to everyone I know. Let the hype train for these commence!
The 5010 is a tunable IEM similar to the SP51. Comparisons are probably going to be inevitable, so for immediate comparisons, I already like the much cheaper 5010. The SP51 in comparison is incredibly grainy and harsh with the silver ports, sucked out and uninvolving with the grey ports, and the black ports are just a mess in comparison to the 5010, which manages to have extreme bass while not making the vocals sound like they’re underwater. I used to discount the SP51 of its faults because it’s a good deal cheaper than the VB’s, but the 5010 is, to my ears, superior. I don’t want to say too much more because these are preliminary impressions, but so far, these are downright awesome. I’m going to be keeping the black ports on because it’s silly fun. I want to write so much more about these, but it gets a bit tedious switching ports, so I'll save that for the full review.
The 7010 is awesome in its own right with its warm, full sound with a hint of harshness in treble, but to be completely honest, I like the CC51 more. The 7010 is bassier and less refined than even the 5010, and vocals seem to have a veil on top of them. Midrange isn’t actually that recessed, but vocals and other instruments in that range are a bit veiled. What the 7010 does have over the CC51, however, is that I haven’t heard much sibilance from it, something that I only recently noticed after switching to them from the ACS T15 (which I’m still in too much in awe to make a review for), which has awesome treble. Is the 7010 worth $20? Sure! Is it worth getting over the CC51 if there’s less than a $10 difference between the two? Not really. To be completely frank, I expected the 7010 to be my favorite of the line, but it ended up being my least favorite. It sounds much better than something like the EX71 and Marshmallows, which were like the only $20 options only three years ago (!!!) but even compared to its brothers, it’s not up to snuff. If XePort managed to fix the midrange, I’d probably get all my friends to buy them, but as it is, it’s hard to recommend when the 3010 and 5010 are much more pleasing.
XePort seems to have hit the ground running in its audio endeavors and I must say, they’ve created some very compelling products. The 3010 is quite honestly my favorite IEM under $50 at the moment—if you want superlatives, which seems to be quite effective, they easily could pass for costing 5-6 times their price because of the uncharacteristic-for-the-price sound signature. To get back to the real world, they don't even hope to compare to anything I've tried over the $100. If I remember correctly, the B2 is easily better, and the ACS T15 is indisputably better in pretty much every way. I like to see hype trains, but anyone that expects anything under flagship price to hang with the best is kidding themselves. In the case of the 3010, it happens to be a bright, midforward IEM that works wonderfully with vocals, something that I haven't really come across in any IEM anywhere near $70. Now, they don't hold a candle in technical ability to anything more than entry level, but seriously, these are $10.
If XePort makes better stuff at the same budget prices, well, they just might be the new MEElectronics.
Full review to come in a week or two. I didn't really check for grammar issues and stuff like that, so forgive me for mistakes. Oh, and pictures will come tomorrow, maybe.