This is my first review so bear with me if I sound less than accurate for I am just an aspiring audiophile tight in budget.
I totally disagree with reviewers that says these canalphones are average. The sound they provide is superb. They render instruments naturally, have a wide and deep soundstage. Voices come out clear crisp and natural. I did my test using my trusty old Pioneer a330 connected to a LG DVD DVS-9513N via analog custom cabling and used a fifth generation Ipod with 8GB of 258-320K bit rate tracks.
These earphones are constructed using very good materials. the buds themselves are made from very sturdy machined aluminum. The cable is ok but look a little flimsy. The stress reliefs got me wishing for more but they seem good enough to last a while. The cable looks good but no eternal and it could be improved. the mini jack TRSS connector could be much beefed up (considering the price) but works fine, The left side control looks plasticky and a tad cheap but it works fine one click makes the track play or the call accepted. click again for pausing and three times to skip one track it leaves room for improvement by adding volume control and a TRSS adapter from mee electronics enables the mic and the rest of phone functions to be used beyond Idevices (it should be included I know a lot of Iphone haters that need to take and place calls .)
Without music on you can still hear voices and high frequency noise but when music is on you hear nothing else unless commuting in a very noisy tube or bus. In spite of the rated low impedance you have to listen to these a notch or two over the middle volume of an ipod to avoid outer noise getting in you music
Due to their low impedance there is a very low hiss when no music is played but that's normal for an 8ohms earphone. My testing setup included [[ASIN:089524506X Joe Satriani - Flying in a Blue Dream (Play it Like it is)]], Ianis Xenakis and Pascal dusapin works for flute published by the Salabert label, [[ASIN:B00000DRXH Beethoven Symphony No. 6 Pastorale (CBS Great Performances)]], [[ASIN:B000W268Q6 Fever To Tell [Explicit]]], [[ASIN:B00006AAVZ Charango]], [[ASIN:B000W25K3I Reading, Writing & Arithmetic]], [[ASIN:B005PMNBNG Hurry Up We're Dreaming]] and Chilean Band Saiko's first album "Informe.saiko"
For the digital part I used my fifth generation Ipod with Mercury Rev's live album Beyond The Swirling Clouds in 320K mp3 format
This is the best boring part
Listening to Beethoven's Pastoral n.6 and Romance and Romance for violin and Orchestra made this earphone sound exceptional, the instrument separation is great with an airy touch provided by the extra crispy highs these deliver. instruments sounded natural but in overly complex parts they became a little closer to each other so for regular classical orchestras there are better options like the magnificent Brainwavz B2, the Ety's or the Hifiman RE0, However, their rendition were above par anyway.
Xenakis and Dusapin`s recording of flute works is ideal to test positioning and separation of sounds as well as the high frequencies. The Clarity Ones allowed a very good extension for the highs and there is spark to it too. The flutes and string instruments sounded natural and not aggressive enough to cause pain (it happened to me listening to this record using a V-Moda Crossfade LP's). Separation and clarity were really high in this record. Each individual instrument could be easily located and placed and nothing sounded muddy or distorted.Even the performers exhalations and respiration can be heard and that's a WOW condition.
Joe Satriani's "Flying in a blue dream" selftitled track sounded close to perfection. All instruments were in their right place and there is acceptable layering when the rithm guitar is added to the mix. The drums kicked as deep as needed and the cymbals sounded perfect. The bass guitar also could be easily picked. "I believe" sounded intimate and the contrast between the guitar arpegios and solos and the drums is correctly rendered.Distorted guitars sounded great but not entirely perfect still natural though.
The SUNDAYS record is mainly middle frequencies and female voice so I use it to test that side of the spectrum. "here's where the story ends" sounded crudely natural almost linear but a bit dry. Harriet Wheeler's voice came out beautifully out of the Clarity's.
Strangely enough Morcheeba's Charango's "Otherwise" track sounded like there were few instruments in the mid freq spectrum. Heard mostly Bass, the singer`s voice and keyboards or synth notes but little else mids were up-front and head to head with the bass and I expected to hear more instruments but there were little else. Other tracks were more interesting providing more meat to the barbecue.
M83 record was a surprise I could actually recognize details I haven't heard before like the notes on the looped high pitched sound that is overly present throughout the song "Midnight City". I got a little upset by the exaggerated highs repeated in the song so I had to turn the volume two notches down. Voices sounded intimate and somehow distant but that's the overall tone of the voice for this record so that was expected.
Regarding Yeah Yeah Yeah's record. I found myself wanting more energy from the distorted guitars the way I get it from my AKG-K518LE but they are very different headphones they aren't canalphones at all so they cannot be compared with the Clarity One earphones. Having said that, Karen O's voice sounded great and the bass guitar and the drums were superbly heard in every song I tested from "Maps" to "Date with The Night".
Finally my impression with Saiko's record is very similar than the impression I got from Joe Satriani's record. Very well embodied, good separation of sounds and Denisse malebran's voice sounds clear and almost intimate.
These earphones clearly depicted the live recording of Mercury Rev's Beyond The Swirling Clouds album. The 320K tracks showed every nuance of the performance plus the crowd antics.
These earphones are almost v-shaped in presentation. Bass is powerful but not boomy. The mids are a tad recessed and the highs are dominant and sometimes a little tiring. Separation is good but positioning not entirely correct. These phones are airy but far from UM3 airiness based on the reviews I read here. They are very musical though and somewhat "fun" in terms of signature. People endemically treble unhappy should steer away from them like the house is on fire.