Thinksound ms01 Review
Wooden earphones although not rare, are nowhere near as common as plastic or even metal earphones. I have always been curiosity try a pair as all manufactures of wooden earphones boasts about the additional quality that the wood brings to the sound because of the acoustics difference. However that’s not all Thinksound can boast, as these are an extremely eco-friendly company who want to make the best earphones while giving off the best eco footprint. I think that is a good policy to go by and is a reason to respect them and even buy from the instantly. Here is their list of a few things that they do:
- Wood is from renewable sources
- Packaging is made from recycled materials
- Bleach-free packaging materials
- Smaller packaging size = less materials used
- Elimination of plastic bubble insert
- Cotton carrying pouch is sewn from renewable source
- PVC-free cables
These are Thinksound newest addition to their line up that no consists of the Rain, TS01 and TS02 which according to Aaron Fournier the CEO all have great sound quality but different signatures. The earphone in discussion hear however is the ms01 with the ‘ms’ standing for monitor series as these earphone are made with both avid music listeners and professional musicians in mind. I would also like to make a quick thank you to Aaron at Thinksound for sending them to me.
Have been doing most listening of these with my Cowon J3 and FLAC and MP3 but also my iPhone 4 so that I really got to know these earphones. I was also using the medium stock earphones but did tip roll a bit with these but returned to the stock tips as I feel that they give the intended signature. However the Phonak tips in my opinion sounded a fair bit different but more on that later.
I have always looked at wooden earphones and thought that they have certain elegance about them and from what I have seen from other companies these are possible the best looking that I have seen. This is all down to the lush combination of metal and wood on the housing and this is very appealing as I am sure you can see.
As for the build quality of these, starting at the jack, which is gold, plated and has huge silicone housing. The housing is really chunky and although silicone is still solid through sheer size. That has a flexible and secure strain relief. The bottom of the cable is if anything average and the same as the VSonic GR06 in width etcetera and not quite like the Phonaks PFE thickness. The Y-split is a thin, small and stylish rounded metal strip with think sound written on it. Being metal it is obviously going to be fine longevity wise and also has a rather small strain relief. The top of the cable is a lot thinner and subpar I think mainly due to its want to tangle. Annoyingly they also lack a cable cinch.
The housings are amazingly built I think with a wooden back of the housing and then a metal front end. Both of course extremely solid and I would never worry about it at all. The seam between the wood and metal is very well executed and tight with no worrying gaps. The strain relief is very flexible but very thin but does its job. Do not worry about the holes on the back of the housings, which are vents.
Included you get pretty little but this is because of their ethos. You get a pouch, which is mesh with the think sound logo on it. Although it is not overly protective I have found myself using it with other earphones, as it looks so nice with its rugged recycled look. Tip wise you get a nice range that will surely provide a fit for everyone with a small, medium, large and extra large pair. They are very short tips especially compared to the Phonak tips for example and also have a massive opening. You also get a cord clip, which makes them even better for running with and is your standard for one.
Now I also got included the active lifestyle earhooks included (are a $8 addition to the earphones) which you use to add comfort when wearing over the ear and help them stay there and in you ears. They are silicon with little grooves wear the cable clips into it. I have found them very handy and they would make running or going to the gym a lot easier as well as for casual listening. I never wore the Phonak ones but I wear these whenever I wear the earphones.
These are a very standard barrel design earphone, which for me meant finding a fit and seal was a very effortless process and did not take long at all. I doubt there are many people who will not get a good fit with these.
Comfort wise these are nice both straight down and over the ear (with the earhooks especially). They are fairly heavy and their presence is always noticed in your ear slightly but so far I have never found these to get to a fatiguing point.
When first unboxing I saw the vent and thought, well their goes the isolation. Well I was wrong their as these have done a very nice job of keeping everything out. They do not insert extremely deep but they sit in your canal enough that most ambient noise is blocked out. I mean I could not hear my mum shouting at me, which is great! :D
Microphonics (Cable Noise)
This is very dependent on your wearing style of these. If you wear them cable down then there is only the slightest bit and I mean the slightest little faint tap when you touch it. With the cord clip it gets near to nothing and when wearing them over your ears at no sonic or comfort loss there is none and I mean none.
By what I am about to write I do not want to cause any upsets or arguments as this topic can be seen as a sour subject. These have had roughly 100 hours now of use and burn in combined. As burn in is not scientifically proven this all could be mental and happening in my head but in the case that it does happen I recommend burning them in as in my personal experience I have noted improvements which have a massive impact on my enjoyment factor, so dint make any irrational decisions after listening to them out the box.
Soundstage and instrument separation
The soundstage may just about be under average. This is due to the lack of width on these and they barely scrape out past your ears. They do however have the slightest element of depth to them.
The separation is not the best either as these are one of the slower earphones I have heard. Instruments are not always easily told apart and a lot of the time is from the same direction.
The bass I have always felt is the main concentration point on these, which I have always found weird as these are from the ‘monitor series’. Nonetheless it is some awesome bass.
The mid-bass is hugely plentiful and very warm and demanding. It is by no means muddy and although not tight is very nice quality wise for what it does with its huge quantity. It thumps and hammers home very hard with great body. It is not however the fastest bass and at times you find it lugging along.
Now its when you extend to the sub-bass region that these really shine. I have never heard another earphone with better bass retrieval and I cannot believe how deep these reach. You feel everything and were I thought that the TDK BA200s did not move enough air well these are the exact opposite. These literally push air into you so hard that you feel it, I cannot believe a small 8mm driver is causing it. It is well and truly amazing bass and the sub-bass is the best I have heard in my life easily taking out earphones such as Sennheiser IE8.
After that bass write up you would expect that the mids are a mess, right? Unbelievably this is not the case. Yeh they are warm and slightly coloured as well being slightly pushed back. But they are extremely clear and with earphones like the Sennheiser IE8 they are veiled. The decay is equally as impressive and it seems oh so natural and vocals linger for just the right amount of time. Vocals seems so natural most of the time over than some females or high notes which are very harsh dues to a very harsh spot in the high mids. The mids are fairly thin but not in away wear they reveal loads of details but all the same there are still plenty of details their.
The treble sits slightly in front of the mids but still a behind the bass, which makes a slight V, shaped signature. Now the treble through burn in has improved greatly, as they were harsh and near non-existent at first. They do roll of quite early, which in turn makes these also have a slight bass signature. The roll off does cause the highs do sound lacking or wrong bodies and also leading to absence of sparkly.
Now at first I did find these very harsh and although with the hours have smoothened out, I still have to describe them as harsh. They are also the slightest bit. I think that the highs are the biggest negative of these rather good earphones.
I am not a basshead but if I were, these would be getting used the most of all my earphones. Are these technically the best earphone? Not by a long shot. But are they enjoyable? Yes sir! They are super fun with great synergy to genres such as pop and hip-hop and of all the more mainstream sounding earphones I have heard, these would get the pick. The fact that these are cheaper than Beats by Dres and in a different league to them is quite extraordinary.
You also get the stunning design of these and the feel good feeling about the their eco friendly nature which is just a basshead. These get my recommendation to anyone who wants a bassy IEM, an IEM to run with or just a wooden IEM to try. I will people to give these a go!
Edited by Swimsonny - 5/28/12 at 7:45am