I got my order from ESMOOTH on wednesday, pretty uninteresting packaging for the most part... But we know they aren't a brand per se, so I ripped all the shrouds off and took in the initial beauty of the wood. For anyone who wants to know. I ordered the 880-EB, 860-EB, 820-BW, 660-EB, 620-SP, 220-GS and the 510-EB.
Moving on with first impressions, I first noticed that all the headphones with the exception of the 660's are a satin finish. I like the satin finish for my own gear, it doesnt get the fingerprints and scratches that the gloss does and kind of reveals that they are real wood not plastic (not that I was ever skeptical.) The second observation is how much smaller they really are in person, kind of a relief actually. They are all very light and very solid feeling in build, a pretty deadly combo if you ask me. The in ear monitors are pretty gorgeous as well, would have liked to see the braided jack on all the models not just the 860's.
First listening impressions were much different however, I plugged the grandaddies in first that are the 880's. So comfortable with the wing design head band, but from my galaxy nexus there wasn't enough juice to power those drivers to the ear-bleeding, headache-inducing, blurry-vision volume I anticipated. Bummer, because I know the 860's have the same drivers and specs for the most part.
Tested that theory to be sure and not to my delight, I was confirmed. To be clear they were good, just under powered or so it seemed. The 860's have such an unparalleled comfort with the leather headband, the ear cups are a little small for long period listening.
Then I plugged in the 820's. They were not underpowered at all and from the second my thumb pressed play on my galaxy's digitizer they out performed nearly every I've heard.
The bass was very present for the second smallest of the line up, punchy and clean. While being very involved in the sound the bass is not over-bearing and has an analytical response to it. No distortion at volumes I can tolerate, none that I could hear at ear-bleeding, blurry-vision levels either.
The mids are a little less orchestral than I like and I can notice that some of my favorite parts of songs are less distinguished in the mid-range, which are easily heard in the thinksound MS01's.
They are clear and are by no means missing from the tracks, just a very smooth and warm which can be hard to focus on behind some bass heavy music, Fleetwood Mac's Gypsy comes out beautifully balanced on a flat EQ and is something you just have to close your eyes to and enjoy fully.
The highs are perfect for my listening style, crisp, crunch, just below that pitch that makes you blink and wince you eyes at higher volumes but high enough to really capture the feeling of the instruments.
Stoked on the smaller drivers being easily powered I threw on the 660's, then took them right off. Not bad and not good but something worse, average. Not as defined of a sound, clear enough for beats users to drool on but just not as crisp. The highs weren't high enough, the bass seemed to resonate a bit too much for the track playing. I thought it was the recording but going back to Gypsy there was no mistaking the lack of quality... Shame.
The 620's are very much like shrunk down 820's, very small with big sound in the bass department. More love from the mids on the smaller cans, which is nice and nearly the same threshold on highs that makes a very pleasurable listen. They are nearly the most comfortable of all the headphones I have, cups are so soft and the head band (which is a soft touch rubber) is so thin and light that if it weren't for the blitz of booming sounds coming out of them, you would forget they were on. For a few hours, all of the headsets seem to offer some discomfort before the 2-3 hour mark.
Later that day after actually working instead of head nodding in the corner of my shop with some headphones on I plugged the 880's into my iPhone.
What a difference.
There I've abandoned the reminiscent semi I was nursing...
The 880's are like nothing I've listened to in my life yet, the bass hits with so much force that you get transported out of your environment and into the music video you were imagining when you chose the track to play. It seriously feels like your head is the skin of the drum, the precision of every kick, snare, tom is so clean and distinguished. Basslines are as smooth as the players fingers would allow in the studio, although being very present like all the headphones from esmooth the bass rarely feels overkill. The specs on these are either not as accurate as they claim to be, or just the only precise values actually represented on a monitor. The mids are similar to what I heard on the 820's but much cleaner and more upfront with the highs and lows.
The high notes again now hit the holy grail in my opinion, just right on the cusp of being irritating at the highest end.
To save time from my personal life I'll let you know the 860's are exactly the same as the 880's in quality but with just a little bit less from the low end. To be somewhat expected from a smaller housing. The 860's are my favorite by far when it comes to comfort and size, and with just a little less bass they feel better for hip-hop and bass heavy tracks.
I haven't giving any of the IEMs the time of day yet, they sound great but I think some pink noise time would do them good.
I still believe the 800's and 600's will even out some more and become truly spectacular with some more burn in time, at about 1-5 hours on each pair (except the 660's just about 8 mins).
Let me know if you want more information on the esmooths, I am pretty sure that you will but my ass is sore from typing at the stool in my kitchen and its friday night!