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REVIEW: Xiaomi Piston 2 - Re-defining "Budget-Fi"?

post #1 of 113
Thread Starter 

REVIEW: Xiaomi Piston 2 - Re-defining "Budget-Fi"?

 

 

 

Specs:

Weight: 12g

Impedance: 12Ω-16Ω (depending on the version, 2.0 vs 2.1)

Cable length: 1.2m

Sensitivity: 93db

Plug Type: 3.5mm  gold-plate

Rated Power: 5-20mW

Frequency Range: 20-20000Hz

 

I've got my pair from Xiaomiworld, and it's an original one. It seems mine is the 2.0 version, but it was shipped by the end of January, so the ones sold now should be the seemingly newer 2.1 version. They also carry the newer IF version. Anyway, this seller carries the real one, so no need to worry about fake pairs. Their service and communication is pretty good too.

Here're the links:

http://www.xiaomiworld.com/original-xiaomi-piston-earphone-updated-version-brown.html

And for IF version:

http://www.xiaomiworld.com/original-xiaomi-piston-earphone-if-commemorative-edition.html

 

 

 

Accessories:

4 pairs of eartips, 1xSmall, 1xMedium, 1xLarge and 1xBi-flange.

 

 

 

 

 

Build & Design:

The build quality is already pretty amazing for something priced just about ~$25. The shells, the straight plug, and the Y-split which is also where the microphone and Android controls are placed, are all made of aluminum. From the plug to the Y-split, the cable is a cloth covered one; not the best cloth material, but very soft and flexible what makes it very easy to wrap and carry. From the split to the housings, the cable is thinner and a bit springy, and average on microphonics. Can't complain about it, but it's a bit short, which makes it difficult to wear them "over-ear" style.

Worth is mentioning the nice chocolate scent these in-ear phones have.

 

 

 

 

Fit, Comfort, Isolation:

The Pistons have a pretty straight design and so are very easy to fit. The housings are very lightweight, but a bit on the large side (reminiscent to the Dunu DN-1000/900). They'd be fairly comfortable for most ears, although those with smaller ears might find them annoying due to the sharper edges.

Isolation is rather good, slightly above than average even with just the included stock tips.

 

 

 

 

Sound:

Sound signature maybe not be far from a consumer-friendly V-shaped one. But as for sound quality, that's another story.

Before getting to describe the sound characteristics, let me just say that this Piston new model doesn't sound as what'd be expected from a $20-30 earphone at all. It simply competes with the best earphones I've listened to in the $50-70 price bracket.

 

The Piston 2.0 presents a typical customer friendly V-shaped response. Extension is quite good on both ends, giving a pretty wide soundstage and sense of space. The low end is quite prominent and rather dominant over the rest of the frequencies, and (fortunately) while it may not be considered as a heavy-bassy earphone, it should be enough for the bass listeners. Despite the strong nature, both sub and mid-bass are very detailed and well controlled, with a noticeable added mid-bass hump for some extra 'fun' factor.

Similarly, the top end is very present without any annoying peaks, and rather linear on its whole, but not overly smoothed or even rolled-off. While the treble won't have the same authority as the bass, it won't lack in sparkle and crispiness.

As for the midrange, here's where I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, the mids are really well detailed and airy, and pretty much clean from unnecessarily extra bass bleed. Separation is also quite amazing both in the instruments and vocal dept. In fact, the vocal separation is really surprising, not only for a V-shaped $20-30 phone, but even beats mid-centered IEMs when it to comes to separation.

On the other hand, as impressive as the midrange is, it isn't safe from the common V-shaped effects. While it's not lost in the presentation, it does feel rather cold and distant, and sometimes slightly veiled. Vocals lack texture and sweetness, too. That said, some extra EQ can help in this regard, but still may not fit for the mids lovers.

Yet, the overall detail is much more than what would be expected from this price and matches some of the best sounding in-ears I've owned within the $50-80 bracket.

 

Perhaps I'd rank the Piston 2 around the Vsonic VSD1-S level (even though the signatures are quite the opposite of each other) and a bit better than the RHA MA350 in detail and smoothness (but personally could prefer the RHA midrange richness over the Xiaomi's).

The Moe SS01, for example, are better in most aspects, but the Piston aren't too far from them.

 

 

Value:

Needless to say that for the asking price the Xiaomi Piston are a 'no-brainer', 'bang-for-back' and a 'real deal and steal'. Despite the average fit, they're excellently built and simply put shame on their competition in sonic matters. The Android compatibility is a plus, and they also look and smell great!

post #2 of 113

Thanks for the review. There is a simple solution to the veil in the mids. If you remove the foam inside and put RE0/400 filters on the nozzle, you will almost get rid of that veil and gain some detail and clarity. Of course the bass will be tighter and faster than unmoded Pİstons and will become more balanced. :) 

post #3 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zelda View Post
 

REVIEW: Xiaomi Piston 2 - Re-defining "Budget-Fi"?

 

 

 

Specs:

Weight: 12g

Impedance: 12Ω-16Ω (depending on the version, 2.0 vs 2.1)

Cable length: 1.2m

Sensitivity: 93db

Plug Type: 3.5mm  gold-plate

Rated Power: 5-20mW

Frequency Range: 20-20000Hz

 

I've got my pair from Xiaomiworld, and it's an original one. It seems mine is the 2.0 version, but it was shipped by the end of January, so the ones sold now should be the seemingly newer 2.1 version. They also carry the newer IF version. Anyway, this seller carries the real one, so no need to worry about fake pairs. Their service and communication is pretty good too.

Here're the links:

http://www.xiaomiworld.com/original-xiaomi-piston-earphone-updated-version-brown.html

And for IF version:

http://www.xiaomiworld.com/original-xiaomi-piston-earphone-if-commemorative-edition.html

 

 

 

Accessories:

4 pairs of eartips, 1xSmall, 1xMedium, 1xLarge and 1xBi-flange.

 

 

 

 

 

Build & Design:

The build quality is already pretty amazing for something priced just about ~$25. The shells, the straight plug, and the Y-split which is also where the microphone and Android controls are placed, are all made of aluminum. From the plug to the Y-split, the cable is a cloth covered one; not the best cloth material, but very soft and flexible what makes it very easy to wrap and carry. From the split to the housings, the cable is thinner and a bit springy, and average on microphonics. Can't complain about it, but it's a bit short, which makes it difficult to wear them "over-ear" style.

Worth is mentioning the nice chocolate scent these in-ear phones have.

 

 

 

 

Fit, Comfort, Isolation:

The Pistons have a pretty straight design and so are very easy to fit. The housings are very lightweight, but a bit on the large side (reminiscent to the Dunu DN-1000/900). They'd be fairly comfortable for most ears, although those with smaller ears might find them annoying due to the sharper edges.

Isolation is rather good, slightly above than average even with just the included stock tips.

 

 

 

 

Sound:

Sound signature maybe not be far from a consumer-friendly V-shaped one. But as for sound quality, that's another story.

Before getting to describe the sound characteristics, let me just say that this Piston new model doesn't sound as what'd be expected from a $20-30 earphone at all. It simply competes with the best earphones I've listened to in the $50-70 price bracket.

 

The Piston 2.0 presents a typical customer friendly V-shaped response. Extension is quite good on both ends, giving a pretty wide soundstage and sense of space. The low end is quite prominent and rather dominant over the rest of the frequencies, and (fortunately) while it may not be considered as a heavy-bassy earphone, it should be enough for the bass listeners. Despite the strong nature, both sub and mid-bass are very detailed and well controlled, with a noticeable added mid-bass hump for some extra 'fun' factor.

Similarly, the top end is very present without any annoying peaks, and rather linear on its whole, but not overly smoothed or even rolled-off. While the treble won't have the same authority as the bass, it won't lack in sparkle and crispiness.

As for the midrange, here's where I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, the mids are really well detailed and airy, and pretty much clean from unnecessarily extra bass bleed. Separation is also quite amazing both in the instruments and vocal dept. In fact, the vocal separation is really surprising, not only for a V-shaped $20-30 phone, but even beats mid-centered IEMs when it to comes to separation.

On the other hand, as impressive as the midrange is, it isn't safe from the common V-shaped effects. While it's not lost in the presentation, it does feel rather cold and distant, and sometimes slightly veiled. Vocals lack texture and sweetness, too. That said, some extra EQ can help in this regard, but still may not fit for the mids lovers.

Yet, the overall detail is much more than what would be expected from this price and matches some of the best sounding in-ears I've owned within the $50-80 bracket.

 

Perhaps I'd rank the Piston 2 around the Vsonic VSD1-S level (even though the signatures are quite the opposite of each other) and a bit better than the RHA MA350 in detail and smoothness (but personally could prefer the RHA midrange richness over the Xiaomi's).

The Moe SS01, for example, are better in most aspects, but the Piston aren't too far from them.

 

 

Value:

Needless to say that for the asking price the Xiaomi Piston are a 'no-brainer', 'bang-for-back' and a 'real deal and steal'. Despite the average fit, they're excellently built and simply put shame on their competition in sonic matters. The Android compatibility is a plus, and they also look and smell great!

Great! Best review, yet!

 

Thanks Zelda! :popcorn:

post #4 of 113
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozkan View Post
 

Thanks for the review. There is a simple solution to the veil in the mids. If you remove the foam inside and put RE0/400 filters on the nozzle, you will almost get rid of that veil and gain some detail and clarity. Of course the bass will be tighter and faster than unmoded Pİstons and will become more balanced. :) 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1clearhead View Post
 

Great! Best review, yet!

 

Thanks Zelda! :popcorn:

Thanks! 

 

Could try the mod sometime...

post #5 of 113
NO. WAY.
The Pistons reviewed by the great Zelda?! I stand in awe of you, hero! (Wait, what?)

Great job with the review! But wait, is that paper you used in the background? It's smart, I have to say.
post #6 of 113

Nice review

post #7 of 113

Should receive my V2 soon. Only IEM I can compare them are Creative EP-630. They look really good and sound very good for the price from what I`ve read and they are dirt-cheap. Will share my impressions soon. 


Btw, be aware! There are also fake versions on sale! 

Legit vs. fake pics (Click to show)

 

 

 


Edited by CoiL - 5/7/14 at 8:16am
post #8 of 113

Anyone able to compare these to the Zero Bassos, zb90exs or WooDuo 2? Im thinking about getting one of these soon. 

post #9 of 113
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by antberg View Post
 

Nice review

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by thatBeatsguy View Post

NO. WAY.
The Pistons reviewed by the great Zelda?! I stand in awe of you, hero! (Wait, what?)

Great job with the review! But wait, is that paper you used in the background? It's smart, I have to say.

 

 

Thanks!

I knew people tend to 'hype' things around here, but didn't know that they hype people too :wink_face:.  If i'm a hero then you're a pioneer for first reviewing these :beerchug:

 

Not paper, but cloth.  it helps with the light

post #10 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zelda View Post
 

 

 

Thanks!

I knew people tend to 'hype' things around here, but didn't know that they hype people too :wink_face:.  If i'm a hero then you're a pioneer for first reviewing these :beerchug:

 

Not paper, but cloth.  it helps with the light

Nah, they don't hype people around here, although when you think about it, it simply means they're blaming you for making them spend some more. :D Seriously though, it's an honor to have you review the Pistons. I mean, you've reviewed a lot of great headphones in the past, and seeing you review these just made me jump. Thanks a lot for the compliments, too!

 

Also, they made the front page! I've always wanted them on the headlines ever since the hype train started. A dream come true, basically. But no, I can't take the credit here; I have to thank you for getting them onto the front page, and to bhazard for mentioning them. The moment I saw the name Xiaomi pop up on Head-Fi, I knew I just had to buy a pair. Xiaomi is a great company, and they really know what they're doing.

 

Also, as for the lighting thing...if you have a roommate or relative living with you, you should really get them to have a flashlight shine down onto the stage. It helps with the lighting a lot more than just relying on natural light, and it makes them seem more professional (as if it was taken in a real studio). I used that technique when my sister took the pictures for my review. Makes your shots look a lot better.

 

But anyway, I love the review, especially all the comparisons. I think that's where my review lacks; I simply haven't had much experience with other headphones. The best impressions I could ever get from a headphone is from reviews online, mostly because my parents won't let me have a pair. That, and I can't seem to exploit the 7-day return policy that stores sometimes have because of the Great Wall of Language. But to sum my little rant up: I. Envy. You.

 

Again, great job!

:beerchug:

post #11 of 113

so baby grade
such siliceous
much soft kiss
post #12 of 113

Great review, and thanks!  

 

I notice you guys talking about lighting, so I checked out the metadeta on your photos.  200 ISO on a portable camera under low light is not going to bring out the best in your photos haha :D

No complaints from me though, clear enough to view the finer details.

 

Whenever I wear in-ears my ears will bother me for several days.

Wish that weren't the case, otherwise very tempted.

post #13 of 113

Nice work again zelda.  Is this the same earphone that went crazy on the discovery thread?  I think that's the one I heard and found it very good.

post #14 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyBai View Post

Nice work again zelda.  Is this the same earphone that went crazy on the discovery thread?  I think that's the one I heard and found it very good.

Yep, it's the same one. As a matter of fact, I first heard of the Pistons back there. It never really caught on for long, though, what with the Carbo Tenores and other IEM releases at that time.
post #15 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by thatBeatsguy View Post

Yep, it's the same one. As a matter of fact, I first heard of the Pistons back there. It never really caught on for long, though, what with the Carbo Tenores and other IEM releases at that time.

Ok good to know its the same one. There's stiff competition these days and I love the Tenore and KC06.
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