This is the first review in which I honestly couldn't use these stock. I had to use my Comply T400 tips to get a good fit. Other than that this review is written without an amp/DAC to let listeners know what they sound like stock.
The packaging is neither exciting nor bland. It's what's expected for the price range. The Woodees come packaged in a cardboard box with a clear plastic window to display them. On one side the product features are listed such as: Natural wood housing for deep bass sound and Fashion-conscious ergonomic design. On the other side the specifications are listed as well as contents. On the back there's some more information and some contact information.
When opened up the accessories and headphones are in a plastic mold. Included are a pair of Woodees IEMs, 3 spare pairs of silicon tips, a faux leather pouch, a shirt clip, and a little interaction booklet. There's nothing special here, but there doesn't really need to be. The Woodees are on par with similarly priced IEMs, you get the basics and nothing more.
Design and Build Quality
I had a few impressions when I first opened these. The first was that the IEMs looked nice, the wooden color looks better than pictures. The gold clothed cable also looks nice as did the y splitter and straight plug. Lastly I couldn't figure out which was right and left since there are no markings, but I assume the Woodees logo should be facing out.
The IEMs themselves seem built pretty well, nothing amazing, they actually feel a little on the cheap end, but they seem like they'll hold up decently. The wood looks nice but the metal half of them feels a bit cheap, I suppose to keep the weight down though. I also noticed these are rather big IEMs, much bigger than the Dunu Ares, especially with my chosen tips. Even with the stock tips my friend thought they were a bit big. The cable is a nice touch, but it's a bit thin, I have no concerns of now with the cable quality though. The y splitter and plug are both made of the same cheap feeling metal on the IEMs, but look sturdy enough.
Once plugged in I noticed a lot of noise while plugging them in and out, I'm not sure if I got a defective model, but there's definitely build quality issues with the plug. Whether plugged into my MacBook Pro, FiiO E7, or iPod there's noise when the plug is twisted. The cable may look nice, but these aren't ideal for exercise. Even with the shirt clip enough microphonics were apparent to lower the music listening experience. It's not horrid, but it's definitely noticeable. Then came the problem of trying to get a good fit. Firstly I want users to know that these are deep insertion, but have a large nozzle, these are definitely not for those with tiny ears. If you can't get a correct seal these are going to sound absolutely horrid. After trying every tip and getting mixed seals with mediocre comfort I chose to use my trusty Comply T400. Thankfully they fit and I've been able to get a decent seal without changing the sound, surprisingly. Isolation with these is decent, but I can definitely hear outside noise with no music playing and can hear loud noises with music playing.
Overall the build quality is slightly below average in comparison to similarly priced IEMs such as the A151, E30, and Dunu Ares. They're not bad, but an iffy headphone jack and microphonics that aren't apparent in the other I've named are here.
These definitely need burn-in. I've given them 50 hours before them settling in. They went from my least favorite to perhaps my favorite IEM over the A151. The sound is rich, powerful, full, natural and very musical, I honestly feel like I'm in the room with the musicians at times. These IEMs are honestly capable of reproducing any frequency to an astounding degree, without giving them an artificial feel some headphones can do. There's a rather decent soundstage for IEMs, I'm rather impressed with how open the sound feels compared to others. Songs feel like they have room to breath, which is one thing I've missed coming from my Ad900.
As I said the lows are powerful. They make their presence known, but let me assure you that these are not for bassheads. The bass extends deep and sounds full, without being bloated nor without protruding into the mids like the SoundMagic E30 did. It's one of the most natural sounding lows I think I've ever heard, I honestly feel like I'm in the studio with a live band at times. From stand up bass' to electronically produced bass the Woodees bring them out to their full potential while making them sound as real as I've ever heard. The mids are smooth, clear, and when the songs aren't bass heavy nor high oriented, they shine. On acoustic songs these produce very natural sounding guitar or piano with excellent realism, the notes linger as they should and I can hear every string individually without a problem. For alternative rock they have enough attack to keep up with any fast guitar riff while having the punch to make the listener feel it. The vocals sound wonderful, clear and full, honestly these might be the most natural vocals I've ever heard as well. The highs are wonderful, but on a few songs I actually found them to be slightly fatiguing and a tad bit too forward. They aren't as forward as lower end Grado's, for instance, but they definitely extend well with good detail.
Radiohead - Idioteque
I chose this to see how the IEMs would handle an electronic song with many things happening in it, that had a slightly mid focused sound. The bass drum sounds absolutely wonderful. It is full, without bloat, perhaps the most natural I've ever heard. The mids sound wonderful, Thom's voice is easily heard around the same level as the kick drum in this song, which is where it's supposed to be. The various noises in the song from the synths and effect heavy guitars are fantastic, the panning on them, the detail, and they're perfect in the mix.
In comparison to the A151 for instance the kick drum has slightly more impact, but doesn't sound as full or natural. It doesn't extend as well. The vocals sound as if they're being run through another set of effects, slightly grainy, and might I say I notice a little sibilance? The highs sound a little pushed back in comparison to the Woodees. Honestly, the Woodees have these beat for this track.
James Blake - Limit To Your Love
Those who read my reviews will know I love choosing this song for a bass test. The vocals and acoustic piano honestly sound like they're in front of me on the Woodees. I hear the slight breaths of air in his voice after some longer notes and the pianos notes linger beautifully. The bass comes in and it's not rumbling my head, but it definitely extends deep. The bass has a fast wobble to it and I must happily say the Woodees keep up beautifully and they even handle the slight note changes in the bass better than any other IEM I've tried including the Apple Dual Driver IEMs, JVC Marshmallow, Meelectronic A151, SoundMagic E30 and HiFi Man RE0. When the second bass line comes in the Woodees handle these as smooth as butter. The bass is lush, warm, full, but guess what? While this strong bass is going on the vocals and piano sound absolutely stunning still.
On the A151 the piano suddenly sounds artificial, the notes aren't holding as long, the vocals sound nice, but a bit grainy on the edges, if that makes sense. The bass comes in and the A151 keep up with it fast, but compared to the Woodees I actually find them a tad bit bloated and the bass isn't as defined. The vocals and piano still sound great while the bass is going though. Overall the the Woodees have more quality bass, more bass definition, and a more realistic sound to them for this track.
Lady GaGa - Alejandro
The intro sound wonderful with the violin and the wind blowing. When the synth comes in it sounds "fat" which is a good thing. The drum beat has excellent kick to it, driving the song while the various synth noises are easily heard. The vocals, oh gosh the vocals. GaGa sounds as good as I've ever heard her. I hate to be overly redundant, but these sound as if she were singing in front of me. With the A151 I felt that they sounded a bit thin on this song, a bit overly processed, the Woodees are presenting to me this song the way it was meant to be heard.
Sara Bareilles - Come Round Soon
While the A151 played the acoustic piano back well and gave Sara's powerful voice a good show, the song sounded a bit thin. The bass just wasn't thick enough to give the song it's edge. There was also the slightest sibilance, but nothing to complain about. On the Woodees the music sounds wonderful, I'm rocking my body getting into it as I listen. The vocals though do show a bit sibilance unfortunately, but I feel it may calm down with some more burn-in. The note Sara holds though, no problems hearing that to it's absolute fullest. I can hear the slight wavering in the note, which is intended, and am absolutely stunned.
Porcupine Tree - Fear of a Blank Planet
Lastly let's see what some progressive rock sounds like on these. Porcupine Tree are known for wonderful production value and sound, which I'm happy to say the Woodees are showing. The bass and drums are punchy with an absolutely full sound that leaves nothing left to be desired. The vocals sound spot on, I saw these guys live three times and I feel like I'm back at the concert. The guitar has fantastic crunch to it while the drums bang along right next to it. This track simply sounds excellent over these.
These headphones have gone from absolutely hated by me to my new favorite IEM. The packaging isn't much to brag about, I'd have loved to have seen a pair of bi-flanges for instance, included. The build quality could use for a slightly higher quality cable, something with less, or no, microphonics. I also wouldn't say no to a slightly smaller design, without compromising the sound.
On the other hand the sound, after 50 hours or so of burn-in, has turned these into my favorite IEMs. What I found artificial sounding on the A151 sounds natural here. These IEMs have a strong powerful sound that I've found good with any and every genre, though Jazz and Classical fans will have their lips in a grin the whole time, I feel. I highly recommend these, especially if you're willing to buy the Comply T400 tips for them.