I have already reviewed some of 1MORE’s and Xiaomi’s audio products in the past and most of them offered a great sound experience for their very reasonable price point.
The Chinese company 1MORE (these are two links to 1MORE’s English distributor and main reseller in the UK that I was asked to include in my review: https://uk.1more.com/, https://www.pocketrocketuk.com/) was founded in 2013 and became quite well-known within a short time. All of their products are very reasonably priced and even their most expensive products are in the beginning three-digit price range or a little below in the high two-digit range. Their current models are said to be co-developed with a Grammy-winning sound engineer.
The C1002 is one of 1MORE’s current and (comparatively) more higher-end in-ears and was just recently introduced to my knowledge. It is also known as “capsule in-ear” due to its design and is a hybrid in-ear with one Balanced Armature and one dynamic driver per side.
Will it be able to convince me just as much as some the company’s former products that I got my hands on did? This is to be found out in the course of this review.
I was provided with a free sample of the C1002 in-ears for the purpose of an honest review. They were sent to me directly by 1MORE UK together with the E1001 that I had originally requested. I have received no restrictions other than the request to include the two links above. As with all of my reviews, I am receiving and have received no financial compensation/endorsement at all and what you are reading are nothing less than my honest and unedited thoughts on the product.
Price: ~ $/₤/€89
Drivers: 2 per side (1x dynamic, 1x Balanced Armature)
Impedance: 16 Ohms
Sensitivity: 103 +/-3 dB @ 1 mW
Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 40 kHz
About Hybrid In-Ears:
As you can read from the technical specifications and mentioned multiple times in the preamble, the C1002 is a little different from most In-Ears and doesn’t only use dynamic or Balanced Armature transducers, but combines both in one shell.
Most In-Ears use dynamic transducers for audio playback which have the advantage of covering the whole audible spectrum and achieving a strong bass emphasis without much effort. Valuable dynamic drivers are often said to have a more bodied and musical bass that has a more soft impact and decay and lacks of the analytical character that BA transducers are known for. On the downside, in contrast to headphones with other driver principles, dynamic transducers often have a lower resolution.
Higher-priced and professional IEMs mostly use Balanced Armature transducers, which usually have got a higher resolution than dynamic drivers, are faster, more precise and have got the better high-level stability, which is important for stage musicians that often require higher than average listening levels. On the downside, it is quite hard to cover the whole audible spectrum with just a single BA transducer and strongly emphasised bass is only possible with multiple or big drivers. Some people also find In-Ears with BA transducers to sound too analytical, clinical or cold (in several active years in a German audio community where I wrote multiple reviews, gave dozens of purchase advice and help, from time to time I heard people that got into BA earphones for the first time using these attributes for describing BA earphones, especially their lower frequencies).
Hybrid IEMs unite the positive aspects of both driver principles and use one dynamic transducer for lows reproduction and at least one BA driver for covering mids and highs, wherefore the often as “musical” described bass character remains and the BA transducers add resolution and precision to the mids and highs – and that’s what the C1002 does with its technology. It is addressed to those people who perceive the clinically-fast character of BA transducers as unnatural, but want to keep the mids’ and highs’ resolution, speed and precision.
Inside the package with the typical 1More design and a paper sleeve, one can find the in-ears, a carrying pouch, three pairs of silicone tips, a tie clip, a pair of protective silicone covers for the in-ears and some paper stuff along with a 1More sticker with a headphone-wearing teddy on it.
Looks, Feels, Build Quality:
The in-ears are made of aluminium and plastic, and the aluminium parts feature a purple-ish colour scheme that somewhat reminds me of Mercedes-Benz’ “Bornit Metallic 481” colour code.
The cable is coated with woven fabric below the y-split, and while it looks and feels nice, I am certainly not a fan of a cable of this type as it is likely to fray over time and might also soak sweat. Above the y-split, the cable is a quite sturdy appearing rubber cable with a three-button remote control on the right hand side. Strain relief is sufficient, however there is no chin-slider.
On the in-ear bodies, you might notice a convex silver part on the left hand side and a concave silver part on the right hand side. These are magnets designed to hold the in-ears together (e.g. if you are hanging them out of a t-shirt). I cannot relate to that, so I will leave this up to you.
The silicone covers are easy to install and might be probably handy if you often drop your in-ears or don’t treat them with the most care and also sometimes place them on rough surfaces. I cannot relate to that either, so I will leave this up to you as well.
The C1002 in-ears are strictly designed to be worn with the cables down, like the majority of cheaper in-ears. The difference though is that with the 1More, it is almost only possible to wear them with the cable down, whereas with the other in-ears, they can also be easily worn with the cables guided around the ears.
Compared to the more professional wearing style and also due to the lack of a chin-slider, this will logically also introduce more cable noise, known as microphonics.
Isolation is about average and neither super weak nor very strong.
My main source devices for listening were the iBasso DX80, Cowon Plenue M2 and LH Labs Geek Out IEM 100.
The largest included silicone tips were used for listening and testing.
The C1002 dual-driver hybrid in-ears sound bright to me with a somewhat v-shaped tendency that favours the higher frequencies. I would even say that it sounds sibilant, so if you cannot stand a bright sound and/or listen at high volume levels, it is safe to say that the C1002 should be rather avoided.
While I don’t hear the bass as being stronger than 7 dB maximum compared to a diffuse-field flat in-ear like the ER-4S when doing cross-comparisons, it doesn’t really come through as being at this level without reducing the upper frequency range because of the bright treble that acts as a counterweight and could definitely even be somewhat less forward depending on the situation. As just mentioned, it can also sound sibilant, and cymbals are definitely splashy and also somewhat metallic (I have a good seal with the C1002, so that’s not the problem).
Listening to music and sine sweeps, the lows start climbing around 630 Hz, reaching their climax around 100 Hz although the level around 200 Hz is just slightly lesser. This level remains constant down to about 40 Hz, the sub-bass, and loses quantity towards 20 Hz.
The lows therefore have a somewhat emphasised midbass and lower fundamental range, adding some slight warmth to the in-ear’s sound without reaching or thickening the midrange though. Compared to the bright treble, I think it wouldn’t have been a mistake at all if there was either less treble or a little more warmth.
The central mids at 1 kHz sound neither recessed nor emphasised to my ears, however the lower highs start climbing and reach a rather narrow peak a little over 5 kHz which makes voices drift to the brighter side. I hear another peak around 8 kHz, however this one is less narrow. The super treble above 10 kHz shows a strong emphasis at 13 kHz and good extension above.
The sound in the lows and lower as well as central mids sounds natural, nonetheless I think that the treble is somewhat too forward and could be more even overall. I am someone who can quite enjoy a brighter tonality, and while I don’t find the C1002 to be really unpleasant, it could benefit from more naturalness and less quantity in the treble, as it can sound rather sibilant and metallic there.
The C1002 has got a good detail retrieval in the lows and also sounds relatively quick and controlled without trying to hide that it is using a dynamic driver for the lower notes reproduction. Attack and decay are neither slow nor as fast as from Balanced Armature drivers and should satisfy everybody who finds Balanced Armatures to be too fast and tight in the bass but doesn’t want a too soft and mellow sounding woofer (here, the C1002 is also definitely more convincing to me than the E1001 triple-driver in-ear from 1More).
The C1002 is definitely convincing when it comes to detail retrieval in the midrange and speech intelligibility.
And while its treble is sibilant, it shows good separation and a quick decay – single notes are well distinguishable.
The spatial presentation of the dual-driver is pretty good – the C1002 sounds relatively open, with a wider than average fundament and solid spatial depth that is almost as present as the width. Instrument separation is solid to good for the price, too, however the layering on the Z axis could be slightly more precise.
In Comparison with other In-Ears:
The C1002 has got the less forward, audibly more balanced bass to my ears. Its midrange is less warm, with more presence in the central mids and the brighter upper mids to my ears. Unlike the E1001, the dual-driver doesn’t show a smoothness-creating dip in the middle highs at 6 kHz and is actually even emphasised in the middle and upper highs. Both have got some peaks above 10 kHz and a really good extension, however the C1002 could definitely trigger sibilance for some people.
In terms of bass quality, the dual-driver definitely wins the race to my ears, featuring more tightness and speed. I would even say that the C1002 also sounds more detailed in the bass. In the mids and treble, the E1001 sounds a little more differentiated and has got the slightly higher speech intelligibility while its central mids are less present.
In terms of soundstage, I hear the C1002 as having about as much spatial width as the triple-driver, however with slightly more spatial depth. In terms of instrument separation, the E1001 is very slightly ahead to my ears.
PMV A 01:
The A 01 has got somewhat more bass to my ears (however depending on your ear anatomy, it could be less if your ear covers the vent to a lesser degree). The PMV’s midrange is slightly brighter and squeakier in comparison, however the C1002 has got the brighter overall treble that is also more sibilant while it sounds very slightly more coherent than the A 01’s.
The A 01’s bass appears minimally tighter while both decay about equally fast. I would say that both in-ears are overall pretty much on-par in the midrange and treble.
The A 01’s soundstage is slightly wider to my ears and slightly better separated.
DUNU Titan 1:
The DUNU has got the same amount of bass to my ears while its sub-bass has got the more linear extension. The Titan 1 has got the less bright midrange and treble in comparison although it is quite bright in the highs, too, and not the best choice for treble-sensitive people either.
The Titan 1 has got the more detailed midrange and treble to my ears.
The DUNU’s soundstage is noticeably wider and deeper to my ears and sounds more open. In terms of spatial precision, it is also superior.
Phonak Audéo PFE132 (grey filters):
The Phonak is the noticeably more neutral sounding in-ear out of the two. It has got less bass, less warmth, but also less treble although it has also got a peak in the upper highs. The Audéo therefore also sounds more realistic and even.
I certainly hear the Phonak as somewhat more detailed overall.
Both have got a comparably sized soundstage with the PFE132’s being better separated and cleaner sounding doing a side-by side comparison.
The C1002 is a solid/good entry-level hybrid in-ear offering for those who enjoy a brighter tone and/or are treble-heads. On the downside though, it can trigger sibilance and sounds also somewhat metallic.
It is convincing on the technical side and offers good coherency, and while its midrange and treble details are slightly behind 1More’s triple-driver in-ears, its bass quality is superior, in being faster and tighter – however if you are someone who is not into bright in-ears, you should probably miss out on the C1002, as even for me who can quite like a bright signature, it is a bit too much.
With my usual 70% sound quality/value (77) to 30% build quality/fit (68) weighting, I come to a conclusion of 3.715 out of 5 stars.