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1MORE iBFree Bluetooth In-Ear Headphones

Rating:
4.3/5,
  1. msturg29
    1More I am Dissapointed. Sound is not great (without EQ).
    Written by msturg29
    Published Mar 24, 2017
    3.5/5,
    Pros - With EQ they sound pretty good
    Cons - Harsh highs and lacking bass without EQ, Large housing makes them uncomfortable

    About Me
    Like most people, I am an avid fan of music ranging from my all-time favorite Metallica to 2Pac to Mozart, YoYo Ma and a lot in between (sorry country but heck no).  I have what doctors would call a compulsive disorder for headphones as I can never seem to stop buying and trying. I am not an audiophile, but I have a worthy quest to find the best headphone / earphone for my tastes and I like to test new gear… a lot. I rely on my ears, and my listening pleasure to determine review scores. I just hope to help other people find nice devices that will suit their taste and their budget.   
     
    As my ocd of headphones is expensive I tend to hover around the $200 or less range of headphones, sorry fancy schmancy headphone connoisseurs.  Also I prefer Bluetooth as I am on the go a lot and don’t like cables (que the diss sesh of poor BT quality headphones). Enjoy!
     
    Tech Specs for us nerds
    ·      Drivers : Dynamic, Not stated
    ·      Rated Impedance : 25 Ω
    ·      Frequency Range : 20 Hz ~ 20 kHz
    ·      Sensitivity : 105 dB @ 1 mW
    ·      Expected Battery: 8 hrs
    ·      Bluetooth Version: 4.1
    ·      Codecs: APT-X, AAC
    ·      Weight: 14g
     
    Accessories
    ·      3 sets Silicone Ear Tips and sports grips (fins) (S M L)
    ·      1 Micro USB Charging Cable
     
    Build Quality
    Housings:  The housings are large.  The actual speaker is curved for a better fit, but overall these stick out of your ear quite a bit. The build material is all aluminum making them seem sturdy and well made. 
     
    Cable:  The cable is a round, mid-size wire with pretty robust strain reliefs at the earbuds.  The cable is heavier duty than most I have seen and should hold up over time.
     
    Functionality/Pairing/Range
     
    Pairing for most BT is the same so I will only call out if there are issues.
    The iBfree has a built in 3 button controller like just about all BT headsets.  Volume Up, Down, Power, Sync, Track Skip. 
     
    Using my OnePlus 3 all buttons worked without issue.
    The signal was strong and I was able to walk about 30 ft away before skips in connection.  The best of those I have tried so far.
     
     
    Comfort
    I will be honest; I don’t like silicone tips.  Once you go Comply, you don’t go back.  So I always buy the correct comply tips to go with my set.  In this case I ordered the 200 series and prefer the comfort line. 
     
    Even with these tips my ears become fatigued after a while due to the size of the housing.  I do appreciate the fins that keep them in place, but dang these are big buds.   
     
    Now for the overall comfort.  Once you get them in place they are pretty good. The fins hold them in place during movement and the comply tips provide grip and isolation for my ear canal.  Now these are very recessed and don’t go too far into my ear; which I have mixed feeling about as these don’t sound that great.  Normally with comply and a semi-deep fit I get great sound from other buds.   
     
    Sound Review
    I always test with the same devices and song list:
     
    Devices:  OnePlus 3 & Macbook Pro
    Songs (don’t judge me):
     
    Eagles – Hotel California [Hell Freezes Over Live Edition]
    Metallica – No Leaf Clover or Fade to Black
    Big Tymers – Still Fly
    Jethro Tull – Locomotive Brass
    Enya – Oronico Flow
     
    The iBfree are quite harsh out of the box on my Macbook.  On my OnePlus I installed the 1More app and was able to adjust the EQ to sound way better.   
     
    For out of the box, non-EQ these aren’t that good sounding.  During Fade to Black the symbols are over pronounced and sounded harsh and made me cringe a bit.  The vocals sounded good and clear, but the bass was recessed.  When I played the same track with EQ they sounded great, smoothed out symbols and moderate bass.  With EQ turned out to be a pretty good sound using the “Rock” setting. 
     
    Again without EQ Still Fly sounded very weak in the bass department and overall unpleasurable, but with EQ was nice and flat with bass and rounded highs.
     
    Comparisons
    1More iBfree vs E10BT
     
    Same price for both of these.  Out of the box very different sound signature.  1More focuses on highs and detail and Soundmagic focuses on smooth overall sound.  Once you add in EQ they become closer with the E10BT being more sculpted and clean, while iBfree sounding more natural and light. Because iBfree are so big and aren’t as nice sounding I would go with the E10BT.
     
    1More iBfree vs Brainwavz BLU-Delta
     
    Again these are similar price.  The iBfree’s have a much harsher high end and less bass.  They actually are a bit piercing right out of the box.  I installed the EQ app by 1More and this really improved the sound.  Also they recommend a burn-in for these.  So time will tell if sounds improve.  Overall the BLU-Delta sound was preferred.
     
    Conclusion
    I heard a lot of great things about 1More and specifically their trip driver buds, but these are not in the same league.  They are harsh and tinny out of the box and require a good amount of EQ to sound nice.  I can appreciate the customization and burn-in capability; but in the end I want to just connect and go and not fiddle with EQ. 
     
    The fit was ok with comply tips and the fins, but these are so big that they fatigue my ears over time. 
     
    I had high hopes 1More and think you can do better, who knows maybe when I burn them in the sound will match the Soundmagic, but I feels that’s wishful thinking.   

      trellus and cpauya like this.
  2. alffla
    A decent and very comfortable pair of Bluetooth Earphones
    Written by alffla
    Published Jan 3, 2017
    3.5/5,
    Pros - -Extremely comfortable, long lasting battery life, great build quality, easy connectivity
    Cons - -Mid highs and highs are a little peaky, can be harsh and sibilant. Bass impact very soft
    My first Bluetooth earphone review is from non other than 1More, a US/Chinese company that has been making waves in the earphone market with their very affordable and high quality designs.
     
    We would like to thank 1MORE for this opportunity to review the 1MORE iBFree Bluetooth Earphones. We received this unit free of charge. The iBFree costs 59.99USD - click here for more info!
     ​
    1More  is an audio company headquartered in San Diego, California but probably has strong ties to China, which in my opinion is great because the Chinese personal audio market is hyper-competitive. I first heard of them a few years back when I had just started to get interested in the audiophile community and hobby, as the Xiaomi Pistons 2.0 in ear earphones was making waves in the budget segment and it turned out 1More was the company behind the production of that cheap wonder. They eventually decided to go off on their own to make their own products, and needless to say, with their great track record I only had high hopes for their newest earphones.

    Since the launch of the iPhone 7 there's been a surge in wireless solutions for the 3.5mm jack-less smartphone, and 1More is probably also targeting this market. I haven't tried that many Bluetooth earphones before, but there were a few that were trying to target a budget segment while claiming quality that utterly failed.

    1More hasn't let me down so far (check out the 1More Triple Driver review!) with their aggressive pricing yet ability to achieve amazing sound, so I was also interested to see what they could achieve with their first Bluetooth product.

    ibfree.jpg
     
    ibfree_2.jpg
     
    Summary for the Lazy

    Pros:
    -Comfortable and well built, modern design
    -Extremely ergonomic and snug fit
    -Long lasting battery life
    -Acceptable sound quality


    Cons:
    -Low amounts of bass impact; not for the bass lover
    -Mids and highs are artificial sounding


    ibfree_3.jpg

     
    ibfree_4.jpg
     
    Specs

    Driver: Single dynamic driver
    Charging Time: 2 hours
    Standby Time: 240 hours
    Talking Time: 10 hours
    Music Play Time: 8 hours
    Wireless Range: 10 m
    Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.1
    Bluetooth Protocol: HFP / HSP / A2DP / AVRCP
    Input: 5V 1A
    Weight: 14 g
    In-line Remote Control: Included
    Color: Red/Black/Green/blue


    ibfree_14.jpg
     
     
    Design, Comfort, & Connectivity

    If there was one thing that stood out to me as a relative wireless earphone amateur, it would be the design and build quality of the iBFree. Aesthetically, it's not especially unique - it has a time tested cylindrical barrel design, but the finishing is nicely polished. The nozzle area is made out of a smooth matte plastic which transitions to a metallic material for the rest of the housing. In this case, we received the red coloured version of the iBFRee (it also comes in grey, turquoise, and lime!), stylishly interjected by bands of black due to the cable strain relief attachment point being black as well. From here, the colour shifts yet again back to a red for the cable. The volume, power control and mic is made out of a sturdy, smooth, high quality plastic that I could find no faults with. The cable is also very soft, matte and easy to manipulate.

    ibfree_10.jpg

    Combined with the soft plastic "ear hooks" that come out from the nozzle and nestle snugly in the concha of the outer ear, and only weighing 14g, the iBFree might look quite hefty as the housing is on the large side and sticks out slightly, but in my testing it has been one of the most comfortable earphones I've worn. All of its edges are rounded, soft, and comfortable, and if the tips or ear hooks don't fit, it comes packaged with S, M, and L sizes. I tried swinging my head around quickly, jumped around, and tried to dislodge it and for the most part it stayed very secure in my ears. Very impressive.
     
    ibfree_8.jpg
     
    ibfree_9.jpg
     
    ibfree_11.jpg
     
    Connectivity was as simple, painless. Simply hold down on the middle power button for around 3-4 seconds and it'll power up and automatically be visible to your mobile device for syncing. I also did not experience any disconnections. I used it with Skype for over an hour, walked around and went to the toilet while my phone was in my room, and the connection never faltered even once. The battery has so far been admirably long lasting as well. My initial tests in the first few days where I tested it on and off with phone calls and simple music playback, left it lying around before powering it down immediately still left it with ample amounts of battery, and I have no doubts that their specified battery life is anything less than listed.
     
    ibfree_6.jpg
     
    Sound quality

    Although my experience of it has mostly been positive due to its good ergonomic design and battery life, and I do think that the iBFree is a great budget wireless option, as a pretty serious audiophile I couldn't help but notice that the sound signature/tuning was just a bit askew.

    My initial impression of its sound was over emphasized high end clarity. As dynamic drivers are usually decent at producing bass, and most budget options these days tend to emphasize bass strength, I was slightly taken aback by the huge amount of midrange and treble presence in the iBFree.

    ibfree_7.jpg

    Bass impact, while not completely absent from the experience, was very light, and will leave EDM and bassheads wanting more - much more. It can eek out some subbass rumble if you play very bass heavy songs, but the bass quantity is decidedly lacking.

    The lack of a full low end presence is also glaring in the lower mids area, with a significant dip in the frequencies here. Coupled with an over emphasised upper midrange and highs that are a little too eager to draw out every tiny treble detail, the iBFree tends to have a bit of thinness to vocals and instruments and slightly too much sibilance as a result.

    However, I could tell that the actual ability of the driver to produce decent resolution sound was actually very acceptable, and so whatever drawbacks I felt the iBFree had were merely tuning issues that could be resolved through some quick EQ (equalisation).

    wp-1482973623099.png

    Using the default EQ setting on my Android phone, I pulled back the extreme highs and the mids slightly and the lows instantly returned.​

     
     
    Through some simple equalisation on my phone, I was able to bring back much of the fullness and body of the sound by pulling back the extreme peaks in the high end, and while it's not the strongest bass ever, it is much easier on the ears as the sibilance is dialed way down.

    Conclusion

    If you're looking for a nicely designed, reliable, comfortable, water resistant, Bluetooth earphone at a great price of 60USD, and either don't mind a bass light and high emphasised sound or are willing to play with your phone's EQ settings (I swear it's not hard), the iBFree is a very good choice of product. 1More hit many of the right spots in their design, especially in the ease of connectivity and ergonomics, but in my opinion slightly missed the mark in terms of audio quality. I have high hopes that 1More will be able to create a much more balanced sound in their next iteration of the iBFree.
      trellus likes this.
  3. Peddler
    Sturdy, look good and sound great - highly recommended
    Written by Peddler
    Published Dec 6, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Made of metal, very good battery life, lightweight, comfortable, loud, high quality sound and responds well to EQ
    Cons - Slightly bass light (without eq), metallic sheen to top end (without eq), shallow insertion depth.
    Introduction
     
    I have recently had the good fortune to review 1More’s excellent Triple Driver 1001 In Ear Monitors and their MK802 Bluetooth full-sized headphone and was left extremely impressed with both. 1More is producing some truly excellent products which can seriously rival competition that costs significantly more.
     
    Over the past few weeks I have tried out quite a few over-ear bluetooth headphones in a mad search for the ‘ultimate’ bluetooth headphone. In looking for the ultimate, sound quality had to be the primary consideration.
     
    I tried the Bose QC35’s, V-Moda Crossfade Wireless, Sennheiser PXC550’s (I wanted to also try the new Sony MDR1000x models but they appear to be sold out with a two month waiting list - and I’m the impatient type. Having tried some of the best noise cancelling headphones I feel that perhaps that’s not the direction I really want to go in. I found the noise cancelling function on both the Bose and Sennheiser headphones to be absolutely outstanding at reducing noise but I felt that both headphones had made compromises to the sound quality to achieve this.
     
    My usual wired headphones consist of the following (all of which are used regularly):
     
    Ultimate Ears Triple Fi 10 - IEM
    1More Hybrid Triple Driver - IEM
    Sony XBA H1 - IEM
    Apple Earpods
    Audio Technica ATH50X - Full Size Over-Ears
     
    Playback electronics include:
     
    Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (an excellent audio player - especially with the inclusion of the Neutron player).
    Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
    AgpTEK H01 - Micro SD based lossless player with a very powerful amplifier on-board.
     
    My music tastes are beginning to vary in my old age - Rush, Pink Floyd, Queen, Bach, Fleetwood Mac, Vivaldi, William Orbit, Hanz Zimmer - you get the idea. Most of my music is well-encoded MP3’s (either 320K rips - some of the older stuff ripped using EAC/LAME (with some cool psycho-acoustical filtering applied) and some downloaded FLAC files. In other words, perhaps not the best in the world but certainly a significant step up from entry-level.
     
    My criteria in order of importance is:
     
    Sound Quality and Volume
    Ability to pair with two phones
    Reliable Bluetooth connection
    Battery Life
    Facility to use wired connection
    Comfort
     
    I can tolerate some discomfort as I am frequently having to remove my headphones when working but they’ve gotta sound good and loud.  I normally like a sound signature that’s neutral (with perhaps just a hint of deep bass) normally. I don’t tend to mind a slight dip in treble as I’m quite sensitive to shrieking  (that’s what happens when you’re married).
     
    Physical Properties
     
    The iBFree Bluetooth earbuds are similar to a number of inexpensive bluetooth earbuds out there - but with one pretty obvious exception - they’re made of metal rather than plastic. This definitely gives the earbuds a premium look and feel which is most definitely welcome. When you consider the kind of use that these types of earbuds are going to be put through when compared to regular headphones, you can see just how important the build quality is. I suspect you could accidentally tread on these without them getting damaged - although I’m not going to do this for obvious reasons.
     
    IMG_20161203_102305882.jpg  

     
    The metal used is very lightweight and, to be honest, I haven’t noticed a difference in weight between these and the more regular plastic bluetooth earbuds I used before. There is a rubber strain relief and rubber trim around the headphones as well. The cable is a kind of hybrid between the flat ribbon cable that is now used on many headphones but it is rounder and fatter than them as well. I get the impression that this cable could withstand a fair amount of punishment without snapping or developing a fault - only time will tell but I have to be honest, I tend to try and look after my stuff but accidents will always happen I suppose.
     
    The micro USB port is covered with a tight fitting flap which I found difficult to open the first couple of times but seems to open easier now. Charging doesn't seem to take too long - with the red led simply switching off when fully charged.
     
    Comfort and Controls
     
    The shallow fit for me made the headphones slightly uncomfortable to start with because I’m used to a deeper fit and I spent quite a lot of time twiddling around with them to try and get the best fit possible. With all the tips I tried I found that the fit was always somewhat shallow. The earbuds come supplied with three different sized tips and ear guides which can help keep the headphones in place when you’re being active for some people. I did have problems getting them to fit with the supplied tips but I had a spare set of tips which came with my Sony IEM’s and they definitely made a difference. The fit is still shallow compared with some of the other IEM’s I have tried though and this does potentially spoil these headphones - by gently holding the iem’s in your ears, you can clearly hear just what these headphones are potentially capable of. The problem is that you need to get as good a fit as possible as this helps makes the bass shine through with some real presence.
     
    IMG_20161203_102256076.jpg
     
     
    The controls are pretty typical of this type of bluetooth headphone but they do appear to be of better quality than those found on the cheaper brands. I still had a little difficulty in finding the PLAY/PAUSE button sometimes and often found myself turning up the volume rather than pausing the music. Callers reported that voice calls were quite acceptable and the bluetooth range was definitely better than their cheaper counterparts. I would have liked to see a slightly longer section of cable between the controls and the earbud itself as I find it difficult to see the controls when wearing the headphones with the cable in front of me and virtually impossible to use with the cable behind my head. I suppose this is a personal preference and I am a fairly big chap with a fairly MASSIVE head!  The iBFree feature voice prompts to advise you of power, connection and battery status. I am pleased to see that 1More didn’t have the headphones beep every time you change the volume - that’s something I really hate.  The bluetooth connection is fast and reliable. I was surprised at the effective range - normally quite poor on these types of headphones. Whilst they cannot compete with bluetooth headphones like the 1More MK802’s and V-Moda Crossfade Wireless full sized headphones, this is definitely understandable considering the differences in their size.
     
    Sound Quality
     
    Down to the nitty-gritty. After all, this is what headphones are all about.  The iBFree uses the APtX Bluetooth protocol which offers higher resolution - this can be heard in the upper mids and treble.   Out of the box they are very bright. Bass is there and it’s quite nicely tuneful and detailed but the problem is the higher frequencies are boosted a little too much for my liking. In all fairness I have to admit that I have got used to the sound signature of the V-Moda Crossfade Wireless full sized headphones and they do tend to have an emphasised bass and a slightly laid back treble. The iBFree headphones have pretty much the exact opposite sound signature and I did have a bit of a problem adjusting to this.
     
    The good news though is that they respond favourably to small adjustments to eq to compensate for this and the drivers in the IBFree are very good and offer a nicely detailed and punchy sound when appropriately adjusted. The mid frequencies are nicely clean and clear - not being either enhanced or recessed. This really becomes apparent when listening to female vocals and classical music. In fact, with an appropriate eq setting applied, these have a very similar sound character to their fabulous triple-driver iem’s - and that is quite a compliment. I used to be quite averse to equalisation - being of the belief that you lose something in the sound quality the moment you reach for the control but as my listening is now exclusively digital and I use one of the best MP3 applications on the market - Neutron - for nearly all my listening, I’ve realised that it doesn’t really hurt to give things a little tweak from time to time. The only problem I have now with using eq is remembering to switch the effect off again when I have finished using that particular headphone.
     
    Bass can go nice and deep without distortion. It’s also lean and tuneful - kinda reminds me of the bass on the Etymotic ER4P (when there is no eq applied). Bass notes are easy to follow and don’t muddy the mids - nicely done. I must admit I have boosted the bass a little with these but that’s because I feel I’m not getting the best seal possible and feel I need to compensate. Once I find the ultimate eartips, I suspect I shall flatten the bass down again.
     
    Mids are nicely detailed. No additional eq is required. The iBFree’s really shine with the mids - especially with female vocals. Mids are never harsh or ‘shouty’ and this is always a welcome characteristic with in ear monitors.
     
    Highs - without eq I found them way too bright. The highs are detailed though and with eq applied, offer lots of detail and a nice metallic ‘sheen’ to cymbals. I suspect the ultimate top end frequency response with these headphones is well beyond my hearing threshold.
     
    Competition
     
    Competition for bluetooth headphones is definitely hotting up - perhaps this is thanks to Apple choosing to abandon the headphone socket on their latest phone or perhaps it’s because the technology is now capable of producing very high quality sound without the compromises found in the last generation of wireless headphones. Much of the competition is inexpensive all-plastic devices but the electronics in these inexpensive sets is competent - 1More have clearly put emphasis not only on the electronics but also in the driver technology and overall construction. This makes the additional cost over their inexpensive counterparts definitely worth the extra expenditure in my opinion. With a reasonably subtle amount of eq applied 1More’s iBFree have a wonderful, open sound with a nice amount of punch and power. The headphones have a very low noise floor when actively connected and once the music starts playing, even very quietly, this noise floor completely disappears. These headphones. when eq adjusted, have a sufficiently ‘flat’ signature to enable pretty much all genres of music to shine. The inexpensive buds cannot offer this sound quality - they mostly tend to emphasise too much bass and not offer enough detail.
     
    The sound characteristics of in ear monitors is far more ‘intimate’ than what’s found on full sized headphones and sound leakage is definitely not as pronounced - this could have made them ideal for listening to music in bed - unfortunately they do protrude somewhat and you can’t comfortably lay on your side whilst listening to them. This is something where 1More’s Dual Driver Capsule hybrid in ear monitors have a definite advantage as you can comfortably lay your head on your side with those on. Only problem is, they’re not wireless. If 1More combined the earpieces of their Capsule headphones with the electronics of their iBFree bluetooth headphones, they would have an absolute ‘KILLER’ headphone.
     
    Conclusion
     
    The bright signature is a little off-putting for me. I resisted applying eq for a couple of days hoping that their top end would dim down a little with burn in or perhaps my brain might burn in a little but in the end I had to see if they would take to some eq and the good news is that they do without any downsides when using Neutron.
     
    I struggled to get a good fit due to their shallow insertion depth. With this in mind, they’re excellent when sat down to listen to music but when walking the dog for example, I found that I had to keep making small adjustments to them in order to maintain a decent amount of bass presence, It’s a shame that the fit isn’t a bit better because they sound great when properly inserted. I’m currently going through my collection of assorted buds to try and find one that’s going to work best with these - Sony Hybrids fit just fine and I am getting some favourable results with them.
     
    Assuming you can overcome these issues, I think they’re excellent and tick so many boxes.They’re capable of going loud without distortion and definitely have the capability to sound good - especially if you get a good fit and/or can make some changes to the eq to increase the bass and decrease the treble.
     
    I am more than happy to compare these with some of the higher-priced IEM’s on the market - including wired ones. Whilst I think I will always prefer the sound quality and overall characteristics of Ultimate Ears Triple Fi 10’s and 1More’s excellent E1001 Triple Driver headphones, these definitely share some of their qualities. Highly recommended.
     
    1More's U.S. Web Site
     
    https://usa.1more.com/products/ibfree-bluetooth-in-ear-headphones
     
    1More's Amazon Link
     
    https://www.amazon.com/1MORE-iBFree-Bluetooth-Headphones-Microphone/dp/B01H8140TU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481065827&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=1more&psc=1


    Postscript

    I've just tried these headphones with an old set of tips from the Etymotic ER4P'S I used to have and the sound character has changed considerably - bass is brought forward and the highs are crystal clear. Basically a huge improvement and they are now kind of like having a pair of Bluetooth Etymotics. Yup they are really that good.
    1. Peddler
      Just thought I would add something to the review. I recently fitted a set of the triple flange tips (normally used for the Etymotic ER4P) to the 1More bluetooth headphones and I have to say this has improved the sound quality massively. Bass is much much better and the top end is brought under control. They really are like having a pair of bluetooth Etymotic headphones now - anyone who owns these headphones must give this a try.
      Peddler, Dec 30, 2016
      trellus likes this.
  4. glassmonkey
    1MORE iBFree aptX Bluetooth IEMs: one more excellent headphone from Luca Bignardi and crew
    Written by glassmonkey
    Published Dec 1, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Balanced sound, good precision for the price, clear mids, tight bass, attractive colours, excellent battery life
    Cons - Can have some tin in the cymbal strikes, no carrying pouch, fit will be a problem for some
    iBFree-2.jpg
     

    Acknowledgment   

    Thanks 1MORE UK for providing this review sample in return for my honest opinion.
     

    Introduction

    Bluetooth is weird. There are a good many people who have stood on the position that all we need to hear is 320kbps MP3s. If this is so, than nobody needs the headphone jack and Apple has it right in getting rid of the archaic technology. Surely we should get rid of all technology that is more than 100 years old. My doorknob needs to be retired, as does my toilet. I don’t know what I’ll replace them with, but they are old technology, so they need to go—or so the marketing would have us believe. The billion dollar question is whether we need the wires.
    I’ve reviewed 4 Bluetooth headphones now, not including the iBFree or the two further Bluetooth reviews I have on hand, and I’ve used 4 different transmitters during these reviews. I have generally found that wired performance is better than Bluetooth performance, but it isn’t night and day. On the go, in loud environments, Bluetooth may be preferable—you won’t hear the full fidelity of your music anyway.
     
    The 1MORE iBFree is one of many Bluetooth headphones out there that use the aptX codec. For the purpose of this review, I think it is important that we understand what this means. According to a 2016 What HiFi? article, AptX HD Bluetooth: What is it? How can you get it?, aptX is a coding algorithm created in the 80s that was popular with film studios and radio broadcasters. AptX claims to be able to play ‘CD-like’ audio quality, but when we examine what this means. ‘CD-like’ is 352kbps lossy music. It isn’t much better than the best quality MP3s. AptX HD, the new poorly supported standard (only a couple headphones, not many transmitters), boasts a bitrate of 576kbps, and has the ability to play 24-bit/48kHz audio—it’s still compressed and lossy, but higher quality lossy. Qualcomm also claims lower distortion in the mids and treble regions—that would be spiffy. I’m not sure I get the point of aptX HD yet, but I’ll find out in the near future.
     
    If you don’t have aptX you have a codec called SBC (subband coding). The Headphone List has an article that should be required reading for anyone thinking about their upcoming Bluetooth purchase. According to the linked article, SBC plays at a bitrate of 328kbps at a 44.1kHz sampling rate (at maximum quality), but with worse audio quality than a top quality 320kbps MP3. If you have an Apple device you may get AAC, which is designed to sound better than MP3 at similar bitrates.
     
    The catch in all of this is that your ears will only get to hear the best codec that your transmitter and your receiver (the headphone) are capable of producing. If you are wielding an iPhone, aptX is just marketing, you don’t have it. If your phone doesn’t use it like the ZTE Axon 7, your aptX headphones will default to whatever quality SBC the phone is programmed to play—it might not be that 328kpbs high quality bitrate. Beyond this, headphones with aptX aren’t necessarily better. I have an Aukey Bluetooth USB dongle that has aptX low latency, but my older Avantree SBC only BTTC-200 is better sounding with less noise. My new Avantree Priva II transmitter is better than the Aukey also. Both Avantree transmitters sound better than my Samsung Galaxy Note 2, which has aptX.
    Another factor plays into whether your Bluetooth set-up sounds any good. Unlike your wired headphones, your Bluetooth headphones have the Bluetooth receiver, a DAC and an amplifier (as well as batteries) in the earpiece(s) or attached to the earpiece(s). The quality of those components may mitigate the quality of your source. If the amplification isn’t clean to the drivers, your source isn’t really going to matter too much.
     
    Wireless is just a lot more complicated than wired headphones. With wired headphones you know exactly what you are getting in the signal chain much of the time. This isn’t the case with Bluetooth headphones most of the time.
     

    About the company

    According to the Wall Street Journal, 1MORE was founded in 2013 by three former Foxconn executives with an in investment from Xiaomi, one of the largest mobile gear manufacturers in China among other venture capital investments. The company is based out of Shenzen, but has roots in the USA in San Diego—a really nice place to have roots with all the great beer, great food, great culture, great weather and endless beaches—and a distributorship in the UK. 1MORE aims to have a global brand to match Apple’s big bangin’ gorilla, Beats. Unlike Beats, 1MORE wants to make premium quality headphones at midrange prices, instead of making mediocre quality headphones at premium prices. As of the Wall Street Journal blog entry in 2015, achievements included 10 million in earphone sales in China, and I imagine since their triple driver won a couple of awards, that those sales numbers are way up.
     
    Like most sensible people I started falling in love with music as a child. My first portable audio device was a Sony Walkman (the cassette kind) that I got when I was 10 years old (24 years ago).  I listened with the cheap Sony on ears that came with the Walkman until I bought a Koss CD boombox and started listening to UAF College Radio and 103.9 (alternative rock at the time) in Fairbanks, Alaska. I once listened to Louie, Louie for 3 days straight, and I’m not insane—did you know there is a Spanish gospel version of Louie, Louie?
     
    Like political tastes and tastes in friends, my musical tastes evolved through association and then rebellion and experimentation. From the songs of my father (The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, ZZ Top), to the songs of my peers (Dr. Dre, Green Day, Nirvana, Weezer), my tastes evolved, expanded and exploded into the polyglot love that is my current musical tapestry. Like a Hieronymous Bosch mural, my tastes can be weird and wonderful: dreamy Japanese garble pop, 8 bit chiptune landscapes percolated with meows, queer punk, Scandinavian black metal; or they can be more main-stream with minglings of Latin guitar, Miles Davis trumpet, and banks of strings and percussion in the Mariinsky Orchestra. Mostly my audio drink of choice is a rich stout pint of heady classic rock and indie/alternative from my musical infancy and identity formation (the 90s). Come as you are, indeed. Beyond the weird, the wonderful, the interesting and accepted, I’m a big fan of intelligent hip-hop artists like Macklemore, Metermaids, Kendrick Lamar, Sage Francis and Aesop Rock. I even dabble in some country from time to time, with First Aid Kit and the man in black making cameos in my canals.
     
    My sonic preferences tend towards a balanced or neutral sound, though I’ll admit to liking a little boosted bass or treble from time to time. If I have to choose between warm and bright, I’ll choose bright almost every time. A few screechy high notes are preferable to me than a foggy unfocused bass guitar. As my tastes are eclectic, and a day of listening can involve frequent shifts in my sonic scenery, I don’t generally want headphones that try to paint my horizons in their own hues. I need headphones that get out of the way, or provide benign or beneficial modifications. I desire graceful lifts like an ice-dancing pairs’ carved arc, not heaving lifts like a man mountain deadlift.
     
    My last hearing test with an audiologist was a long time ago and under strange circumstances. However, I have heard tones all the way down to 10hz and all the way up to 23Khz using headphones in my collection. Either my headphones tend to have a hole in frequency at 18kHz or my hearing does, because I never seem to hear it. I’m sensitive to peaky treble, and treble fatigue, even when I can’t hear what might be causing it. I do enjoy smooth extended treble. I like deep tight bass and impactful drums, and dislike upper mid-bass emphasis.  I like my vocals crisp, so stay away from Josh Tillman’s voice you nasty upper mid-bass hump.  I like air in the stage, not just cues to distance and height, but the feeling of air moving around and through instruments. Soundstage shouldn’t be just about hearing, I need to feel it. I listen at volume levels that others consider loud (78 to 82 dB), but I just set it to where the dynamics peak. I’m not here to shatter my eardrums. I like them just how they are.
     
    I generally don’t believe in using EQ, not even for inexpensive headphones, especially in reviews. I won’t claim that I haven’t done it, but I generally try to avoid it.
     
    I believe that burn-in can make a difference, but I also acknowledge that there isn’t any measurement that appears to give conclusive proof that burn-in exists. I trust my ears, fully acknowledging that my brain may fill in expected details, may colour my interpretation, or may be subject to its own settling period with a headphone. In my experience, burn-in effects are not as large as proponents of burn-in tend to advertise. I’ve also noted that using white/pink/brown noise, I almost never observe changes beyond 24 hours of burn in. When people tell you that you shouldn’t listen to your headphones until they have 200 hours on them, I think these people need to be ignored. No matter what, you should be listening to your headphones at different stages, right out of the box and at intervals. How can someone observe a difference without baseline observations and follow up observations to measure change trajectories? If you really want to be serious about controlling for effect, you need volume matching, source matching, and tip/pad matching.
     
    I’m a firm believer that cables can make a difference, but I don’t think they always do. When I tried out Toxic Cables line, they were in a bunch of baggies at the Cambridge 2015 HeadFi meet without any labels tell me what I was listening to. The cheapest looking one was the one I liked the best. I was excited that I wouldn’t have to spend much to improve my sound. It turned out that the cheapest looking one was the Silver/Gold top of the line cable. I’ve heard the difference that USB cables can make, from upgrading from the crappy cable that came with my Geek Out 1000 to a Supra USB, and then again when upgrading to the LH Labs Lightspeed 2G with the iUSB3.0. When I picked up a cheap shielded power lead from Mains Cables R Us to replace my standard kettle lead on my integrated amplifier, I heard more crunchy and clearer treble. I switched the leads with my wife blinded and she heard the same difference. I didn’t tell her what I heard and let her describe it herself. But cables don’t always make a difference. When I switched from my standard HD650 cable to a custom balanced cable (Custom Cans UK, very affordable), the sound stayed exactly the same when hooked up via a top tier (custom made by my local wire wizard, @dill300, out of  silver/gold Neotech wire) 4-pin XLR to 6.3mm converter. Balanced mode made a difference in clarity and blackness of background—this indicates that the amp was the deciding influence, not the cable. Your mileage may vary and you may not hear a difference, but I have.
     

    Vital Statistics (specs from manufacturers and distributors)

    This is where the marketing speak gets voice. Most of what’s in this section of my reviews isn’t my words. I generally use standard block quote methods to let you know what I’m not saying. Keep at attention to avoid confusion. The typos are original, I take no credit for them. As is standard, brackets means that the text is mine.
     
    Quote
     
     
    Specifications
     
    Driver
    Single titanium coated PET dynamic driver
    Frequency response
    Not reported
    Impedance
    Not reported
    Sensitivity
    Not reported
    Bluetooth codecs
    aptX, SBC
    Bluetooth range
    30ft
    Battery life
    Standby 240 hours, Talk 10 hours, Music 8 hours [confirmed]
    Colours
    Vibrant Red, Space Gray, Aqua Blue, Apple Green
    Accessories
    3 sets of single flange silicone tips (S, M, L), 3 sets of sport grips (S, M, L), micro USB charging cable
    Manual
    It’s available online, sweet.

     
    The 1MORE iBFree can be purchased at uk.1more.com (£79.99). These particular headphones are $59.99 on usa.1more.com. I have no idea why they have a 40% price discrepancy on the UK 1MORE site. Right hand, meet left hand; please do a little dance and get the whole body is in step.
     
    [​IMG]
     

    Form & Function

    The packaging is simple and functional for the iBFree, a simple white box with perfectly tailored compartments. I found the accessories underwhelming, though, for several reasons. First, there was no pouch for the headphones. I like to keep my headphones protected. Luckily I bought a couple spare case/pouches so I’ve had something to keep these from getting mucked about too much when I toss them in my bag. Second, I couldn’t get a good fit with the included tips.
     
    The iBFree is very large right behind the nozzle, and the nozzle is not very long. For me this means that the body of the headphone was competing for space with the structure of my ear. In order to have proper fit, and in order to pass what I call the doggy shake test, I had to use either Comply Isolate tips (I think the 500 variety), or Spinfit’s new double flange tip (CS220, methinks). I don’t think most people buying a sport Bluetooth headphone will expect to need aftermarket tips. Also, the Comply tips were the best fit, but they would be a bad idea for sports use. Mmm, nothing like foamies dripping oversaturated salty sweat down your ear canal.
     
    iBFree-3.jpg iBFree-6.jpg iBFree-7.jpg iBFree-4.jpg iBFree-5.jpg iBFree-8.jpg
     
    With the stock tips, shaking my head from side to side like a shaggy dog drying off dislodges the tips easily—this is with the sport grips perfectly in place. Switching to the CP220, side to side movement loosens the headphone, but it doesn’t fly out. With the Comply Isolates, the IEM stays firmly in place.
     
    I’m also not a fan of the inside vent on these headphones. If you twist the headphone wrong, your sport grip will cover over the vent. The manual even has a diagram telling you not to do this. I was able to avoid occluding this tiny little dot on the inner part of the headphone, but I think this design can be improved.
     
    With regards to range, I was able to get about 20 feet away, with some office walls—real world testing—getting in the way before signal broke down badly. At about 15 feet there was some instability. Bluetooth performance depends heavily on the transmitter, so some may find that they get better than what I’ve gotten with these, some may do worse.
     
    I got the full advertised 8 hours of playback and charging was quick, only an hour or so. Pairing is easy and they have a good manual to walk you through all the controls. I didn’t test the water resistance of these, but I can confirm that the USB cover firmly plugs into place. I think these will do just fine in your sweaty workout, assuming that they stay in when you go all shaggy sheep dog shake on them. For running or other up and down activities, I think fit will be less problematic. These probably won’t be great for dance or gymnastic parties, but exhibitionist park joggers will be fine.
     
    791608.jpg

    Audio quality

    For a single driver Bluetooth IEM at the price on offer, these sound exceptional. I hooked these up with a number of DAPs using the Avantree Priva II as my transmitter (it’s aptX low latency and excellent sounding). It sounded good with the Priva II, but the Note 2 is a lousy audio source, it’s muddy and awful in wired configuration and muddy and awful in Bluetooth, relative to real dedicated DAP and DACs at least. The Note 2 is probably better than a bucket of mud—I haven’t tested this scientifically.
     
    1297691146560_ORIGINAL.jpg

     
    I tested this with the LH Labs GO2A Infinity, the iBasso DX50, the Cyberdrive Clarity Feather DAC and the HiFiMAN SuperMini. Now I’m aware that the final DAC and amplifier are in the headphones, but it has been my experience that if you are using a USB dongle, the power of the amplifier and the quality of the DAC/Amp feeding the dongle do affect sound quality and useable volume range. If you put good stuff in, you are far more likely to get good stuff out.
     
    The iBFree has a clean balanced sound. The sound reminds me quite a lot of the 1MORE E1001 Triple Driver I just reviewed, but without the bass lift, which is quite an accomplishment with two less drivers to work with. The iBFree is not as airy and has a smaller soundstage, but it accomplishes some of what the advertising speak on the UK 1MORE site claims. The sound has present bass with good quality, if not a ton of quantity. The mids are clear, precise and tonally balanced. Treble has good extension, but sometimes cymbals can sound a bit thin. Overall the treble is pleasing with no harshness. Violins are sharp when called for, but not piercing. These are really very capable dynamic drivers.
     
    When listening to Sibelius’s 5th symphony from the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in DSD, the strings soar, but don’t have tons of separation. Musicality is preserved and the presentation is excellent, but it lacks the huge soundstage necessary to really knock Sibelius’s 5th symphony out of the park.
     
    These are really natural sounding. I think that Luca Bignardi might be a magician or a renaissance man. A renaissance magician? I think pointy hats are all the rave with both of them. He’s good, whatever way you think about him. You don’t win four Grammys if you suck. All the 1MORE gear has his signature imprinted on it, and now I find myself wanting to go get albums he’s been associated with because his sound is clear and natural, for the most part, with the EO323 being a little bit of a departure.
     
    When listening to the new Chesky 30th Anniversary Collection—go get it, it’s the good stuff, real black tar kind of stuff—every track sounds beautifully open and natural. Some of that is the recording, but the iBFree do a good job keeping pace too. You’ll need rehab after listening to this pentuple length album.
     
    VOL4COVER.jpg
     
    When putting on my speed test track: Animals as Leaders – Ka$cade, it mostly keeps up, but does smooth out some details. Also, the cymbals still sound thin.
     
    One difference between wired and Bluetooth headphones is noise floor. You can take a wired headphone down to basically no noise floor with the right equipment in hand. You can’t change out the amplifier on Bluetooth headphones, so the noise floor that is in them is what you are stuck with. These have an audible noise floor. It isn’t offensive, but you will hear snakes hissing in the grass that aren’t really there from time to time.
     

    Comparisons

    Compared to the Ausdom M05 full size aptX capable Bluetooth headphone, the 1MORE iBFree have a smaller soundstage in all dimensions, but have far more precise bass with none of the somewhat woolly midbass bloat that can afflict the Ausdom M05. The M05 is more airy with a bigger sound. The iBFree is more focused and precise.
     
    The Syllable D700-2017 have a more closed in mid-centric signature that is soft and smooth like an ermine throw, and probably just as ethically produced. The sound of the Syllable is very fit dependent, and the fit on these makes it difficult for the bass to show up loud and proud. The drivers on the Syllables aren’t fast enough to handle Ka$cade’s busier parts well. The mids get really muggy and woolly with all the finer details just collapsing out of the mix. These need calmer music.
     
    Overall the 1MORE iBFree held up very favourably to the competition I threw at it. The sound is more precise than the Ausdom and more technically capable than the Syllable by a long distance.
     

    Conclusions

    The 1MORE iBFree is good value with a clear, coherent sound that did well with all the music I threw at it. It has neutral bass and mids performance with a little bit of treble roll off. Details are generally presented well. The iBFree isn’t flawless. It doesn’t have a large soundstage, has a little bit of tin smack going on with some cymbals, and can smooth over some details in particularly fast musical passages. Beyond audible limitations, the headphone may have fit issues for some, as it did for me. I was able to correct fit issues by using aftermarket tips, but the market this product is targeted at may not find that an acceptable solution. These headphones are excellent value and should be quite popular among folks wielding jackless iPhone 7’s, it is likely to be better than Apple or Beats’ in-house sound.
     
    Overall, I think the positives of these headphones outweigh the negatives by a significant margin. I highly recommend the iBFree and that’s why I give it 4.25 stars. If it had a bit better fit with the stock options, this would be a solid 4.5. I think these are better than a 4 on sound, so I’ll round up to 4.5, after all.
     
    Thanks again, 1MORE UK, for providing this review sample, they were definitely worthy of spending some quality time with. Then again, everything that 1MORE and Luca Bignardi have touched has sounded excellent. Just 1MORE to review.
  5. dnun8086
    iBFree from bad sounding Bluetooth earphones
    Written by dnun8086
    Published Sep 27, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Sound Quality, Price, Build quality, Array of colours
    Cons - Design, Comfort, Included eartips, Peaky midrange and treble
    Disclaimer
     
    Firstly, I would like to thank the 1More team for giving these to me for the purpose of this review. All impressions will be made from as much as an objective standpoint as possible. I’ve been involved in audio for some years now and enjoy listening to music extensively. With a good set of earphones, headphones and source you’ll be set for life. Well until the next new thing comes along.
     
    Introduction
     
    The best pair of Bluetooth earphones I've ever heard!!!! I can't stress this enough, I may not have had extensive time or experience with Bluetooth audio devices but everything about Bluetooth until now has pointed to one conclusion, hard wire is simply so much better!

    Whilst that might still be the case but in this new day and age with times changing and Apple removing our jack leaving us jack less fools unable to jack off... Yes, I know what I said! (Also I am aware there is an adaptor but that's not the point I'm making!). We have to conclude there needs to be an advancement in technology and we are about to see a new era of Bluetooth and fancy do flip bangers to come during this period I’m sure.

    Thankfully I'm glad to say even a diehard wired in audiophile such as myself has come to see a little ray of hope shining in this new, thought to be, fruitless abyss. Enter in the 1More iBFree. 

    Now the introduction is over I think I'll bore you to death with the specifications, design, ergonomics, accessories and such. Thankfully there’s not much to add here so I’ll bullet point for the most part making comment on what is necessary.

    Specifications
     
    1. Bluetooth®4.1 and aptX®Coding
    2. Water Resistant Aluminium Alloy Body
    3. Bluetooth: Bluetooth® 4.1 with 30 ft. range
    4. Battery Life: Standby 240 hours, Talk 10 hours, Music 8 hours
    5. Range of different colours: Vibrant Red, Space Grey, Aqua Blue, Apple Green
    6. Duel layer drivers, Titanium
    No additional information at the time will update if I can find out any more bits of info.
    1MORE_iBFree_Driver_labeled-_Amazon_07_1024x1024.jpg
     
    Accessories
     
    Once again 1More provides a stellar minimalist package that feels fairly premium.
     
    Inside the box you will get the following:
     
    • In-ear Bluetooth wireless headphones
    • 3 sets of silicone ear tips and sport grips of various sizes
    • Micro-USB charging cable
     
    Pretty disappointed after receiving some great foam ear tips with their current flagship that they haven’t included something compatible here! Alas, hopefully all these reviews might lead to more of an assortment in their future products, fingers crossed eh.
    IMG_6095.jpg eartips_labels_1024x1024.png IMG_6097.jpg
     
    Design
     
    I won’t rant on about the design but have pinched a few beautiful pictures from 1More’s website to further the brief description of the iBFree earphones.
    As aforementioned these do come in a wide array of colours all of which pop in my opinion my personal favourite being the Aqua Blue. Talking a little about the design they are pretty much what you can expect from a Bluetooth set of earphones slightly big and bulky but the craftsmanship, like all of their other products, is just superb. You’ll get a slightly angled nozzle and the ear glides for additional ear support should you feel the need to use them.
     
    ibfree_greenrain_1024x1024.png 4pack_1024x1024.png
     
    Ergonomics
     
    Okay well it has to be mentioned even with all the eartips and ear glides I just couldn’t get a good, comfortable or secure fit! Not good when you consider the target audience, in their defence I could be just that 1 out of 10 who had a weird shaped ear. If you overlook this subjective flaw and manage to find a compatible set of tips, which I did in the end, you are okay there isn’t much wearers fatigue despite the bulky housing design.
     
    Note for those who are struggling to find a good fit, foam ear tips with a slightly small bore due to the nozzle size also remove the ear glides if you find them of no use. Below you will see a picture of how the ear glides were designed to work.
     
    I’d say that about wraps it up but please leave a comment below if you would like any additional information.
    WES_red_1024x1024.png
     
    Functionality
     
    All of what is written here can be found in the manual if you ever need to read it. In the manual you’ll see the first four pages have some useful diagrams displaying how the earphones work how to turn them on (No not like that!) and of course how to turn them off, you’ll also see how to charge them, how to change the ear tips and how to properly position the earbuds in the ears. 
     
    Upon power up you will be greeted with the robotic mono tone “1More” followed by a brief announcement of you level of battery and connection “Pairing, Battery High.”  Navigate into the settings on your phone, then Bluetooth and you will see the “1MORE iBFree.”  Select this and you will be informed that the device is now connected. You will hear that same mono tone female voice upon switching off your device to “Power off”.
    1. Hold and press the power button on the in-line controller for 3 seconds after that the device will turn on followed by a blue LED flash.  If you hold the power button for ~4-5 seconds it will turn off, a red light will flash and the device will turn off. The device should pair automatically when turned on (red/blue LED flashing).
    2. There should be a red light with charging and this should turn off when charged. 
    3. The device will take about 2 hours to fully charge and can support a 15-minutequick charge, which should give you 1 hour of playback. 
    4. There are 3 buttons on the in line controller, volume up, power/multi-function button, volume down. 
    5. The multi-function button has different functions in different modes. In call mode, you can answer/end call, decline call (hold button), redial previous number (press button x2).
    6.  While in music mode you can increase/decrease volume with short presses of the volume buttons, you can advance Next/Previous by holding the button and play/pause with the multi-function button.
    7. The device supports IOS battery widget, multi-device connection. Useful for checking your battery life as pictured below.
     
    I would say all the information is pretty darn accurate and I’ve had a good distance connection with them and about 7-8 hours play time after a full charge.
    IMG_6112.png
     
    Sound Quality
    Yay finally the wait is over unless you just skipped to this part which I don’t blame you if you did, but I do know where you live. Just kidding let’s see how this thing performs.
     
    Treble
     
    I can’t lie to you all and say one will be welcomed into a room of refinement silky smooth detail and sparkly highs that will leave you misty eyed. However, what I can say is you will be invited in with detailed features scattered around the room, a rather sharp character and hard overtone will case it’s shadow whilst ironically shedding light on each instrument you are trying to pick out.
     
    I seriously can’t get over how good these things sound overall! Yes, there is cravats in the sound of course there will be I mean take a look at the price tag and accept the fact you are listening to a Bluetooth device. Once you’ve got over all of that you’ll be enjoying yourself just as much as I have been, well at least I hope you will. Now back to the point at hand how’s this treble coming across in a few words clean, clear, crisp and a little sharp.
     
    Those adjectives best describe the sound to expect I have no idea why but it is almost like the veil has been lifted in comparison to any and all other Bluetooth headsets I have previously tried. There is without a doubt a lack of refinement and a little weight resulting in slightly tinny sound, I am not putting you off just needs to be clearly described as best I can.
     
    Concerned about the sibilance issues well you might have a right to be if you are overly sensitive to such things. I am blessed in the fact my ears have been able to adjust over the course of my journey to handle and cope with a splash of sibilance now and with the ……. It’s there just not overbearing so I am happy enough to spend extended listening time with them to enjoy the rest of its spectrum and character.
     
    Midrange
     
    “Hey! Hey!! Here I am, I’m not late am I guys?!” No you are not bloody hell calm down, ah what the heck you just do your thing girl. I can see a ton of people here finding a marmite type sound signature, as you have probably figured out I like marmite. So how does this tie into me making such an outlandish claim as to say “These are the best Bluetooth Earphones I’ve heard to date”.
     
    Well I am glad you asked Sir/Madam the answer we find located is within the energy of music, the flow to which one can enjoy and relish in the ambience and character of a such a vibrant soul. I like this kind of midrange sort of an in your face transparent demonstration of vocals and notes combined with an unsure yet sunny personality.
     
    I won’t for a minute describe the midrange as over confident, strong, thick or lush but that doesn’t detract from the level of enjoyment I get from these. In all honesty we are probably getting closer to why these sound so damn good, well to my ears at least. The magic voodoo comes with the breezier approach the iBfree is trying to demonstrate and does quite well I might add. I do in general prefer a slightly lusher sounding midrange but in this case because of the bass, which I will get to later, you get a more rounded type of sound as weird as that is to admit with what some audiophiles will call undefined.
     
    I am not scoring these on the premise of their sound flaws dos or don’t but rather as a whole sound package. With the midrange expect to hear a level of clarity and some peaks towards the upper register but do not let this detract from the overall feeling these earphones produce so well.
     
    Bass
    In a nutshell we are happy to attribute bass with musicality and this is another area I’d like to commend the iBFree earphones for performing within their means.
     
    Mid bass is fairly prominent and holds a candle over the sub bass meaning a little less bass finesse however, this is where most consumers looking for a set of Bluetooth earphones in particular really won’t care. If these are to be used as intended i.e for an active user, despite those pesky ergonomics, functionality and housing design, they are pretty brilliant because they are serving a useful purpose of delivering you just enough bass on your plate to have you feeling full and gratified.
     
    No, sorry to say these won’t be winning any awards for the most well rounded sound signature any time soon but they perform well enough to the extent that if you enjoy them the last thing you’ll be doing when you exercise is thinking I can’t wait to take these bloody things out.
     
    Short Story
     
    Side tracking here a bit but one of my first experience’s with Bluetooth earphones was a need for something wireless ish to use as work when cleaning. I got sick and tired and quite frankly peeved at every time I would snag my wire and whoosh an earbud would be yanked from my ear and go flying, just one time happened to be into a toilet (a clean one but still).
     
    Suffices to say that was it, I thought I’ll be blown if I am breaking a pair of any earphones costing £150 upwards and dealing with the annoyance of having something yanked out my skull. 
     
    In the end I placed my order on some relatively cheap branded Bluetooth earphones in the vein hope it could at least serve me the purpose of enjoying my music and not having the continual upset of snagging my wires or losing earphones down toilets.
     
    Stupid, silly idiot I thought to myself as I tried to bare and endure just one minute alone with these things…. Overblown bass, screechy highs, non-existent midrange, no instrument placement, musicality haha you won’t find that here and of course lack of any decent sort of volume levels, Bluetooth earphones just suck. That until this day has pretty much remained, Brainwavz did do a good job of losing me up making me believe not all hope is lost just not quite enough to convince me I could live without wires.
     
    Back to the Bass
     
    So now you know the history let me reveal the mystery of why I believe these to be one of the best if not the best Bluetooth earphones on the market. Simply this, enjoyment I actually like these once I’d wrestled with the fit and got over function control I just found myself enjoying these. I hate to say it but the bass is on point it lacks a touch of depth when you come to the lowest notes but with a good recording these are just a joy to listen to. Flabby and uncontrolled bass in Bluetooth earphones is becoming a thing of the past my friends and here seems to be the answer iBfree. This is by no means to say the bass is spot on but it doesn’t stray too far from being controlled and I’ve heard a lot worse. There is a shaky bit of flab that jiggles its way into the music every now and again but for the most part you are just going to be smashing these out enjoying your club anthems looking like a complete wally as bang your head to the beat re-enacting Ozzy Osbourne or Geezer Butler back in the old days. Just note you aren’t allowed to claim whiplash from 1More trust me I tried, when the insurance company rang they just laughed, can you imagine that! Moving on….
     
    Soundstage/Imaging
     
    Wow, holy crap that’s probably the most I’ve ever wrote in one sound section but I feel it was necessary as consistently we have had to face too many trade-offs when it has come to the wireless world of audio. This nicely leads me onto the soundstage and imaging something I rarely hear a lot of in Bluetooth earphones but you know what it is here and boy oh boy it’s present enough to be talked about.
     
    Now before I go gushing my heart out I just want to say that I am not trying to make any outlandish claims that these are going to be a multi BA setup or anything the likes of which but just to merely proclaim my excitement for the fact a Bluetooth earphone has a soundstage and a fairly decent one at that!
     
    Space, finally! You get an almost airy kind of signature here wide but not very deep still there are great spatial cues hard to keep up during complex passages of music but during the slightly less chaotic times you get an abundance of the slightly peaky treble and in your face midrange scattering detailed around your head. From note to note they accurately portray the information being presented to you. Yes, there are dead zones in the music which is so disappointing considering there is such a balance of excellence for the most part.
     
    Overlooking the parts, the iBfree can’t handle you still get this moderately immersive soundstage with imaging being shown to you as best it can you’ll hear the instruments pop, click and vocals when or where they’ve been panned they’ll be presented. I suppose in a way this could be a way of saying you are getting to hear your music closer to what the artist indeed you to hear it like.
     
    Okay let’s not get ahead of ourselves here they are good for earphones…. But in terms of Bluetooth earphones they are great and we shall leave it at that.
     
    Conclusion
     
    Need to wrap this up so some short pros and cons:
     
    Pros:
    1. Great Performance
    2. Built like a tank
    3. Nice array of colours to choose from
    4. Battery life and charge time
    Cons:
    1. Potentially tricky fit
    2. Big and bulky
    3. No foam ear tips
    4. Slightly peaky treble and midrange
     
    As always if there are any questions or comments please leave them below and I will do my best to get back you. 
     
    Link to their website for more info and purchasing: https://uk.1more.com/collections/in-ear-headphones/products/ibfree-bluetooth-dual-driver-in-ear-headphones
    1. Vidal
      If you shop around you can pick these up for a lot less than the UK Store
      Vidal, Oct 5, 2016
    2. Jacob McCauley
      These are one of my favourite BT earphones I own. But I must say the lack of bass and the lack of the ability to boost the bass without distortion is a big downfall. I personally do like the bright treble as it's a welcome change from the many muffled and extremely dark sounding BT earphones out there. I'm not sure what size the driver is, but it must be on the small side as when trying to EQ a little more bass to even out the sound it starts to distort. Still though, a great earphone and for most people it could easily be one of the best out there right now
      Jacob McCauley, Oct 20, 2016