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
· 3 sets Silicone Ear Tips and sports grips (fins) (S M L)
· 1 Micro USB Charging Cable
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.