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I will give a brief description of the journey from unboxing to having listened to it for a few days time, along with a few comparisions.
Unboxing: A Treat for the eyes
I can't go about the description of the iem without mentioning its celluliod faceplate on display thrown right at you during the unbox. I think it looks pretty sweet. Upon first glance you also get to see a case which looks and feels pretty soft, but sturdy enough to protect the iems. Having owned mostly hard cases or super soft bags (that come with sony in ears), i quite like this aspect of the iem.
Included are The iem heads (mine are in a sky blue colour), a silver cable that is not too long, not too short (mine is without a mic), 6 pairs of ear tips. Out of them 3 pairs are black, red ones are wide bore. By default the black tips are on. More on how they change the sound in later sections. We see regular L & R markings on the earbuds and cable. The cable is a straight 2 pin 3.5mm cable. (Not balanced)
Also has a user manual with instructions about the correct way to have the polarity of the cable. And a bunch of stuff about how to wear them, in the very improbable case that you are not from this planet.
Putting them in the ears for the first time (without burn-in)
At first, i notice a hefty soundstage, scratchy/tingy/tinny treble, a good amount of bass, i was sure that these definitely need burn in and should not be judged before. They sounded too sharp and unbearable, a few minutes running from them was not doable. They were easy to drive, even from my phone, goes really loud.
After burn-in for around 20-30 hours
Treble relaxes a lot, there still is a bit of sibilance and is uncomfortable. The EA3's Hybrid Driver setup creates a mostly U-shaped frequency response.
Rating them in terms of Comfort they would get a rating of 5/5 no doubts here. Accessories and build would get a 4.75/5
Sound overall to me would be a 3.0/5. (Without cable swap)
The EA3's bests most of my earphones at this price range in terms of soundstage width. Very comparable to the Tin T2's. Layering is excellent. Thats about it there.
We come to the gripe with this earphone: its highs, The highs can get fatiguing after listening for long sessions, especially while using the red tips. I wish there was less amount of (around -3db) 7KHz frequencies. The black tips make it a lot more tolerable, they seem to reduce sound pressure, but make the sound more V-shaped. The red tips on the other hand gives a clearer stage at the cost of the knowles ba hitting almost directly through that huge metal nozzle.
Overall its a in your face, overly crisp set with a wide sub bass. It is definitely a no for treble sensetive people and for bassheads.
Bass is wide and planar like. Amount is plentiful but is well controlled doesnt bleed into mids. It could use a tinge more mid-bass slam.
Timbre is better after active burn-in. Drums and guitars sound good. Guitars especially are excellent. Sound lacks body and emotion with stock cable. The signature is such that it makes everything hyper-detailed. This earphone has no chill.
How is it with music?
Played from the Fiio K1/M3K.
These are pretty versatile across most genres if it is instrumental, its strong point being metal, rock, electronic orderwise.
Aphex Twin sounds spicier than ever on this. The atmosphere is captured well, the high notes are sharp and trilling all around you, bass is well separated.
The Prodigy sounds good as well. Electronic music sounds impactful and alive, almost too alive.
Voices sound boxy and closed off in a space, and very monotonous. Especially female vocals. The main component of music is the voice. If it fails there, it pretty much fails for songs.
Using it with my phone seemed to make it a better combination because most mobile DAC's tend to have a darker sound. The earphones brightened them up to pleasing levels.
It wouldn't be the best choice for monitoring purposes, to me the best use case for these is to watch movies on, playing games is equally fun.
Why get it?
When will you feel the need to buy this if:
1. If you own a KZ multi driver in ear within this price range, that you are unsatisfied with/want an upgrade from it in terms of build/ accessories and sound quality both and already have the silver 8 core cable.
2. You want a fairly good set to watch movies on/game on in this budget, not for music.
After around 1 week of having them...
Mod Update: Changing the cable on the EA3 makes a significant improvement to the sound. I think its the stock silver cable that is giving it so much sharpness. I did a cable swap with the KZ/JC ALLY 8 core silver cable. It is less harsh now. Makes the mid bass more prominent. 0 sibilance at lower volumes. Adds a much needed body to the sound. Although listening for longer durations can be still fatiguing.
After changing the cable, i'd bump up the sound rating to 3.5/5. It kind of defeats the purpose of having a budget iem, if i have to swap cables in the end.
Final verdict on the EA3: Games sound good. Guns sound so clear and placed accurately and pop out well. Movies are a good to listen to. Music is clear but not so good, vocals are a big turnoff. Some dampening needs to be done on that knowles BA to make it less sharp. This is not my music iem.