Chord&Major 5'14 "World"


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: stunning build quality, one of the best possible unboxing experiences, fits perfectly for world music, midrange, clarity, innovative strain relief
Cons: price a bit high for the audio quality, slow bass, genre-specific (does not affect my evaluation)

Before I start with my review, I’d like to thank Chord & Major ( for the friendly communication and for providing me with a sample of the Major 9’13 (for Classical, $219) and Major 5’14 (for World Music, $239) in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Taiwanese in-ear manufacturer Chord & Major doesn’t fit into the scheme of the typical headphone company – instead of producing various models that differ in quality, they concentrate on in-ears which are technically about on the same level, but feature each a different tuning which is supposed to fit for specific music genres. One could say that Chord & Major, who have “exist only for music” as leading slogan, build IEMs for specific genres, with a matching tonality and tuning. Currently, they have five models in their product range (Jazz, Rock, Classical, Ballad and World Music).
Besides this rather rarely seen feature, Chord & Major products are, similar to some acoustic music instruments, entirely made of wood and metal, and the unique strain relief near the bodies is supposed to reduce microphonics and improve durability.

In my comparative review, you can read how these exotic in-ears sound.

Technical Specifications:

Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
Sensitivity: 96 dB (Major 9’13 Classical)/100 dB (Major 5’14 World)
Impedance: 21 Ohms (Major 9’13 Classical)/20 Ohms (Major 5’14 World)
Max. Input Power: 8 mW
Connector: 3.5 mm, gold-plated
Cable: 1.2 m

Delivery Content:

Beforehand, I have to say that this was one of the best unboxing experiences lately – opening the package, it is just obvious that the IEMs and their accessories as well as the packaging were designed and built with a lot of love and enthusiasm in mind.

Instead of using a standard plastic or cardboard box, Chord & Major (hereinafter referred to as “CM”) delivers their earphones in small wooden chests which match the colour of the in-ears. One could think that they might use cheaply made boxes to reduce costs, but no, the wooden chests are well made, have got a nice structure and surface with visible grain, evenly applied stain and transparent, semi-gloss sealing which is more glossy than matte.
The boxes are framed by a cardboard stripe which shows a picture of the in-ears as well as the technical specifications and the delivery content (in a pictographic way) on its outside. Opening the loop, one will find a catchy phrase which says “Every unique wooden box keeps every unique treasure”, which holds true, as the box is really unique and so are the in-ears.
On the cardboard stripe’s inside, there is a brief description of the music genre the IEMs were tuned for, along with a characterisation of how they specifically interact in the frequency range. The right-hand side introduces a representative of the genre, along with brief information about his musical beliefs, style, achievements and major works, and so the 9’13 (hereinafter called “CM Classical”) introduces Johann Sebastian Bach and the 5’14 (hereinafter called “CM World”) Chen Ming-chang.

The wooden caskets have got the C & M logo stamped into the lid as well as their slogan (“exist only for music”) on the front along with a “Made in Taiwan” stamp and a small dent to ease opening of the magnetic lid.
Inside, the following accessories come includes (besides the in-ears): a manual, three pairs of silicone tips, a very nicely made cleaning brush with soft hair, a carrying pouch that matches the IEMs’ colour and has got a snap fastener, and finally a black plastic card for cable management (but I won’t use it because rolling the cables around three fingers and then storing them in a case or pouch is better than rolling them around the card’s sharp edges).

Although the carrying pouches are very nicely made and have got a CM logo as well as a snap fastener that matches the IEMs’ metallic strain relief’s colour and have even got a characteristic music instrument on them (a violin for the Classical and a Yueqin for the World), I would have preferred to see a protective hard-case instead.


Looks, Feels, Build Quality:

The design of the wooden caskets continues on the IEMs themselves: the CM Classical has got a dark-brown reddish, nicely grained wooden body which is sealed and has got a golden Chord & Major logo on the right earpiece. The front part with the nozzle as well as the metallic strain relief, which also acts as “insertion aid”, and the y-split (which contains the model name) have got a shiny golden finish. As the IEMs are not that big, it is very handy that the metallic strain relief is quite large, so it can be used for taking the in-ears out, wherefore the cable doesn’t have to be pulled. By the way, it also helps inserting them. The straight 3.5 mm jack has got a wooden coating, just like the in-ears.
The cable is very flexible and soft, with a subtle, but very effective rubber strain relief, but I wouldn’t mind if it was a bit (probably 10 cm) longer.
What I find very positive is that the cable has got a chin-slider above thy y-split.

The CM World follows the same design, but has got a less shiny wooden finish which is rather matte and has got matte black metallic parts instead of the shiny golden ones.


Comfort, Isolation:

The in-ears are relatively heavy, but are surprisingly pleasant to wear and are very easy to insert and position due to the large metallic strain relief.
The shape also allows wearing the in-ears comfortably with the cables over the ears, which is also my preferred method, as it improves fit and reduces microphonics. Speaking about cable noise: wearing the IEMs with the cables straight down, microphonics are quite low and disappear almost entirely if worn around the ears.

Regarding isolation, the CM Classical is definitely above average in my ears, but the CM World isolates a tad less.


Just in case, I have burnt the IEMs in for at least 100 hours before I began more critical listening. My main source device was the iBasso DX90 which mainly played FLAC files.

At first, I only used the in-ears for listening to the suggested genres, but also changed to other music styles and songs which I usually use for testing after about the half of the time, to get a better overview.


Chord & Major 9’13 “Classical”: So, how does the CM Classical sound? “Bassy, mellow” and “warm” are words that came into my mind first. But it wouldn’t be enough and only a brief impression, so let’s dig deeper:
The lows are clearly present and have got very broad-banded emphasis that covers a lot of the frequency spectrum: from the sub-bass up to the upper bass, level is very even and without any roll-off. Ground-tone is very present and reaches up to the lower mids/upper ground-tone. From 1 kHz on, mids decrease some, wherefore voices and instruments which are located in this area sound darker than usual and also somewhat muffled and dull. At 5.5 and 7.7 kHz, I can hear two peaks, but they are still below the ground-line to my ears, but do a great job in terms of bringing strings and wind instruments slightly into the foreground. In the super highs, level drops somewhat.
Treble sounds very even, gentle and especially very natural. Though, I find that mids are less felicitous: already with orchestral music, I noticed that mids aren’t really tonally correct, which is due to the decreasing level between 1 and 2 kHz. For a better presentation, either the ground-tone would have start emphasising further below or the level in the mids between 1 and 2 kHz would have to be more flat, without that downwards slope. Due to the present ground-tone, instruments in that particular area sound present and warm, but this is a matter of personal taste and won’t have an influence on my evaluation.

The gentle yet realistic treble is very well made and sounds realistic and natural. The lows are clearly present, but don’t appear exaggerated, which is due to the high reaching and even ground-tone emphasis. However, mids aren’t really well made and even with classical music I noticed it, and even more with other genres that feature voices.
In my opinion, the CM Classical’s tonality is well suited to be an all-rounder, as treble is quite even with a gentle upwards slope.

Chord & Major 5’14 “World”: The bass of the CM world is quite similar, although it appears a tad mightier which is because the ground-tone emphasis starting to extend a bit further below, although it still starts quite high. Compared to the CM Classical, mids are definitely better made and have a more even level between 1 and 2 kHz, though voices are on the darker and warmer side as well due to the potent ground-tone. Lower treble is a bit in the background to create room for the following emphasis at 6 kHz. Upper treble is then again more in the background and super highs roll off quite early.
I have to say that the CM World’s sounding really suits well for world music – drums sound lively, close and meaty; plucked instruments appear very natural. The peak at 6 kHz suits in very well and helps to focus on plucked strings. Really, I have to say that the CM World was able to soak me in and could fascinate me with its liveliness when being played with world music.


Let’s start once again with the CM Classical first, although resolution is quite identical on both IEMs. With slow and not-so-fast music, everything is fine and the resolution is quite okay, but one should lower his/her sights and standards and expect a performance which is at least one class below what the price would make you think, as it is rather comparable with more inexpensive models.
Lows have got a good body, but sound a bit uncontrolled and disconnected. With fast music, it becomes obvious that the in-ears can’t keep up with the speed and aren’t able to separate fast single tones from each other: double- and triple-bass kicks aren’t audible as such, but sound rather uniform.
Mids are decent, though they seem somewhat veiled and blurry.
Treble is definitely the greatest strength and sounds very precise, natural, realistic and with a good amount of details.

Continuing with the CM World, I can say that what I have just written for the Classical also goes for the World.
Lows are wonderfully bodied with slow music, but lose some control with fast tracks and sound even a bit slower decaying than the Classical.
Mids are also a bit veiled here, but less than on the Classical.
Also in this case, treble is the major strength, regarding resolution.


Chord & Major 9’13 “Classical”: Let’s keep it short, CM Classical’s spatial presentation is very well made and sounds airy. Lateral expansion isn’t overly wide and still located in my head (yet wider than average), although the relation between width, depth and height is spot-on perfect and harmonically matched, with a wide and pretty precise soundstage that offers a clean instrument separation and even manages to correctly and convincingly display empty space between single instruments.

Chord & Major 5’14 “World”: Soundstage presentation is quite alike, though with less spatial width and an overall more intimate character, but with the same good instrument placement and separation.


The Chord & Major in-ears offer a beautiful, valuable build quality with a lot of passion for detail.
Although soundstage turns out to be very well and there is no roll-off in the sub-bass, detail resolution as well as bass control are below average for the price – I guess that’s a side-effect of the beautiful build quality with wood and passion, which can be seen in the price.
The Major 9’13 Classicas is also quite useful as all-rounder, though it has a rather slow bass decay and veiled mids. The 5’14 World on the other hand is more genre-specific and no all-rounder, but offers the better mids and sounds very lively and compelling with the music it was made for.
Keeping the price and build in mind, I give the Classical 3 and the World 3.3 out of 5 possible stars.
Good review though considering my musical tastes I'll wait to hear the Chord & Major 'EDM' version.


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Fantastic Build Quality, Fun/Detailed Sound Signature, Wonderful Accessories, Premium Feel
Cons: Pricey, No Microphone, Thin Cable

Introducing:  Chord & Majors newest product, the 5’14 World Earphone.

**All photos taken by me**


Product Description

World Music Tonal Earphones: Major 5’14
Major 5’14 tonal earphones focus on the live performances of traditional, cultural music often featuring exotic local instrumentation. Connect to the unique spirit of a wider culture with World earphones.
Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz
Sensitivity: 100dB at 1KHz 1mW
Normal Impedance: 20Ω
Input connectivity: 3.5mm stereo plug
Cable Length: 1.2m

*Quick Interview with Nil Jones*
Before even starting my own review, I was able to get in contact with Nil Jones (  Nil is a Multi-platinum Engineer, Producer and Musician.
nil jones IG: nil916 ‏@niljones916  Sep 15
#StudioLife #chordandmajor earphones #Mixing #SSL



He uses the 5’14 World with is work and personal use.  I was able to ask him a few questions as well:

1. What made you pursue music?
When I was very young I used to play my drums in the living room to records while my dad played his horn so I always liked music, but I got into music for GIRLS!!! I saw how they reacted to musicians and singers and I wanted some of that!!!

2. How do you find the C&M World earphone has helped your recording?
I use them on EVERY mix I do. I can walk or drive and listen to mixes and hear it the way I need to hear it. Then I usually go back to the studio and make my adjustments to the mix. They've made mixing easier for me.

3. Any band or artist you would be afraid to admit you liked to your friends or peers? (For me it is Katy Perry).
Well most of my peers know I listen to all styles of music but I'd say I probably don't admit to listening to old The Fixx! I still love songs from Reach the Beach!!!

4. What is your favorite piece of audio/music equipment?
A Neve VR console. After that, my Native Instruments Maschine.

5. Being a musician, do you find yourself analyzing other bands/artists, or do you just sit back and enjoy the music?
I am still a fan of music, so I can just sit back and enjoy most of the time, unless it's bad, then I start to analyze like, 'why is that so bad'!
~Now to the review of the Chord & Major 5'14 World~

Chord & Majors spent a great deal of time on the packaging.  Feel and visual stimulating you before you even listen to the 5’14 World.  The caring case itself is made of real, high quality wood.  Inside you will find everything neatly packed and well organized.  

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Inside the beautiful wood box you will find: 

- Extra Sets of Ear Tips
- A Cleaning Tool
- A Small Carrying Pouch
- An Earphone Wrap Card

Like the packaging, all accessories are well designed and well thought out.  There are three different sizes of ear tips included.  The small cleaning tool is great for getting to those hard to reach areas.  The small carrying pouch is soft and looks great.  The earphone card is a great way to keep your earphones safely wrapped up and is easy to use.

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All you do is have to look at the metal strain relief to get an idea how these are built.  Not only does it looks great, but provides protection to the cord and weight to the earphone.  The cable is a tad on the thinner side, but thanks to the rubber coating, it feels nice and strong.  The housing itself, is feels so amazing in the hand, it is hard to describe unless you try it yourself.  It is wonderfully executed design and finish by Chord & Major.

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I thought there might be an issue with fit, as these are one of the heavier earphones I have ever used.  But no, they fit just fine.  If anything, the large metal strain relief protectors are great for grabbing on to when inserting it into your ear.  Once in, I found that the 5’14 seated well, snug in place. 

Bass – This is the first thing I noticed.  Wow, such deep control.  Listening to some tribal drums I could almost feel it in my chest, like I was there.  It is truly remarkable that C&M could tune the 5’14 to punch down low like that with zero distortion.  All this said, these are far from bass heavy, just bass clear.

Mids – I would not refer to these as neutral, yet music comes through so natural and pure.  What really impresses me about the mids is the velocity of the instrument separation.  These are quick little IEMs, they seem to handle whatever you throw at them.  The mids display slight warmth that makes you feel all happy and cozy, but at the same time does not brush off any detail.  The 5’14 world is neither forward of recessed with vocals, instead they are cosmic and focused.

Highs – The overall warmth creaps up into the upper range.  This is a welcome friend as this is what helps to conclude the natural sound signature that the 5’14 provides.  Thos

Soundstage – For a IEM, these portray a wide sense of space and distance which is amazing with harmonized vocals.  You will be immersed in a world of tonal sensations.  There is also a presence of air that gives the 5’14 World a very much live feel.


*Comparison to the Jazz 7*

All Chord & Major IEMs have a universal design, they all look identical apart from their color schemes.  The real magic comes with the tunning.  How they can get each to sound so different than the next?  There are now 5 models (5,6,7,8,9).  I have the Jazz 7 to compare with the World 5. The great thing about Chord & Major is they have something for everyone.  Just listen and choose what fits your tastes best.  I found the Jazz to be wonderful in the mids, the best for vocals and the World 5, with its thick tones to be better with drums and percussion.  Which do I like more?  Well I guess that depends on what type of music I was in the mood for at that time.
(World / Jazz)


*Overall Thoughts*

The Chord & Major 5’14 World Earphones make you feel special from the moment you open the beautiful wood box.  That feeling continues as you begin to immerse yourself in the World sound they produce.  Thick, meaty notes billow out of the earphones which please the ears.  It is hard to find a product that excels at both form and function, but the 5’14 is a rare breed that is a pleasure to the eyes and ears.  

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Reactions: Hawaiibadboy
@Hawaiibadboy Thank you for your kind words.  I worked very hard on the photoshoot, I've found wood can be very temperamental with lighting.  I did the best I could.
Great product. Awesome sound.
Nice job Bloody, these with a nice L&P 3 would be a sweet setup:)