ClarityOne W102

Average User Rating:
  1. thepiper92
    "A great set of headphones from a somewhat small Canadian company"
    Pros - good clarity, great build quality, comfortable, fabric cable shroud, lightweight
    Cons - Burn-in (many don't give headphones time to burn in for their true sound), lacks bass and treble (currently), possible chipping of plastic ends
    These are a relatively unheard of set of headphones for the manufacturer ClarityOne, which happens to be a fairly unknown company as well. I had purchases the EB110's, and I liked them a lot, but the wiring in the jack shorted somewhere, so I decided to take them back for good reason. I was going to get the same headphones again, but decided to pay a bit more and get ClarityOne's newest headphone. I also usually prefer headphones over earphones.

    I have just started listening to them, and have found them to be very, very mid heavy, moderate treble and lacking bass. This is me comparing to Klispch ImageOne's as my last over ear/ on ear headphone, which ever you would consider the Image One's to be, so they are likely a more balance set of phones than anything. This is, however, likely going to change, because I can actually feel, not just hear, that the headphones will burn in a considerable amount. This will likely open up the treble a tad, and the bass a fair amount I hope, but leave the amazing clarity that I currently hear in the treble. Right now, music sounds plain odd, not bad, but not what I am used to. The W102's are nowhere near the sound the EB110's were, and while they will burn in a lot, they will never be the v-curve sound signature the EB110's are.

    The w102's are 8ohms, but not overly loud, and I find myself having to play these phones louder than I did on the EB110's and closer to what the ImageOne's volume setting was at. This could be due to lesser isolation than the EB110's, which is another thing to note: The W102's are not meant to be sound isolating. They don't fit extremely tight, but there is also not a huge amount of sound leakage. They are extremely comfortable, and I can not feel them on my head.

    The quality of the W102's is top notch, other than the silver embellishments at the very ends of each side, which are a shiny fake chrome that look like will have chipping occurring. There is flaws in the manufacturing of this plastic as well. On the other hand, the pad material is great, nice and soft. Also, the pads are fitted into the headphones nicely, and won't pop off like the ones on the ImageOne's did. The headband has decently padded and has a good amount of surface area. The driver bodies are made out of aluminum and while they may chip over some portable use, they look well put together. The headphones aren't tight on the head, but don't move around either. The cable looks to be one-up on the EB110's cable, with a thick fabric shroud over the main cable. There is not much stress relief, which is what caused the EB110's quick shorting out, but the fabric is thick and doesn't allow the cable to flex extremely easy, which help. Microphonics is completely zero.

    I will let you know more once burn in brings out the headphones, and as well as the sound with the e07k amping the headphones.


    I let some pink noise go through the headphone for a couple hours at work and listened to them on my break. Very obvious that burn-in was working, for the original sound was much too harsh to have gotten used to in the 20 minutes of listening before playing the pink noise. I let the pink noise continue overnight and wow, what a great set of headphones, truly a neutral sound, a slightly recessed treble. The bass is not booming, but it can be felt even when you can't hear it a lot; a pulse travels through you, and not even on really low bass. Mids are great, but on lesser recordings, especially if they are mp3, there is a harshness to the mids...but on good recordings in lossless, mids are great. On Low Down, by Boz Scaggs, the overall song is warmly mastered, focusing on bass, and the warmth really shows in the headphones. On Great Big Sea's Lukey, the sound is harsh, possibly because of the recording quality, and this is made obvious on the W102's. Soundstage is great, not open headphone good, but they sound semi-open. I will be trying these phones on the E07K, which just came in, and so I will be expecting heavier bass, and a little bit more warmth, which I don't mind, as well as increased volume, which is greatly needed on a few of the albums I have on the Ipod. I will be using a LOD too, not an auxillary cable, so the cleanest sound can come through. One more thing to note is these headphones make flaws in music obvious, meaning any pop or sizzle in the sound file is clearly there. The distortion in Rocket Man, by Elton John when the drums are hit hard is very annoying. I will have to find a better recording I think. I heard this on other headphones, but it sounds truly disgusting on these headphones.

    Overall, I would have paid $400 to get this sound from a set of headphones. The clarity is remarkable, and you can hear every small noise the artist makes while they play, like shuffling on a chair. On the 1812 by Tchaikovsky, you can hear resonance from the cannon and the sudden silences, and even with a song like Let There Be Rock, by AC/DC, which was never meant for soundstage and depth, you hear depth in the headphones, allowing the singing to stand out from the constantly sounding guitar and bass.


    The burn-in process still seems to be working its wonders on the W102's. The somewhat harsh mids have dimished alsmost completely, but are still very forward, allowing the sound as a whole to be almost completely neutral. Bass remains to be on the lighter side, but still present in how it can be felt. I am coming from Image Ones, so the bass of most phones will sound small compared to them. The clarity of the W102's continues to be incredible. On reading about various phones, I came across a thread of the Etymotic ER4's, and the description of their sound is how I feel the W102's are. The acccuracy truly grows on you. I can hear little noises in the left channel, and I think they are clipping noises, but when I actually focus on them, I find they are notes from a guitar, or a drum, not loud , but there. It's something I never heard before. With an amp, I have come across an issue with the W102's: Distortion. The are low impedance and high sensitivity, and this leads to quick distortion, so even a bump of the bass to 2 on the E07K can result in distortion, but unlikely. 4, however does have distortion for sure. 4 is also too much bass for the most part, which actually makes me angry with the E07K: Why does the bass and treble increase and decrease in 2's? There is no point to make it in 10 levels up or down, just makes 5 levels.


    The headphones are gone now, I returned them. While good sound, the cable, like their younger in-ear brother has poor stress relief. I had returned the EB110's because of the cable shorting out in under a week, the same with the W102's. A shame they can't make some decent cable on the headphones.