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Don Scorpio sMushroom HD Bluetooth iem

  1. Baycode
    The Bluetooth iem for the people on the go
    Written by Baycode
    Published Jul 7, 2015
    Pros - Relatively good mids presentation, bluetooth techonology, call quality (BT 4.1 with aptX)
    Cons - Relatively short battery life, fitting and stay is hard to deal with, midbass is prominent, led is hard to see from some angles and always stays ON

    About the review:
    In this review I have examined the Don Scorpio sMushroom HD Bluetooth iem (white) for its sound and call quality, comfort, isolation, charge time, battery life, general usage and comfort.
    Introduction to The Don Scorpio sMushroom HD:
    Don Scorpio sMushroom HD is a self powered (85 mAh battery), rechargeable bluetooth iem (BT iem) that supports BT 4.1 and aptX codec for -supposedly- HD call and audio quality. Built-in microphone which adopts advanced noise reduction technology, to obtain the highest quality call transmission. It is compatible with many android, IOS and Windows Mobile devices that have BT 4.1 support. Don Scorpio is an Asian origin (Guangzhou, China) brand for iem's and headphones which “hit” the head-fi arena with their Don Scorpio “Dolphin” headphones.


    For this BT iem, there are 3 different color options to choose from: Red, White and Blue.


    Why you should use a Bluetooth iem?:
    While using your car, while carrying your shopping bags, while taking care of your child, while riding your bike or making sports there are many many examples that you need both of your hands and move freely. At these times (a lot of activity during a typical work day and even after you reach your home) you will want to answer and hear a call handsfree. Without any cable getting on your way. Even if you're slightly away from the phone... You'll need a Bluetooth iem. BT iem not only gives you freedom to talk it allows you to enjoy your music as well.
    About the reviewer:
    My age is 42 (as of this writing). I have 24 years of background in listening to music with quality headphones (I don't count the crappy equipment period) and I am a member of head-fi since 2004. I prefer neutral, natural (organic) and detailed sound with a huge sound-stage and good layering and imaging. I am not bass or treble head. I can never tolerate sibilance and/or fatiguing highs. For further, please check my profile.
    Phones used for the sMushroom HD tests:
    LG G3 (connected with sMushroom HD)
    Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini (Call receiving phone)
    iPhone6 (Used for both of the above purposes)
    Test Songs:
    “The Quiet Ambient” by All India Radio (FLAC)
    “On Every Street” by Dire Straits (FLAC)
    “Tunglia” by Olafur Arnalds (FLAC)
    “Stay Awake” by London Grammar (FLAC)
    “The Happiest Days of Our Lives” by Pink Floyd (FLAC)
    “Bicare” by Taksim Trio (mp3 320 kbps)
    “Hoscakal” by Emre Aydin (mp3 320 kbps)
     ...and many calls with the headset [​IMG]
    Volume matching before tests:
    In a quiet environment I have matched the volume of the each BT iem by the help of a calibrated and scientific grade Sound Pressure Level Meter (UNI-T UT352) each time I connect them to my source via BT. I always use the 1000 Hz seine wave test tones while volume matching. I have compared Don Scorpio sMushroom HD with Brainwavz BLU-100, Don Scorpio sMushroom (Pro version), Samsung HS-3000.



    (sMushroom HD is sitting inside the self-made adapter for noise isolating and secure SPL Meter connection)
    Specifications of  sMushroom HD (from the product page):
    1. Bluetooth : 4.1
    2. Chip: CSR
    3. Battery : 85mAh
    4. Charge : USB
    5. Standby time : 60 hours
    6. Support: APT-X
    7. Support: mobile phone show the power
    8. Speaker: 15 mm dynamic
    9. Impedance: 32ohm
    10. Sensitivity: 113db
    11. Cable: TPE
    12. Dimension: 51cm
    13. Wireless distance: 9 m
    Included Accessories:
    1. microUSB to USB charge cable
    2. 3 pair of silicone eartips
    3. Carry Case
    You need to connect the included short microUSB cable between the sMushroom HD and your computer USB port (or with any kind of USB charger).
    With my unit and charging adapter it took about 2h to fully charge the sMushroom HD. You need to remove a plastic covering from the Left side of the earpiece. This little cover won’t get lost because it is connected to body with a small connection piece.
    MicroUSB en of the USB cable is connected to the left earpiece
    While charging, the small led turns to red color and same led turns to white as the charge process completes.
    This led flashes when you turn ON the sMushroom HD. But the led won’t continue to flash in intervals –instead- it will always stay ON until you turn the BT iem off. I really don’t like this because there is a constant light that people may notice (people may think that your microphone is open or you’re on a call) and this may consume extra battery.
    On my unit, tiny led is slightly recessed in to the Shell and it is slightly hard to see from some angles (although it is hard to understand the situation from the photo). But in general, I found the implementation of this led better than the led on the Brainwavz BLU-100 bluetooth iem.
    There are 3 buttons on the remote control (mic unit). Mic is on the back side of these buttons. There are controls for on/off, pairing mode, volume up/down, answer/end call, reject call, redial the last call, play/pause, skip to next/previous song, turn on/off voice dial. All are controlled via the special and easy to learn push commands to either one of these buttons.
    The small opening on the below photo is showing you the place of the mic.
    Mic opening on the back of the remote control buttons
    On my phone Bluetooth pairing list the name appears as sMushroom HD.
    Pairing is fairly easy for sMushroom HD. You need to turn the Bluetooth on your phone first then press and hold the button on the left earpiece of the sMushroom HD for approximately 5 seconds. This way you'll turn on your BT iem and can see the model number on the list. If not shown on the list you need to refresh the list (just push "search for the devices" button on your phone screen).
    After finishing the pairing you don't need to enter to the pairing process again. They will find each other and pair automatically as you turn the BT for the ON position in each device consequently. 
    You'll see that the BT icon gets BOLD on the right and BT iem battery condition indicator on the left (marked with arrows).
    I especially find the BT iem battery condition indicator very very helpful!
    On a LG G3 phone you can continue to see the BT iem battery condition idicator even on your circle window
    If you double tap the circle (if you're using tge LG G3 with a circle window  flip case, notice the red arrow).
    I really prefer the connected earpiece design with the single cord which can hang behind your neck. Some people may prefer to use it as below the chin position. The housings of the iem looks stylish for some. But some people may not like it. For me its just OK. It is rather big but very lightweight. Biggest problem with the housing and general design is: it is really hard to get a secure fit (again, YMMW). Each time I turn my head this iem tends to fall out. None of the included eartips helped me to solve this problem. Also the short cord length makes two problems: while you’re not making any calls you can just leave the iem hang from behind of your neck to your chest. If you use it this way you need to turn down your head to see the iem body. Also short cord causes the iem to fall out of your ears because of the neck movements (YMMW). If you intend to use the iem cable under your chin fit and stay problems are far lesser but you need to put the iem on somewhere else after finishing your call (I don’t prefer this way).
    Isolation is poor for an iem, but great for a daily Bluetooth iem. If your BT iem isolation is high you need to lower your speaking volume while making calls because your brain may think that you're not speaking loud enough (as a result of blockage of your own voice). Also you may want to hear the surroundings (traffic, cars, signals, etc.).
    I like the implementation of the vents which help the outside noise to enter to the iem housing. Thus you may be able to hear the traffic and your own voice. From my point of view; if a BT iem is intended to be used while making calls you need to hear your voice as well as surroundings. Because complete noise isolation makes the usage less secure and you need to raise your voice because you think that you’re not talking loud enough.
    Battrey Life:
    It is stated that the battery life is 60 hours for standby. Generally I do agree for the standby time.If you use the sMushroom HD for making/receiving calls as well as some music listening (around 1 h of music listening and with 1-2 h of making calls) it lasts only for approximately 1/2 to 1 day. So the active using time is very short for this kind of device. At first use the BT iem battery seemed full on the phone screen. But after second, third, fourth and so on charges it always appeared half. Also standby and active use time shortened. I believe this is due to a bad quality (or dud) battery inside the sMuchroom HD.
    Reception Range:
    It is stated that the range is 9 meters. This is true if your BT iem is fully charged and if you're on a completely open field. Inside a building or in your house range is shortened under these circumstances (approx 6 m). So you need to carry your phone in your pocket if you intend to move to the next room and if you (especially) shut the doors.
    Microphone Quality:
    Microphone quality is above average. Capable of sending clean and clear calls. But you need to take care of the microphone. If its away from your mouth or under your hair it is hard to send your voice.


    Speaker Quality:



    Veiled sound. Treble is slightly recessed.
    Mids presentation is very good and certainly one of the best on its class.  Vocal stage is on the center and very well represented (depends on recording). Midrange is clear for a BT iem though I would like to hear slightly more details.


    Have an above average body. Some mid-bass bloat. Mid bass is more prominent than subbass.


    Overall Impressions on Sound:
    Overall a bassy character with a warm sound. Veiled sound with recessed highs creates a non-fatigue sound. Though I prefer a better highs presentation, less bloat of the mid bass and bass section, and better clarity. The sound quality was better than sMushroom, on-par with the Samsung HS-3000, worse than BLU-1000.

    Comparisons made with BT iems: Samsung HS3000, DonScorpio sMushroom HD, DonScorpio sMushroom :


    Don Scorpio sMushroom HD iem delivers good sound quality with a relatively good quality microphone and a good list of features. My 3 main complaints were about the reception distance, battery life and ergonomics. Also sound needs some improvement, though it's not behind the competition.
      DJScope likes this.
    1. twister6
      Regardless if you enjoy or don't (speaking for myself) these headphones, I give HUGE props to your fantastic review!  Excellent write up and great pictures!
      twister6, Jul 7, 2015
    2. DJScope
      Great review mate! They kind of look like the Titans o.O
      DJScope, Jul 7, 2015
    3. Baycode
      Baycode, Jul 9, 2015