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ENOD Mini Ring

Rating:
3.5/5,
  1. ustinj
    The Mini Ring -- Truly wireless basshead fun
    Written by ustinj
    Published Sep 27, 2017
    3.5/5,
    Pros - powerful bass, consistent BT connection, smooth overall sound signature
    Cons - blurry imaging, powerful bass, many similar looking products
    The ENOD Mini Ring was provided to me for review by Cherry from J&L Shop, who contacted me through Head-Fi.org private message. All opinions are my own and I will attempt to be as fair as possible in my review. They are available for purchase from J&L Shop on Amazon for $79.99.

    http://amzn.to/2uLcbca

    Keep in mind that audio is highly subjective, and I may hear things differently from another reviewer.

    INTRODUCTION

    The ENOD Mini Ring is a pair of true-wireless bluetooth IEMs, meaning there is no cable whatsoever. Prior to the Mini Ring, I've never written a review for a Bluetooth IEM. As this is my first time evaluating a bluetooth IEM, the standards must be set for the product prior to reviewing -- since J&L contacted me through Head-Fi.org, it will be held to the same standard I hold for reviewing other products. I expect quality sound for the price, especially with the recent insurgence and uprising of high-value entry level IEMs.

    I'll be gauging my opinion on various articles:

    - Bluetooth connection and functionality
    - Build quality & design
    - Sound quality
    - Value

    The packaging of the Mini Ring is fairly compact and makes good use of its space. It doesn't feel too premium or luxurious, but the box is sturdy and protects its contents well.

    The packaging opens up by a magnetic flap, revealing the IEMs and its wireless charging case inside. After a straightforward unboxing, we can find that the Mini Ring comes with the following accessories:

    - IEMs
    - Charging / carrying case
    - Charge cable
    - 3 pairs of tips, S/M/L

    lightroom_2017-09-26_22-42-27.png

    FUNCTIONALITY

    Taking the IEMs out of the case will power them on, which is a fairly quick and efficient way to manage its power. Putting it back into the case will turn them off. Of course, manually turning them on and off can be done by holding the button on each IEM.

    Note: Since they are truly wireless, they are virtually two separate bluetooth devices that must pair to one another. In order to get sound out of both channels, you have to turn them BOTH on -- so if you manually turn them on and off by holding the button on each earpiece, you need to turn both the left and right earpiece on separately (hold left earpiece button, hold right earpiece button).

    Upon turning an earpiece on, a voice will state "Power on: left channel" or "Power on: right channel". They will connect to each other automatically, and another voice prompt will notify of this. At this point, I connected the device to my LG V20 via bluetooth. The left channel will state that the second device is connected (first device being the right earpiece). I can only assume that the LEFT earpiece is the primary channel.

    One thing to note is that the button on each earpiece does the exact same thing. They either pause/play the music or are used to answer phone calls. Since this is a review for Head-Fi.org, I will not be focusing on the phone call quality too much. However, people have mentioned that the call quality is fine using the Mini Ring's microphone. Answering calls can be done with the press of any side's button, and can be ended in the same fashion -- call audio goes to the left channel only.

    I was able to distance myself from the phone in my bedroom throughout the house without any connection dropping. However, with my phone set in the garage and walking around the house, the connection would drop at various distances. A weak connection causes the sound to become imbalanced towards one channel, or to drop altogether.

    There are lights on the earpieces, but I find them of no significant functionality to be mentioned.

    DESIGN

    lightroom_2017-09-26_22-42-08.png


    The charging case is compact and well designed, it looks good and functions well. Placing the IEMs in proximity of their charging ports revealed that the slots are magnetized, and they pull the earphones into their charging positions securely. It appears that the left and right earpieces can go into either charging slot without discrimination.

    Note: The charging slots are big enough to charge the IEMs even when different, larger tips are fitted onto the Mini Rings.

    The Mini Ring is fairly comfortable to wear. It's not the smallest or the biggest, but sits fairly contently in my ear. The body is made entirely of plastic. The faceplate side being a lightly glittered grey, while the underside being a matte black plastic featuring the L/R markings and charging contact points.

    lightroom_2017-09-26_22-42-16.png

    Fit is rather comfortable, but in all honesty not too secure. I don't think it would fall out from general use, but they likely wouldn't stay put if I were to go on a run.

    Note: One thing that came up often is that with readjusting the fit of the IEM in the ear, it is very easy to accidentally press the pause/play button. This would pause and play the music often, which was a bit of an annoyance but nothing too significant.

    SOUND

    2017-09-01_23-18-24.png

    The ENOD Mini Ring has a bass-favored, warm and gentle w-curve. Bass is massive, deep, and incredibly rumbly. Midrange is not noticeably recessed, and a gentle upper mid-range boost gives a mild sense of clarity. It really really reminds me of the Oriveti Basic. A very notable aspect of the sound is an obscenely large, emphasised stage -- sound comes from all directions, with vague positional cues.

    BASS

    The ENOD Mini Ring's bass is no doubt the most noticeable aspect of its tuning. The bass is tuned with a very dramatic boost, extending deeply into the sub-bass regions. It rumbles incredibly hard and punches well above average. It has a somewhat creamy texture to it; slightly smoothed over and slow, but not overly loose or boomy. I've noticed that bass feels like it gently envelopes the rest of the frequency response -- not overpowering, but somewhat looming in the surroundings of the entire track. If you're a basshead, you might find bluetooth convenience and thick, bassy pleasure in the Mini Ring. But for those who prefer a more mild, neutral, or even natural response, the Mini Ring can get a bit fatiguing on the ears due to the enhanced sub-mid bass response. I personally think a less emphasized bass response would make the Mini Ring an incredibly overall tuning.

    MIDRANGE

    The midrange of the Mini Ring is not a complete disappointment, which is generally the fatal flaw of a majority of entry level frequency responses. It doesn't sound recessed, mainly a product of the mildly boosted upper midrange combined with the fairly neutral treble tuning. It is overall warm and slightly darkened (not to the point of being veiled). To get an idea of how "laid back" the upper midrange is, I would say it is comparable to the likes of the HD650 (in tuning, but not in quantity/forwardness/timbre). It's not the weakness of the ENOD Mini Ring, it doesn't bring the sound down and is not the weakest link in its tuning. However, if your primary focus is to find a delicious, perfect midrange, look elsewhere -- due to the emphasized bass, the midrange does not sound too clean or isolated from the track. It tends to be a bit blurry in response and meld itself into the surroundings.

    TREBLE

    Treble is tuned safely, it falls in line with the upper midrange -- neither too emphasized or too dark / recessed. It extends fairly well, but due to its laid-back nature doesn't sound very airy. Technicality is not its strong feat; a combination of its blurry imaging and relaxed treble can sometimes make small details fall behind and get lost in the mix. There is no substantial quality of the treble that stands out to me.


    CONCLUSION


    lightroom_2017-09-26_22-34-31.png

    > Bluetooth connection and functionality (4 / 5) - 10%
    Not very many features, lack of volume control via bluetooth which IMO is important. Bluetooth connection is perfectly fine!

    > Build quality & design (4.2 / 5) - 20%
    Build quality is fine, design is generic (there are several other products sporting the same shape and design overall). Control button is easily pressed unintentionally.

    > Sound quality (3.6 / 5) - 50%
    Overly boosted bass, but definitely an enjoyable listen for bassheads. Midrange is not too recessed, and treble is safely tuned. Very vague imaging with massive staging.

    > Value (4 / 5) - 20%
    For a $79 IEM, this isn't bad, but by no means does it sonically stand out among its competition. The Oriveti Basic shares a similar sound profile and sounds better in most aspects, with a major advantage in actual imaging. However, due to its bluetooth and fully wireless nature along with its strong connection and sweatproof features, the ENOD Mini Ring is a fair value in its own rite.

    OVERALL: 3.8 / 5