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Mixcder Premium MS301 Wireless & Wired V4.2 Bass Headphones With aptX Low Latency Audio

Rating:
4.4/5,
Tags:
  1. pkshiu
    comfortable AptX bluetooth headphones
    Written by pkshiu
    Published Jul 30, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - comfort, AptX support
    Cons - single bluetooth connection
    Sometimes you know you have a winner if that’s the one pair of headphones that you keep reaching for. I find the MS301 a very easy to use pair of headphones. It is comfortable. It sounds good.

    Packaging
    The MS301 comes in an attractive, large box with gold graphics on a matte black background. The inside plastic that carries the headphone is of average quality. A USB cable and a 3.5mm audio cable packed inside another matte black box completes the package. The fact that they enclosed the cables inside another box makes for a much better presentation. Some cheaper Asian branded headphones just leave the accessories randomly flowing in the underside of the plastic container.

    Bluetooth
    This is the best and worst part of this pair of headphones. On the plus side, it supports AptX. I connected my 2017 MacBook Pro to it via bluetooth running AptX. This has to be the connection method of choice. The bad part about the MS301’s bluetooth does not support any sort of multi-point connection. It seems to only pair with one device at a time. I have to re-pair the headphones when I switch between devices. So if you are planning to use it for both say a laptop and a mobile phone, this is not the headphone for you.

    Range for this headphone is mediocre. I get 20 feet line of sight maximum.

    Sound Quality
    The MS301 has a reasonable flat response, with a slightly boosted base. This is important for me as I listen mostly to jazz and classical where good vocals are important. I ran it through my standard set of tracks.

    Starting with Eric’s Song by Vienna Tang, The Waking Hour: This is a simple track with Vienna’s silky vocal singing along a piano. I can hear all of the nuances of her voice interlaced with the piano. Switching over to Exit Music (For a Film), by Radiohead, OK Computer: Changing from Tang’s female vocal to the booming vocal, with a multi layer supporting vocals and instruments. All the audio tracks are still coming through cleanly. The bass is slightly boosted but not over powering the vocals.

    For fun I always then play Exit Music (For a Film) by Brad Mehldau, The Art of the Trio, Vol. 3: — the Jazz original. This is a very different style of course. The piano is front and center with various percussions building up around it. Sound stage is good with this pair of headphones.

    Changing style complete I went to Trust by Christina Perry, Head or Heart. The rocking bass line is strong but not overly boosted. A similar track: Viva La Vida by Coldplay plays equally well.

    Battery Life
    What I love about these full size headphones is that the battery last a very long time — too long to test accurately. I manage to test my pair of MS301 over an entire week before I have to recharge it.

    Controls
    All the controls for the headphone is on the right, with a power button/pause/call near the top, and volume up/forward, volume down/backward button pair down near the bottom. A small multi-color LED near the power button shows you the status of the headphone. I find that occassionally I hit the power button by mistake because it is near the top. One time it initiated a redial on my phone (pressing the power button twice) because I was trying to turn up the volume.

    Power Button: long press on/off. Single press: pause/play/answer. Double press: redial
    Volume Up: single press up, long press next track
    Volume Down: single press down, long press prev track

    Comfort
    This pair of headphone is very comfortable. The ear cups have soft foam covered by a soft synthetic leather material. For my medium size ear it covers my ear completely without too much clamping force. The headband is also padded. The entire ear cup swivel 90 degrees to the back (For folding flat) and forward by 45 or so degrees. The hinge construction seems to be mostly metal.

    Conclusion
    These Asian branded headphone keeps getting better. I have reviewed several pairs of mixcder headphones over the years and each new pair is better. The MS301 sounds good, looks great and is comfortable. The retail prices are getting closer to the $100 mark so it has more competition. The comfort, AptX support, and long battery life gives it a big advantage.

    Specs
    40mm driver, 32 ohms
    bluetooth 4.2
    500mAh battery, 2 hour charging time, 20 hour active use, 2200 hour standby

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  2. slowpickr
    Mixcder MS301 Bluetooth Over Ear Headphones
    Written by slowpickr
    Published Jul 14, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - * Build Quality
    * Sound Quality (for BT)
    * Comfort
    * Isolation
    * Battery Life
    * Rechargeable Battery
    Cons - * Might be pricey for some
    * Could use more accessories (e.g. travel case)
    Introduction/Disclaimer:
    I would like to thank Mixcder for the opportunity to review the MS301 over ear Bluetooth (BT) headphones. They provided me a free sample in exchange for my honest opinion. The current price for them on Amazon is $89.99 USD. Here is a link to purchase:

    MS301 Amazon.com

    Here is a link to Mixcder’s website which has additional info:

    Mixcder.com Website

    Specs:
    MS301 Specs.png


    My Background and Sound Preference:
    Don’t consider myself an audiophile. Just a music lover. One of the first sets of headphones I owned was a set of Koss Porta Pros. Didn’t know it at the time, but the Porta Pros were a well liked set of HPs by the Head-Fi community. Don’t have the Porta Pros anymore. The best set of HPs I own at the moment would be the Audeze Sine on-ears followed by the Monoprice M1060s. Sound preference is a slight “v” shape FR. Preferred genres are EDM, classic and progressive rock.

    Specs and Accessories:
    From Mixcder’s website:

    Build Quality and Accessories:
    The MS301s come in a nice cardboard box. Inside are the headphones, 1/8” diameter plug male to male audio cable (~1.2 meters long), short USB charging cable and instruction manual. The headphones have a quality feel to them. Metal ear cups, padded metal head band and soft ear pads. The left and right indicators are large and located inside the ear pads. This is a nice touch in my opinion. Really easy to see which is which.

    The included cable isn’t much to write home about. Really thin and flimsy. This is a BT headphone so totally forgivable. There is an audio quality improvement using the cable. However, no one buys a BT headphone to use with a cable. Therefore, this review will focus on BT audio only.

    The controls are laid out well on the right ear cup. It’s easy to turn the volume up/down using one’s right thumb. The power button is towards the top of the ear cup and easily accessible.

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    Comfort:

    I’m very picky about HP comfort. Have gotten rid of excellent sounding HPs and IEMs due to fit and comfort. I find the MS301s to be comfortable. Not extremely comfortable like say the Sennheiser HD598. Just “comfortable”. They do get hot after an hour or so but most HPs with pleather pads do. Headband force is evenly distributed and doesn’t exert point loading causing pain.

    Usability:
    No issues here. Pairing with my Galaxy S6 was very easy. The manual does a good job outlining the features of the HPs as well as pairing instructions for multiple devices. Pairing takes place automatically a few seconds after the HPs are turned on (after the initial pairing procedure has been completed).

    Sound Quality:
    The MS301 has an elevated bass. I don’t find it to be particularly boomy. However, it isn’t very defined or textured either. Mids are a notch or two behind the bass. Vocals sound good and have adequate clarity. Treble has some sparkle but isn't particularly detailed or extended. Overall, these HPs have a warm sound signature and are enjoyable to listed to. IMHO, they are not very detailed and can sound meh on some tracks. Isolation is pretty good since they are closed back. For on the go, the gym or stroll around the block, they should serve their purpose admirably.

    The above sound comments are all for BT mode. Using an audio cable with the MS301s yields a different beast. Sound becomes more vivid and has more depth. Details pop out that were not there before. Bass gets some texture. Entire spectrum gets some clarity.

    Phone Calls:
    Vocal quality for phone calls is good (both ways). Didn't experience any drop outs or complaints from others during phone calls. The advertised range of 30 feet appears to be accurate.

    Conclusion:
    Overall, I think the MS301s are a great BT headphone. I’ve owned two other BT headphones in the past. The Brainwavz BLU200 in ears and Sony MDRXB-(can’t remember the model, didn’t have them long). The MS301s have better SQ and build quality than either of them. Suggested improvements would be the inclusion of a travel case and the addition of Automatic Noise Canceling(ANC) functionality. These improvements would drive up the price, of course, which could be why they aren’t included.

    Notes:
    This review was performed using a Samsung Galaxy S6 in BT mode. Both Google Play Music and Power Amp were used to play various genre tracks (e.g. EDM, classical, classic rock, etc.). Listening level were moderate to moderately loud.
      B9Scrambler likes this.
  3. ngoshawk
    A premium BT headphone for less than premium price
    Written by ngoshawk
    Published Jun 24, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Good fit. Very well made. Sonically pretty well balanced. Very good mids, with enough bass to satisfy most, while the treble is somewhat rolled off. Price! Good looking unit. Portable. BT connectivity is easy and solid. Overall a very good unit, regardless of BT.
    Cons - Slightly heavy. Pads are quite squishy. I would prefer a pad option. A carrying case would be nice, or a cloth/pleather bag.
    Mixcder MS-301- 4.25 stars


    [​IMG]


    I reviewed the Mixcder x5 IEM a while back, and thoroughly enjoyed my time with that fine little critter. So much so, that they are now my go-to IEM when I work out (it is a sports-IEM after all…). Tough, inexpensive, very good sound, and easy to drive I liked the overall appeal of this little unit. I was very impressed that a small IEM for $17 could sound that good. After my review came out, I was approached again by Mixcder to review their “updated” Bluetooth headphone, the model MS-301. I was humbled that the company thought so much of my review, and through the course of conversations on a Head-Fi thread, “we” participants described a viable plan for the company to quickly get word out regarding their next model. Financially it made sense, and several of us signed up.



    I sit here listening to Eric Clapton, and Dave Matthews on the MS-301, along with a small Chinese DAP (another story…) thoroughly enjoying the sound. For $89 (Amazon), you get an over ear Bluetooth-capable headphone with a solid rich sound and excellent build qualities. Having never experienced Bluetooth headphones, I come at this like a kid new to an experience. I have no pre-opinions, since I had no experience…. and I hope that with that “lack of experience” I can shed some neutral advice on the headphone/Bluetooth combo. At least I hope to…

    [​IMG]

    I want to thank @Mixcder for their gracious opportunity to review the “updated” MS-301. All they ask in return is an honest interpretation of what I hear. And I would have it no other way. A hint….I like it so far…



    More information can be found here: https://www.mixcder.com/mixcderr-ms301.html



    Specs (from Amazon & Mixcder website):



    • Microphone: Φ4 * 1.5mm
    • Directivity: Omni-directional
    • Speaker Diameter: Φ 40±0.3 mm
    • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20,000Hz
    • Impedance: 29Ω±15%
    • S.P.L. : 90dB±3dB
    • Bluetooth Version: BT4.2
    • Support Profile: HSP/HFP/A2DP/AVRCP

    Our package contains a set of wired/wireless headphones, a micro-USB charging cable, a 3.5mm audio cable AND a very practical and detailed user's manual to help you get the best out of your new headphones!


    • LISTEN TO YOUR MUSIC LIKE NEVER BEFORE! Enjoy an incredible booming bass, a detailed midrange, and extended treble due to the 40mm large-aperture driver with advanced APTX-LL technology, that provides lossless transmission and crystal clear, smooth sound without compression or interruptions!
    • WIRELESS OR WIRED, YOUR CHOICE! If you want to listen to your favorite music dancing around in your room, our headset is wireless; but if you want to chill and play your favorite PC game, they magically become wired! Choose what suits you best – thanks to their comfortable design, you will forget you’re wearing them either way!
    • USE IT WITH ALMOST ALL DEVICES! Being universally compatible, our headphones work with all iPhones, including 7/7plus/6/6S, Android phones, including Samsung Galaxy S5/S6/Edge, and all kinds of smartphones, tablets, iPads and similar devices that have a Bluetooth or a 3.5 audio jack! Moreover, it works perfectly with Mac and a variety of applications such as Skype or Whatsapp.
    • EXCELLENT QUALITY CONSTRUCTION! Forget about non-working or glitching headphone sets you had in the past! Our over-the-ear headphones are made using premium quality materials and a powerful lithium rechargeable battery so that your favorite music can accompany you for a long time!
    • BUY WITH EXTRA CONFIDENCE! Our goal is to offer you the best quality headset at the most antagonistic price in the market. However, if you aren’t entirely satisfied with your purchase, don’t worry; we also offer you a 30-day money back guarantee – not to mention a 12-month WARRANTY as well!

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    I am older. I am happy that I have rediscovered the joy of music, through personal listening devices. Through this opportunity, I have become exposed to some wonderful kit. Much I now own, much I covet. Much I would never purchase, for various reasons.

    My listening style has changed somewhat over the years…from old time Rock-n-Roll to the Blues to Reggae, to Bluegrass. I cut my teeth on Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Outlaws, The Who, Santana, Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, David Bowie, Bob Marley, and Pink Floyd. But the music I hold dearest and nearest my soul, is Stevie Ray Vaughan. I was lucky enough to see him perform four times…twice in open air venues, followed by (that evening each time!!!) smoky blues bars, where intimate would be an understatement. Each holds a very special place in my psyche, and I can almost remember the whole of each concert in their entirety…

    I enjoy a warmer signature in my equipment, and listening, with a good bass line (but not basshead), complimented by outstanding vocals. Combine the sweetness of SRV’s guitar and Billy Holiday’s voice, and you get my musical grove.



    Comparative tools:

    Shanling M2s
    Cayin N3
    Hidizs AP-60
    AGPTEK Rocker v2

    thinksound ON-2

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    Initial impressions:



    I was pleasantly surprised at the quality build of the 301’s. I shouldn’t have been surprised after the quality of the x5, but oh well. With a mix of aluminum, pleather, stainless steel (the headphone band) and plastic the Mixcder is a well-built unit, which belies its price point of sub $100. While the headband is not adjustable bend-wise, there is enough play to fit most heads. I will say that it may be a bit tight for larger heads, but the clamp pressure is just about right. For smaller heads, it may be a bit light, but with a hat, I had no problem keeping the unit on at all.



    Comfort for long listening periods is actually quite good as I had them on for several hours on three different occasions. I found no discomfort whatsoever. With a hat, they did not slide around at all. Without, due to the shape of the headband, the 301 did slip a smidge when moving my head down, but with the band pleather material, the Mixcder did stay put quite well overall. Battery power is also quite good. I have had the unit for close to two weeks, with approximately 18 hours of listening time. I charged the headphones for the first time, today. So, the company claims of 20 hours listening, and up to 2200 hours stand by time are possible...I am unsure if the unit was fully charged when I received it, so the stand by time will need to be verified.

    [​IMG]

    With enough band inside the headband to adjust to near-ridiculously tall heads, most will be able to adjust the MS301 to their cranial matter. I will say that the pads of pleather do take a bit of time to get used to, as they compress quite a bit…more than I like. While they are soft, that compression can lead to the actual driver being very close to the head; which can decrease the amount of space needed for the sound to breathe (in my opinion). This may be why the unit is of an open back design, allowing that sound to breathe in the imaginary space behind the headphone. This can also aid in giving a wider-than-your-head sound stage. While not huge, it is acceptable and quite pleasant.



    Included with the package is a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable for using like a traditional headphone, and the micro-USB/USB charging cable. A nice addition would be to replace the plastic insert from the package with a soft case or a small pouch, not unlike what Beat includes with their latest headphones. Something to protect the critter would have been appreciated. As is, I am using the soft cloth pouch from my Audioquest Nightowl’s…temporarily.

    [​IMG]

    Isolation is quite good considering the open back design (to me), and one has to reach fairly ridiculous volume levels (with my iPhone 6+) to intrude upon your better halves enjoyment of sewing shows…and if that is the case said-better half is giving you that “are you really that stupid” look because the volume is so high…You don’t want to get that look…ever….

    [​IMG]


    Pairing with the latest Bluetooth 4.2 was no problem, as long as you followed the instructions. It is important (from what I found) that you power on the DAP/Smartphone and turn on Bluetooth before turning the 301’s on. THEN, continue to hold the power button on the headphone, while manipulating (if not already there…) to the Bluetooth connectivity screen. Once there, navigate to the pairing function and all works well. I did have to try a couple of times, but pan this off as not following the correct procedure, or connecting my DAP to charge it (which messed with the protocol). So overall, no problem connecting to the Bluetooth. I did do a distance test to see how far one could go, which can be handy when you set your DAP or Smartphone down for various reasons…See chart below for my findings.

    Phone calls were no problem, other than getting used to the buttons used to answer, etc. One can easily master that in a phone call or two...

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Device

    Distance to disconnection (US feet)

    Shanling M2s...............22’

    AGPTEK Rocker (v2)...28’

    iPhone 6+.....................34’

    Hidizs AP-60.................31’

    Cayin N3.......................25’

    The discrepancies noted above could be due to the differing DAPs/Smartphone, but I find it telling that the longest distance was from the 6+.

    [​IMG]


    Good solid sound is how I would describe my initial listen. And it continued. Not overwhelming in any one range, with not as much bass as I would like, but that is OK. The mids were slightly forward, especially the vocals. But a slight V-shape sound could be heard. Separation is good, with good placement of instrumentation. Not the best, but quite acceptable. While one can pretty clearly make out the separation, it seems as if the “house sound” was to provide an overall pleasant sound, giving in a bit to the separation. I do not mind, as I found this to be one of the best aspects of the Mixcder x5 IEM, I auditioned. In my mind a pleasant sound is nothing to be ashamed of, and I do like this signature.



    Build quality is very good, with a mix of pleather, aluminum, plastic and stainless steel, as stated above. They are somewhat heavy, though not as heavy as other headphones I have tried (such as the Oppo PM-1 or Audioquest NightOwl). The pleather pads can get hot (I have no house air conditioning, short of ceiling fans), and crush to your cranial matter form too easily for me. I would have preferred a bit firmer pad, with more cushion. Or an option for a different pad altogether.



    Sound stage is quite good, with a nice wide sound, that although not too deep, reaches a good height; giving the impression of a panoramic photo-like sound. To me, this gives a very pleasant sounding aspect to the overall tonality. Again, that “we won’t compete with each other” combination of bass/mid/treble.



    [​IMG]



    A Deeper Look:


    The MS301 is a bit hard to drive for most of the DAP’s I tried, but not my iPhone 6+. The Smartphone easily drove the 301’s to quite loud volumes. And of all the DAP’s tried, the Hidizs drove the 301 to probably the highest volume (not matched, but near-ear drum splitting is a good judge). On all of the DAP’s save the Rocker v2, the gain switch worked. Having the gain switch work can be a tremendous advantage for those times when you need a quick kick of volume going from one song to another. A definite disadvantage of the Rocker v2.



    With all of the DAP’s used and the 6+, I heard pretty much the same sound as described above. Ranging from slightly warm and dark (Shanling house sound) to near-neutral (Cayin N3) to fairly bright (Hidizs, except for trebles; and the AGPTEK), the Mixcder simply played. Of all the sounds, Tidal streamed on the 6+ was probably the “brightest” and thinnest, something I attest to the streaming nature and sound characteristics of the iPhone. While it wasn’t bad, and was quite listenable with decent bass; if one has a dedicated DAP, you will garner a much better sound results. Those with the ability to use FLAC files on their Smartphone will of course benefit.

    [​IMG]

    Just like the sound, which drew me into the x5, the mids, the same could be said of the 301’s. An extremely good tie is what the mids provide; piecing the overall sound characteristics together…in the same vein as the x5, but better. A laudable effort at a much higher price let alone sub-$90 in any headphone, not just a “Bluetooth-enabled” headphone.


    When one can compliment the sound of a headphone based upon its characteristics, and synergy of those characteristics working together; then the company has succeeded. To say that is done with Bluetooth (yes, the latest 4.2 iterations, but still…) AND keep the price below $100 is a true testament to the engineering department of said company. If you had told me ten years ago, we would have this quality at this price, I would surely have scoffed at that verbiage.


    Listening to The Troubles from U2’s excellent Songs of Innocence album brings that excellence tie to light. Even through the low-priced Hidizs ($89) or AGPTEK ($89), that sound comes through in a manner that one can say they spent less than two Ben Franklin’s and have a very good portable system, making me eat my words. A listening facet, which shows just how serious the digital market, has become…and we should all applaud that engineering department. I for one still marvel at this rocket-type ascension into higher quality for less dollar phase we are enjoying, and can only imagine where we will be in the next ten years.

    [​IMG]



    Finale:



    As I stated at the beginning, I had never partaken in the Bluetooth listening aspect from a headphone/IEM. It was new to me. Having remembered how unreliable Bluetooth was in its early days, I did know and understand that those days are behind us. So, I did not fear the old problem. I feared that I might like what I heard. And this can be a somewhat disconcerting aspect when you have traveled down the audio highway for what seems like decades (actually it is…sigh, I’m old”er”). What would I find? How would it compare to my “higher-dollar” equipment? How would it compare using various devices? What if I liked it?



    Well, all of those questions can be summed up pretty succinctly…I DO like the sound of the MS-301. It is an extremely pleasant listening experience, with nary a problem. Any connectivity issue was on the devices end, not the headphone. The Mixcder came along quietly for the ride. I liken this, to the “new rider” who shows up at the local group bicycle ride…a person you have never seen, who might be on a lower priced, maybe older bike. Many in your group might scoff, or quietly make fun of that “new rider.” But, since you are more experienced, you quickly saddle up to the new one and make them feel welcome. Why? Because you can see it…you can see the qualities they possess…that it is the character of the person not what they ride, which makes them who they are. And that is how I look at Mixcder…a relative newcomer, who provides products for a pretty packed segment. But they let their performance speak for them…not the flash of a “new bike” or new product. It is what is inside that product, which shows the true measure of what I am listening to…and I am glad.

    [​IMG]

    If you have not figured this out yet, I will state it again: I highly suggest you give the Mixcder MS-301 a listen. As @willjen stated, this is a pretty good critter, regardless of whether it has Bluetooth or not. A headphone that should be listened to for itself. I definitely recommend a listen if you are in the Bluetooth headphone market, especially one that pairs well with our Smartphones. They did this one right.



    A hearty thank you to @Mixcder for the generous offer they made in regards to this device. I am very thankful for the opportunity, and wish their company continued success.

    My review video will be up tomorrow.
      Mixcder likes this.
  4. Wiljen
    Mixcder MS301 - A Just plain good BT headphone!
    Written by Wiljen
    Published Jun 21, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Great sounding, comfortable, Bluetooth, responds well to EQ
    Cons - Could use a travel bag to prevent scratches
    1st.jpg
    BACKGROUND: I was given the MS301 by Mixcder in exchange for writing a review. I appreciate the chance to try new things and always look for the positive. Most of my income goes to putting kids through college so I have a particular interest in the budget-fi category of products.

    I resisted Bluetooth headphones for a long time as I thought they cured a problem I didn’t have. Seldom has the biggest concern in my life been the wire between my phone or DAP and my ears. To me the trade-off wasn’t worth it. Give up sound quality in order to lose a wire, not a good trade. Here lately though it seems everybody has a new Bluetooth headphone and after the first few attempts to resist I grudgingly agreed to try out a pair. One of my pet peeves is giving anything a pass it doesn’t deserve so I categorically refuse to say “this is good for a Bluetooth headphone”. Either it is a good headphone, or it is not, how it connects to the source shouldn’t change the nature of that discussion. Having said that, let’s look at the MS301.



    Packaging

    The Mixcder MS301 is their premium offering at roughly $90 retail and the outside of the packaging reflects that. The Black and gold is elegantly understated and yet makes sure all the pertinent details are there right up front.

    BoxF.jpg BoxR.jpg

    The inside of the packaging doesn’t measure up to the same standard. A spartan plastic tray holds a small box and the phones. The manual hides underneath the tray and that is the entire kit. A travel bag to protect the headphones would be a welcome addition to the kit and maybe a velvet coating on the plastic to give it a bit more of a premium feel would be good. The small box contains a micro-USB cable for charging and a 3.5mm cable for wired use.

    accessorybox.jpg contents1.jpg



    Build / Fit


    Build quality is good with aluminum cups supported by stainless steel that attaches at the 12 o’clock position. The Hinges are metal on metal so no plastic contact points to wear. The headband adjustment is plastic as seen below but is backed with a stainless band and is solid. The pseudo-leather cups and headband are well padded and quite comfortable without being hot after extended wear. Kudos on that as few pads can both isolate and not overheat. This is definitely points in the MS301s favor. The cups rotate 90 degrees one way and roughly 15 the other to allow for a comfortable fit, and the pad and driver has about 15 degrees of movement on the horizontal axis inside the aluminum cups to allow for better comfort and fit. Again, well done and these should fit most people with a little adjustment of the band.

    hinge.jpg

    The pads can be removed by twisting them roughly 1/8 turn counter-clockwise as they lock into the driver housing using 4 clips. The drivers themselves are damped as seen below and are in a separate chamber from the Bluetooth circuit board and battery which are contained in the outer portion of the aluminum housings.

    cupremoved.jpg driverrear.jpg cupinside.jpg



    Controls


    Controls are simple. On the left cup we have the USB connection for charging. On the right cup we have the 3 buttons. The topmost is power/ pairing. Then we have an LED that shows blue when powered on or blinks for pairing. The bottom two buttons are volume increase and decrease followed by the 3.5mm jack for wired use. The microphone isn’t labeled and two pin holes (one in either cup) are the only hint it exists.

    leftcontrols.jpg rightcontrols.jpg


    Battery


    Mixcder lists these as charging to full in 2 hours from drained and working for 22 hours. The battery is listed as a 500mAh lithium ion cell. Based on my usage, I found the times to be realistic if maybe a tough optimistic. I was able to average about 16 hours of use time before it needed recharging. While a 2.1 Amp charger would charge the headphone in 2 hours, it would be wise to use a slower charger and preserve the battery as quick charging will result in shortened usable life.



    Bluetooth

    The MS301 is one of a very few headphones on the market that supports the latest Bluetooth standard (4.2) with AptX. Pairing is simple and quick with nothing unexpected. I was able to use the headphones within 50 feet of the source without a single hiccup and no interference from other devices. This is better than the experience I have had with most other Bluetooth sets which have had problems with range and lots of interference when other Bluetooth licenses are in use. Mixcder has done a good job on the Bluetooth implementation as it worked exactly as advertised and is indeed a premium experience compared to the average device.



    Isolation

    Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t give isolation a heading by itself but the MS301 warrants it. Due to the design, these have elements that would lead one to think they were open back as the housing is 2 pieces. Closer inspection shows the drivers are isolated into a chamber and it behaves like a closed back where isolation is concerned. They have a small amount of leakage but would be very usable on a plane or in travel situations. The only place I found I could not use them was in bed as my wife was annoyed while trying to sleep. The good news is that small amount of leakage is enough to create a headphone that sounds a lot more like an open back than it does a closed back. So let’s get to what everyone came for, what does it sound like?


    Sound

    I paired the headphones to my HTC m9 with USB Audio Player Pro. Listening was done with mostly Flac with a few 320bit Mp3s thrown in for good measure. I then paired to an I-phone 6S+ and did the same tests. Lastly, I paired them with my Fiio X3 using the 3.5mm cable and my Xduoo X3 using the same. I had a little overlap with a review tour of the Cayin N3 so tried the MS301 paired with the N3 via Bluetooth.

    The sound is a shallow V shape that leans a bit to the warm side.

    Bass has good extension and good punch. While elevated, the bass is not bloated or out of proportion and is much cleaner than some others I have tried. Sub-bass is present but not prominent and a mid-bass hump is present but not overwhelming. Overall, the bass on these is a good mix of quantity and quality. With a bit of EQ, the bass can be toned down and the MS301 becomes a very good balanced headphone. With a bit of EQ in the other direction, these can become a bit of a bass cannon for those that prefer that signature.

    Mids are good. I mean really good. These do not suffer from the typical recessed mids seen on so many V shaped consumer headphones, nor do they have massive bass bleed into the mids as is also common. Male vocals are clear and potent and female vocals are well rendered, and lifelike.

    Treble is controlled but does have some sparkle and airiness without sibilance in the female vocals. Again, treble responded well to EQ and could be used to flatten the response curve to produce a very analytical sound from a headphone that started out a more commercial V profile.

    Soundstage is better than expected and sounds much more like an open back than a closed. Instrument separation was good and width of soundstage was very good. Depth of the sound stage is somewhat limited but less so than I was expecting in a low powered closed back design.


    Call Quality

    The headphones worked well for making and receiving calls. The microphone was sensitive to wind and outside noise as is typical with cup mounted microphones.


    Overall

    The Mixcder Ms301 represents Mixcder’s premium offering in price, style, features, and sound. Did Mixcder succeed in creating a premium experience? Yes! These remind me a lot of the Sennheiser 598SE in a Bluetooth design with better styling cues. These are easily the best Bluetooth headphone I have tried and deserve to be called a good headphone. Not good for a Bluetooth design, just plain good. These compete with wired designs of similar pricing on an even footing. If you are looking for a good headphone in the sub-$100 category, these deserve a good hard look. For those of you who have been waiting for a Bluetooth headphone that gave wired designs a run for their money in the sound quality department, your headphone has arrived and it’s called the Mixcder MS301.
      Mixcder and ngoshawk like this.
  5. genclaymore
    Ineresting headphones
    Written by genclaymore
    Published Jun 18, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Fold-able, Bluetooth,Wired,Comfit-able headband padding,durability
    Cons - Harsh,analytically,itchy squishy sweaty earpads, Muddy bass
    [​IMG] [​IMG]



    Usually I don't normally use wireless headphones due to them usually having issues with connection issues and sound quality. Let me say this the common issues does not apply to the mixcder MS301 Bluetooth headphones that mixcder sent me, so I wanna thank them for allowing me to give these headphones a listen.



    Now lets get done to business, The box of the headphone comes with information on the type of Bluetooth functionally that the headphone support and other useful information, which is good so your not left wondering what it can do.



    When you remove the clam shell from the box, besides seeing the headphone, You will see a small box in the center which holds the USB charging cable and the 3.5m cables. They did include a manual which is on a small which may be hard to read but I managed to do. The 3.5m cables are on the flimsy side, do in future headphones I suggest that they include more decent quality cable, because if these break and they will, you will have to run out and get replacements.

    [​IMG]

    When I remove the headphones the first thing I notice is how heavy it is, usually the other types of Bluetooth headphones that I’ve used from other companies tend to be light weight, which something you don’t want your headphones to be. The cup of the headphone all the way to the adjuster is made with metal which feels very durable. Very good quality from what I can tell which is very good better then what I was expecting.



    There were times where other headphones doesn’t do a good job with letting you adjust the size of the headphones, such as not having markers or being hard to do which means you would either not know if you have both sides set at the same level or ended up doing more on one side causing you to try to get the other side even with the other, only to mess that side up. Not here, the adjustment clicks into place while also letting you know that you are changing the size, on the other size there is visible notches that you can see so you can make sure its set right.



    For those who are the traveling type your not left out due to the MS301’s folding and twisting action, you can either fold them up and slide them into your pocket or back pack, or twist them so there laying flat and slide put them into your hard case or suitcase. When you ready to use them again simply move them back and snap the headphone back into place. Even though this function is handy there is times where the headphone will decide to twist flat on it’s own causing you to put it back and quickly put it on your head before it twist back around. This issue is due to the joints being very loose, even happens when its snapped back from being folded up. I suggest they tighten it up a bit more so it take a bit more effort to twist them around. That way your not spending most of your time, racing to put the headphones back on before they twist back flat.



    The padding is next, the headband padding is very comfortable and soft, it doesn’t push down on my head or make a dent or even cause pain which is almost perfect, If it was a bit more thicker or a tad bigger it would be perfect but not really a con as it may work fine for another person. The ear-pads feel really good and soft as they sit on your ears. The down side because I wear glasses they press against the frames evidently causes my ears to hurt and sweat making me have to take them off. Besides being too soft as there too squishy. It would been better if they was thicker and less squishy.


    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Most times I the ear-pads of certain headphones tend to make my ears hurt or be uncomfortable but here they did a great job selecting the material and the shape as my ears also do not touch the inside of the headphone caps. I don’t know if the ear pads can be removed as I did not try, didn’t want to risk the chance of not being able to put it back on.



    Unlike any other Bluetooth headphones I have tried in the past, the controls on this one actually work, raising and lowering the volume when you press the buttons, Usually the ones I tried only seek or change the tracks. Which is a godsend being able to raise and lower the volume without having to do it manly on the phone, making volume mistakes less likely to happen. Holding those same buttons down for around 2 secs causes the headphone to change the song.

    [​IMG]

    Around those same two buttons is the 3.5mm connector which is used to connect to a sound card, receiver or some other type of source, with the USB charging plug on the other cup. Then the power button which you used to turn it on of course, but it also use to pair the headphones to other devices. I still wish the cable was on the left side which is easy to manage but it not really an issue at all.



    The Bluetooth worked very well when I tried a Bluetooth 4.1 APT X transmitter that I own without giving me any problems, but I did have an issue with my LG phone but then since I didn't have issues with the BT Transmitter then chalk it down to my phone causing issues and not the headphones but evidently I got it to work on my phone.



    The sound quality of Bluetooth and analog was very good out of the box but, I decided before hand to run the headphone thru it paces for a few days before I give it another listen for the review.



    I did run into a problem when I gave it a quick listen out of the box in regards to using it with a sound card, make sure you check your volume because even with 5% on the Asus xonar DS i was using it was too loud, lucky I didn't have it on my ears, I had to lower it to 2% before it was usable on my computer. I didn't have this problem with my phone of course, so beware.



    With the BT transmitter that I had the range of the BT was good, but I couldn’t really test the full range of it due to not having one that was BT 4.2 and supported CSR. Depending on the adapter or Transmitter your results may be different. I couldn't get my targus BT adapter to work so i couldn't see how it would had did with a normal BT USB adapter.



    Source

    Since most people will be using these with a smartphone or mp3 player, I will use an LG Leon smartphone for this review. Which has decent enough analog quality. I would go more into the analog quality but I don’t have any thing that would let me test it fully that's usable. I will be doing analog first and then Bluetooth next.


    Analog



    Dreamsystem – Moon Effect (Original mix) (FLAC)



    After the 1:07 mark you are hit with bright highs that are very detailed, to the point of being too much. But you do hear the snares and with great detail. But it doesn’t sound that good due to the brightness. Even though the brightness is in your face, The drums are controlled and hit with a snap, the bass goes deep. You can hear the echo of the sound as it spreads to the channel, while the sound stage feels small but it is outside of my head. It just too overly bright and detailed to my taste.




    Monstex – Anubis (Original Mix) (FLAC)


    This song is not super bright or detailed like the other song. You can hear the plucking of the instrument, the tambourine comes through very clean and clear with great details. The The bass sound really good to my ears with it going deep. It’s not muddy or boomy at all, it’s not even in your face which is very good. Over all the headphones didn’t have any issues with this song as every thing sounded good.





    Monty – Thinline Control (FLAC)


    The bass hits very hard and the snares have a little too much detail to it giving off a tinny type of sound and the bass is a little distorted. It’s not bright it just that the details is too much which you will notice right away. It seem like the MS301 can’t handle too much bass if it goes too low. The little of the vocals in the song was good I could hear them clearly.



    The Glitch Mob – Mind of A beast (FLAC)


    Sounds very good there is no brightness or overly details attacking my ears, the bass is similar to the other song but there is no distortion as hey hit hard, even the drums have some kick too them. The hit hats like the rest of the song sounds good. The over all sound feels like it projected inside my head as it doesn’t sound like its projected outside, so it has a small sound stage.



    Mash-D – Kill Machine (MP3 320)

    You can hear the electronic type sound effect at the start of the song and thru out it, The bass hits just as hard as it did in Mid of a beast even a tad more, unfortunately the overly detailed sound has return. The separation I would say is avg as there are some sounds I can’t hear when others are played at the same time. The brightness is a little much but not way too much like the first song. The sound still feels like it is inside my head or my outer edge of my head.





    Bluetooth

    Dreamsystem – Moon Effect (Original mix) (FLAC)

    The first thing you notice in compared to the analog results is the audio is not bright at all and it’s not that detailed which is great as it more listenable then the analog out on my phone. You can still hear the instruments very well and the bass actually hits harder while still going deep even the drums hit harder. The ambient sound in the start of the song is a tad harsh only a tad but it’s less then it was before. The sound stage comes off as being a little outside my head, it kinda hard to tell.





    Monstex – Anubis (Original Mix) (FLAC)

    Now with this song in compared to analog the sound does come off as being outside of my head, while still being clear and open with a hint of brightness. It’s still have it details but its not over done. The bass also goes deep while having a hard hitting sound to it. The separation is very good as I have no problem with hearing the instruments as they are played, I can hear the locations of them too as I hear the symbols coming in from the left including the drums from in front of me. Over all it sounds much better then the analog out on my phone.





    Monty – Thinline Control (FLAC)

    Similar results but over all better sound performance then over my phone analog as the bass is not distorted and it also hits very hard at the low end while it does hit hard it does have a bit of muddy or sub-woofer type sound to it, while you can hear the drums hitting hard. Very Good separation too. The snares are a little too detail but nothing like before as it not harsh only a hint of brightness.



    The Glitch Mob – Mind of A beast (FLAC)

    The Results are similar to the analog only that it sound a bit more open and the separation is better but the bass still hits hard, but the drums have less of a kick to them and is a bit more accurate. It does sound a bit more outside of my head then before.





    Mash-D – Kill Machine (MP3 320)

    The first thing I notice is the details are not overly done like the analog results, the bass still hits hard like a sub-woofer with the drums being more accurate then before, the snares are still detailed but not too much. Brightness is just a tad harsh to me with the details still being there it just not too much like before.



    Conclusion

    While the analog results was due to my phone audio performance, the analog on my sound card fair much better then my phone as it didn’t have the none of the muddy, harsh brightness and analytical. The Bluetooth on the other hand sounded better then my phone analog as some songs did better. Now if your the type of person who love this type of sound then it be perfect for you, other people not so much especially those with High Freq tinnitus your ears won’t be happy afterwards. Now I will admit that I don’t know if my phone using an older Bluetooth version had any thing to do with the results since it’s not one of the latest phone. But I know with my Asus Xonar DS sound card with a neutral op-amp the MS301 did a better job then both.



    My main issue with the MS301 is the ear pads that's the problem area, they start to hurt due to the ear pads being too squishy, plus the material they used which causes your ears to get hot and sweaty, even start to itch, I had to remove them a couple of times during this review due to the itching. The cup that swirls on it own doesn’t bother me that much but the ear pads is my biggest problem with the MS301’s.


    EDIT July 24th:

    I decided to see if the earpads could be remove, because before It didn't look like they could. I happen to pull the earpads an little bit while rotating and they came off.

    The ear-pads are glued on to the removable round plate, If one wanted to, they could remove the glue and put another pair of ear-pads on it and twist it back onto the cup. There also seem to be enough room inside the cup for some modding.
      Mixcder and ngoshawk like this.