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MusicMaker Tomahawk In-Ear

Rating:
4.5/5,
  1. BloodyPenguin
    An In-Ear Design, on and Earbud Body Leads to a Wonderful Result
    Written by BloodyPenguin
    Published Apr 18, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Great Sound Quality, Solid Build, Non-Tangle Cable, Comfortable Fit, Wonderful Isolation
    Cons - No Mic Version, Not as Airy as Earbud Version, No Retail Packaging, No Version Label
    --
    This is the MusicMaker Tomahawk In-Ear (Balanced Version)

    P1060870.jpg
                             -photography for this review was taken by me-

    [Official Taobao Page]:  https://musicmaker.world.taobao.com/
    [Product Page]:  https://world.taobao.com/item/527304931814.htm
     
     

    *Pre-Review Information*

    I recently completed a review of the MusicMaker Tomahawk, which you can find here:  http://www.head-fi.org/products/musicmaker-mrz-tomahawk-hifi-earbud/reviews/15402

    The Tomahawk received a rare 5/5 Star Rating from me due to the great; build, sound and value.  The original Tomahawk is a crazy value at just under $50 and is a must have for earbud lovers.  There will be a lot of comparison between the two products in this review.
     
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    **1st Disclaimer – I would like to thank MusicMaker for providing a sample of the Tomahawk In-Ear (Balanced Version) in return for an honest review.

    **2nd Disclaimer – I have no affiliation with MusicMaker, I just happen to love all their products I have heard so far (and so have others on this forum).

     
    ** 3rd Disclaimer – I do not speak Chinese.  I used Google Translate to get most of the specifications for this review, please feel free to correct me, if needed.

    **4th Disclaimer – There are no more disclaimers…

     
     
     
    *What Classification is this product?*

    I'm not really sure, but I am going to refer to them as in-ear / earphones.
     
    So, to explain what MusicMaker did here is this basic formula:

    1 Part Tomahawk:             +            1 Part Earbud Enhancer           =         Tomahawk In-Ear

    P1060564BW.jpg    whoomp-earbud-enhancers.jpg         P1060864B.jpg
     
     
     
     
     
     
    *Specifications*

    As mentioned in my Disclaimer, I can not 100% confirm these specifications as they were pulled off of a few sites using a translator, but I did my best.  Please feel free to post any corrections in the comment section.

    Type: Earbud/Earphone Hybrid
    Driver:  10mm Dynamic
    Impedance:  32ohm
    Sensitivity:  113dB
    Frequency Response:  15Hz-28kHz
    Cable:  Wired (Flat)
    Cable Length:  1.2m
    Plug: 3.5mm
     
    P1060863.jpg
     
     
     

    *Packaging*

    While MusicMaker is quickly making a name for themselves with their high quality audio products, they are still not providing any sort of retail packaging.  On the plus side, this may help keep the prices down and the value high by not having to charge the consumer for any added materials that really are not “needed”.  On the other hand, there is a lot to be said for the pleasure of un-boxing a new product.  Maybe in the future they could offer two versions, packaged and un-packaged.  Personally, I am much more a function over form guy, so I don’t really mind that they don’t come in sort of retail box.

     
     
    *Content*

    -Tomahawk In-Ear (Balanced Version)
    -Triangle Shaped Hard Case
    - 11 Pairs of Ear Tips (9 Silicon / 2 Foam)
    - Shirt Clip
     
    As I mentioned in my Tomahawk review, I really like the simple triangle case that the Tomahawk and all of it accessories come in.  It is very distinctive with its shape, that makes it easy for me to find my MusicMaker products at a quick glance.

    Those concerned about being able to find a tip that will work, be not worried, because there are 11 pairs included.  ELEVEN, Crazy!  There really is something for everyone here.  Thin bore, thick bore, foam and more sizes that you can think of.  I guess, if I had to nick pick, it would be nice if they threw in a few flanged versions as well.

    P1060856.jpg
     


    *Build/Design*

    Like all MusicMaker products I have tried, the build quality is top notch.  The Tomahawk In-Ear’s housing is made entirely of metal.  Even the extra “earbud enhancer” tip to convert it to an earphone is made of metal; I really thought it was plastic at first, but I was wrong. 

    Unlike the earbud version, the Tomahawk In-Ear comes with a flat cable instead of a round one.  This flat cable is thick, strong and does well not to tangle.  Strain relieve is more than sufficient at all ends.

    The only thing I wish, with this In-Ear Tomahawk, that maybe there was an alternate microphone version.  But with the three sound signature options, I could see how the logistics on this could get a little intense.

    P1060859.jpg
     
     
     
    *Fit/Comfort*

    I enjoy earbuds immensely for their comfort.  I was worried that the In-Ear version would not be as nice.  But with the housing shape and multitude of ear tips, my concerns were quickly put to rest.

    The outside of the earphone is smooth and cool.  It feels comforting as the Tomahawk in-ear is worn.  I wore these over 4 hours straight the other night while working on editing the photo shoot.  Never once did I notice any discomfort.
     
    P1060862.jpg
     
     
     
    *Sound*

    Lows – Even though this is classified as the balanced version, I found there was a decent presence to the bass response.  Down low, there is a distinct rumble of the sub-bass that moves up to a slight mid-bass kick.  While there never is a loss for lows, the bass is controlled and stays put.  Never did I notice any bleeding into the middle frequencies

    Mids – There is an intimate feel to the mids.  Vocals are focus, but not forward.  I found there to be quite nice detail and a very close to neutral presentation in the middle. 

    Highs – While not exactly neutral, the rolled off highs still include an abundance of detail, without any sparkle.  The Tomahawk In-Ear is not a harsh sounding earphone.  It instead puts its effort on being accurate, while smooth.

    Soundstage – During the Earbud to Earphone transformation, the Tomahawk In-Ear lost a little soundstage.  It is not as airy or wide as its earbud sibling.  Still for an earphone, there is decent instrument separation with speed.  While the sound is a bit more condensed than an earbud, this In-Ear still has enough distance to allow this Tomahawk version to sound lively and fun.

    Isolation – Most earbuds do not isolate well.  However, this modified, In-Ear Tomahawk does isolate well.  It actually isolates VERY well.  Something about the all metal housing and great in ear seal lead to great blocking of noise in and out.  Lying in bed, I could not hear anything my wife was saying, even though she was right next to me. 

    P1060866.jpg
     
     

    *Comparison*

    I think it best, since I have already touched on the Tomahawk Earbud vs In-Ear throughout this review, that I will continue that here.

    Both the Earbud and In-Ear models can be found around the internet for around ($50).  So price wise, they are on a very even playing field.  They are also equal with accessories and build quality.

    Where they are the most different, is in their sound presentation.  The earbud version has a slight advantage in soundstage and width.  The In-Ear has a BIG upper hand with isolation, creating a quiet bubble from the rest of the world. 

    Sound signature finds the earbud version displaying a bit more focus on vocals and overall clarity.  While the In-Ear, with its snug seal, brings out more presence in the lows.  Highs on both are silky smooth, with just a tad bit more detail flowing through the earbud.
    For me, they are both winners; the same great sound, with your choice of a more open sound, or being able to isolate yourself from the world.  I am very lucky to have both to pick between, depending on my needs at the time.

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    *Overall thoughts*

    MusicMaker is quickly making a name for themselves on Head-Fi.  Jump over to the Earbuds Round Up thread and you will see a lot of recent talk of both the Tomahawk and Ting. http://www.head-fi.org/t/441400/earbuds-round-up-update-april-17th-2016.  Then go to the Review Section on the forums and you will quickly see that the MusicMaker IEMs, like the TK12 and Phantom III / Shockwave III get extremely high marks as well.  http://www.head-fi.org/products/category/headphones/musicmaker
     
    That brings us to the Tomahawk In-Ear.  Another quality product from MusicMaker and like the rest of its family deserves listening time.  I hope to get my hands on all three versions soon, so I can talk more in detail about their defining signatures, but for now, I am truly impressed with the balanced tune. 
     
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      leobigfield and B9Scrambler like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Townyj
      @pr0b3r
      I already spoke with Justin/Blood Penguin via PM, he mentioned they are only supplying one version of the IEM Tomahawk now. Its the balanced version, so you would be safe to buy them if you wanted something similar to the original Tomahawks. I have a pair on the way as the earbud version is ridiculous for the price.
      Townyj, Apr 26, 2016
    3. Podster
      Nice review Justin:wink: Getting to be a lot of competition in the single 10MM DD arena!
      Podster, Apr 27, 2016
    4. Sylmar
      Got these in the mail today. Have to burn these in but intial impressions are very good. Really like the looks of them too.
      Sylmar, Jul 16, 2016