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ShoonTH ESEP-01BL / Explorer L

Rating:
4/5,
  1. Palash
    Mids were never ever so good before in earbuds…
    Written by Palash
    Published Dec 23, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Outstanding Mids,
    Right amount of Bass,
    Balanced sound,
    Stylish,
    Comfortable.
    Cons - Cable.
    Introduction
    There are so many good earbuds available now that you really can’t even dare to make a list of them. While searching for a perfect earbud, ShoonTH ESEP-01BL / Explorer L arrived for review and no doubt it’s going to stay in my personal collection in future. I would like to thank Penon Audio for this unit and I have tried to cast my honest impressions on this particular earbud.

    Maybe ShoonTH doing earbud for the first time but it seems they are pretty serious about their business because 4 of their products, starting from 27$ to 219$ available now and all of them look like work of professional hands. Let’s discuss what they have managed to bring within 27$. I let ShoonTH Explorer burn-in for 150 hours before any serious listening with donut foam tips.


    Buying Link - https://penonaudio.com/shoonth-esep-01bl.html

    DSC_0218.JPG Specification

    Cell Size / Driver: 15.4mm Dynamic
    Frequency Response: 10Hz-22kHz
    Impedance: 32Ω
    SPL: 110db
    Wire: 4N OFC silver-plated
    Cable Length: 1.2m
    Plug: 3.5mm Gold plated

    DSC_0219.JPG

    What’s inside the Box?
    ShoonTH ESEP-01BL earbud,
    3 pairs of foam tips,
    1 Carry pouch.
    DSC_0220.JPG


    Source
    ShoonTH ESEP-01BL / Explorer L very easy to drive and most of the device can run it easily. I have used my Iphone SE and Fiio M3k to test it most of the times.

    Tracks/ Albums used
    Adele – 21
    Adele - 25
    Bob Marley & The Wailers - Kaya (40th Anniversary Edition)
    Eagles - Hotel California (40th Anniversary Expanded Edition)
    Eric Clapton - Unplugged (1992)
    Don Henley - I Can't Stand Still
    Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
    Michael Jackson – Thriller
    Devin Dawson - Dark Horse
    Sting - The Best Of 25 Years
    Bruno Mars - 24K Magic (MQA)


    DSC_0223.JPG


    Presentation, Design & Build Quality
    Unboxing experience is straightforward, nothing fancy. Everything is packed inside a tiny 3” X 4” brown recycled paper box. Brand name printed on top of the box, bar code on the left side and rest relative specs back of the box. The naming scheme of whole ShoonTh lineup is a bit unusual but at the time of writing this review they changed them with some fancy names so no complaint now. Inside the box; Earbud itself, 3 pair of foam, a carry pouch and a tiny paperwork packed with care using some soft foams.

    For 27$ the design is simple and stylish. Surprisingly all of ShoonTh earbuds share of same kind of Shell. Black glossy shell with a silver ascent on top of them, and yes they look quite stylish. ShoonTh marked left and right earbud using their logo printed red and blue instead of ‘R’ and ‘L’ symbol. Cable quality is decent. I am not a big fan of this kind of glossy cable because they create a lot of noise when walking and you can hear those noises inside your earbuds. Overall build quality is decent and should last long.

    DSC_0221.JPG


    Sound
    As soon as I received this earbud , gave it a try and don’t know the reason I feel disappointed but in case of earbuds I prefer them burn-in first before trying so let it sit with my laptop to burn-in. After a month I discovered that now I am a dull boy because ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ due to heavy work load in my office. To be smart again I started listen this earbud and realized what I missed for couple of weeks. So how it’s sound?

    Bass
    Being 15.4 mm dynamic drivers, ShoonTh Explorer L should capable of producing good amount of Bass but it seems that the material used in this drivers different from other same sized dynamic drivers available in market. In a single word bass is not overpowering, just right amount of bass. Both quality and quantity of bass is perfect. The amount of sub-bass is above average still you can hear the rumble. Bass is fast and packed with good energy. The entire song ‘24K Magic’ by Bruno Mars with this earbud is fantastic, the energy is there and fun to listen. The opening of the song ‘One of These Nights’ by Eagles the rumble of drums is also there, and you can notice whenever it playing in background. The song ‘Dreams’ by Fleetwood Mac and those simultaneous drum hits are prominent and enough for even someone who love extra bass. Surprisingly, this erabud is performing really according to its source. When I paired it with my Topping NX3s the increase of sub-bass is quite noticeable. So you can play with it to create the best synergy according your taste.

    Mids
    No doubt that ShoonTh Explorer L is tuned keeping Mids in mind. It’s clear that there is no bass bleed in mids and the whole mid range is a bit forward. Upper mids are more focused than lower mids. Vocals are crisp and clear. Female vocals are much more articulated than male vocals. Mids on ShoonTH ESEP-01BL / Explorer L is rich and lush. Tracks like ‘Remedy’ by Adele and ‘When We Were Young’ by Adele sounds very resolving. Every note is crystal clear. ‘Old Love’ by Eric Clapton with ShoonTh Explorer L is a really good experience. So much emotion is there. ‘Running on Faith’ is like never ever so beautiful before in earbuds. The track ‘All on me’ by David Dawson seems much wider and open. Piano in tracks like ‘Talking to the Moon’ by Don Henley is mellow and just wonderful.

    Treble
    Upper frequency is well extended and no such bump/spike noticed. Treble part is airy and adding enough crispiness when it needed. No Sibilance is there at all. Someone who really like bright sound signature, may miss the sparkle but for most of the people the amount and speed is enough. For example the song ‘ Billie Jean ‘ by Michael Jackson, where from start to end both lower frequency and higher frequency plays an important role , ShoonTh explorer L performed well. Very controlled treble .

    Soundstage & Imaging
    Soundstage of 01BL is quite good, not super wide but wide enough to maintain the stereo effect. Vocals a bit forward and instruments like just behind the artist. Imaging is actually very good and accurate; it performed with busy and complex tracks very well. In the song ‘I don’t want to Know’ by Fleetwood Mac, the clapping sound in left ear creates the illusion that someone really clapping behind your right ear. Instrument separation is also very good.

    Comparison
    Willsound Mk1 rev2 vs ShoonTH ESEP-01BL / Explorer L
    For almost similar price point of 30$- 35$ , willsound buds are very famous. While comparing ShoonTH 01BL with Mk1 rev 2, 01Bl surprised me by its quantity of sub-bass and speed. Willsound mk1 may have a bit extra sub-bass but its slow where 01Bl is fast and rumble was there. In mids ShoonTH 01BL nailed it; mids a bit laid-back in Willsound Mk1 rev 2. Both treble and soundstage is similar in both this two earbuds, still ShoonTH 01BL performed well with almost all music genres. Instrument separation is also better in ShoonTH 01BL. Fancy braided cable and carry case may attract buyer towards Willsound Mk1 but I strongly recommend ShoonTH 01BL if music is only concern.


    Conclusion
    For 27 $ ShoonTH ESEP-01BL / Explorer L can be your perfect entry into the Earbud Verse, and it won’t disappoint you. Punchy bass, rich mids and relatively well behaved treble in ShoonTH ESEP-01BL is enough to rock your playlist. If you like vocals then ShoonTH ESEP-01BL is a must have and definitely mids were never ever so good before in earbuds that I have before 01BL.

  2. Kervsky
    Vocalistic and Bassy Buds
    Written by Kervsky
    Published Nov 21, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Really good mids, nice bass, very nice tuning balance, light shell, good cable quality, alright package and accessories.
    Cons - None really at this price point
    [​IMG]

    Introduction: ShoonTH is a new Chinese audio company that has been producing earbuds and one IEM as it's first foray into the audiophile world just a month ago (or so) and with the waves of earbuds in the market now, they have released 4 products as of this writing, with their most expensive model the ESEP-01BU followed by the ESEP-01BLE, their IEM Maji and the one am going to review today, their basic model the ESEP-01BL earbud.

    I'd like to thank ShoonTH and Penon for the chance to review the ESEP-01BL in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. You can buy the ShoonTH ESEP-01BL at the Penon website or locally if your retailer carries it.

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    Specification:
    Driver: 15.4mm Dynamic
    Sensitivity: 110dB/mW
    Frequency Response: 10Hz-22kHz
    Impedance: 32Ω
    Wire: OCC silver-plated
    Cable Length: 1.2m
    Plug: 3.5mm Gold plated

    The ShoonTH ESEP-01BL (henceforth known as 01BL, coz its long) is an easy to drive earbud, no amping needed as even my Xperia phone can drive it well and loud, better sources do scale up a little but

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    Unboxing: The 01BL comes in a brown little box with the brand stamped in front and information about the company and earbuds on the back. it's pretty small, inside is the earbuds, a very cute little box of foams, 3 pairs of red/blue, black full foam covers and a donut foam which I'll be using for this review, the box also hides the little manual underneath it. There's a nice little fabric drawstring pouch included and black foam lining at the bottom. It's as minimalist as one gets but also as creative as one can be with given such limitations as there is a small foam divider protecting the earbud themselves from knocking into each other and the overall presentation is neat, definitely a good thing in my book.

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    Cable/Build/Design: The 01BL's cable is covered in a smooth threaded jacket that resists checmical corrosion and in my experience, sweat as well. The smoothness is a welcome change to the slightly rubberized/matte coatings used in cables, and the overall flexibility is a little more softer than standard tpu coated wires, it's not as springy either which means its an overall good cable that feels quite sturdy. The plug is nice and slim and the size is able to fin into casings of phones (and my Nintendo Switch) with no issue, the jack shell is metallic and smooth with no branding and a small rubber nub as a strain relief. the splitter is a metal jacketed plastic body with a small nub at the bottom as strain relief and a small rubber tube acts as the chin slider. There is no strain relief at the earbud level, at least not that can be seen.

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    The 01BL shell is made of shiny smooth plastic with silver plastic trimmings, this contributes to the earbuds overall lightness, something I truly appreciate as most earbuds fall off my earbud unfriendly ears without a fin or adequately sized foams. The inner side of the stem of the 01BL has the colored branding for ShoonTH, blue for left and red for right and the driver cover is made of plastic with multiple holes.

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    The size of the shell housing the large diameter driver and lightness contributes to the comfort and fit of the 01BL, which to say is, pretty good (as I mentioned above), of course some ears may differ in this, so your mileage may vary.

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    Overall, the design, materials and parts used contribute to a good looking product that is simple yet interesting, light and feels sturdy.

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    Sound Analysis: On first listen, I figured the ShoonTH ESEP-01BL was a midcentric earbud with ample bass and treble to be interesting but there was no doubt about it's mid frequency performance being ear catching and overall being quite an enjoyable listen. Upon further use amounting to over 200 hours, I'd like to present my findings and a more in depth analysis of the 01BL's sound. I'm using the donut foams that it came with as I'd like to listen to as much fo the bud without anything in between, listening devices used were basically everything I have at my disposal but based my findings on the Sony WM1A on normal output as the main source.

    Bass: Though not the main focus of the 01BL, the bass is pretty darn good, there is ample quantity and a little above average sub bass reach with Dragonborn's drums reaching down a nice distance before disappearing, Way Down Deep's drums on the other hand exemplify the strength of the hit which is again pretty good with an above average weight, the rumble it can produce is nice and a little quick, giving songs like Lithium's grungy bass guitars it's light but delicious crunch. Bass decay is on the a little above average speed, there's enough linger to sound good but the speed caters a little more to an upbeat taste. Considering few earbuds have really great bass impact, the 01BL carries itself well, however it is only marginally stronger than the Sunrise AS Charm 3's bass impact and is a bit less in quantity but does go deeper in comparison. The best bass so far still goes to the Penon BS1 Official which hits harder with more quantity and depth, though at this price range, this is definitely good sounding bass that has no bass bleed. One thing to note though, the volume limit of the 01BL can be reached when music is both loud and has strong bass, and bass distortion can then occur; leading to a rougher sounding bass slam and sound which can bleed into the mids in effect due to it being quite noticeable at strong power outputs. take heart though as I was only able to do this with the song Lose Yourself to Dance, high gain on the WM1A and maximum volume, not a usual combination I'd do but it is just an example.

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    Mids: Photograph's lower mids sounds good with adequate thickness, giving Ed Sheeran voice a bit more body than average with a bit more of a forward position resulting in his voice having more presence. Upper mids are a little more forward than lower mids in presentation giving female vocals more intimacy. The mids also have a nice weight to the notes, heard and felt with Snowflake (Lara Ruggels) pianos plunges sounding quite believable and satisfying. Pandemic's opening salvo of complex sounds are resolved well by the 01BL, there is ample space between the multiple sounds that play through this song giving it a bit of transparency and has an overall good level of separation to keep things uncluttered or uncompressed. The mids have a bit more mellow and an inviting kind of warmth that gives a near balanced amount of clarity and thickness. Detail retrieval is overall on the average side, giving enough of the music to enjoy the nuances and some of the emotions involved. This is no doubt that the mids are the main draw on the 01BL.

    Treble: The 01Bl has a slightly above average treble reach, there is enough air to add a sense of space to the whole of the sound and a bit of crisp. The sounds that reach this height sound display an average level of clarity with a bit of crisp in each tone, like the harmonics of Till They Take My Heart Away and the cymbal crashes of Hit The Lights, there is a nice level of crisp thats adds excitement and a hint of shimmer. The frequency curve seems to take a bit of a dip around the 7k region where the cymbals and other sounds in the area do not display any harshness and have a slightly faster than average level of decay that does not sound unnatural or exaggerated. Sibilance is generally well controlled, where with the most sibilance prone songs never reach a full sibilant tone. Overall, the treble isn't going to trigger most treble sensitives as it's not a bright kind of tonalit but the liveliness of the treble may put some people who want a relaxed/rolled off high frequency signature off.

    Soundstage: The stage of the 01BL is a little on the average side, around 2 inches out of the ear for the farthest sounds from left to right. though instruments and vocals generally come from just outside the ear canal. height and depth is a bit less in distance to the horizontal stage and the front and back is in the middle of the two. Imaging is accurate enough while layering is adequate with space to avoid congestion on complex tracks.

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    Conclusion: The ShoonTH ESEP-01BL may be the entry level earbud of the ShoonTH lineup but they did not pull any punches on the tuning, a nice midcentric signature that can carry a great tune with the complimentary non spotlight stealing but very capable bass and nearly equally entertaining treble. There's enough details and spaciousness to give a good performance in most generes and modest warmth to give body and smooth things over. It's easy to drive so new audiophiles don't need an amp or an upgrade in their player to enjoy, and those with better gear who are keen on a more mid centered performance can still enjoy the simplicity of carrying something inexpensive yet enjoyable to listen to. As I may keep on saying that mids to me are very important and that the 01BL can be enjoyable in that aspect, the bass on this is also quite good as it can give that needed punch to punctuate music and enough quantity to make the song felt. The treble may not have my normal penchant for a bit of brightness, but those with lightly sensitive ears can rest assured they wont hate the treble on the 01BL, but if rolled off and/or laid back treble is the ONLY thing you can listen to, you may need to look at something else.

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    Sound testing was done using a Sony WM1a (Primarily), a Hiby R6, Zishan Z1(for comparison), Audirect Beam (for computer convenience) and a phone (for checking driveability) volume matched to 90.X db of max volume for safe hearing below 8 hours of use and calibrated using a 1kh tone on a dedicated DB Meter, all sources patched through a switcher. More information will be available on the About Me page (once I find the time to write it up.)
    1. FastAndClean
      very nice review
      what is that cute little amp with cassette printed on it?
      FastAndClean, Nov 21, 2018
      Kervsky likes this.
    2. Kervsky
      Thank you :) the DAP is a Zishan Z1, skinned with a custom design from a local maker.
      Kervsky, Nov 24, 2018
  3. Wiljen
    ShoonTH ESEP-O1BL - Bass in an earbud - Finally!
    Written by Wiljen
    Published Oct 27, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - bass in an earbud. well made for price, good cable
    Cons - rolled-off treble limits sparkle, big bass bleeds into mids.
    ShoonTH ESEP-01BL Earbud

    Disclaimer: I was graciously provided the ShoonTH ESEP-01BL earbud by PENON Audio for review. Thoughts presented here are strictly my own and I have received no other compensation or incentive for this review. The ESEP-01bl retails for just under $30 US and falls into the budget category of earbuds.

    Worth noting is that this product can be easily confused as Shoon uses the same housing on several models (albeit with different cables) and the model numbers are only very subtly different. The sample being reviewed here is the entry level product (01BL) while the 01BLE is a step up in performance and price at $120 and the 01BU is the flagship model and retails for over $200. I stress this as it is entirely possible to read a review of one model while researching a different one and come away with incorrect impressions. Be careful with ShoonTH model designations as they overlap quite a bit.



    Unboxing / Packaging:

    The ESEP-01BL came shipped in a small natural colored Cardboard box with ShoonTH and their logo printed on the top. On the bottom is a sticker that covers most of the bottom of the box with the specs in Chinese and English. Inside the box is a brown cloth carrying case with orange characters on it. My Chinese is exceptionally poor so I will refrain from even attempting to suggest the meaning of the characters. The bag itself is a nice touch and an unexpected perk at this price point. Under the bag rest the earbuds with the cable nicely coiled and wrapped with a wire tie. A couple of nice touches are worth listing. First, they went the distance to place a foam barrier between the earpieces themselves to prevent scratches. I’d have expected this on a higher level product so it was nice to see that Shoon takes the same level of care even with entry level products. Second the entire bottom of the box has thick padding that was more than ample to protect the buds. Usually the unpacking is more fluff than anything in these discussions but in this case I think it shows just how serious ShoonTH is about product quality. Kudos on that, it certainly sets expectations for what is to come.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]



    Build:

    The driver housing is black plastic with a chrome accent down the outside of the unit and a red Shoon Logo on the inner surface of the right earpiece. Vents are present on either side of the stem on the rear of the housing, and the grill has a series of ports around the outer edge with a solid central region. Overall the housing is more similar than not when compared with a lot of budget earbuds. If the housing is reminscent of the earbuds of the past, the cable is certainly a step up. The packing lists the cable as OCC Silver plated 4 strand and the black casing on it is neither tacky or tangle prone. The cable is quite a bit heavier than those vintage earbuds we all remember so fondly trying to untangle for hours on end, and as a result is far superior to those older units. the splitter is brushed aluminum with a chin slider mated to the top. Strain relief below the splitter is very minimal as it is coming out of the 3.5 jack at the base of the cable. The jack is of the straight type and shares the same brushed aluminum housing with the splitter. The jack itself appears to be gold plated but I can find no confirmation of that in the advertising materials.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]



    Internals:

    The driver in the 01bl is made by Foster of Japan (Fengda) and is a 15.4mm dynamic driver with a listed impedance of 32Ω and a sensitivity of 110dB/mW which makes it easy to drive on the go. A little digging found the following additional information on the driver. neodymium magnet, coaxial compound moving coil unit with diaphram tickeness of 0.2mm. I couldn’t find a reference to the diaphragm material but others in the Foster Line of that thickness list mylar as the base substance with various coatings. Various references list this BL as the Low Impedance version of the series and the numbers bear that out. While the 01bl can be driven by a cell phone fairly well, it definitely benefits from a bit of extra power.

    Fit:

    I found the 01bl sat comfortably in my ear without foams and wasnt particularly prone to shift due to walking or other mild movements. Exercizing or more vigorous activity benefited from use of the chin slider and a set of donut foams to keep the 01bl in place.



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    Sound:

    All of my listening notes are done without any foams installed. If you use the 01BL with foams, except some differences between my notes and your listening experience.

    Bass:

    The 01BL is a bass forward earbud. While most times the first thing a reviewer says about an earbud is “Bass is limited due to lack of seal” that is most certainly not the case here. The 01bl hits hard and has good depth of sub-bass with a nearly linear bass all the way from the depths until it crosses into the mids and things start to take a dip. I like that the lower-mids, mid-bass and sub-bass are in proportion to each other without a large mid-bass bloom. I did find the unit reacts well to EQ and for those who like a lighter bass a 2dB drop in everything below 500hZ brings things back into nearly neutral proportions.

    Mids:

    Lower mids, as previously mentioned are forward and in proportion to the mid-bass. The Mids start to drop off mildly above 600Hz and reaching its lowest point somewhere between 2kHz and 3kHz where it seems to plateau off (about 2dB down). The forward low-end and lower-mids combined with some minor bass bleed provides a very warm signature but some details in the mids are obscured due to the tuning. Again with EQ, some of that detail can be recovered.

    Treble:

    Lower treble starts to climb back up a bit but never reaches the level of the low-end peak so it is forward of the mids but behind the bass if only by a small margin. Top end extension is only average with substantial rolloff starting just above the 9kHz mark. The push in the lower treble helps bring vocals to the front and gives the bud a more pronounced V shape sound than the FR chart might show. I think this partially due to the tuning and partially due to the lack of seal in an earbud. Air and sparkle are somewhat limited with the upper treble being rolled off, but it does keep the sound from being aggresive or sibilant.

    Soundstage / Imaging:

    I really like what earbuds do for soundstage and imaging, as the lack of seal somehow usually contributes to a larger sense of space. This is true for the 01BL as it has a fairly wide stage with some depth (not as much as width) and a decent sense of height. Layering is good but limited as expected in a single driver design.

    Comparisons:

    vs MrZ. Tomahawk

    Build quality is better on tomahawk.

    Bass bleed is worse on Tomahawk than on 01BL.

    Tomahawk is more forward treble and may be harsh at times.

    Soundstage is bigger on 01bl (width) than tomahawk.



    Vs NiceHCK EB2

    EB2 has better build quality (earpeice) but worse cable than 01BL.

    EB2 is more neutral with better tonality than 01BL

    01BL has better bass depth and quantity than EB2

    Details are better on the EB2 when compared to the O1BL.



    Thoughts / Conclusion:

    The Shoon ESEP-O1BL was brought out as a lower impedance version of their higher end earbuds. It shows the normal cost cutting measures seen in the sub-$50 market. Plastic housings, simpler cable designs, and limited accessories. This might make the 01bl sound like a typical big box store earbud which is not the case. While ShoonTH may have cut some corners to keep costs in line, they didnt do so when it came to tuning. The forward low end does a great job of compensating for the natural tendency of non-sealing designs to seem bass light and brings a bit of warmth to the signature. This is a very listenable earbud with no tendency toward fatigue or harshness and good rumble and punch at the lower end. I think many who have been dissatisfied with the lack of low end extension in ear buds will really appreciate that. The treble shy will like the fact that it brings enough air not to sound congested without getting harsh or sibilant. Overall I have no hesitation recommending these for situations where isolation is not needed. Comfort is great and sound is better than expected at this price point.



    P.S. Don’t believe the FR chart on this one, Sealing it in a tube creates a completely different picture than what you get when placed in the ear without a seal around it.

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      B9Scrambler and hqssui like this.