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  1. audiophilefan
    TuneOut Audio - We're going All-In!
    Written by audiophilefan
    Published Feb 8, 2019
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Price, detailed and addictive bass, clear mids, non-sibilant highs, soundstage and separation, beautiful build and design, comfort, overall value
    Cons - Forward mids out of the box, could be cold sounding on some songs
    BACKGROUND

    I wasn’t planning to go back to the hobby this early. Then I saw this tempting ad from a local online store and a small audio shop is offering some custom earbuds for an affordable price. The reviews are good. Customizations are minimal – just the color combination of the cables which are full SPC, the letter or number beads that you put into either channel, and the color of the earbuds. The type of 3.5mm plug that you choose depends mainly on availability. One important detail that really caught my attention is that they tune their own earbuds. That really had me curious. And since I haven’t had any “custom” gear as of yet, I decided to give it a try, and mainly to support the local audio community. Is this the review that will herald the dawn of Fil-Fi (Filipino-Fi)? Read on to find out.


    ABOUT ME

    I listen to almost all genres of music but my favorites are rock, blues, and jazz.

    I am a music lover. I love music more than the equipment to play music with. I recognize that decent equipment is important but decent is good enough. Expensive is not necessary. The point of diminishing returns for me is $100 dollars. I may go past that mark in the future if I find something that’s really worth the jump. But until then, best value gear is what I’m after.

    I believe in burn-in but it depends on the headphones. Some do not need much. Some do not need any at all.

    I believe in measurements but I never relied on them. I solely rely on my ears.

    I believe that blind test is the only real test, without any visual influence or biases, without placebo.

    Audio nirvana for me is a state of mind, not a state of equipment.

    Regardless of my beliefs, I respect all audiophiles and music lovers for their passion and dedication.


    PACKAGING

    Packaging is quite basic, a small tin can that contains everything – the earbuds and 6 pieces of full foams. Meager as it may seem, I always find this approach to packaging quite refreshing. It’s akin to Grado where most of the investment goes to the sound. I hope you enjoy the pictures below.

    IMG_20190208_063943~4.jpg IMG_20190208_064316~4.jpg IMG_20190207_141809~2.jpg IMG_20190207_142029~2.jpg IMG_20190207_142922~4.jpg IMG_20190207_142245~3.jpg IMG_20190207_142342~2.jpg IMG_20190207_142617~2.jpg 20190208_084306~4.jpg


    SPECS AND FEATURES

    For complete specs and features, please check here - https://shopee.ph/TuneOut-Audio-All-In-i.91863527.1821179047 (This is a different shop that sells TuneOut Audio items but this post contains the complete description of the All-In line).

    And here’s the current discounted link for the All-In line - https://shopee.ph/Tuneout-Audio-All-In-SE-Full-SPC-i.56259020.1892761586 (Sold directly from TuneOut Audio).


    BUILD QUALITY, DESIGN, AND COMFORT

    An all SPC custom build is what you’d expect from earbuds twice or thrice the price. That being said, build here is solid. MX500 shells are not known to have good strain reliefs but given the braided cable design, I expect them to hold up against regular use. I am careful with my gear anyway. The 3.5mm plug is very sturdy and the clear rubberlike strain relief feels really durable.

    Comfort is great! I daresay that this is the most comfortable earbud I have ever worn, with or without the foams on. The rounded edges of the buds sit quite comfortably within the earlobes and fit is quite secure too.

    Design is, well, just look at the pictures. The fact that you can choose the colors and words to represent you just adds more to the value and authenticity of the design. Even the base All-In model (non full SPC) looks rather authentic and beautifully simple.


    TEST TRACKS

    Bass
    • Royals by Lorde (bass depth)
    • Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke (bass speed)
    • We Are Never Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift (bass bleed)
    Mids
    • After Hours by Spyro Gyra (instrument clarity)
    • Soldier Of Fortune by Whitesnake (vocals)
    • A Moment With You by Maggie Jane (distortion and coherence)
    Highs
    • Busted Stuff by Dave Matthews Band (decay and detail)
    • Diggin A Ditch by Dave Matthews Band (decay and detail)
    Soundstage
    • Back To December Live by Taylor Swift
    • Home Sweet Home Live in L.A. by Motley Crue
    • Hotel California Live (acoustic) by the Eagles
    Attack
    • Rollin by Limp Bizkit
    • Satellite by P.O.D
    • 6:00 by Dream Theater
    Conveying Emotion
    • Still They Ride by Journey
    • Through The Barricades by Spandau Ballet
    • When You Love Someone Unplugged by Bryan Adams

    SOUND

    Burn-in: Approximately 15 hours. Sound settled after that period. Will update this review if sound improves further after a few days.

    SET-UP USED:
    • Nokia 5 smartphone (with Smart Amp TFA9891)
    • Hiby music player (EQ is disabled)
    • Tested with amplification with Fiio K1 plugged into OTG. Not much difference. Just some added refinement due to the superior DAC on the K1. The All-In doesn’t really require amplification.
    Bass here is excellent. It hits the sweet spot for me in terms of quantity and quality. It is sufficient and detailed and provides a good mid bass rumble. It decays quite fast and doesn’t extend too deep but that being said, it is very satisfying and addictive in its own way. Every bass note is very distinct and easily identifiable. Is it at the level of the Grado SR80e type of bass? Well it isn’t as fast and deep but it’s pretty close. It complements the mids perfectly to give it a rounded, full bodied sound. And for an earbud to have this kind of bass is simply impressive.

    UPDATE - The "shouty" mids has continued to be a problem. I am not sure if it's only with my unit or just poor tuning in general. I contacted the seller regarding the improvement needed in tuning but received no response. Comparing it to a mere Faaeal Iris and the difference is like night and day, the Iris being much better tuned and balanced. Bass also seem to be inconsistent. Lowering down my rating.

    Mids are forward…not aggressive, just forward. Maybe a little too forward for my liking. This could be the only detriment I could think of for these earbuds. Out of the box, vocals can sound shouty, especially when you listen at above average volumes. After burn in though is a different story. Mids have leveled and the perceived shoutiness is all but noticeable in some songs that were recorded with some distortion to begin with. That being said, mids are full bodied and very, very detailed. There isn’t any congestion too, and instruments on complex jazz passages sound perfectly separated and layered. It beats the VE Monk Plus in this regard by a wide margin. Close to perfect mids.

    Highs sound very detailed as well. Cymbals decay sound almost lifelike and I haven’t heard any earbud that could render highs this well. It isn’t sparkly or thin but it sounds very natural. Non-sibilance is an added bonus too. Tasteful rendering of highs.

    Soundstage is quite intimate and it isn’t very wide. But like my Grado SR80e, there is zero congestion. Instruments are always very well separated and layering is very precise. There is more depth and height than width and the presentation is more “front row” in a concert hall, rather than mid hall. On top of music, I even tested some official Dolby Atmos trailers on Youtube and 3D space rendering is convincing. I have a feeling that these earbuds will also be great for movies. As for gaming, I’m not a gamer so I’m not qualified to comment on that aspect.

    Attack is good but it isn’t trying to be a rock genre master. It is, overall, very good for a wide variety of genres. It excels more on slower type of music and with more complex passages due to its excellent separation and imaging. Rock jazz fusion is a joy to listen to on these. Acoustic instrumental music are particularly stunning.

    As for conveying the emotions of a song, this may be another aspect that this earbud is lacking a little. Due to its inherent clarity and forwardness, it sometimes sounds cold. Not distant, but cold. In some ways, it is analytical yet musical at the same time, striking a balance that’s quite unique to its character.


    CONCLUSION

    The TuneOut Audio All-In is a great value earbud that can be enjoyed by every one. The overall sound signature is full bodied, detailed, well textured and has almost an analog tone to it. It somewhat takes the “digital” edge off of the music and makes it sound more natural. It’s akin to listening to a well recorded tape in CD format. Its tuning is just uniquely special that you just need to listen to it yourself.


    END NOTE

    If I may respectfully implore Head-fi to publish this on the home page, I would be deeply grateful. This review is in support of a start-up company in Manila, who in my opinion deserves to be in this platform. This is not a paid review and I am not affiliated to them in any way. I’m just a customer impressed by their current undertaking. I am not certain about their plans for expansion or if they are the next Venture Electronics but this product certainly takes them a step into the right direction.

    A passion for creating great sound and admirable after sales support, this company just might be the flag bearer for Filipino-Fi.

    If you are based in the Philippines, or if you are from a foreign country and wanted to get in touch, you may contact them at Facebook, TuneOut Audio page.

    Time to put Fil-fi on the map!

    Happy listening, everyone!