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  1. CharlesRievone
    Ucotech ES-P1 - "To Claim The Earbud Iron Throne"
    Written by CharlesRievone
    Published May 13, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Non-Fatiguing Sound Signature
    Tank-like Construction
    Classy Aesthetics
    Good Package Inclusions
    Cons - Price (Might be too steep for some)
    UCOTECH_ESP1_LRM_EXPORT_78841316772452_20190513_031003991.jpeg

    Lots of people have asked me about this earbud and have been on the lookout for this review. I sincerely apologize for the very long overdue. Let's get into it.

    >>PERSONAL DISCLAIMER:
    *Please see bottom of the page.*

    >>INTRODUCTION:
    Ucotech is a company from South Korea, founded in 2007 by J. G. Shin, who has been making earphones for 30 years. One of the notable models they released was the Ubiquo ES903 (2012 flagship). I can't speak for myself here since I haven't tried them personally, but a few of the long-time "old school" earbud enthusiasts have regarded them as having one of the best mids in the game. Another notable model was the Ucotech ES1103 Grandiose Sonner, which was featured in a Korean TV drama called "Still 17", as used and worn by the lead actor of the same show.

    Around late 2018, they finally released their new premium top-of-the-line model, the Ucotech ES-P1, which is the model in focus for this review.
    53563438_1437529929717537_3366064804446863360_o.jpg


    >>DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION:
    Tech Specs:
    47571658_1365760536894477_6600460553141878784_n.png

    Driver/Housing/Shells:
    - 14.8mm Double Dome Diaphragm driver (patented by Ucotech) with 160Ω impedance rating.
    47683749_1365760500227814_3884065068962283520_n.png

    - CNC-cut brass housing with PVD coating (original designed shell by Ucotech) with MMCX connectors.
    47481659_1365760486894482_5042457803558486016_n.png 52263850_1423586281111902_4041954878581374976_n.png

    Cables:
    - Two MMCX detachable cables, one with 3.5mm single-ended plug and one with a 2.5mm balanced plug.
    The cable itself is made up of OFC 99.999% + Ag Coating, braided 8-Core. 48016579_1365760493561148_4188175219107561472_n.png

    Definitely one of the very few earbuds in this price range that not only looks great but is also built well. I've seen a lot of earbuds in the course of this hobby and I am willing to bet that no other earbud ever made so far can compete with the ES-P1 in terms of being originally designed (housing and driver) with a premium aesthetic while maintaining a tank-like build. I hope no one takes offense in what I said, especially DIY earbud-smiths, but I have to give the ES-P1 the recognition it deserves.

    Other inclusions:
    47572035_1365760546894476_6856560193052868608_n.png 47472687_1365760553561142_8875459250424381440_n.png


    >>SOUND:
    Sound signature is warm, smooth, and dark.
    - The presence of the sub-bass region is definitely felt. The mid-bass hits hard when it needs to. Bass-heads will be happy with the ES-P1.
    - Vocal region favors male more than female vocals, as it makes for a smooth rendering of the mid section. There is 3D-like presentation of the instruments that are being output in this sector.
    - Treble is noticeably darker than normal, which makes for a smooth non-fatiguing listen. For those who like their treble slightly elevated, I recommend using the thin porous-type foams or thin doughnut foams instead.
    - One word I can say about the overall presentation of the stage and imaging is "big". The ES-P1 sounds more like a headphone than an earbud. There is a sense of a wide dimension from the sounds panned on the left and right side channels, although the improvement in rendering the height is not that apparent.

    UCOTECH_ESP1_LRM_EXPORT_78833780805073_20190513_030956451.jpeg

    One important thing to note is that the Ucotech ES-P1 is a "hard to drive" earbud, meaning a amplifier is most of the time necessary to bring out the full potential of the ES-P1. Some DAPs that have a powerful built-in amplifier might do the job. I mainly use my Radsone EarStudio ES100 these days and it can make the ES-P1 sound great. However, when using a dedicated source and amplifier combo, like even say, a Zishan Z1 connected to a VE RunAbout 2 BL, the ES-P1 sings very well.

    To clarify, having high impedance is not necessarily an advantage nor a disadvantage of an earbud. There will always be trade-offs. But this is a topic for another post altogether. The key point here is that the ES-P1 will be a great choice for those who love to use their different amplifiers to find the best synergy for their sound preference. So for those who use their mobile phones as their main audio source, one might have to look for other options.


    >>RELATIVE COMPARISONS TO OTHER EARBUDS:

    Ucotech ES-P1 vs Rose Mojito:
    Relative to each other, the ES-P1 sounds smooth and laid-back while the Mojito sounds engaging and fun. Bass boom and punch are similar. Mids are more forward on the ES-P1, while treble is more elevated on the Mojito. The ES-P1 sounds more intimate while the Mojito sounds wider in soundstage.

    (This section is a work-in-progress, as I currently have limited time to check my other earbuds to compare with the ES-P1 as I am on travel at the moment. Watch this space for updates.)


    >>MISCELLANEOUS THOUGHTS:
    The ES-P1 is an expensive piece of audio gear. At the price point of ~$400, I would consider the ES-P1 as rightfully a premium, top-of-the-line earbud, at least relative to the scale of different earbuds' prices in the market.

    Several people have asked me if the price is worth it, and my answer has always been a resounding "Yes".

    How so? Read on.

    UCOTECH_ESP1_LRM_EXPORT_78867528881741_20190513_031030084.jpeg

    First, let's take into account the construction of this piece. For the drivers, Ucotech didn't just use an earbud driver that you can buy in Chinese online shops like Taobao or Aliexpress and then "tuned" it for their liking. The drivers used are an all original in-house designed and patented double dome driver. You can't find this on any other earbud in the market. The same can not be said on other micro-brand earbuds out there.

    There definitely was a lot of research and development involved over the course of the build and testing of this said driver hence the command for more costs. The metal housing used is also another original design which was most likely cut thru CNC plus a polish of PVD coating. The housing is also designed to be easily cable-interchangeable thru MMCX connectors.

    As for the cables used, however, I've seen the very same ones also used by the brand BGVP for their DM6 in-ear monitors, so I'm guessing that Ucotech and BGVP share the same OEM supplier for the cables. Ucotech, however, includes two cables in the package (3.5mm Single-Ended and 2.5mm Balanced), so you're still getting your money's worth. I will award plus points to Ucotech though for making sure that the colorway of the cable matches seamlessly with the colors of the earbud housing, down to the splitter and plugs. It's as if the housings and cable components were made with the other in mind, rather than the pairing being an afterthought. No microphonics whatsoever. The cables also don't tangle easily. So while the cables were not designed and constructed by Ucotech themselves, I'l still give them a hand for their great choice of cables to be packaged with the ES-P1.

    The ES-P1's housing has large vents that are placed opposite for each side, so one can easily tell which side is the Left or Right side channel of the pair. So another plus points for easy operability to Ucotech.

    UCOTECH_ESP1_LRM_EXPORT_78852282826483_20190513_031014962.jpeg

    Normally, one would use relatively affordable audio gears as "daily beaters" for on-the-go use and reserve the more expensive ones to be used at home or the office or any setting where there's no intensive physical activities involved. The ES-P1, can be used on either cases, since the metal housing can withstand a beating and the cable replaceability gives way for different connectivity options like a Bluetooth-ready cable or one with microphones and volume controls. If and when the cables break, one can easily find aftermarket MMCX cables. This can definitely one of those pieces for the folks who want to have a one-earbud-to-rule-them-all mentality, or at least for those who wish to have a properly consolidated minimalist audio gear collection.


    >>CONCLUSION:
    The Ucotech ES-P1 has a strong claim of being the best in the earbud game of thrones. Not only is it beautifully designed and built to last, it is also tuned very well, and can very much compete with any of the other earbuds in the market above or below it's price range.

    UCOTECH_ESP1_LRM_EXPORT_78881136859385_20190513_031043817.jpeg

    Buy the Ucotech ES-P1 on the following links..

    Local Distributors:
    Philippines: Soundwave Audio Visual Store
    https://www.facebook.com/SoundwaveAudioVisualStore

    Thailand: มั่นคง munkonggadget
    https://www.facebook.com/munkonggadget1

    International buyers:
    https://ucotech1.wixsite.com/mysite/products


    Ucotech Official Facebook Page:
    https://www.facebook.com/goUCT

    Join our Facebook Group for earbud enthusiasts:
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/EarbudsAnonymous


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    >>PERSONAL DISCLAIMER:
    - The unit I have reviewed was sent to me free of charge for review purposes, courtesy of Ucotech, in cooperation with Soundwave Audio Visual Store. I received no monetary compensations for my review.
    - For context, I have been an earbud enthusiast for the past few years and have been lucky enough to listen to over a hundred earbuds and counting, both via personal purchases and auditions (from borrowed/loaned gears and review units). At this point in my journey I'm contented enough to be honest about what I think about certain aspects of the earbuds I review even if the makers/sellers that send them to me may not like what I say about them. So this should go without saying that I'd like people to take my comments and reviews as my own personal opinion and nothing more. Thanks for the attention and see you on Earbuds Anonymous. :)
    1. View previous replies...
    2. DatBlueDatsun240
      We need more on ear retro earbuds for us audiophiles
      DatBlueDatsun240, May 16, 2019
    3. Spie1904
      Can I ask how well these fit for extremely small ears? In IEM my max size is Westone UM 30 for example so I'm looking around for earbuds with good SQ for when I don't need the isolation but most of them seem to have large shells or lack audio quality compared to great IEM or headphones
      Spie1904, May 20, 2019 at 3:57 AM
      DatBlueDatsun240 likes this.
    4. DatBlueDatsun240
      I can't say for sure cuz i don't have them but i do have similar sizes and they might fall out or cause wearing fatigue sorry
      DatBlueDatsun240, May 20, 2019 at 1:56 PM