Xiaomi Pistons 2.0 MK301

  1. Midgetguy
    Solid for the price
    Written by Midgetguy
    Published Oct 1, 2014
    Pros - Good bass quantity, decent quality, consumer-friendly sound sig
    Cons - Very sharp edges, not great isolation
    I'd say this is a great set of IEMs for its price if you're looking for that consumer v-shaped sound sig. It's not the most balanced sound sig, but for what it is, it sounds pretty good. The mids aren't very pronounced, but the bass is pretty good and the highs aren't piercing or anything to my ears. I had problems that maybe other people didn't have and that had to do with the fit. It could sometimes be a little difficult to get a seal these. They're also not well-suited for deep insertion due to the bulky housings and the very sharp edges on said housings. Compared to IEMs like the MEElectronics M11+, VSonic GR06, and Havi B3 Pro I, the isolation offered by these Pistons aren't good at all. This was definitely expected though given the LARGE vent on the back. 
    I'd give this a solid recommendation if you're looking for a more fun, less balanced sound. I think it's quite impressive what they've done for $25. I dunno if it's the absolute best in this price range (you'll have to ask others who have head more than I have), but even if it isn't, it's definitely pretty high up there.
  2. vaziyetu
    Just don't buy
    Written by vaziyetu
    Published Oct 1, 2014
    Cons - Limited acoustic. Small sound size. Treble quality and detail level are below average. Even the bass is not complete
    i know you already saw all the threads, reviews, comments speaking about the sweetness and cheapness of this earphone (eartrash actually). i also know that there's a common talk about it's fakes, which makes you feel like if you can get the genuine one, it's going to be the perfect earphone of the stars... there's also a talk about it's "beryllium" that you don't even know what it means. i know all of that makes you wonder this item more and more...
    i know you want all of this turn out to be true... you want a cheap earphone that beats the rest of them. but for this particular earphone, all i'm going to say is: just don't buy this. don't spend your bucks for nothing... the people you see in the forum threads (and review pages), acting like there's no better alternatives and it's price is actually $1 or something. for them, the world of budget earphones is collapsed and only piston 2's are left.

    actually, if you buy that piston they talk about, you'll be left with a very small acoustic (acoustic = soundstage, soundfield, positioning, separations etc.) which means unrealistic sound reproduction and below average sound quality. even if you manage to live with this kind of bass and treble performance, you're inclined to feel something missing between the bass and treble, the most important part, mids are suffocated.

    this earphone is actually nothing new, pretty much identical to brainwavz m4 (except some frequency balance differences) sounds like cheap earphones from big companies (like sennheiser cx or creative ep series) same compact design, same unrealistic acoustic reproduction, same below average performance which excels in nothing.
    come on, offer me $300 per month just to use this "thing". i'll not accept. just for $300 every month i'm not going to sacrifice my entertainment that much. if you up your hand to $500 maybe we can get to somewhere but that's just a maybe... you see the problem ?
    bought from penonaudio.
    if you think piston 2 is good just because of it's price tag, please take a look at this list first. they're my favorites and they're the real thing. if current prices are different than this list, i say wait for a discount or just try to spend a little more:

    audio-technica cks77, $16 on aliexpress.
    brainwavz beta, $9 on amazon.
    koss plug, $10 on amazon.
    moxpad x6, $15 on aliexpress.
    notes: beta is the best of brainwavz (not treble wise), do not let prices cloud your judgement. cks77 sounds exactly the same with brainwavz beta. koss plug needs extreme equalizer reductions to sound normal. moxpad is an alternative but only if plug or beta-cks77 is not the choice for some reason.
    visit my table for further comparisons and informations
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Charliemotta
      Do everyone a favor and NO more reviews cause they are always Wong like your name.
       Wow, just  Wow.
      Charliemotta, Sep 30, 2015
    3. Hisoundfi
      wow, just wow
      Hisoundfi, Oct 23, 2015
    4. Snoodge
      The OP's post borderline breaks my heart because it's so untrue. Is the OP sure he didn't accidentally review counterfeit phones? I've bought 5'ish pair over the years and 3/5 were fake with completely garbage sound. Headphones you wouldn't even give away to a child because they're worse than gas station headphones. Anyway, I have a lot of nice gear and headphones laying around and hardly any of it gets the playtime that my pair of authentic Piston V1's get.
      Snoodge, Aug 9, 2016
  3. Aswald
    Great Headphones! was (Really bad earphones)
    Written by Aswald
    Published Oct 1, 2014
    Pros - Cheap, Good Quality and Extended Sound
    Cons - Short Cable, Ear Buds Don't Fit as Nicely
    One of the worse earphones I've ever had the mis-pleasure of buying. Read reviews on the net and thought it could be a neat present for a friend.
    The packaging looked convincing enough even though the gold anodized aluminum looked suspicious.
    At the end, nothing but low quality sound and had trouble keeping the buds to stay in place.
    No bass, no treble and sounds really dull.
    It was so bad, I didn't bother to run them in to have another listen.
    Avoid. You'd probably have better luck with other earphones.
    Update : 10/8/14
    After reading some of your comments, I embarked on some research. Before this, I had little idea that the MI Piston 2.0 had so many fakes, copies or even "o.e.m" replicas out there.
    To cut a long story short, XiaoMi confirmed that the one I got was a fake. They also confirmed that they have never authorized any O.E.M products to be made or sold by any third party.
    I have since received an original Piston 2.0 and my experience with this earphones is a much positive one.
    Good sound and an enjoyable listen even for long hours.
    Extended frequencies both low and high. Best with tight fit around ear canal.
    Bass frequencies were well extended and I did not detect any lack of bass. (with buds firmly in place).
    Good quality.
    Works well with a wide range of music.
    Somehow, the buds keep falling out. I find that I kept pushing it into my ear harder every time.
    Extended listening can cause surrounding area of the ear to hurt due to the reason above.
    High frequencies can be a bit aggressive from 8-12kHz, but only slightly so.
    Cable is a tad short.
    This is a highly recommended earphones. Puts some of other more esoteric models out there to shame. Highly recommended. Just make sure you buy from a reliable source and watch out for fakes. The fakes sound really aweful, you won't believe it.
    I apologize to anyone whom I've mislead from my first posting. Unfortunately, my account does not allow me to post pictures. I'll include a link, hope this works..
    1. View previous replies...
    2. DJScope
      @Aswald. Much better! Now its a real review. Great job!
      DJScope, Oct 16, 2014
    3. AG2014
      Dear vaziyetu,
      You have full rights to have your opinion on any subject, but when you trying to communicate it to others please stick to the facts and logic. So far you do not. Xiaomi Pistons 2 in Europe for USD 12 is FAKE. There is no way to get original, ship them to Europe and make any profit for such price. So if you or someone else got fake ones and they sound like piece of sh...t I am sorry for you, but that is not a reason to claim ORIGINAL one is bad. You probably just had no chance to try it. Fine. I bought 2 sets so far. One went to the friend, one I keep and I am picky. So does they sound better then my Sennheiser CXC 700? Well, no, but close enough which is amazing for 6 time cheaper set. And I like the way they look and sit in MY ears. You may not like it and there is good chance that your set is fake anyway. 
      So mine 2cc - if you can buy REAL Pistons 2.1 for around $ 20-25 give them a chance. But if you see offer for much less - do not bother as it would be fake and disappointed experience. And to be honest, yes I also have Xiaomi Mi4 phone and it is fantastic.
      AG2014, Nov 6, 2014
    4. AG2014
      Dear vaziyetu,
      I think now I understand what is a problem with you - you do not do what you accuse all other people. You do not read. What I sad that anyone can have an opinion, but to give others categorical advice based on your pure subjective judgment (and you did it more then once) deserves some reaction. I am perfectly fine that we have different views, you seems to be deeply troubled by that. Someone who considering to by new headset should have possibility to read DIFFERENT opinions and make they own judgment. I do not need to buy any new headset at the moment - have a plenty of true HiFi models and never sell them on eBay (some people does and it is probably wrong as it is item of personal use with high risk of transferring some nasty stuff). I bough 1 set for a friend who need new set and was surprised by quality, so order one for myself. And I have no difficulties to recommend it.  Xiaomi is doing very well with most of their product and do not need any advocates or "fanboys". I do not have any of their stock and do not care how they perform, but it is fun to see that FINALLY there is Chinese company that can deliver good quality product for reasonable price. And I do not understand why "a lot of people got sick of them" unless they trying to sell alternative brands :wink: Are you? USD 30 investment in product you did not like, and probably sell on eBay, makes you sick? Then I am sorry for you. On the subject you are not reading, my primer set is Sennheiser CXC 700 and Pistons are not exactly a replacement, but good option for morning/evening music listening in public transport for me (jazz and classic mostly).  
      AG2014, Nov 7, 2014
  4. Audiophile1811
    Big Performance For Only $25
    Written by Audiophile1811
    Published Sep 30, 2014
    Introduction – So a few weeks into my search and discovery of budget-based earphones has led me here - to the Xiaomi Piston 2.1. The Pistons are the result of the popular Chinese smartphone manufacture’s efforts to produce an inexpensive high performance earphone that competes well with higher-end audio gear. At only $25 the Pistons fall within the “budget” category for most people but whether they perform well enough to justify their price is another question. And for those wondering if they do… the short answer is yes, they do, and they do it well. I’ll explain throughout my review what makes the Pistons such a good value proposition and a great starting point for amateur enthusiasts.   
    Disclaimer – The Pistons used in this review are mine and were purchased from Amazon.com. My pair is authentic but all buyers must be warned to avoid Pistons costing below $20 as they are likely to be fakes. All photos were taken by me. Important Notice: The green "review detail" graphs to the left are inaccurate for some unknown reason. Here is an ACCURATE representation of these five details: Audio Quality (9/10), Comfort (7/10), Design (9/10), Isolation (6/10), and Value (10/10).
    - Beryllium alloy Dynamic driver (single, vented/ported)
    - Impedance: 16 Ohms
    - Sensitivity: 93dB
    - Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
    - Rated Input Power: 5mW
    - Cable: Enamel copper line, 1.2 meters/3.9 ft.
    - Android/iOS compatible remote
    - Colors: Brown & Silver

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    Packaging & Accessories: The Pistons are packaged beautifully in a brown square case that presents the earphones, the cable, and 3.5mm jack through a shiny translucent cover. Opening the case is like opening a tiny box of Belgian truffles – a light chocolaty aroma is the first thing you notice, which is a nice touch. The earphones are wrapped around a soft rubber case with additional ear tips just below. Each tip sits within a small plastic spike with a size indicator between them and an aluminum shirt clip resting directly on top. The included accessories are quite minimal but can be forgiven considering the price and presentation.
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    Build & Design: With large metal housings the Pistons feel solid in the hand and are much lighter than expected, despite their size. The chocolate brown and light gold color scheme complement each other well and the “CD grain” texture on the aluminum remote, jack, and housings is smooth to the touch. The cable is rubber above the remote/Y-split and entirely fabric below it. This design helps prevent kinks and makes the Pistons feel a little more durable overall. Strain reliefs on the housings are very flexible but are fairly short below the Y-split and 3.5mm jack. But due to their thin, flexible cables the Pistons can easily be wrapped and tossed into a small pocket or case for maximum portability. Users should operate with caution as the Pistons have been known to break after extensive/rough use. On appearance alone, however, it’s no wonder why the Pistons received the iF Product Design Award when you consider Xiaomi’s thoughtful design and packaging – it’s well deserved.
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    Comfort & Fit: This is a tricky area for the Pistons as their large profile will cause trouble for some. Housings are wide and the nozzle is short so an easy fit is not always easy to get. However, only little adjustment is required to achieve a secure seal. The edges on both sides of the housings are fairly rough and could be problematic for those with smaller ears. The only issue I encountered was never feeling a pressure change in my ear when the Pistons were inserted, unlike most other earphones. This is most likely caused by the large port behind the housing but it doesn’t affect fit, just isolation (see below). And while they do utilize a cable-down design, they can easily be worn over-ear due to their soft strain reliefs – either configuration should yield good results.  
    Microphonics: Cable noise is distracting when worn cable-down but easily acceptable when worn over-ear. The rubber on the left and right sides are the only noisy part of the entire cable. There is no noise from the from below the Y-split/remote thanks to its fabric exterior. That said, there is no cable cinch to remedy the noise where it occurs.
    Isolation: This is probably the only real shortcoming of the Pistons. Isolation is mediocre and won’t silence most noisy environments. As I mentioned earlier, the larger-than-normal port keeps the Pistons from having a closed design making them “open-back” in a sense. But if this one compromise is part of the reason they perform so well, than it is justified. Just keep reading... [​IMG]
    Equipment & Background – For the sound portion of this review I will be using an Audinst HUD-MX1 amp/DAC combo as my primary “reference” source, a Topping NX-1 portable amplifier, and a Sansa Fuze as a portable source. All my monitoring is done indoors with an over-ear headphone for added isolation resulting in almost silent listening with no audible distractions. My library consists of high bit-rate MP3s and FLAC files. The Pistons were burned-in over 100hrs before review.
    Bass: Utilizing a somewhat bass heavy sound signature the Pistons exhibit more mid-bass and sub-bass presence than in upper-bass regions. This generates a very “fun” sound without suffering any bleed into the lower midrange. Lows are impactful and carry a lot of heft which is in part due to their excellent sub-bass extension. And while not overdone on tracks with soft or mellow bass, the Pistons can become boomy with bass heavy music such as rap, drum ’n bass, and so on. That said, bass never becomes sloppy or loose, it simply lacks control and finesse at times. Attack and decay could be more accurate especially considering the long reverb of bass notes (this could be considered a positive for bass-heads however). Overall, bass is the most authoritative part of the Piston’s signature but isn’t entirely the focus of the sound as everything that follows takes it up a notch in quality.
    Mids: Following the bass, the midrange takes a big step back in terms of presence but is incredibly clear and well defined throughout. And since its mids are not especially forward they could be considered slightly recessed. But this entirely depends on preference as they’re neither distant nor forward. However, clarity is by far the biggest strength of the midrange which can be demonstrated with female vocalists where they exhibit an almost lifelike quality. On the other hand, male vocalists can sound a little thin due to the lack of extra warmth in the lower midrange and upper-bass. But this is no way a negative unless you enjoy very thick/rich male vocals. The advantage of a slightly leaner midrange means that note thickness is never overdone and helps maintain a natural timbre for acoustic instruments, which the Pistons do quite well. And while not the most revealing of mids, detail and transparency is extremely good considering the price.
    Treble: At the top end, treble has a bit more presence than the mids but isn’t bright by any means. Treble does exhibit some unevenness at times but is never distracting or fatiguing. Instead, they strike a balance between smooth and sparkly without losing out in crispness or clarity. Details are retrieved nicely without any sign of harshness making for a non-sibilant sound overall. And with its mild lift in the treble region the Pistons display excellent timbre reproduction and great accuracy with cymbals/percussion. Extension reaches into the upper-treble and is very consistent until it rolls-off beyond frequencies of about 16kHz. Overall, the Pistons have mildly energetic treble that are never dominant or excessive and keeps up in quality next to the midrange. There is a particularly refreshing manner with which the Pistons handles treble and it is noticeable upon first listen; I think most listeners will be pleasantly surprised.
    Presentation: In terms of soundstage the Pistons present a very wide stereo image with very good depth and decent height. This particular presentation is why the mids and highs shine - There is detail and space surrounding instruments throughout the midrange and airy highs throughout the treble resulting in a somewhat “out-of-the-head” experience. And while not the deepest presentation, layering is excellent when reproducing vast distances between sounds with complex recordings. Imaging, too, is never confused or off-center even with the Pistons’ expansive soundstage. The result is an open, spacious sound that is only mildly held back by the sheer amount of bass that kicks in with certain genres of music. This is an area where the Pistons truly demonstrate their worth by simply taking whatever goes into them and combining an engaging sound signature that pairs beautifully within its audiophile-like delivery.  
    Ear-tips & Insertions sensitivity: I found that the Pistons are not too fiddly to insert and keep in place. However, they are limited in terms of tip selection due to their wide nozzles. Tips with small or even medium sized sound bores will not fit unless they’re forced, but I don’t recommend that. This shouldn’t be an issue for most users but those who prefer to adjust their sound through tip-rolling will be disappointed.
    Power, Sensitivity, & Source performance: Despite their 93dB rating, the Pistons have to be one of the most sensitive earphones I have ever used. They are easily driven by any portable device (which should also pair well with the included remote) and can be driven to extremely loud volumes without any additional power. Quality isn’t lost without an amplifier which allows them to perform their best with almost any device as well. The only downside is that there is a noticeable hiss with anything other than very low-output sources.
    Value: At only 25$ the Xiaomi Piston 2.1 is exceptional value for what it is. As a budget value earphone it exceeds every expectation its low price would suggest. It’s energetic and lively where it needs to be yet smooth and laid-back at the same time. It also borrows some of the best sound characteristics of earphones costing well beyond 3 times its price. Its build, package, and design are beautifully executed too. And if you don’t mind its lack of accessories or its mediocre isolation, it is without a doubt one of the best packages you’ll ever come across. So whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned reviewer give them a shot. You have nothing to lose - except maybe a couple bucks. [​IMG]
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    I hope this review will be useful to some and for those who read through it please leave any suggestions or advice you may have in the comments below.  Everyone’s input will help me to improve my reviews in the future and make it easier to adapt my reviews for as wide an audience as possible. Thanks for reading and happy listening! [​IMG] 
  5. freedom04
    Best earphones below $25!
    Written by freedom04
    Published Sep 10, 2014
    Pros - Cheap, sound quality, soundstage, build, design
    Cons - For the price? NONE!
    Good looking, good sounding, good smelling earphones for only $25. Do you seriously need to think before you buy this? Buy and be amazed. 
    1. GL1TCH3D
      Any other thoughts or comparisons you can add?
      GL1TCH3D, Sep 12, 2014
    2. freedom04
      After around 50 hours of burn in, the SQ has improved noticeably but only a little. IMO, the bass became a bit tighter (it was slightly muddy when I first tested it). Soundstage also improved a bit. Mids were still slightly recessed, though the treble became a bit rounder (for me it is good). I can still notice the slightly overpowering bass (as some would describe this as unbalanced). But for the price? IMO, this can match or even beat everything below the $100 mark.
      freedom04, Sep 12, 2014
  6. Tamirci
    A Great Budget In-Ear (that is not so in ear)
    Written by Tamirci
    Published Jul 3, 2014
    Pros - Soundstage, bass, nice treble, price, weight, flexibility of tips
    Cons - Box contents, build quality, bass quantity (before burnin)
    Pretty good for its price. Can be considered as a startup or backup iem if all fails.
    1. AG2014
      What was wrong with box contents and build quality? Just for my curiosity.
      AG2014, Nov 7, 2014
  7. stevestuart
    Written by stevestuart
    Published May 9, 2014
    Pros - Nice looking design
    Cons - Very uncomfortable, Weak Sound
    I purchased these after seeing the price and good reviews. I got the updated version (so called 2.1)
    These headphones do not sound nearly as good as claimed. The bass is decent but the highs are too high and the mids seem to be lacking. Overall the sound is weak.
    The design looks nice and the quality and finish is good but the sharp edges of the body dig into my ears. The earphones become unwearable after 20-30 mins.
      vaziyetu and LeeRedfield like this.
    1. vaziyetu
      it's nice to see someone talking about the truth. it's unbelievable how some people hype things up.
      vaziyetu, Oct 1, 2014
    2. zunehdrocks
      zunehdrocks, Oct 7, 2014
  8. Zelda
    Best Sound Quality for the Price
    Written by Zelda
    Published May 6, 2014
    Pros - Sound Quality, Build Quality, Android Compatibility, Chocolate Smell
    Full review:

    Weight: 12g
    Impedance: 12Ω-16Ω (depending on the version, 2.0 vs 2.1)
    Cable length: 1.2m
    Sensitivity: 93db
    Plug Type: 3.5mm  gold-plate
    Rated Power: 5-20mW
    Frequency Range: 20-20000Hz
    I've got my pair from Xiaomiworld, and it's an original one. It seems mine is the 2.0 version, but it was shipped by the end of January, so the ones sold now should be the seemingly newer 2.1 version. They also carry the newer IF version. Anyway, this seller carries the real one, so no need to worry about fake pairs. Their service and communication is pretty good too.
    Here're the links:
    And for IF version:
    Sound signature maybe not be far from a consumer-friendly V-shaped one. But as for sound quality, that's another story.
    Before getting to describe the sound characteristics, let me just say that this Piston new model doesn't sound as what'd be expected from a $20-30 earphone at all. It simply competes with the best earphones I've listened to in the $50-70 price bracket.
    The Piston 2.0 presents a typical customer friendly V-shaped response. Extension is quite good on both ends, giving a pretty wide soundstage and sense of space. The low end is quite prominent and rather dominant over the rest of the frequencies, and (fortunately) while it may not be considered as a heavy-bassy earphone, it should be enough for the bass listeners. Despite the strong nature, both sub and mid-bass are very detailed and well controlled, with a noticeable added mid-bass hump for some extra 'fun' factor.
    Similarly, the top end is very present without any annoying peaks, and rather linear on its whole, but not overly smoothed or even rolled-off. While the treble won't have the same authority as the bass, it won't lack in sparkle and crispiness.
    As for the midrange, here's where I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, the mids are really well detailed and airy, and pretty much clean from unnecessarily extra bass bleed. Separation is also quite amazing both in the instruments and vocal dept. In fact, the vocal separation is really surprising, not only for a V-shaped $20-30 phone, but even beats mid-centered IEMs when it to comes to separation.
    On the other hand, as impressive as the midrange is, it isn't safe from the common V-shaped effects. While it's not lost in the presentation, it does feel rather cold and distant, and sometimes slightly veiled. Vocals lack texture and sweetness, too. That said, some extra EQ can help in this regard, but still may not fit for the mids lovers.
    Yet, the overall detail is much more than what would be expected from this price and matches some of the best sounding in-ears I've owned within the $50-80 bracket.
    Perhaps I'd rank the Piston 2 around the Vsonic VSD1-S level (even though the signatures are quite the opposite of each other) and a bit better than the RHA MA350 in detail and smoothness (but personally could prefer the RHA midrange richness over the Xiaomi's).
    The Moe SS01, for example, are better in most aspects, but the Piston aren't too far from them.
  9. BenF
    A great IEM for 30$
    Written by BenF
    Published Mar 16, 2014
    Pros - Clear and fun sound, big soundstage
    Cons - The buttons are inconvinient, needs replacement tips, may require a CTIA to OMTP adapter, sounds too bassy without modding.
    I have the real version 2.0, not 2.1 (with the clip).
    I didn't like the provided tips, used the small Sennheiser tips: http://www.ebay.com/itm/110976313070 - much better.
    When I plug the Pistons into Audio-GD NFB-11.32, they sound horrible, unless I pull them back a little.
    I resolved this issue by using a CTIA to OMTP adapter that came with Philips SHE3590, which is weird, since none of other headphones need it.
    This doesn't happen with FIIO E12.
    I hate the buttons placement on the remote - keep pressing wrong buttons.
    Initially, the Pistons were too bassy, even after a long burn-in period.
    I have modded them, removing the screen protector and the foam inside. To keep the drivers protected, I have used a small thin napkin:

    The bass cleaned up, and mids and treble stepped forward from behind a curtain.
    Now these sound like a baby RE-262.
    Recommended for "audiophile bass-heads".
    1. View previous replies...
    2. BenF
      You've got v2.1.
      According to BHazard, it doesn't need to be modded, sounds good as it is.
      BenF, Mar 18, 2014
    3. thatBeatsguy
      Hey Ben,
         Did the price you pay for include shipping? I was wondering about that since I got my pair for just $16. DIfference is, it was shipped to my door by land, so yeah.
      thatBeatsguy, Mar 20, 2014
    4. BenF
      I paid 27$ with air shipping. 16$ was the price before the hype.
      BenF, Mar 20, 2014
  10. Rashmosh
    Astounding Headphones With An Irresistible Sleek Design - Your Ears Won't Believe What They're Hearing (And Your Eyes Won't Believe The Price)
    Written by Rashmosh
    Published Feb 9, 2014
    Pros - The Smell (Chocolate) - The Design (Gorgeous) - The Sound (Breathtaking) - The Materials (Beryllium Is As Cool As It Sounds) - The Box (Simplicity)
    Cons - Insignificant In Comparison = The Volume Controls (Do Not Yet Support iPhone And Are Located Too Low) - The Cord (A Tad Too Short And Not As Stylish)
    The first thing you are going to notice about your Pistons, is that these babies are absolutely gorgeous. I'm not talking about that these headphones simply look nice (although they do) - they are, without a doubt, the most beautiful headphones I have ever had the distinct pleasure to rest my eyes upon (regardless of price group). This extends far beyond the actual headphones themselves - the box is a design-marvel all on its own. Crafted out of a single sheet of thin cardboard, this - surprisingly small - box is equipped with all the instructions you could possibly crave for your new Xiaomi Pistons, and - more importantly - they also include the exquisite box that will - hopefully - contain your Pistons. Under a clear plastic lid - that could easily pass for glass - your pistons will be lying, embedded in a simple silicone mold. The industrial, and at the same time stylish design will jump at you, and once you unwind the cord - through an ingenious method - the sheer feel of the brisk golden beryllium in your hand will flabbergast you.

    However, all of these pleasant aspects fade away once you put the headphones in your ears, in sheer awe. I have had a troublesome history with in-ear headphones, but these do the trick really well, especially if I use the smallest ear-size included (which, together with a large size and one for conversations, are neatly tucked away beneath the silicone mold). I'm not going to try to describe the actual audio, any more than this - it is simply amazing. I was completely unaware of that in-ear headphones existed that had the capacity to produce this sort of audio. My switch to using the Pistons was both an easy and rewarding experience. I started picking up subtle new melodies that had never been there before in songs, and even set to "extreme" streaming quality, Spotify had trouble keeping up with the Pistons. What was a more disappointing experience was switching to a pair of Apple's EarPods (actually quite decent stock headphones). The EarPods have always managed very well in my opinion, and although they still produced an adequate audio-experience, they were complete devoid of any feeling. I would compare the experience to drinking your tea without any sugar - then suddenly switch to taking two sugars, and then switch back after a week. It goes without saying that my EarPods have been forced into early retirement following this disappointing episode.

    The Xiaomi Pistons 2.0 are, however, not entirely without flaws. Even so, almost all of my complaints are nonetheless related to the cord. Although the play/pause button, housed in the cylindrical volume control hub, works very well with my iPhone (and all other commands for that button as well, like activating Siri/replay track/skip track), the actual volume controls themselves do not work. I'm hoping against hope that this will be fixed by Apple in an OTA update, but I recognise that this is unlikely. While on the subject of the volume control hub, it is not situated on the cord protruding out of the right headphone - it is instead positioned directly below where the two cords intersect and merge into a single one. This is not ergonomically ideal, and it allows for a number of awkward positions when you are trying to pause. Also, the cord is just a bit too short, about five centimeters shy of that ideal length that lets me wrap it around my iPhone when walking. Instead, now a few centimeters poke out of my pocket whenever I'm listening to my Pistons, and if I wrap the cord halfway around my iPhone, then I'm faced with having too short a cord. The cord is also probably the least flattering part of the headphones - composed of a brown mishmash of - tangle-free - nylon-strings (that actually work surprisingly well), it is not quite up to the same level of unchallenged design-supremacy that the rest of the headphones are. Also, the elegant gold-plated 3.5 mm plug is making me regret that I bought the SpaceGrey iPhone 5S, instead of the Gold iPhone 5S (which it compliments vary nicely, looking like the coolest stock headphones you have ever seen). Don't let this fool you, however. The Xiaomi Pistons 2.0 are almost unfeasibly good, and their drawbacks are nowhere near their pro.

    I haven't talked about the price of these headphones, simply because it has nothing to do with the Pistons. I would easily buy these Pistons if they cost $50, and I would just as easily order a pair if they were sold for $100. These headphones are a bargain for anything less than three digits, and I cannot honestly understand why Xiaomi would sell them for as little as $25 (!). My advice to you is the - "Go. Buy. One. Now.", before Xiaomi bumps up the price. I think they are fairly comfortable, or, as comfortable as in-ear headphones get. Also, a nifty and unique attribute the Pistons have is their enticing scent. The smell is reminiscent of chocolate, with a hint of vanilla and just the tiniest bit of coconut. Take my word for it - the aroma is very appealing. So, in conclusion - the Xiaomi Pistons are incredible headphones, regardless of price. However, when you add all of the details, like the aggressive pricing, the beautiful design and the crisp, clear and vivid audio, together with the sturdy premium packaging and box, as well as the headphones being manufactured out of luxurious materials like beryllium (an elusive material that is extracted from precious gems and jewels, and which is actually harder to find than gold) - then the headphones really have no match, anywhere in the world.

    A Box Fit For A Minimalistic King
    The Xiaomi Pistons are delivered inside an almost unfathomably small box. The thin, rigid cardboard is of surprisingly high quality, and the clean exterior of the box has really grown on me since I saw it for the first time.

    Xiaomi claims that the 15° chamfered edge on the back of the actual earphones improves ergonomics, and I can only agree. The circular, by Xiaomi patented, “CD-pattern” is a reoccurring theme on the headphones, and creates a nice “vibrating sensation” when you run your fingers across it.
    All In Took Was Someone Thinking Inside The Box
    The Xiaomi Pistons are delivered entirely without a manual. However, don’t be frightened by the Chinese letters that litter the box - all the instructions your could possibly need (and then some) are printed as large, educative images - on the inside of the firm cardboard -, that provide very little room for misinterpretation.

    The instructions do everything from detailing which earphone is the right and left one, to explaining exactly how the Pistons can be winded up in the slick “silicone winder” included.
    Style Is Timeless - So Are The MK301 Pistons
    The Xiaomi Pistons 2.0 (MK301) are, without a doubt, truly beautiful headphones. From the cool industrial design - that incorporates a reoccurring pattern of precise grooves in the solid beryllium enclosure -, to the soft silicone earphone tips - these headphones have got it all.

    Although the volume controls don't seem to be compatible with iPhones, they work fine together with Android phones. More importantly, however - the microphone works fine with all phones, and captures a very clear, crisp and realistic voice transmission.
    A Mold With A Secret
    The Xiaomi Pistons are securely fastened inside a silicone mold, which in turn is domed by a clear and elegant plastic lid. The mold is a great way to transport your Pistons in style. It also features a “secret compartment” underneath, where all the different sized stock earphone tops are stored.

    Xiaomi claims that the silicone used both for the “winder” (the mold) and for the tips are akin to the softness of baby skin. The entire plastic box that contains the silicon mold is also, according to Xiaomi, modelled on “jewellery grade gift boxes”. The cord, which I still believe is made out of nylon, is by Xiaomi said to consist of kevlar.
    The Best Is Saved For Last
    The Xiaomi Pistons are remarkable headphones. You can only really appreciate their awesomeness by listening to them, but I have managed to decipher some information from Xiaomi’s Chinese website.

    Xiaomi utilised new beryllium drivers in their MK301 Pistons, something which they claimed improved the bass-performance of the headphones, and improved the overall sound. Also, the cavity resonance was dramatically reduced which increased the audio-spectrum, boosting the performance of the headphones even further. The headphones also employ a dual dampening system, to provide a more balanced sound, along with sound chambers precision machined by diamond tools.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Taowolf51
      Just a quick fact check, aren't the enclosures made of machined aluminum and not beryllium? I know the drivers are beryllium drivers, but I'm almost certain the enclosures are not, especially considering how expensive beryllium is.
      Taowolf51, Oct 8, 2014
    3. Taowolf51
      Just a quick fact check, aren't the enclosures made of machined aluminum and not beryllium? I know the drivers are beryllium drivers, but I'm almost certain the enclosures are not, especially considering how expensive beryllium is.
      Taowolf51, Oct 8, 2014
    4. cjs001
      @Taowolf51 Ha! Well spotted. They are actually aluminium according to their own ad

      Given that Beryllium is fairy expensive and difficult to work with, not to mention a class 1 carcinogen, I highly doubt a sub 20 Dollars pair of headphone would contain any to really actually affect performance significantly as opposed to properly manufactured beryllium diaphragm. The most probable form is either they have it in a lower grade alloy form with either copper or titanium with concentrations way way lower than probably even 2% or that it's trace amount of beryllium coating.
      It just sounds fairly counter intuitive to use beryllium in such tiny diaphragm and it's just beyond stupid to use it as the housing. There's plenty other cheaper and tougher materials to choose from for the housing unit. If anything I suspect the "Beryllium" tag is more of a marketing gimmick, though that's merely my subjective opinion.
      That said, how much of an improvement beryllium actually impart in form of alloy or trace amounts I have no idea. Perhaps it's indeed what's behind the superior audio quality of these headphones but I'm highly skeptical.

      The link I supplied below should provide an interesting read if you're interested.

      Acoustics[edit]The low weight and high rigidity of beryllium make it useful as a material for high-frequency speaker drivers. Because beryllium is expensive (many times more thantitanium), hard to shape due to its brittleness, and toxic if mishandled, beryllium tweeters are limited to high-end home,[73][74][75] pro audio, and public addressapplications.[76][77] Due to the high performance of beryllium in acoustics, for marketing purposes some products are claimed to be made of the material when they are not.[78]
      cjs001, Oct 15, 2014