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Apple Earpods Review

  1. Russell Tan
    The Apple Earpods are packaged wonderfully. A step up from the cheap plastic wrap that Apple used to use. These are packaged in a wonderful plastic box, expertly wound to exhibit all of the plastic craftsmanship and quirky design.

    These definitely are better than the old Apple earbuds. For starters, the fit is way better than the old ones.

    As for sound quality...

    The presentation of these are way more refined than the old ones. The old ones used a very direct approach and the sound almost seems to come from a recess in your head. These have a better presentation whereby the soundstage seems to be significantly widened, perhaps by the bass vents that Apple has decided to include.

    Bass is average.

    The augmentation of the soundstage, though, is at a price. It makes the overall sound cheap and hollow, especially the mids that lack body.

    Trebles are significantly more detailed than the old ones too, and there is a certain degree of clarity to these, though not what I would describe as sparkly.

    The bass bleeds into the mids and makes it sound a little muddy, and that hollow muddy space is not pleasant at all and a pain to listen too after a while.

    EQ is set to flat.

    Tried listening to it on Bass Reducer, but that made it even more hollow.

    Plugged it into an iPhone 4 with LOD and PA2V2, and it actually sounded worse than direct from the iPhone's 3.5mm jack.

    Reference songs:

    1) Sarah McLachlan - Angel
    2) Alan Parson's Project - Ammonia Avenue
    3) U2 - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

    All CD ripped lossless.

    Overall, these Earpods are better than the old ones, but are extremely fatiguing to listen to after a while. I found myself dying to pull them out during the course of writing this review.

    Of course, for all you fanboys out there, YMMV. :)

    The iPhone 5 is great and I'm just sad I can't use my LOD with this :frowning2:

    Oh, and I'm sorely tempted to plug these into a Darkstar to see what happens :p
  2. dw1narso
    suggest that you burn it first for at least 50 hours... 100 hours maybe better...
  3. Russell Tan
    Hahah, the iPhone 5 hasn't been out for 50 hours yet. !!
  4. Arve
    My full review is over 4000 words, so here it is.  I'd just like to note that I disagree with you on this - I've found them to be easy to use for prolonged periods, but:
    I found them to be surprisingly picky about what you connect them to.  I tried connecting it to both a FIIO E5, directly to an iPhone 4, and lastly my O2/ODAC.
    There is a huge difference between the three.  Connected to a FIIO, they lose most of their bass.  Connected directly to the iPhone, they start distorting very audibly with the volume control at 75%.
    Connected to the O2, they stay distortion-free at much higher volume setting than with anything else I've connected them to.
    Another thing you should take note of is that they are very sensitive to how they are inserted.  I can only achieve the sound you describe if I pull them half way out.  I've found that the best sound is to be found if you push and twist gently after inserting, so the forward firing port is firmly directed at your ear canal.
  5. Russell Tan
    I agree with the whole fit thing.

    Maybe it's because I've been listening to nice meaty Denons and that slightly hollow soundstage sounds cheap and artificial to me.

    Having done an A-B comparison of the old and the new, it is evident that these are a huge step up.

    Oh, and I fully agree that it's worth the money :)

    I won't bother burning these in though, don't see myself using them much.
  6. iamthem
    Uh.. nice review but I have trouble believing that headphones can image out of the head. Even the HD800's and K1000 haven't been able to do this. Will hear them when I get my new iPod.
  7. Arve
    Just so I'm clear: It's absolutely not on every recording, and it's not as good as with a pair of speakers, but I did have to verify that I hadn't turned my studio monitors on.  
  8. Bill-P
    Yeah, I agree. They seem to be extremely picky from my experience. They show a huge difference between all of my sources that I can't pick up on any other headphone... how does this make any sense?
    And if the front ports are not firing directly at my ear canal, then they sound decided anemic, thin, and very hollow. A slight twist causes all of that to change, though.
  9. Arve
    It doesn't make any sense to me either.  The impedance is a relatively easy 40 ohm, and from the one impedance plot I saw, the impedance curve is reasonably flat, so they shouldn't really be a difficult load.  Also, sensitivity seems to be about average, so it's a bit of a mystery to me.
  10. Bill-P
    I think impedance might actually be higher than 40 ohm. I have a pair of Audio Technica ES10 with 42 Ohm advertised impedance... and the ES10 is about 50% louder at the same volume consistently.
    Either that or the ES10 has insane sensitivity, but I somehow doubt that.
    But even my (now sold) DT880 600 Ohm with O2 amp couldn't detect this much difference between sources.
  11. Arve
    That is due to sensitivity, not impedance. Sensitivity is defined as how loud something gets with a given voltage over the terminals.  I'm not sure if there is a standard way to measure sensitivity for headphones, but for loudspeakers it's defined as the loudness measured from 1m away (measured in an anechoic chamber), when a signal with a voltage of 2.83 V is applied across the terminals (2.83 V corresponds to 1W for an 8 ohm speaker)
  12. ThunderJak
    Nice review. Ready to try these out.
  13. AstroTurf
    How can you review anything that hasn't been properly conditioned first? (Burn In)?
    Not gonna use em? Fair enough, I'll give you 5 bucks plus shipping.
  14. Arve
    IMHO, Burn-in is mostly a myth.  If you actually look at the graphs in Tyll Hertsens' experiment on the AKG Q701, it's very dubious whether the changes you see are actually at all audible.  
    Personally, I will attribute the huge differences people claim to hear to be expectation bias rather than actual changes.
  15. tinyman392
    Look at the changes in the treble and smack dab in the middle of the midrange in his GIF.  Those changes are audible (human ears can hear a 1 dB change).  Furthermore, bigger changes occurred in the distortion readings...  It's not mostly a myth.  
    There are other things that add into it as well.  Brain burn in/adjustments, as well as pads/tips changing shape as well (which leads to a change in seal => change in sound).  

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