DealExtreme In-Ear Stereo Earbuds $3.94 impressions
Jul 23, 2008 at 9:37 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 4

Henmyr

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EDIT: THIS SHOULD PROBABLY BE MOVED TO PORTABLE HEADPHONES FORUM

Quote:

Review Before burn-in
Well, for this price I just couldn't resist them.

This is the in-ear being mini-reviewed: DealExtreme: $3.94 In-Ear Stereo Earbuds (3.5mm Metallic Orange)

Some short impressions:

First, these are no giant killers. I feel that they are worth the $3.94 as toss around in-ear if you tweak the portable player eq a bit (a lot!).

The only in-ear I've used much is the Creative EP-630. Have tried Shure 530 something, but only for a very short while.

Isolation, comfort, microphonics
* The isolation is not very good, but better than regular buds. If I remember correctly, they are only slightly less isolating than the Creative EP-630.

* Less microphonics than the Creative EP-630.

* Comfort is ok. I have used them with a 1.5 h trip without discomfort.

Sound

* Very recessed upper midrange and hights. This was the first thing I heard when I put them in. It sounds like your listening to a boombox with layers of sheets on it while being in another room.

I've used them with my Cowon D2. To get them to sound more natural, I've used BBE almost at max, equing upper mids and treble way up, and stereo enhancement at max. With these settings, they are rather listenable and the "being in another room sound" is gone. The midrange can now be rather enjoyable (for the price of $3.94).

Without eq and sound enhancement, they sound a bit like the old Sennheiser PX100, but with the dullness taken to the extreme.

I feel that the ibuds have better midrange and hights balance than these. The ibud is also more airy, but headstage is not necessarily bigger.

* Bass: Full (as in very present), but not very tight, nor hard punching. Consists mostly (or even only) of upper bass. The ibud doesn't have a lot of bass at all, so this is where this in-ear MIGHT win (only might).

* Detail and texture is nothing to write home about.

* The sound quality depends a lot on recording quality. With a good recorded Diana Krall or Dire Straits, it's very enjoyable, but the latest In Flames album distort heavily (with the eq in use) and sound EXTREMELY bad (like very blown speakers). Without the eq, In Flames does not distort, but it sound more like it's your neightbor that is listeing to them (veiled). These are not metal headphones. If a song requires powerful bass, these will not deliver. Steely Dan is usually rather well recorded, but it did not sound good with these headphones for some reason (strange midrange, distortion and "blown-speaker-bass" with eq, and extremely veiled without).

* The sound is rather echoy and hollow, but on well recorded Diana Krall and Dire Straits, this is less noticeable.


Conclusion

DealExtreme In-Ear Stereo Earbuds, is it worth the price of $3.94? Well, if I didn't have any eq abilities on my portable player, I would rather use an ibud and sacrifice isolation for sound quality. With heavy use of sound enhancements, I rather use this in-ear than ibud if the enviroment is noisy.

It's no giant killer (far from it), but with eq I do feel that it's listenable with some genres, and with the small isolation it has, it's worth the price of $3.94 free shipping included if...

... you really need isolation.
... it's the only headphone with isolation you have.
... you're only going to listen to well recorded music which is not dependant on powerful bass.
... you're to poor to add $20-$30 for a REAL in-ear with isolation.

I would say that the isolation is worth $3 of the $4, and the sound is worth the last $1.

An ibud with isolation added would sound better.

Last words, the Koss KSC-75, EP-630 are all MILES ahead, even with the use of heavy eq.

EDIT: If these change with burn-in, I will report back. I'm not crossing my fingers though.


Update after burn-in (75h+):

The biggest change in sound happened during the first 24 hours, after that, I didn't hear a lot of change.

* A large part of the veil is gone. They no longer sound like a boombox playing in another room. They are still veiled, but more at old PX100 level.

* They are now very much listenable without heavy eq, but eq can still make them sound more transparent (a little treble boost open them up).

* They have an echoey sound in the mids (honky/cupped hands/bathroom sound). This echo must be due to the housing. If I cover the small holes on the back, the echoey sound is completely gone. Some people might even prefer them with the holes covered. Covering them changes the sound signature, but they are not necessarily worse than stock.

* They now have deeper bass (kick drum has got more kick now, when before it was veiled) and more treble.

Conclusion: I'm now very satisfied with them. They are still no giant killers, but for cheap traveling headphones, they are worth the price.
 
Jul 23, 2008 at 9:44 PM Post #3 of 4

Henmyr

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I read some reviews of them on the site, and most are actually positive???!!!???.

I wonder if there are some major lack of quality control, where my pair just happen to sound bad, or if the other people writing positive reviews of these just haven't heard headphones worth over $10 or there around (koss ksc-75).

EDIT: Quality control must be it, as no one, absolutely no one, would say my pair sound "good". Good/Okey for the price at most if you also add the isolation.
 
Jul 31, 2008 at 8:23 AM Post #4 of 4

Henmyr

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Updated impressions after burn-in.
 

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