Eers PCS-150 custom fit IEM review
May 24, 2012 at 8:54 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3

jerb

Headphoneus Supremus
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I was lucky enough to win a pair of the custom fit PCS-150 at a recent show, after a couple searches I really couldn't find much buzz on them so I thought I'd post a review here for the community. These are a single driver IEM at the $200 price point making them the cheapest custom fit IEM I've seen. The have a unique fitting process (described below) which is mess free and doesn't involve a trip to the audiologist. They come with a fairly normal length (maybe a tad short) 50" cord and feature an inline mic. The packaging is minimal and includes only the phones, some lube, a carrying case, and the injector for the silicone. I could only find one merchant selling them http://sculptedeers.com/pcs-150-custom-molded-earphones/, I hope the mods dont mind me linking to them.
 
My background with IEMs - I've been a fairly loyal shure fan boy since 2005 or so - I've gone through 3 or 4 pairs of e2c at this point. I also own the E5 and the etymotics ER-4P but they don't see much use from me. For sources, I've moved away from the head-fi scene so at this point I only have my macbook pro and iphone, no amps at this time. These are my first pair of custom fit headphones
 
Background and fitting: Whats unique about these phones is the companies unique fitting process, they put this interesting applicator which sits on your head like a pair of headphones and inserts two "balloons", one into each ear. The fitting device injects a silicone or analogue into the balloon making it mess free and guaranteeing a good fit. The applicator slowly fills the balloons which is a fairly unique sensation, not uncomfortable, just unnerving. Thankfully the whole process is over in 4 - 5 minutes. If nothing else their approach is novel, and I dont think theres another pair of custom fit headphones at this price point.
 
Initial thoughts: I was on a busy showroom floor, there were robotic machines of all sorts and people talking, once I put these on the noise level dropped immensely. I was actually amazed with the passive isolation, my shures (even with foams) don't isolate this much. My iphone was set to about 1/3 volume and that was comfortable and easily heard.
 
the make of the phones is fairly good, the housings are lightweight and look like they could take some abuse. They are made with a lighter quality / softer plastic than I'm used to with the shures. The cord management is some sort of heat shrink like material which holds the wires behind your ears. They are quite comfortable, I've worn them for about 6 hours today and managed to fall asleep in them, something which cant be said about the E2Cs or the ER-4Ps.
 
The cord is the main selling point, its covered in a rubber that's soft to the touch, however a combination of the way they fit your ears and this cord material does wonders for micro-phonics. I've been dangling and playing with the cord all day and I'm amazed at how little noise is conducted. That's not to say that its not present, just significantly less than with the shures or etys. The cord also features a in-line mic for use with cell phones which I have not yet tested but may be of intrest to some of you.
 
The 3.5mm connector is a right angle (similar to the shures, I would have preferred a straight jack though). It has 4 poles to allow for the microphone, unfortunately this means that its a bear to use in my macbook, if I hit it at all with my palm the right channel goes out.
 
The color scheme of these IEMs is, however, atrocious; the cord is a BRIGHT orange which I find to look terrible. I'd take these to the gym but I'm not so sure they'll replace my shures as my normal daily carry based on the obnoxious color scheme alone.
 
Sound: From my macbook I have loaded up the following bands -
Citizen Cope
The XX
Explosions in the Sky
Florence and the Machine
Radiohead - Kid A
Childish Gambino
Tegan and Sara
Regina Spector
 
Initially the quality was not what I expected from a $200 pair of phones, many of the tracks I listened to (256 vbr mp3) sounded muddy. The vocals were well centered on the sound stage but weren't crisp like the ER-4ps or E5's tended to render them. Songs which lacked bass or featured primarily acoustic tracks with female vocals did not shine with these phones. 
 
Where they do shine: anything with bass, kick drums and other sources of base sounded fantastic, it was punchy and present. This may be attributed to the fit, but I've never had this much bass or this quality of lows from any of my other pairs of headphones. Radiohead, Citizen Cope, and Florence and the Machine all sounded great.
 
The sound stage on these phones is also quite impressive, again I attribute this partly to the custom fit. There is great separation of instruments both from one another and around my head. The vocals are well centered in the middle of my head and don't sound like they're coming in from the sides.
 
The background details are fine as well, I noticed some vocal tracks in the back of the song Fidelity by Regina Spector and from Fame by Citizen Cope that I never heard before.
 
Overall: These headphones have their strengths but for me I don't know how much use I'm going to get from them. the fact that they don't play nicely with my mac is one of the biggest downfalls, I really don't like constantly pushing the plug in because one channel cuts out. No 4 pole to 3 pole adapter was included. As comfortable as they are, the color scheme is terrible and I don't see myself carrying orange headphones around where other people may see me. The sound (quality wise) is closer to the $100 pair of IEMs that I'm used to than the $300+ ones that I own, a lot of what you're paying for is the custom fit. They do render bass nicely, and they are quite comfortable while blocking a lot of ambient noise. I think I'll toss these in my gym bag for now on.
 
If anyone has any questions I'll do my best to answer them
 

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