Review: Munitio Teknine SITi 9mm – Locked & Loaded
Jan 26, 2011 at 2:14 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 24


Portables Reviewerus Prolificus
Mar 2, 2009

The profile of a bullet is a fairly natural form factor for a set of in-ear earphones, being the right shape and size and carrying an inherent appeal to the ’18-24’ demographic earphones are so often marketed towards. In the past year we’ve seen several manufacturers go down the ammunition path with their designs, from Fischer Audio with the Silver Bullet to Xears with the XB120Pro. The Munitio Teknines are the latest and perhaps the most faithful take on the form factor with a bit of flair added in for good measure. This being an audiophile forum, however, I really wanted to have a nice long listen to see where they fall in the in-ear hierarchy, and I thank Munitio for providing me with a set of the Teknines to do just that.

Packaging & Accessories:


The Teknines come shrink-wrapped in a sturdy and very compact cylindrical cardboard box. Removing the lid reveals a foam cutout holding the bullet-shaped earphones. Underneath the earphones are the spare tips (a pair each of the small/medium/large sizes in addition to the medium pair already on the earphones), a microfiber cleaning cloth, and a soft leather carrying pouch. While the quality of the accessories – especially the tips – is excellent, the pickings are rather slim when compared to most of the competition. Still, the lack of a protective carrying case can be chalked up to the fact that the Teknines really don’t need protecting and the mediocre selection of tips – to the low sensitivity of the earphones when it comes to tip choice.


Design & Build Quality


Styled after a nine-millimeter round, the Munitio Teknines are noticeably smaller than both the Fischer Audio Silver Bullet and Xears XB120Pro and yet feel much sturdier. The heft of the Munitios gives them an air of solidity and the fit and finish run with the best of the big-name manufacturers. The housings are engraved with the Munitio logo and on the whole feel - apologies for the silly pun – bulletproof. The nozzles, too, are metal and protected by non-replaceable mesh filters. The Kevlar-reinforced cable is thicker than average and does a good job of staying untangled despite having the same tendency to kink as all of the other cloth cords out there. Strain relief on housing entry is minimal but the cable, like the shells, feels like it should go the distance. One interesting feature of the cable is the sliding cinch, which can be unclipped from the cord on one side and moved above the microphone, though those who use the cinch to keep their earphones fixed very tightly in place for over-the-ear wear may find it too weak on the Teknines. Overall, construction quality certainly is one area where the Munitios need not fear competition from most of the other earphones on the market, bullet-shaped or not.

Fit, Comfort, & Isolation

Expectedly, the Teknines wear similarly to most other straight-barrel earphones. The housings are quite heavy – similar in weight to those of the Monster Jamz and Panasonic HJE900s – but smaller than those of the other bullet-shaped earphones I’ve tried. They can be inserted a little deeper than the Silver Bullets and the stock tips are nice and thick, providing an excellent seal. Due to the weight, I still think that they work best in a cable-up configuration as the heft can become fatiguing with time. Luckily, the microphone on my iPhone-enabled set is sensitive enough to function even when pulled above the user’s jawline and therefore conducive to over-the-ear wear.

Despite being slimmer and having thicker tips than something like the Fischer Silver Bullets, the isolation of the Teknines is fairly average as the earphones are ported for increased airflow. Microphonics, on the other hand, are a better than average, with some cable noise carried up the sheathed cord when the earphones are worn in a cable-down configuration and almost no microphonics present when the earphones are worn cord-up.


Technical Specifications

Driver Type: Dynamic
Driver Diameter: 9 mm
Frequency Response: 12 Hz - 22 kHz
Sensitivity (@1 kHz): 98 dB
Cable length: 4 ft (1.2 meters)
Input connection: 3.5 mm plug

Sound Quality

Testing note: All on-the-go listening was done using a Cowon J3 portable player with a wide range of tracks in mp3 (bitrates ranging from 128 to 320kbps) format. Critical listening was done via an optical-fed iBasso D10 using only WMA and FLAC lossless files. All of the earphones tested were burned in for at least 80 hours prior to any critical listening.

As is usually the case with new entrants on the HiFi scene, I was quite unclear on what to expect from the Teknines when I received them. The trademark minefield of marketing copy on Munitio’s website promises superior dynamic range, quick recovery, and sound purity, as well as tight and accurate bass and smooth treble response. As with all (audio) marketing, however, such statements are meaningless unless a relative point of comparison is provided. Luckily, circumstances managed to line up a handful of bass-heavy earphones for me to try and figure out where the Teknines fall within the established hierarchy. The comparison stable included the Monster Jamz ($120) and Turbines ($180), Thinksound TS02+mic ($90), Fischer Audio Eterna ($68), and Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5 EB ($200) along with my usual mid-range benchmarks – the Brainwavz M2 and HiFiMan RE-ZERO.

I spent over a week running head-to-head comparisons between the above earphones and the Teknines before realizing that comparative listening was the very reason I was not digging the Teknine sound – the approach taken by Munitio in tuning the Teknines makes them so radically different from all of my favourite IEMs, so outlandish to my audiophile sensibilities that there is almost no point in comparing them directly to other earphones. Whereas almost all of the gear we discuss around Head-Fi pursues qualities such as balance and clarity, the Teknines attempt something else entirely – capturing the sound of a mid-tier car stereo in an in-ear form factor.

From the subbass onwards, the Teknines make no compromises whatsoever in favor of conventional ‘hi-fi’ sound. The inevitable comparison would be to the similarly-priced, equally consumer-oriented, and famously bass-heavy Monster Turbines. Compared to the Turbines, the Teknines have better sub-bass presence, resulting in large amounts of soft, full-bodied bass rumble, and a touch more mid- and upper bass as well, but because of the rounded way in which the Munitios present low notes, they don’t have the aggressive impact of earphones that I consider to be true bass monsters – things like the Sony XB40EX and UE Super.Fi 5 EB. However, the real strength of the Turbines – and the reason they are fairly popular around Head-Fi – is that despite their bottom-heavy nature, they manage to keep the bass response where it belongs – under control and confined below the frequencies that typically constitute the midrange. The Teknines, on the other hand, permit their bass all sorts of mischief – even fully burned-in they are slightly flabby and too soft for my liking when it comes to bass presentation. Though detail is quite decent at the low end, texture and resolution take a hit – the cheaper Fischer Audio Eterna does a slightly better job of distinguishing low notes and generally sounds crisper, not only down low but across the entire frequency range. The Teknines also possess somewhat lengthy attack and decay times even when compared to the other bass-heavy earphones in my collection, though they never sound downright slow. I’ve seen the term ‘fat’ applied to bass before and I think on the whole the low end of the Munitios fits the label very well.

With the bass out of the way (or not), we come to the midrange. Any earphone with a single driver and a ton of soft-sounding bass is bound to have slightly veiled mids, and the Teknines are no exception. Prior to burn-in, the midrange veil of the Teknines was one of the thickest and most distracting I’ve run into between the 150+ earphones I’ve heard, spreading up into the lower treble and making the earphones nearly unusable after extended listening to any other earphone. With a hundred hours on the drivers, the Munitios still sound slightly veiled, especially at lower volumes, masking the moderately high detail levels that the drivers are capable of putting out. However, the softened way in which the earphones present low notes does prevent the bass from crowding out the midrange and makes the Munitio one of the smoothest-sounding in-ears I’ve heard. Taken on their own, the mids are slightly thick and a tad warm but not excessively so on either count. Put together, the mids and bass provide a complimentary, well-blended sound – a far cry from the SF5EB, which assigns the midrange and treble to a separate driver, or the Fischer Audio Eterna, which has noticeably recessed mids.

Expectedly, the treble transition and high end of the earphones are just as smooth as the midrange. At some point in the lower treble, the veil thins out, permitting the high end to possess a bit of crispness in comparison to the midrange. On the whole, however, the treble is still extremely soft, making the moderate treble presence of the Eterna seem excessive in comparison. Though the Eterna handily beats the Teknines in clarity and resolution, it sounds very hard-edged and aggressive doing it. The Brainwavz M2, with its gently rolled-off upper treble, is more similar but still far more forward at the upper midrange than the Teknines. Indeed, the entire presentation of the Teknines is slightly distant, as if the veil has a very real thickness to it. Aside from the inner limit of the soundstage and slight lack of air, the presentation of the Teknines is pleasing, with above-average width and decent depth. The Eterna, which suffers from similar intimacy issues, sounds wider still and has slightly better imaging but at the same time thins out more to cover its massive soundstage. Of the earphones I tested this time around, the Thinksounds, despite being airier than the Teknines, are the most similar in presentation – extremely coherent but not pinpoint-accurate. If anything, the soft and powerful bass of the Munitios allows them to envelop more of the soundstage in music, making the Thinksounds sound a bit empty and hollow. In terms of timbre, too, the Munitios easily run with the group, sounding a bit more natural than the Turbines and SF5EBs and keeping up with the Thinksound TS02 and Brainwavz M2.

The marketing materials for the Munitios mention the dynamic range of the earphones in a positive light, and on that note I really can’t disagree – though the Teknines are somewhat brutish on the whole, there is no doubt that they can portray subtlety as well as aggression – so long as they aren’t used back-to-back with top-tier models like the Monster MD or JVC HA-FX700. Interestingly, the Teknines sound far, far worse at minimal volumes, which is how I do most of my listening. Raising the volume makes the veil much less noticeable and brings the earphones to life, though it is contrary to the very reason I use IEMs, which is to escape the need to raise the volume when background noise is present. Even regular listening volumes take a couple of notches more with the Teknine than the average 16-ohm in-ear due to its low sensitivity. However, though the Teknines do suppress conventional hiss pretty well, they are susceptible to A/C noise, picking up more buzz than most of my other in-ears whenever my laptop is plugged into the wall.

On the whole, there undoubtedly is a certain charm to the sound of the Munitio Teknines – a sense of brutality with a veneer of restrain and slight lack of finesse. Calling the Teknines ‘hi-fi’ is a bit of a stretch, but then they would probably rebel against such a label anyway. Their sound is uniquely infuriating and endearing all at the same time and will take a very long time to get used to for those coming from more conventional-sounding in-ears. In a nutshell, I like them for what they and hate them for what they aren’t – and the more reasonable stance of the two is quite obvious. Their unconventional signature is for those who, upon hearing nearly any other earphone, immediately wish it to be smoother and bassier. On the other hand those who, like me, value clarity and separation above all, usually listen at low volumes, and prefer tight and quick to loud and ponderous will initially wish for a quick death when faced with the Teknines. It is only with some serious burn-in, both physical and cerebral, as well as begrudgingly cranking the volume up to 18/40 on my Cowon J3, that I personally learned to enjoy these earphones.

Value & Conclusions

While the rock-solid construction and general user-friendliness of the Munitio Teknines may give them a leg up on the mainstream competition, it is their sound signature that really sets them apart from the field. Head-fi is sometimes called a bass-hater community but if a fan base could be found for the Ultimate Ears SuperFi5EB, which is borderline deformed and bassy enough to frighten small children, the sound and style of the Teknines are bound to find many fans here. I think I have heard most of the in-ears commonly deemed ‘non-fatiguing’ but the Teknines take the signature to new extremes (or, possibly, new highs for those who like that sort of thing) – and that’s very difficult to put a price on. With my preferences, which, by my own admission, lean towards the analytical, I can think of several dozen IEMs I’d buy before the Teknines. For someone after the type of smooth and powerful sound offered by the Munitios, however, they may just be worth their weight in gold.

Jan 26, 2011 at 1:05 PM Post #2 of 24
joker -- thank you for this review!  I pretty much agree with everything you wrote and it's good to know that while our preferences differ (I personally love the smooth, warm, non-fatiguing sound) your overall assessment of the strengths/weaknesses pretty much mirrors mine. 

Jan 26, 2011 at 4:30 PM Post #3 of 24
See that's why Joker is a value to the community. A fair shake and long well thought out review on something that would rank quite low for his particular taste/liking.
Jan 26, 2011 at 11:16 PM Post #5 of 24

See that's why Joker is a value to the community. A fair shake and long well thought out review on something that would rank quite low for his particular taste/liking.

Yeah. It's difficult to give something an accurate review when it does not suit your preferences.
Jan 27, 2011 at 1:20 AM Post #8 of 24
A fair shake and long well thought out review on something that would rank quite low for his particular taste/liking.

Yes, sorry about that - I guess I went on a bit. I think this is the longest review of a single earphone I've written at Head-Fi. And thanks 


awesome review as always

how do you compare these to turbine gold?

Ah, this had to come up eventually. I consider the Pro Gold very smooth and reasonably bass-heavy (for a higher-end dynamic, at least). It's actually one of my favorite earphones with that signature since it sacrifices very little in terms of overall fidelity for that sound. There's nothing reasonable about the Teknines and they really do take that signature a full step further than the Golds (which is a step too far for my tastes).  On a technical level I think the Teknines are competition for upper-mid-level earphones like the Eterna, VB, Atrio, and regular Turbines much more than the Golds/MDs/FX700s and so forth. They really don't have the detail, clarity, resolving power, or speed of the Golds. But they also cost much less.
From his restless, weary grave, Anaxilus fitfully slumbers. He will rise again.
That's... ominous. Is it something in my review?
Jan 27, 2011 at 10:18 PM Post #10 of 24
It may indeed be the longest. It's one of the few where I started with the intention of reading the entire thing and ended up in the conclusion :p
As long as it doesn't ramble on for way too long (like just about all my reviews) it's not too bad :p
Jan 28, 2011 at 10:00 AM Post #11 of 24
Quite a review, nice job with it (even if it was a bit lengthy for my taste. :) )
I remember being interested in these when they first came out, but couldn't get ahold of a pair and so I completely forgot about them until seeing this review.  Your review certainly makes them sound interesting, but I don't think their sound signature would mesh well with my tastes.  Only thing worse than weak bass is flabby bass!
Jan 31, 2011 at 6:14 PM Post #12 of 24
I got mine today. They are certainly going to need some burning in, but I can already tell I will enjoy them. 
They work great for hip-hop, which is what I bought them for, so that made me happy.
Feb 1, 2011 at 9:57 AM Post #13 of 24
Thanks for the review, Joker.  Your review falls right in line with my observations (which is awesome, because I think this is the first IEM that I have that you've reviewed, so I can finally start putting your reviews in better context).
Sounds like I'm also generally after the same sort of sound you enjoy in a headphone, but I do have to say that the Teknines are really "fun."  While not my first choice, I'm looking forward to having them around when I want some boom.  The car audio presentation comment is incredibly apt (I made it myself), and points out a strange dichotomy in my listening tastes:  in a headphone I love detail, clarity, and...honesty for lack of a better term; but in a car stereo, I think I'm still that high schooler with a big sub and an aftermarket stereo in his car.
One question for you, Joker: I find that tweaking the eq on my sources to bring up the treble a bit really help the Teknines sound more like what I want.  Is that something you tried, or would consider?  Or having tried it, did you notice any drawbacks?
Feb 1, 2011 at 1:15 PM Post #14 of 24

One question for you, Joker: I find that tweaking the eq on my sources to bring up the treble a bit really help the Teknines sound more like what I want.  Is that something you tried, or would consider?  Or having tried it, did you notice any drawbacks?

Sure, the drivers of the Teknines are capable enough to withstand some EQ tweaking. You won't change the sound in any major way but it goes without saying that boosting the midrange or treble to taste is quite possible. Just note that by making the sound brighter you aren't actually helping the clarity, though it may seem like you are without a reference point. I don't EQ my earphones for review since not everyone has the luxury but if something is particularly resistant to equalization I'll usually say so.

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