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Xiaomi Pistons 3.0 Impressions Thread

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  1. Weithulu
    Video Intro and Review

    Xiaomi released the successor to their "budget and sounds amazing" Xiaomi Pistons 2.0 in March of 2015. Calling these new IEMs Pistons 3.0 seems to suggests these are slightly upgraded version of the piston - let me establish this right now: these are completely redesigned and are more like a completely new product. The aim of this review is to establish what has changed in their design and give a review of how these pistons sound. 
    The new Xiaomi pistons seem to already have a good start, having on the red dot award for design excellence. The official (Chinese) website for these headphones are located at http://hd.mi.com/z/03261k/app/index.html. 
    I am starting a new thread for this as the current Xiaomi Piston thread contains mostly links to pistons sellers. I hope this thread will provide an informative assessment and a preview of what you will get when you order the product.
    Other Forum member reviews here: thatBeatsGuy


    Pricing and Versions

    Pistons 3.0 - Release in March 2015, these pistons are only available in the black version. 
    Pistons 2.1 & 2.0 - This version of the pistons gained a high regard on Head-Fi for their budget price and their stand out sound quality. Check out this Head-Fi thread on these pistons for more information
    Currently the Xiaomi.com is not distributing their earphones in North American or European markets (it is expected that they will launch a North American story selling accessories later this year). 
    TypeMainland PriceOverseas Price
    Pistons 3 (Black)
    99 RMB = $16 USD$30-35 USD
    Pistons 2 (Gold & Silver)99 RMB = $16 USD25-30 USD

    Design (and comparison with Piston 2.1)
    (following has been translated from http://bbs.xiaomi.cn/thread-11203159-1-1.html)
    Cable - Xiaomi followed their Piston 2.0 design with silicon wrapped cables followed by kevlar wrapping after the left and right earbuds branch. 

    Remote - The remote supports android systems and has partial support for iOS. On android all 3 buttons work and can control the volume. On iOS only the middle Stop/ play button works (tested on iphone 6).
    The remote is positioned on the cable for the right earphone, around 2 inches below the earphone itself. 
    No shirt clip is included in the box. 
    XS, S and L eartips included. M sized is already on the earphone itself. ( Pistons 2.1 included S, M and L)
    Earphone design:
    The earphones have been completely redesigned. Gone are the piston like full aluminum frame. Instead we now have a "Spiral" design where the tip points towards the ear (see photo for more info). This is done to improve the comfort of the earphones. The body of the earphones is plastic and with an aluminium backing. The back vent is now large circular vent. 
    It is also interesting to now that the nozzle size is smaller on the 3.0 when compared to the 2.1. 
    Driver (diaphram) Design:
    Xiaomi 3.0 pistons now employ a "sandwiched" driver design, where a titanium alloyed diaphram is stuck between two PET membranes. Xiaomi claims this to the be only IEM with this type of sandwiched design. This rather unique design is implemented to drastically improve sound quality in base, mid and high sound ranges. In addition, this design improves the sound balance.
    First Impressions:
    (I'm still working on this section and would expect a full report to be up by mid April)
    Preamble: I own both the Xiaomi Pistons 1.0, 2.1 and 3.0. I also own a pair of Shure SE315, Vsonic GR07 Classic Edition, Seinheiser HD 600 for comparison. 
    The earphones are comfortable for sustained use and works with both under-ear and over ear setups. The buds are approximately the same weight as Pistons 2.1, despite pistons 3.0 having a plastic body. This is probably due to the parts inside being heavier. I used the medium eartip and found that comfortable. It included box also offers XS, S and L silicon eartips. I would of appreciated the addition of foam eartips as i got used to them after using stuff from Shure. 
    I tested the noise isolate of these headphones in an urban city environment. Unfortunately these headphones are do not offer strong noise isolation as has an open back setup. 
    Initially I didn't know what to expect from the new "sandwich" drivers. Gone are the beryllium alloy drivers from the piston 2.0 and replaced with a new titanium "space age" alloy membrane. I found that the pistons 3.0 have the their signature V-shaped sound which impressive bass and highs. I felt that the sound has been refined and sharper sounding. The bass is never too overwhelming and doesn't cause the discomfort that I sometimes felt with Pistons 2.1. When compared with the Flat sounding GR07, I have to say I really enjoy having more bass in my music, especially for rock / pop / psytrance. 
    I am happy to report that when compared to Piston 2.1, the midrange is much cleaner and pronounced. I feel that Female vocal sound stronger and warmer. However vocals are not as pronounced as with the GR07 which has a flat frequency response. 
    I'll update if burn-in affects this pair of headphones - need a bit more time to let these burn for a while :D
    In terms of sound recording, I'm amazed at how good they sound when chatting on the phone / recording voice messages. I recorded some message with whatsapp and it sounds very clear.
    Thanks for reading the article. If you have any questions or feel that i have left anything out please ask below. Also if you have any impressions of these pistons please post below!
    If you are looking to buy these, you can check out the amazing compilation of sellers for Pistons 2.0, they will start selling the 3.0 soon if they have not already. 
    Verified Sellers:
    I am starting this section up to help people interested in buying authentic versions of these headphones. Xiaomi products are sometimes copied and sold as real on the market (this was a big deal with the Mi Pistons 2.0). I am looking for forum members who have purchased and received their xiaomi 3.0s to help me update this list of verified authentic Xiaomi Sellers. Please post your preferred sellers and verify their authenticity in this thread, I will update this list soon as I can!
    Seller NameSeller SiteStatusNotes
    Regional sites:
    http://www.mi.com (Mainland China)
    Legit (Official Company website)Regional links taken from the Xiaomi 2.1 Thread. Thanks to thatBeatsguy and rondant for the original post!
    Gearbest http://www.gearbest.comLegitConfirmed by AlecR
    iBuyGou[Mod Edit: blacklisted due to shilling]Legit 
     [Mod Edit: blacklisted due to shilling]Legit 

  2. Weithulu
  3. thatBeatsguy
  4. DJScope
  5. arcwindz
    Great review, but i highly suggest ypu put this in the product page review and post the link on the bigger piston 3 thread instead of making a standalone thread :)
  6. Shawn71
    Nice Job!......
  7. r0msk1
    subbed! well written!
  8. AlecR
    May I ask where you purchased the V3 from?

    It is a shame that they don't seal as well as I had hoped but I am hoping that can be resolved with a better set of ear tips (using Comply isolation tips with the V2 was a good fit). Is the barrel size the same as the V2?

    Really excellent first impressions post though. I'll hopefully have something useful to contribute soon...
  9. Tom22
    great job! i've never tried the original pistons (funny enough) but i nabbed the 3s, i'd be interested to see what the fuss is all about.

    maybe i should grab a pair of the 2s (anyone interested in trading their 2s for a pair of ttpod t1es?)
  10. kaiteck
    subbed :D
  11. jagu
    Just ordered a pair of 3s. I received 2s for my daughter today and they seem great value for the price! Interesting to compare the two versions later on!
  12. Weithulu
    The are great value for the price. 
    I'm fed up with having to warranty my Shures.. they always seem to break one month after the 1 year warranty and then i'll have to pay $99 to get a replacement pair . 
    I'm terrible when it comes to keeping my headphones in good shape (i mean for everyday use, you don't really want to spend 1 min putting away your headphones)
  13. jagu
    Here in Sweden we have two year product warranty, you should live here :wink: My daughters destroy headphones regularly so I don't want to spend too much on phones but still give them a good listening experience.

    I just tapatalked!
  14. DJScope
    Everyone can get their Xiaomi Piston 3.0 here: http://penonaudio.com/xiaomi-piston-3.0
  15. AlecR
    In the UK we have 6 [​IMG] 
    Tomthen00b likes this.
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