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Old 01-12-2005, 02:18 AM   #1
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Wink Earphone Review: Battle of sub $80 in-ears earphones plus others!

RePlaY: For his idea and suggestion. And members support.
Cypher02: For applying some glue to this thread.
Me: For all the text and photos!

Ok. So here we go. This is a review (photos included) on some of the popular budget in-ears available in Singapore. So who are the contenders? They are: Sony MDR-EX71SL | Panasonic RP-HJE50 | Philips SHE9500 | Cresyn LMX-E630RL | Creative EP630 | Apple In-Ears. The Sony MDR-EX51 will not be included because it is very similar to the EX71 with different cord design. The MDR-EX81 doesn’t seem popular and I do not own one anyway. Audio Technica’s ATH-CK5 wasn’t in the review as well because I wasn’t able to borrow a pair. I've also included the new ATH-CK7, ER6i, UM1 and traditional earbuds in the review. All earphones reviewed here are able to match all players out in the market. All are fairly easy to drive and require no amplifier.

The review will be structured according to the order above and includes design/cord, sound quality, built quality, comfort and ear tips. And lastly, a conclusion and personal preference. They will be graded according from 1-5 stars with 5 being the best and 1 the worst. Of cause, 5 stars does not mean it is the best earphone in the market, 5 stars=best in its price range. Since most people will be using them for portables, this review is conducted using a iPod Shuffle and a Sony D-E705 Discman without any amplifier. Songs are in at least 192kbps MP3 format. CDs: Metallica-Black, Coldplay-X&Y Robbie Williams-Intensive Care, Madonna-Confessions on a Dance Floor.

Design and Seal: <------First time users, please read the entire paragraph!
These earphones work by blocking some noise with a seal. It is a little different from the high-end, more expensive IEM like Etymotic Research/Shure/Westone. The rubber tips seals on the outside of your ear canal instead of jamming it in all the way like the high-end ones. Its advantage is better comfort and convenience. Disadvantage is that it blocks less noise than what a true IEM will. It is essential that a good seal is achieved before they will sound good and work to its best. How to get a good seal? Select a suitable size tip and insert it into your ears until you hear some ambient noise being blocked out. All six earphones reviewed feature similar size sound nozzle, so the ear tips are inter-changeable. Each manufacturer has different ear tip design and quality although they look similar. Isolation levels are about the same. It depends on the individual achieving a good seal using a suitable size tip. The first 4 earphones reviewed are neck-chain designs and the last 2 are 'Y' cord.

Summarized version:
1-5 stars with 5 being the best and 1 the worst.

Sony MDR-EX71SL | Overall Rating: 2.5 stars
Design/cord: 4 stars
Sound Quality: 2 stars
Built Quality: 1.5 stars
Comfort/Ear Tips: 5 stars

Panasonic RP-HJE50 | Overall Rating: 4 stars
Design/cord: 4 stars
Sound Quality: 3.5 stars
Built Quality: 3.5 stars
Comfort/Ear Tips: 3.5 stars

Philips SHE9500 | Overall Rating: 3 stars
Design/cord: 4 stars
Sound Quality: 2.5 stars
Built Quality: 2 stars
Comfort/Ear Tips: 4 stars

Creative EP630 | Overall Rating: 4.5 stars
Design/cord: 4 stars
Sound Quality: 4 stars
Built Quality: 3 stars
Comfort/Ear Tips: 4 stars

Apple In-Ears | Overall Rating: 3.5 stars
Design/cord: 3.5 stars
Sound Quality: 3 stars
Built Quality: 4 stars
Comfort/Ear Tips: 3 stars

Read on for the full review!

Other reviews contributed by members and my updates:_____________________________________________________________________________________


If you're having problems with:All you need to know about Cresyn and please direct all questions to this thread
WTB CDs: Broken Arrow OST. Anyone?

Last edited by afbug1; 01-05-2006 at 12:12 AM.. Reason: Update text & photos!
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