In the wake of last year’s disjointed personal audio presentation, the headphone scene at the Newport show was divided up between the main ballroom’s marketplace or individual rooms reserved among the 2 channel listening spaces in the main tower. One of the new-to-me companies in the marketplace is 1More, a company with roots abroad but with a US office based out of San Diego. Their current set of earphone and headphone offerings barely exceed the $100 mark, but several unique twists on the traditional listening experience can still be found.
The two earphones at the top of the heap come with the biggest area of interest for fidelity aficionados. 1More offer a set of two hybrid IEMs that include both balanced armature tech and dynamic. The E1001 is marketed as their Triple Driver In-Ear with 2 BAs and one dynamic driver for a cool $99. The EO323 is $69 for one BA and one dynamic music maker.
While not the first company to attempt such a hybrid feat, it is certainly one of (if not the only) to achieve the feature set at such a low cost to the consumer. The shell felt surprisingly polished and sturdy for the price and left a nice, well rounded impression with me upon our first introduction.
Its been a while since I’ve laid my hands upon a IEM as inexpensive as the 1More Piston Classic, but the $20 earphone captured my attention in such a manner that I had to give it a listen. The signature appeared fairly bass-foward with the mid and highs hiding a bit, but I didn’t detect any obvious distortion or horrible anomalies that would have rendered it unusable – which is more than I can say for my experience with multiple other IEMs leading up to and resting at $100. Further more I could envision the practicality of such a response in the wake of bass-lean and thin attempts in the sub $50 market that undoubtably exist, but high fidelity it is not unfortunately.
The yet-to-be-released items hit the market in roughly two weeks in the form of the “Capsule” IEM ($89) and the Mk802 over-ear. The former takes a new twist with the implementation of sticky magnets that keep the two earpieces together when not in use. The inherent shape is also intended to provide as restful seat within the concha for a better fit and less stress on the ear canal.
The new Mk802 comes in at the same $79 price as the current Mk801 for the wired experience, but now offers a bluetooth version for $129 – the company’s highest priced product of the lot. Volume controls and track selection options run the length of the ear cup for easy access and navigation from a phone or tablet device.
Even though its hard to break through all the clutter of the densely populated budget IEM market, 1More is pushing some interesting developments and efforts around with their products. Perhaps we will be seeing even more of them in hifi audio in the near future.
1More Triple Driver on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01A7G35S0/
Dual Driver: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019260LTM/