Xduoo EP1

REVIEW: Xduoo EP1 – Dark Metal Earphone






Specifications

  • Driver: 10mm dynamic
  • Impedance: 16ohm
  • Sensitivity: 108dB
  • Frequency: 20~20KHz
  • Power: 10mW
  •  Plug: 3.5mm, gold-plated L type
  • Length: 1.2m




Price: U$D 30.  From Penonaudio.


Accessories:
  • 3 pairs of silicone eartips (S/M/L)
  • 2 pair of foam eartips (S/L)



Design

For the first IEM from Xduoo, the EP1 boosts an excellent construction and thoughtful design for the price. The build quality of the shells really stands out with a thick and sturdy aluminum material which is still very lightweight. The design is well rounded without any sharp ends and has a smooth surface that fits very easy and very comfortable in the ear. However, the supplied silicone eartips are not well made; they’re very thick and make it difficult to achieve a decent comfortable seal. Trying other tips is highly recommended, not just for fit but also for best sonic results.
The cable is a joy. Not too thick but not thin either, super flexible and doesn’t tangle much, and very easy to wear down or around the ear. The plug is well made and nicely relieved, and the slider works properly.
Isolation is just about average or below at best, even though the design doesn’t seem to have any large visible vent on it.



Sound

Similar to its black color and smooth and comfortable design, the sound of the EP1 sets towards the dark, smooth and easygoing signature. The presentation is not something to be considered balanced or all-rounder, but it doesn’t present a particular peak on any frequency.
Going for a darker kind of sound, the bass is full and well bodied, with a stronger emphasis towards the mid and upper bass region rather than the sub-bass, which is not too surprising for a budget IEM. As such, the extension is somehow limited and the EP1 won’t show too much rumble. It’s still fun to listen with metal or heavy bass tracks. The texture is quite decent and bloat towards the midrange is relatively minimal; the EP1 has a good overall control.

The midrange is laid-back but not really recessed; it’s more the treble that is missing which gives a less open sound. Instruments and voices sound equally balanced, though the lower vocals and instruments gain a higher priority over the rest of things. Upper mids are soft, and maybe too much for some, but they show no sign of grain or unevenness which is rather unusual at this price point where budget oriented earphones tend to bring a harsher midrange in a try to bring some extra detail. The EP1, on the other hand, does not lack in detail, but it is less obvious due the so smooth sound.

Highs are very laid back and smooth, and can be considered way too safe and reserved. Pairing with a warm source is not recommended for the Xduoo IEM, and even a treble boost on more reference sounding DAPs would be good to bring a better overall balance without sounding unnatural. It actually matches well with X3 Xduoo DAP.
Soundstage is about average, decent for the $30 price. Some other options like the Vsonic VSD2S, Fiio F3 or Xiaomi Piston 2 would give wider stage and sound more resolving, if you can handle their extra treble quantities.






Summary

Pros:
  • Excellent build quality
  • Comfortable and smooth design
  • Smooth and relaxed sound with strong bass
  • Good cable
  • Price


Cons:
  • Included eartips are not comfortable
  • No carry bag or case included
  • Might sound too laid-back and off



Rating: 4/5.