Musical Fidelity have just launched their first IEM. http://www.musicalfidelity.com/products/mf-headphones/ I know they have 3 headphone models coming up as well.
HiFi: ClearAudio Concept TT, Musical Fidelity M6i and M6 DAC, M1s (CDT, CLiC, ViNL), Onkyo TA2600, SONY MDSJA20ES MDP, ProAc D18 with full Siltech cabling.
HT: Samsung UA55B7000 LED, OPPO BDP 95-EU,Marantz DV4003, Yamaha RX-V2067, Philips DVDR7300H, Infinity Primus Center, Wharfedale WH2, SW15 Sub, Mission M34i with full QED cabling
Bedroom: Apple AE, Bose WAVE Music Sytem III, Musical Fidelity M1 HPA headphone amp, Bose Over the Ear
HeadFi: Alessandro Grado MS Pro, Beyerdynamic T1, Bryston BHA-1 headphone Amp.
Office: iTunes, UD110 USB DAC, Bose Companion II, Bose AE2w
Indeed – covered in news almost a month ago
Audio Editor, Gramophone
Whhhooopps...how did I miss that?
Cant wait for the headphones to come out.
Picked up a pair of these babies today.
I've owned more different iems than I've had hot dinners - from the low end Senns to the high end 3 and 4 driver sets.
And Musical Fidelity have hit the jackpot with these EB-50s.
Simply put, they are the best sounding iems I have ever tried.
The attention to detail in the whole package is brilliant - MF have clearly done their research and noted all the stress points that their competitors fail to cover, and ticked all the boxes when producing their debut in-ears. You can check out their website and other marketing material for details on what you get, but suffice it to say you should get a fit with these, no matter what size lugs you have.
For myself, I've had a brief play with some of the tips and found a pair that fit me snugger than bugs in rugs.
Worn over the ear, the earphones themselves are small and lightweight and pleasing aestheritically, in a functional, utilitarian way. The only concession to colour is the blue and red markings for left and right, and I like that - it's non-blingtastic in an understated 'does what it says on the (almost literal) tin' kinda way.
And these things do exactly what it says on the tin. Or in this case, box. The frequency response does indeed seem to back up MF's claims of being ruler-flat, with no frequency band being pronounced or coloured over another. 'Coloured' is not a term you'll hear associated with the EB-50s, I dont think. Everything sounds so natural and unforced and musical in precisely the way the track is meant to sound musical - i.e. you get the sense that all your ears are receiving is the music as intended.
A big claim eh? Well, so far (a few hours) into my listening, I think its true. Admittedly, I've only thrown a narrow range of genres at them - mostly guitar-based folk, Americana, a splash of Dr John, some Dylan, Nick Cave, Bonnie Prince Billy, etc. But every track so far has sounded utterly perfect and devoid of any distorted or maligned bandwidth. Vocals in particular are just so lifelike and textured. You can almost taste them. Lest you infer the mids as pronounced, let me state that they most definitely are not. Neither are they recessed - they're just where they need to be, and the same seems to go for bass and treble.
Soundstage is going to vary I think. according to whichever tips you use, but I'm loving the medium ones (not the ones that come fitted, but the medium black, non-colour cored ones from one of the two little plastic bags of tips that are provided. (MF have bundled so many tips, Ladbrokes must be 'well jel', as the kids are fond of saying these days.) Anyway, these mediums I'm using give me all the depth and breadth of soundstage I could wish for. I dont know whether thats because they have a wider bore nozzle than some other single balanced armatures I've owned (Etymotic ER4P & HF5, Klipsch X5 & X10, Samsung whatever they were called, etc), but the EB-50s are above average in presenting the instrumentation outside of the head, clearly spaced and layered in virtual 3 dimensional space. Nothing seems artificially placed or deliberately stretched - a complaint you could levy at some of the multi-driver units i've had.
And don't forget that these are just single BA iems. Incredible really, when you consider universal iems are now up to 4 drivers with Westone and Sony etc, not to mention the custom end of the market. To put out this quality of sound from a single driver is nothing short of a sonic miracle, in my book.
And for the ludicrously reasonable price of £150 too! That price point ultimately makes these homegrown beauties a real bargain and cause for celebration. Hand on wallet, they outperform products twice their price. It's a congested, competitive jungle where iems are concerned, and growing ever more so, but based on the admittedly limited time I've spent with them, we might just have a new king.
Thanks for the review Biggerboat.
How do they compare with the Etymotic ER4Ps?
Having owned my ER4S for 10 years or so, I'm in the market for some new IEMs.
Its quite hard for me to comment accurately here, as it's been a few years since I last tried the ER4Ps, and my source gear has changed since (from CrApple iPod to beautiful sounding Samsung Galaxy S3).
But I can say that if you what you are after is tonal accuracy, then the EB-50s offer that in spades, without losing any of the musicality to dryness or boring over-analytical nature. Indeed, I can just lose myself in the music, and marvel at how goose-pimple-inducingly they render instruments and voices.
I'm absolutely loving these little critters - everything I play through them just sounds so right. I think you've only got to look at Musical FGidelity's pedigree to see how much they care about musical reproduction. I do believe they've hit the bullseye with their first iem.
Excellent review Biggerboat. Makes me more confident to order one.
Thanks. I dont think you need worry about taking a punt on these....
Here's a couple of other reviews I've seen online which seem to back up my impressions:
Any affiliation perchance?
Sorry to disappoint your cynical demons, but nope -i have no connection with them beyond owning a pair of their iems. Which I paid for with clean money of my own earning. Neither do i work in or have any association with the imdustry.
Next rude question?
It wasn't meant to be rude, just checking my friend as per forum rules.
No worries. Sorry if I misconstrued - think I musta been having a bad day when I typed that!
Anyway, I'm happy to report that these EB-50s just go from strength to strength. Having ovelooked the stock tips that come fitted to the earpieces when I bought them, I tried them again last night and my mind was blown. Sound even better than the tips I had been using!
Oh good lord. My long search for the perfect earphones could be over.
At least until Thursday. lol.
I notice you said you have owned various IEM's right up to the 3 and 4 driver offerings. Hve you heard the Heir Audio A.4i IEM's?
I have just bought a pair of these and they have, in my opinion, a very clean, neutral sound which offers excellent accuracy and clarity. Definately not one to use with sub standard formats. Beutifully made with a nice wood burl faceplate. They are a universal IEM based and using the drivers and internals as their custom A4's.
However at £300.00 once you have also paid shipping and import tax I am very reticent to use them at the gym, on holiday etc and therefore looking for more of an everyday solution.....Maybe these MF EB-50 are the answer.
Excellent review as well by the way mate.
Portable: iPhone 5 / iPad 4 / iPod Classic 160Gb / iPod Touch 64Gb
Amps / DACS: HRT Microstreamer (with Apple CCK) / Centrance HiFi M8
Headphones / IEMs: DreamEarz AUD-8x
Yes, I've heard good things about the Heir Audio sets - the 4s in particular. But I havent heard them personally and wont be buying them, so can't compare with the EB50s.
As to whether you'd want to fork out £150 for some EB50s for the gym - I think unless you're made of money, just get some cheap and cheerful iems that will either withstand abuse or will be so cheap it doesnt matter if they break.
The EB50s are perfect for my portable needs, but I never go near gyms - can't stand the places, sorry!
I've just taken delivery of a pair. Plus points? Sound quality is excellent. Very neutral with a deep bass as long as you've got the right sized buds on them and shoved them far enough inside your ear cavity. Build quality also top notch. I was replacing a ten year old pair of B&O earphones and the EB50 was a clear upgrade, much closer to my AKG Q701 in sound quality in fact. The box comes with everything you'll ever need including a nice carry bag that certainly smells like real leather. Also the 7 different bud sizes do seal you from outside noise very effectively. Minus points? Only that I suspect they were tested in a stationary seated position. Walking around with them in and the cables transmit a bassy thud into your eardrums every time they bounce off your body. I have never had this style of invasive earphones before and it's likely that the majority of this style do exactly the same thing. It was a surprise to me however as the B&O phones have absolutely no cable noise at all. To mitigate this the EB50 comes with a tie-clip which should stop some of the cable movement. All in all, a great effort and worth auditioning but they wouldn't be ideal for people who would be using them exclusively for jogging/walking etc.
Downstairs: Pioneer Kuro 4280 / Oppo 93 / Yamaha RX-V771 / Monitor Audio BR5,BR2,BRLCR / Sky+HD / AppleTV
Upstairs: Leema Pulse / Sonos Connect / Musical Fidelity V-DAC II / Project 2 Xperience Acryl - Goldring 1042 - Project SpeedBox II / Musical Fidelity HPA100 - AKG Q701
Are you wearing the cables 'over the ear', either using the supplied guides or without? The cable should cause microphonics when moving if you're wearing them this way....
Also, rather ironically given the amount of different tips provided, I've found the best tips for me are the larger Sennheiser silicones - a perfect fit (certainly not invasive, as you've alluded to - they just sit insde the ear canal opening).
Might be worth experimenting a little, as I use mine out and about - albeit nothing more strenuous than walking - and dont have any issues.....
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