Review: Xiaomi (Mi) In-Ear Headphones Pro

Xiaomi (or Mi for short) have been on a roll, showing time and time again that you don’t need to pay much for quality, style and functionality. Their portfolio of electronics continues to grow, as does their brand presence, spreading out radially from China.

As a (primarily) mobile device manufacturer, their diversification into selling mobile phone accessories was very fitting, and their efforts have not gone unnoticed. Their most popular In-ear Headphones, produced by 1More Design, achieved a 2015 Red Dot Design award and has been a highly recommended budget option around the internet. Just recently, on the 11th of November, Xiaomi launched their new In-ear Headphones Pro (English|Chinese) to the Chinese market, a follow-up product produced by 1More Design. This promises to be even better by bringing a hybrid dynamic and balanced armature driver configuration while still sporting an extremely affordable 99 RMB / SGD 27.99 price tag (roughly AU$21 to 28 by conversion).

Thanks to the generosity of the PR staff at Xiaomi Singapore, I was sent a set of these directly for review under the review challenge terms. As usual, the standard disclaimer around Xiaomi products apply – namely that there are possibly counterfeit items floating around, so please purchase from only known authentic sources to avoid disappointment.

Unboxing

As I received this product direct from Xiaomi, there is no doubt as to the authenticity of the product. High resolution images of the unboxing are provided to illustrate the inclusions, and may serve as a point of reference if in doubt as to the authenticity of your product.

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The product comes inside a milky white plastic bag with an adhesive edge seal. There is a barcode label on the outside of the bag, which allows the product to be scanned without removing it. There is a bit of yellow on the adhesive in my photo, as it had stuck to the cardboard box in shipment.

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As with other Mi products, the box sports a very simple, clean look, featuring a clear window on the front that allows you to admire the fine details of the milling processes used to create the earphone chambers and remote control body. The rear of the box features Chinese text, and gives an overview on specifications – namely 32 ohm impedance, 14 gram weight, 1.25m cable, 101dB/mW sensitivity, 5mW power rating and 20-20,000Hz frequency response. That being said, most people would know by now to take these specifications with a grain of salt as they rarely describe much about how good a set of earphones is to listen to. The box is opened via a tear-off strip, and the bottom is sealed with a circular transparent plastic label, which ensures hygiene by ensuring the package is tamper evident.

While the product is called the Mi In-ear Headphones Pro in English, realistically, it is considered an earphone or canalphone or even vaguely, an in-ear monitor (IEM). I will use these terms interchangeably.

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The top of the box features a break-away section as a hanger, for use when displaying in shopfronts, and the bottom has logo-text which shows that the product is the work of 1More Design, who were responsible for previous award-winning efforts in the Xiaomi range.

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Opening the box up is a joy, thanks to some intelligent packaging design. The rear card which has a tab at the top makes it easy to slide everything out without any fuss.

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Included are the earphones, which come pre-fit with the medium-size silicone tips. The first thing you notice when you handle them is the build quality, which is second to none. The metallic chambers are all milled and engraved, with fine details showing up in the polished finish. Each of the chambers appears to be vented for better frequency response. These are mated to the plastic front and stiff plastic lead-in for the wire. The plastic front 20151207-1959-0476has a moulded area to show which side is the left and right, although the remote control also serves as an indication as it is always on the right. The stem is standard in size, allowing you to use other tips if necessary. The end of the stem has a metal mesh filter.

20151210-1905-0510From an aesthetic point of view, they are very pleasing, and the lack of obvious branding aside from the “HD Audio” text is a big bonus for those who don’t want to be too conspicuous with their choice of earphone.

When fitted to the ear, I had no big irritations, although the stem of the plastic did get close to my face, it did not cause any irritation or indentation. The medium-tips that came pre-fitted was sufficient but slightly loose for my larger ears, whereas the large tips were a little too large and caused slight irritation due to the pressure.

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The remote control features three buttons, with the three buttons functioning on some Android handsets, whereas on others they all seem to perform the same action (probably handset dependent too). On iPhone, the center button works, but the outer two appear to be ignored. These actuate with a nice click, and the two outer buttons have a raised edge to allow them to be identified by feel.

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The craftsmanship continues with the remote body, where a sharp cut-out is made in the rear for the microphone, and the shallow ribbing is seen in the metal. It is very surprising to see this kind of build quality at a price where most competitors are putting out flimsy plastic headsets with visible seams.

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The wire to the headphones feels like a standard insulated PVC wire of the average sort of thickness for such headsets. However, that changes as soon as we meet the join where the left earphone cable meets the right. Here, there is a transistor shaped moulded joint with the Mi branding where the cable joins a thin braided wire to the plug.

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At first, the braided wire felt almost too thin, but after some use, its merits became apparent. While it is thin, it seems sufficiently strong to stand up to everyday use, and the braiding adds strength to the cable. The side effect is that the cable seems to have less shape memory and loses any kinks or folds more readily than it otherwise would. The braiding also provides a textured slippery surface which helps prevent the cable from binding to itself, which reduces tangling almost completely and makes untangling and straightening the cable exceptionally trouble free.

The plug itself also has a milled metal body and strain relief and feels incredibly solid. The plug is a 3.5mm TRRS plug with CTIA wiring layout, making it compatible with iPhones and Android handsets, except some China domestic and older Nokia handsets which use the OMTP wiring layout. Due to this plug, it may not operate properly with basic music players which expect a 3.5mm TRS stereo connector. A tag is attached to the braided cable with the branding and a QR code for more information on the rear.

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20151207-1953-0461Included in the bottom is a small box with extra tips.

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In all, four pairs of silicone tips (including the ones pre-installed) are supplied, ranging from XS, S, M, L. The tips fit very snugly, and seem to hold well. Also included is a Chinese instruction manual.

It would be nice if a TRRS to TRS adapter was included for compatibility with conventional music players and computers, and a portable carrying pouch as well, but I suppose that might be unreasonable given the price.

Subjective Experience

20151210-1440-0507I spent a good week using the Mi In-ear Headphones Pro as my primary audio device both at home and during my commutes on public transport. In order to do this, a third-party (not included) TRRS to TRS adapter was used to allow the earphones to be connected to high-quality sources such as the Asus Xonar Essence STX sound card in my computer. Other sources were also tested, such as my LG D686 phone, iPad (3rd generation) and FiiO X1. These were used directly as they supported the TRRS connector.

Numerous listening sessions were held with FLAC rips of music which I am well familiar with to compare with my reference headphones, namely my AudioTechnica ATH-M50x. Other points of reference include my Ultimate Ears 200vi headset, AudioTechnica ANC23 in-ears and ANC9 headphones, and memories of my formerly owned Sennheiser CX300-II and Vsonic R02 Pros which both have been the victim of long-term use.

As a rule, opinions about how headphones sound are quite subjective and depend on a person’s “headphone resume”, as well as the condition of their ears and how they expect to hear a particular sound. What some reviewers may describe as analytical and harsh is the sound signature which I generally prefer, as is evident by my choice of reference headphone. It may be considered by some that comparing in-ears with over-the-head headphones at about ten times the price to be an unfair comparison, but this is exactly the sort of comparison you need to make if you want to know whether you are getting a good deal, and to know what you might be missing out on. Needless to say, I am the sort that can tell a FLAC from an MP3 with ease, especially at 128-192kbit/s, and I generally find the “bundled” headsets with phones to be quite unsatisfactory, so I’m not exactly making things up.

Bass

As is common with most IEMs, especially recently, they often have a punchy bassy character, and the Mi is no exception. It appears that the Mi has a pronounced sharp boost to the boomy bass in the 50-100Hz range, which makes a strong showing in songs such as Sir Mix A Lot – Baby Got Back, Lady Gaga – Starstruck, Black Eyed Peas – Imma Be and 3OH!3 ft. Katy Perry – Starstrukk. Despite this, the bass was relatively tight and clear, rather than a “one note” boom.

Since the bass hump is limited, songs like Back-Eyed Peas -Boom Boom Pow seem to move in and out of the sweet spot, resulting in a slightly lopsided presentation. It is hearty to see that the bass response does still audible to below 23Hz, in the low notes of Sam Smith – La La La.

Mid-range

The midrange presentation is somewhat mixed, as the character of the lower-midrange between 200-600Hz seems to be slightly muffled or veiled in comparison to the upper midrange which is sharp and clear. This is especially notable with some vocals, for example, Jason Derulo – Breathing, Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On, The Weeknd – Hills and Taylor Swift – Shake it Off. However, when compared with dynamic driver IEMs, especially at lower price-points, it still offers more clarity.

Other songs don’t seem to provoke this as much, and instead benefit from the added clarity of the upper mid-range allowing for a much sharper vocal presentation, for example Britney Spears – Overprotected, Mariah Carey – Always Be My Baby and Lady Gaga – G.U.Y.

It seems from my listening that K-pop and J-pop with cleaner mixes don’t seem to provoke this deficiency as much, and listening to many of the songs from SNSD, T-ARA, HyunA proved rather satisfactory in the mid-range. Electronic/Dance music and Rock music also seem to work rather well with the Mi, as the distortion is not as apparent in due to the very complex wall-of-sound (e.g. Linkin Park – One Step Closer) or more focused mix (e.g. Madeon – Icarus, Serebro – Mi Mi Mi).

Treble

Where the Mi excels is at the treble, where it completely blows all of the dynamic driver competition out of the water. The treble is very much present and sharp, even making MP3 encoding artifacts audible at times. However, it doesn’t have an overly sharp character, and like the mid-range, there seems to be some frequency ranges where it is not as clean and feels somewhat veiled. This added treble adds a bit of brightness and sparkle to instruments and sibilant sounds in vocals, for example, in Celine Dion – Falling Into You and Daft Punk – Digital Love. It definitely balances out the presentation and makes the Mi sound much sharper.

Isolation

On the whole, the supplied silicone ear tips provided a good seal with minimal irritation provided the correct size is chosen. Aftermarket tips can be fitted to these, should you prefer them. Isolation was generally good as expected of IEMs, and sufficient to exclude most noise in commuting on trains and buses, although not quite as good as the active noise cancelling units I regularly use.

Overall Listener’s Verdict

On the whole, the Mi offers a much clearer presentation than pure dynamic driver in-ears. It is much sharper in all ranges than the CX300-II and UE 200vi and the treble adds much needed sparkle to instruments and the upper-midrange clarity brings out more from the vocals. Best of all, the bass is not sacrificed in any way, and retains a tight and punchy character similar to the dynamic in-ears mentioned before, which may be a little strong in a quiet room, but is useful when commuting with competing background noise.

Compared with the reference, the slightly bassy character does cause the Mi to possess a slightly darker presentation by comparison. It is clear that there were compromises necessary, namely some veiling in the lower mid-range which may be due to resonance, and an inconsistent and nervous treble. However, in terms of casual listening, this is hardly objectionable and does take the edge off of the more analytical presentation I generally prefer, resulting in a more laid-back signature. That being said, male vocals do sound noticeably less clear, and certain genres of music needing the lower-midrange clarity can be seen to suffer slightly.

Some people might be put off by the small 5mW figure on the packet, but needless to say, they do absolutely play loudly enough for most people with decent hearing. I did not have to push them at all to achieve respectably loud volumes, and during testing of headphone impedance (later), they were so loud at the rated power that they were audible across the room.

Regardless, I did very much enjoy the Mi In-ear Headphones Pro, and much more-so than some of the other IEMs I have owned purely because the sound is quite agreeable even for an audiophile like myself, especially when the price is considered. I found myself more engaged with the music, and happily singing along, whereas other products often left me distracted with their more muddy presentation. It would be highly recommendable as an inexpensive upgrade to a regular OEM headset for someone who cares about their music as it easily outperforms even AU$70 options on the market today.

Microphone Testing

The adapter was used to connect the Mi In-ear Headphones Pro to a Zoom H2n handy recorder to test the microphone, as it had the best quality recording input of my family of devices. For comparison, an LG OEM headset, Samsung OEM headset and UE 200vi headset were also tested.

The recorded audio samples can be heard here.

On the whole, the Knowles microphone in the Mi can be heard to provide a more balanced sound with good bass and treble content, although it does have more background hiss compared to the other microphones probably because of the internal amplifier. The LG headset is more bass-oriented with limited treble response, whereas the Samsung has less hiss but also limited treble response and slightly less bass. Finally, the UE headset has almost no significant bass resulting in a thin tinny audio.

In the end, the Mi is not a bad performer at all when it comes to the microphone quality with a more natural balanced sound at the cost of increased background hiss. The on-call performance is less sensitive to the treble content due to the limited audio bandwidth of phone calls, so the differences are less obvious to callers.

Impedance Check

Since the unit was built very well, I really didn’t want to try and tear it down, as that would very likely result in the destruction of the unit. Through the course of the review process, I’ve actually become rather fond of the earphones, so I really didn’t want to harm them. That being said, how can we be sure we are getting what they claim we are getting?

All of this ties in with one of my audiophile friends who asked me a while back about measuring headphone impedance over a range of frequencies. While I pondered on how that could be done, I didn’t actually go and do it back then.

Why is Impedance Important?

This is a rather deep topic, which North-West Audio and Video Guy have done a comprehensive article about, but it basically boils down to a few points:

  • Audio sources, especially portable ones, have limited output voltage and current driving abilities. Having a lower impedance headphone allows for them to play louder for the same input voltage, at the cost of increased current. Some sources with high source impedance cannot drive high currents, and will cause distortion in frequency response with low impedance headphones.
  • Headphones/Earphones are dynamic systems which present a changing impedance (real and imaginary) over the frequencies which they operate, meaning that a resistance measurement is not enough and distortion may present at certain frequencies and not others.
  • Getting the right match between the amplifier’s output impedance and the headphone impedance ensures you don’t get distortion or unusual frequency response changes, and ensures appropriate electrical damping.

Generally, with portable equipment, most manufacturers have been targeting a 32 ohm impedance, and this is no different for the Mi In-ear Headphones Pro. However, some have gone as low as 16 ohm to maximise loudness, especially where output capability of the source is limited (e.g. EU). Checking the real impedance by measuring it will let us confirm the manufacturer’s specifications.

But that is not all, as there is a secondary reason for checking the impedance. It is known that the impedance of hybrid/balanced-armature driver systems varies tremendously as a function of frequency, and by measuring the impedance, we can confirm the presence/absence of this arrangement without taking the unit apart.

How do you measure it?

If you’re lucky enough to have access to a headphone analyzer, or something similar, then measuring this isn’t much of a difficulty. As I had access to an LCR meter, I thought I could use that to perform the measurements, however, it was soon apparent that it was not a good idea.

The earphones were specified for 5mW maximum power. Given the 32 ohm impedance, the maximum RMS input voltage was just 0.4V, which was below the testing voltage of the LCR meter which was 0.71V. If I had used the LCR meter, I would have been limited by the frequency selection and also would have likely destroyed the driver on the earphones.

Instead, I decided to hack a system together with a bit of vero board, three 13 ohm 5% metal film resistors (39 ohms) in series, a stereo plug, a mono socket and aircraft adapter (since I ran out of stereo sockets) and a few header pins to make impedance measurement possible.

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The first thing you need is a source to drive the headphones and voltage divider. Ideally, for convenience and accuracy, a source with low output impedance is best. Initially, I had wanted to use a function generator, but it had an output impedance of 600-ohms (much too high). Using an op-amp voltage follower buffer was a possibility, but my best op-amps on hand had about 1-2 ohm output impedance. A simpler solution was to use a high quality audio player, namely my FiiO X1 which has a <1 ohm output impedance, and use a generated lossless audio file of a slow frequency sweep as the source.

The next thing you need is an oscilloscope to measure the AC True RMS voltage from the source, and across the headphone impedance. For this, I used my Picoscope 2205A 25Mhz USB-connected oscilloscope, and you can see the sweep in action here. The values were recorded manually every 200Hz from 200Hz to 24000Hz (and believe me, it was a time consuming process).

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Of course, to be sure that the introduced resistance isn’t doing anything funny, I also tapped the bottom 1/3rd of the resistance stack and used it to determine the impedance of the resistor across the tested frequencies. Needless to say, that wasn’t particularly fruitful, as the result was within 0.1 ohms of the expected value, but it serves as a control check to make sure everything is working right.

The next step is to measure the actual resistance of your voltage divider. The more accurate you know the introduced resistance, the more accurate your derived resistance will be. For this, I used an Agilent Technologies U1733C LCR meter to measure the resistance.

Knowing the voltage from the source, the voltage across the unknown impedance, and the value of the introduced resistance, we can solve for the unknown impedance. The voltage divider is as follows:

Let:
X = known resistance
Y = unknown resistance
Xv = voltage over known resistance
Yv = voltage over unknown resistance
Vin = voltage in (i.e. Xv + Yv)

Then:
Yv = ( Y/(X+Y)) * Vin

Rearranging for Y, we get:
Y = (Yv * X) / (Vin - Yv)

It’s not so hard after all, but it took me a while to work it out!

Results

Because I had intended to do impedance measurements before as an experiment, I thought it would a good coincidence to compare the impedance of the Mi In-ear Headphones Pro with all of my other owned headphones and earphones at present. Unfortunately, this makes the results somewhat cluttered, as you can see.

impedance-v-freq-wide

The key point to take away from this graph is that dynamic driver based earphones have mostly stable impedances across the frequency range. Some will have small peaks which denote free-air resonance points. Another key point is that active noise-cancelling headphones have drastically different impedances when switched on (high impedance) and when switched off (low impedance) which may explain partly why there are significant frequency response differences between the two modes.

The next graph looks closer at the “regular” <48-ohm region in more detail.

impedance-v-freq-redsc

We can see that my Ultimate Ears 200vi headset and the LG OEM headset both are 16 ohm units, which represent the lowest commonly found headphone impedance, optimized for loudness. In contrast, the Samsung OEM headset is 32 ohm impedance, as are the other over-the-head headphones tested. Generally, the better quality dynamic headphones had smaller resonance peaks, possibly as the manufacturer added mechanical damping to smooth them out.

The big stand-out is the Mi In-ear Headphones Pro which has an impedance curve that has a small peak about 2khz, a large peak at 4.2khz and a dip at about 18.5khz. This might imply a resonance at 2khz, a cross-over frequency of 4.2khz, but this type of curve is typical of a hybrid balanced-armature driver configuration. As a result, the impedance plot clearly shows that they are being true to their word and delivering a hybrid dynamic and balanced armature driver at a low price.

The result does, however, imply that higher impedance sources (>2 ohms) may see treble frequency response distortions, however, as more portable equipment is capable of driving 16 ohm headsets, this should not be a problem as the 16 ohm headsets are even more demanding than the Mi at its worst. This will mean that the Mi headset would not play as loudly at the same output as a result of its higher impedance.

Conclusion

Xiaomi have, in concert with 1More Design, bought us another product which is hard to fault especially at the price it retails for. For the first time, a hybrid dynamic and balanced armature driver configuration is seen in an IEM for under AU$30, which is impressive. For that, we get the best of both worlds – a strong well-defined bass, which is characteristic of dynamic drivers, as well as sharp treble from the balanced armature driver.

In reality, the product impresses with its strong well-defined bass, sharper mid-range and very prominent treble especially compared with the dynamic driver competition within this price range (UE 200vi). It also boasts a superior design and exquisite build quality which would not be normally expected at this price point. While the performance still falls short of that of high-end monitoring headphones, it is punching well above its weight and is easily preferable both in sound and build quality to the venerable Sennheiser CX300-IIs which normally retails above twice the price. Its performance is more than sufficient to fulfill the desires of the majority, especially when used in suboptimal conditions (e.g. commuting).

Because of its low price, and its very commendable performance, it makes a very good value choice for those conscious about sound quality and build quality and don’t want to spend at least four times more for something even better. In fact, even if you didn’t care about sound quality, you would still have to pay a very similar amount for inferior quality products, so why take that chance?

Readers interested in purchasing the Mi In-ear Headphones Pro should consult the Mi website for their region, or an authorized reseller. As the product has not launched in all markets as yet, it may not be available for purchase, however, I can definitely see this product being highly sought after.

About lui_gough

I’m a bit of a nut for electronics, computing, photography, radio, satellite and other technical hobbies. Click for more about me!

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21 Responses to Review: Xiaomi (Mi) In-Ear Headphones Pro

  1. Zack says:

    Always enjoy your reviews and teardowns. Thank You! I have requested “Mi” let me know when these headphones are available in the US. For now, they are not listed on the product options available for US shipping.

    • lui_gough says:

      Glad to hear that, and thanks for the comment!

      Availability of Mi products is indeed quite a problem as it’s relatively meaningless if a good product at a good price cannot be obtained without being price-gouged by resellers selling for two to three times the actual retail price, or constantly worrying about the possibility of counterfeits. As a result, I have been in contact with Xiaomi and expressed my thoughts about this, and they are well aware of it and working hard to expand into more markets and bring products to those markets as soon as they can.

      As enthusiasts, we can only hope and wait …

      – Gough

  2. nick says:

    wish your musical pallet would be more varied. reviewers need to listen to stuffs like classical, jazz, opera, classic rock, etc..

  3. mr.XxX says:

    thanks for the great in depth review. the earphone just got launched here (my country). looking forward to using it now.

  4. EVERYTHING SEEMS TO BE OK.. BUT THE ONLY THING IS MISSING AND IT S A GREAT DRAWBACK I GUESS.. yeah.. THERE S NO OPTION FOR TRACK CHANGING?.. previous track AND next track IS A MUST OPTION KNOW? .. OTHERWISE, WE NEED TO PLOUGH OUR MOBILES.. IT S REALLY A BORING PROCESS ALWAYS.. ISNT IT?

    • lui_gough says:

      I’m sorry but I have no idea what you’re on about. The headset has three buttons – so it can be used for track changing. Whether this is supported depends on your mobile phone. I can definitely confirm it works just fine with my Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 for track changing, and with my Apple iPad (3rd Generation) for play/pause. However, cheaper and older Android devices do not support the three button configuration and will treat all three buttons as the same. This is not a fault of the product but a fault in your device. Besides, I can’t agree that it’s a “great” drawback as many people do change songs on their phone because they otherwise have no idea what’s next on their playlist …

      – Gough

      P.S. Please stop typing in caps. It’s annoying.

  5. Pb says:

    Can i use it for taking calls on Android phone. Thanks!

  6. Ash says:

    Hey man great review, was comparing these to the CX 500, which would you recommend ?

  7. Scientia says:

    Great review, as always. You did mention that all three buttons work on the iPhone? My research has led to conflicting reports – with the mi.com website saying that volume buttons are not supported on iOS. Could you please confirm? Also, would there be a way to mod Xiaomi Pistons for the buttons to work on iPhones? Cheers!

    • lui_gough says:

      Sorry, I don’t have an iPhone, but only the center button seems to do anything with my iPad. The other two buttons appear to be ignored. Using the same headset with some Android phones and audio players which do not support three-button configuration has all three buttons performing the same action.

      – Gough

  8. Bhoopendra yadav says:

    How much points will you give it out of 10

    • lui_gough says:

      It really depends on what your point of reference is – everyone has their own preferences, everyone has their own experiences. If I compare it to a $300 set of headphones, I would give it a different rating to if I was comparing it to a set of stock earbuds. I think the article is clear enough on my opinions – it’s quite a good product for the price and enjoyable to listen to, but not without some quirks of its own.

      – Gough

  9. Siddharth Bhardwaj says:

    Have you tried Mi Pistons 3? If yes, how do these compare with them?
    Was trying to buy pistons 3 in India, but they seem to have stopped making those, so I went with these Hybrids. I read somewhere that Pistons had a more balanced and detailed mids, an overall better sound quality than these except for bass.

    On a side note, I also own m50x, and I am planning to buy a Fiio e10k, do you think it will make a significant difference with m50x compared to on board DAC? I’ve head people saying they couldn’t notice a difference and lower impedance headphones like m50x do not benefit much from a DAC. I also have my eyes on Asus Xonar (the cheapest version). How much of a difference would you say you xonar makes in comparison with mobile/laptop/onboard sound card with m50x?

    • lui_gough says:

      I don’t have any Pistons 3, so I can’t comment on those.

      As for the M50x, personally, I’ve used them without any headphone amps or external DACs. I do have them hooked up to an Asus Xonar Essence STX on one computer, and another pair connected to a Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Xtrememusic PCI sound card. On the whole, there are subtle differences in character, mainly relating to a very slight change in the tightness of the bass and the top end sharpness of the treble, with the Essence STX being a tiny bit sharper overall. However, it wasn’t much difference if I’m to be honest.

      Trying the M50x on the “Realtek” onboard on my computer (890FXA-UD7) was not acceptable to my ears, but generally the on-board solutions aren’t in general. Main reason was the background hiss and digital “hash” noise leaking through that you could hear in the background as a blipping, or a hissing. Aside from that, there was also some distortion and bass response was a bit poor. Most DACs are a better option than the onboards which are made for the lowest price, but more modern onboard codecs are getting better.

      With my FiiO X1 music player, it’s pretty much in-between my Asus Xonar Essence STX and Creative X-Fi Xtrememusic. Ultimately, I can’t see too much benefit in investing in anything too expensive, although the X1 doesn’t do DAC features. I would have to agree that the benefit is quite limited for low-impedance headphones, provided the opamp stage that is driving them itself has a decently low impedance.

      – Gough

  10. XYZ says:

    Bad customer care.
    Shilpi: Hi, my name is Shilpi. How may I help you?
    Customer XYZ: hi
    Shilpi: Yes, how may I help you?
    Customer XYZ: i have contacted your chat last Saturday, but still no feedback
    Customer XYZ: escalation ID-160806-002419
    Customer XYZ: last time i was told i will be contacted within 48 hrs
    Customer XYZ: and still no contact
    Shilpi: Mr. XYZ, I would request you to please be online while I am checking the information.
    Customer XYZ: ok
    Shilpi: I really apologies for the inconvenience caused to you. I understand you concern that it
    is related to service center.
    Shilpi: I know how eager you are to resolved this issue earlier. I will surely provide you the
    information regarding the same..
    Shilpi: Before moving ahead, may I please know your city and state name Mr. XYZ.
    Customer XYZ: Mumbai, Maharashtra
    Shilpi: Thank you for the details Mr. XYZ.
    Shilpi: Mr. XYZ, Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused to you. I
    would like to inform you that your case is already escalated to the concern team and they are
    working on your case. I would request you to please wait and coordinate with us. They will surely
    get back to you.
    Shilpi: Mr. XYZ, is there anything else I may help you with?
    Customer XYZ: You provide warranty for only six months and take two months to replace the
    earphones, then how it is acceptable?
    Customer XYZ: you just say matter has been escalated but no progress has been made
    Shilpi: Sorry sir I am apologies for the same but I would request you to please wait and
    coordinate with us. Our concern team will get back to you soon.
    Customer XYZ: last time also i was told the same thing but no one got back
    Customer XYZ: you are not doing anything just wasting time
    Shilpi: I completely understand your concern and I again request you to please wait and
    coordinate with us. As soon as possible our concern department get back to you.
    Customer XYZ: if you wanted to get back, then you already should have
    Shilpi: I really apologies form this inconvenience and I would request you to please allow
    some time to us to resolved your issue and please coordinate with us.
    Shilpi: Is there anything else apart from this I may help you with?
    Customer XYZ: it has been a month, how much more time is required
    Customer XYZ: or is it your business plan to sale defected goods and don’t provide after sales
    service to loot people money
    Shilpi: I apologize Mr. XYZ, I can understand your inconvenience but we would like to assure
    you that very soon your case will be resolve. I am forwarding your concern on high priority and
    will provide you the product soon. Please give us some more time to understand the actual issue
    going on with service center and revert you back the same. Please wait for sometime. Our team
    is already working on your concern and will update you soon.
    Shilpi: Is there anything else apart from this I may help you with?
    Customer XYZ: give me contact details of person who can resolve the matter immediately and
    not someone like you who just wastes time by giving same reply again and again
    Shilpi: I apologize sir, I am not authorized to provide you such details. As I can check that our
    team is working and the case will resolve soon. Please give us some more time. I understand its
    too late for you and you face so much inconvenience. Request you to wait for some time. You will
    get the product soon.
    Shilpi: Is there anything else apart from this I may help you with?
    Customer XYZ: then let the authorized person speak to me now
    Shilpi: I apologize, as today is Sunday so I am not able to transfer your chat. Request you to
    wait for sometime. I am forwarding your concern on high priority and the case will resolve soon.
    Kindly wait for sometime. I understand sir, its too late but as I can check that the case is on under
    process so please wait for some time. You will get the product soon. You are valuable customer
    of Xiaomi and we don’t want to loose you. Please give us some more time to resolve your
    concern so that we can provide you the replacement of earphones through service center.
    Shilpi: Is there anything else apart from this I may help you with?
    Customer XYZ: at max it takes a week to ship the product, you have still not done it, then how
    can be assured that you will do it now
    Shilpi: We really apologize sir, our team is working on this delay issue in replacement cases.
    Very soon the case will be resolve and your will get the replace product. Please give us some
    more time to resolve your concern. You will get the replace product definitely.
    Shilpi: Is there anything else apart from this I may help you with?
    Customer XYZ: are you a real human or computer
    Customer XYZ: because your replies seems computerized
    Shilpi: No sir, we are the customer care executives.
    Shilpi: Do you need any other information sir?
    Customer XYZ: it seems you dont understand a word of what i am saying and giving same reply
    every time
    Customer XYZ: i want my earphones now
    Shilpi: I can understand sir, please give us some more time to resolve your concern. I have
    forwarded your concern on high priority. You will get the product soon sir. Kindly wait for some
    time.
    Customer XYZ: i dont care what you do, i want my earphones shipped now
    Customer XYZ: otherwise i am not going to end this chat
    Shilpi: I apologize sir, as of now there is no other update. Please wait for some time and trust
    on us, you will get the product soon. Our team is already working on your concern. Please wait
    for some time and give us some more time. I understand that its too late and you face so much
    inconvenience but do not worry sir, you will definitely receive the new replaced product soon.
    Shilpi: Please wait for some time.
    Shilpi: Is there anything else apart from this I may help you with?
    Customer XYZ: trust is out of question now
    File attachment upload has started.
    The file Live Assistance.docx (20.48KB) was received.
    Customer XYZ: you see this chat, if you are not going to ship the product now i am going to
    upload this chat online on every portal possible and to consumer court to show how useless you
    are and you simply wont help anything we do
    Customer XYZ: and you don’t care about the customer, you are customer care for the namesake
    Shilpi: I would like to request you sir, please wait for some time. I want to help you sir but as of
    now there is no other update that I can provide you. Your concern is forwarded by me on urgent
    basis and do not worry. You will get the product soon. Our team is already working. You will get
    the update soon.
    Customer XYZ: no
    Customer XYZ: i want it resolved now
    Shilpi: I apologize, as of now there is no other update sir.
    Shilpi: Is there anything else apart from this I may help you with?
    Customer XYZ: and give me your employee code
    Shilpi: Sorry sir, we are not authorized to share our any personal details.
    Customer XYZ: this are not personal details, it is for a company you are working for
    Customer XYZ: i want to know if you are really shilpi or some shitty
    Shilpi: Sorry sir, we are not authorized to share such details.
    Customer XYZ: so you are only authorised to give same reply again and again
    Shilpi: Sir, as today is Sunday, so I cannot update anything. I am forwarding your concern to
    the relevant department now and will try to arrange a call for you so that you will get exact update
    on your replacement concern. Please give us at least 48 working hours to arrange a call back.
    Shilpi: Is there anything else apart from this I may help you with?
    Customer XYZ: as today is Sunday, so I cannot update anything. I am forwarding your concern to
    the relevant department now and will try to arrange a call for you so that you will get exact update
    on your replacement concern. Please give us at least 48 working hours to arrange a call back.
    Customer XYZ: Is there anything else apart from this I may help you with?
    Customer XYZ: Zzzzzzzzzzzz…………
    Shilpi: Do you want to know any other information rather then this sir?
    Customer XYZ: Do you want to know any other information rather then this
    Customer XYZ: deaf & dumb deaf & dumb deaf & dumb deaf & dumb deaf & dumb deaf & dumb
    deaf & dumb deaf & dumb deaf & dumb deaf & dumb deaf & dumb deaf & dumb deaf & dumb
    Shilpi: Do you need another information? If not, so I have to disconnected this chat.
    Customer XYZ: i want the earphones
    Shilpi: As I have mentioned earlier that your case is already escalated so I would request you
    to please wait and coordinate with us. Our concern team will get back to you regarding your
    concern.
    Shilpi: Is there anything else apart from this I may help you with?
    Customer XYZ: you take so much time in copy paste also
    Customer XYZ: its good you are paid for doing nothing
    Customer XYZ: or you are not paid so doing nothing
    Shilpi: I would request you to please do not repeat your question as answer will remain same.
    whenever our team will get update then they will get back to you.
    Shilpi: Is there anything else apart from this I may help you with?
    Customer XYZ: I would request you to please do not repeat your answer as question will remain
    same
    Shilpi: I would request you to please wait and coordinate with us. Is there anything else Mr.
    XYZ apart from this I may help you with?
    Customer XYZ: I would request you to please wait and coordinate with us as i am not going
    anywhere till i get my earphones
    Shilpi: I would request you to please do not repeat your question as answer will remain same.
    whenever our team will get update then they will get back to you. As you are asking same
    question again and again which I already answered you so I have to disconnect this chat.
    Shilpi has disconnected.

  11. Shubham sen says:

    Hey i really appreciate your research on these gadgets
    I am vaccilated by so many headphones under rupees 2000
    Please just tell me which one to purchase coz i want a high quality sound, very good bass and comfort for long listening hours
    I found these headphones promising :
    Skullcandy method with mic
    Mi pro earphones
    Sennheiser cx275s
    Sony MDR-Ex250AP
    Soundmagic E10C
    AUDIO TECHNICA – CKX5IS

    PLEASE reply

  12. Lukas Slazak says:

    Thank you for this extensive review. You have put time and effort in it :), really appreciate it.

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