“A lot of money” for a pair of headphones – how much? The answer depends on who we ask. For audio show regulars and Head-Fi.org devotees, we might be talking four figures. For the other 99% looking for a first step beyond smartphone-supplied IEMs, it might be as low as two.
Pitching their wares to mainstreamers at CanJam Europe 2017 – whilst simultaneously keeping diehard headphiles honest in their high/er-end preferences – were the local arm of Shenzhen’s 1More who, HQ-d in California, have enjoyed an official presence in Germany for the last 14 months.
At €85, their Triple Driver IEM – that appends two balanced armature drivers to a dynamic – has been exciting reviewers and troubling high/er-end manufacturers for some time. That’s to be expected given their Xiaomi Piston IEM lineage. Jumping to the flagship Quad Driver model (€199) calls for more than twice the cash – a trickier sell to the mainstreamer but still a smart money destination for those used to dropping north of a grand on portable audio gear.
Pricking up the ears of this reviewer touring CanJam Europe with a digital focus were the MFI Triple Driver IEM. This Lightning connector-terminated model (€160) extends the functionality of the in-line remote/mic to include bespoke DAC and headphone amplifier – Auf Wiedersehen iPhone audio circuitry.
However, sitting at twice the price of the standard model makes the iOS-matched version a challenging sell in Germany where the iPhone holds a mere 15% (fifteen!) of the local smartphone market, according to 1More Deutschland’s charismatic Nils Rabens. The standard Triple Driver version with its device- agnostic 3.5mm plug is the German arm’s biggest selling model.
Perhaps the man in the street doesn’t see the value in spending additional Euros to side-step a smartphone’s audio circuitry. Stepping up with a more compelling argument for digital audio extraction where DSP manipulation executes Active Noise Cancelling is 1More’s Dual Driver hybrid – one balanced armature, one dynamic – also for €150. Review to follow.
Further information: 1More EU