ClarityOne Earphones review – treble heads take note..
Ok so I know most of the major earphone brands out there but PureSound Technologies Inc. is a new one on me so when Hifi Headphones asked me to give my opinion on PureSound’s ClarityOne Earphones I had to take five and have a look at their website to see what they offered for its SRP of $130. This price bracket is very competitive so any unique selling point is going to help and sure enough the ClarityOne earphones is plugging a USP which in all honesty did distract me.
The secret ingredient for these bullet shaped IEM’s is their patented PureSound Processor which they claim to give you distortion and harmonics free, 3-dimensional listening experience. The sound is described as producing brighter mids, crips highs and clean deep bass. I will give you two out of three on that score and will explain in further detail later.
Packaging and Build
Let take a look at the package before we get down to the sound. I find earphone packaging to be either a score or fail and that even extended to the big custom $1000 ones also. The bottom line with an earphone for functionality is that is must fit into your ear and produce a good seal (good tips) and it must have good portability, i.e. a case that you can put in your pocket or somewhere discreet. You don’t offer good tips and a case then honestly go back to the R&D team and ask them what the heck am I paying you for.
Taking a look at the ClarityOne package I felt they almost got the package just right. The case is the ubiquitous round clam shell but with above average branding logo and a really nice sturdy locking mechanism all in Orange and Black. That is a good example on how to do one of those clam shell cases right if you ask me. The tips though I am not so sure on. The standard one prefitted did not fit my ears all that well but the medium was ok and the small was, well, kind of too small. I ended up tapping into my reserves of tips and coming out with some nice white rubber tips that fitted real nice and in similar texture to the stock tips that came with the ClarityOne’s to ensure I didn’t change the SQ by accident with a change of tips. You may wish to try Comply Tips also if you can get a good fit. I suspect the qualities of Comply (T-400′s) would really suit these earphones.
Build wise these are very well designed and in the popular bullet form factor. You can tell some good work was put into how these were made. The cable is quite durable looking and rather interestingly the cable is made of a synthetic material that really does reduce a lot of lot of tangles. I was able to produce a little harmonic feedback on the cables into the earphone with my tap tap test using my fingers but nothing out of the ordinary. The further down the cable there was virtually no harmonics whatsoever.
Sensitivity (1kHz):110dB SPL/mW
Frequency Range:15 Hz – 20 kHz
Jack Plug:3.5 mm stereo gold plated
Cable Length:48 in/1.12 m tangle free
Transducer:7.5mm neodymium magnet
Impedance (1kHz): 8 ohm
Ok so whipped out the ipod 5.5g rockbox, an ALO Continental and a C&C X02 amp for testing. Both amps will bring a tubeish warmth and dark tonality and being at 8ohms the ipod itself is going to have no issues working the ClairtyOne’s either.
Right out of the box I am going to tell you these are not for bassheads. The ClarityOne’s have a real bias to the upper mids and highs and are a bit thin on the lower end of the spectrum. If your a basshead I just don’t think you are going to enjoy these. However if treble is your forte then these perform very well indeed at the entry point. There is nothing bloated or slow about the sound signature especially for guitar work which I found pretty aggressive and accurate on tracks such as Hammerfall’s Punish and Enslave” from 2009′s No Sacrifice, No Victory album. At times the aggression can slip into some harshness particularly on heavy cymbal work. For some rock work I would switch to the Comply T-400′s to just smooth off the edges a bit without loosing any of that articulation and attack.
For more soundstage orientated audio I tried the Continental with the Ipod and the King Arthur OST (just one of the best OST’s in years). The emotion was there, the detail was pretty good, just missed that bottom end and extension to give it a more richer and deeper image that I so love on my Merlin’s for this album. It performs very well indeed on the fast percussion work with a very detailed presentation that doesn’t get chaotic in anyway or fall on itself. If the bass extended further I would say this would have had excellent results.
If your a treble head then these earphones will be more your taste. If you like liquid warm with bass then nope these will not work for you. If your amp matching an E11 might be the ticket to balance the highs with the amp’s dark bass signature. With an 8ohm resistance though you can plug these into just about anything and the performance will be pretty good. I enjoyed them much more with delicate and detailed tracks than I did with rock and pop but they did not do too bad with trance and electronica either which from time to time relies on shimmer and sparkle. They look great and the packaging is pretty good. I think Puresound Technologies are heading in the right direction; just hoping they tweak the processor and come out with dark evil bass monsters next time to compliment these nicely.