“Hey, you used to be Swbf2cheater on Head Fi…that earbud guy right?  Can you review the Baldoor E100?”

“SWBF2 Cheater, please review the E100 from Chintek Baldoor, it is really good.”

“But Mike, you haven’t heard these earbuds yet pretty sure earbud enthusiasts need you on this ! “

” Hey Swbf2cheater, I have this rash on my inner thigh, can you help me?”

Sure! I’ll happily review this earbud…can’t help with that rash though, even if I am the one who gave it to you.   Sorry.

Who?

Turns out this little Asian company called Chintek  Baldoor ( sounds like a Lord of the Rings reference or something, Gandalf! The Eaglessss! ) forged an earbud of epic proportion in the heart of a neutron star, deep in the furthest reaches of space.  With cosmic deities looking down in awe of this amazing piece of technology and with a twinkle in their ears, out popped the most controversial audio product of the last decade.   I’ve read reviews of this earbud over the last year or so, never believed a word by any reviewer who talked about them with so much reverence.  Shame on me.  The earbud King not wanting to review an earbud?  Blasphemy.  I heard there is some other reviewer on Head Fi who is regarded as the Earbud King, I’ll be visiting him soon to change that sentiment.

Yes its $12.99

Anyway, back to the Baldoor E100.  I want this to be a quick, mini review.  Something a bit different from the community forced, lab report style that I am usually chained to. Upon first listen, I really didn’t expect one word from anyone else about this earbud to have been so true.  Regrettably, I couldn’t have been more wrong on the subject at hand.  How did we all miss this? I recall a time when “someone” over at Head Fi told me via a phone call conversation, while I was high on pain killers the day after I got home from a surgery on my leg, where this “dude” told me that he wasn’t fond of earbuds.  This seems to be the general gist of what most people felt in the audio community: Earbuds?  Pfft! Those are for suckah’s.  I tried to defend them in a 22 Earbuds compared guide, nobody really believed me that a Sony earbud from the early 1990s outperformed most of the expensive earbuds from Blox and Yuin today.  (We can build 24bits better, faster and stronger.  We have the technology.)

The point I am getting at here is that earbuds can be great fun, most of the world agrees and the Hifi community are the minority in this debate.  With Apple iPods success came awful earbuds that were cheaply made and offered a high failure rate. They introduced most of the world to a nicer audio experience in the original Apple portable music players market a decade ago.  I thank Apple for that; gosh I wish they would hire me.  I have so many great ideas for them.  Seriously, someone with Apple contacts, please toss someone at Apple HQ a link to my review and let them know I want them to hire me as a designer.  I’m destitute, I need money and I can’t keep selling kittens that were stolen from homeless people here in Cleveland anymore.

Sennheiser released the $189.99 MX980 and 985 revision a few years ago, these earbuds were extremely well built and offered a fantastic level of clarity and style.  They were shockingly clear compared to the rest of the competition from companies like Yuin.  Turns out that this $8.99 – $12.99 earbud from Baldoor outperforms the MX980 series buds in every single way.  Thought the MX980 was impressive in staging properties?  Well, this E100 is much better.  It is actually seemingly more spacious than my Sony 950BT, a full size closed back headphone.  While on the subject of stereo imaging, which is unreal on this earbud, most earbuds in general just flat out suck the big one in this area of listening.  To date, no earbud came close to portable on ears or other full size sets, not until this Baldoor E100 anyway.  Staging is important to me, I despise congestion and while I was working with 9wave’s CEO years ago with their buds development, I noticed that every single bud designer neglected some core design elements while producing their earbuds.   I can’t say what, but when you pull earbuds apart, you will instantly know what I am talking about.

Baldoor Pic

Sound Impressions

Tonality

When it boils down to it, this E100 is stunning in every facet of the word, this is a Hifi earbud.  The most impressive feature is certainly the staging experience, which again is damned beautiful.  In fact, it is roughly as spacious as my JH16 custom iems that cost me a whopping $999.99.   I don’t know how Baldoor achieved it, but there is now no reason portable headphones should sound the way they always have if this company was able to produce such a vast stage in a $10 earbud.  Everyone, including all Hifi Summit level headphones should be studying this earbud for the next year, take some time off and stop producing headphones for a bit to learn how they did this.

Why do I say that?  Well, if the market doesn’t follow suit and produce cheaper products that sound this great, every audio manufacturer will have officially failed at their jobs.  I’ll be the first to brand everyone as a failure and compare $500 headphones to a superior product found in a ten dollar earbud.  MrSpeakers did well with recently with their Alpha Dog, although on a more expensive scale.  A cheap $599 headphone that performed on the Summit level?  Hardly anyone believed me until months after my review and users actually heard it and had a chance to compare it.  That headphone raised the bar, now Baldoor takes the emperor’s crown for the best price to performance in an audio product to ever be produced.

Of all the headphones I have currently on hand, the Baldoor E100 earbud sounds virtually identical to Sony’s 1R, which is a $250 or so full size headphone.  Not only does it sound the same in clarity from the lows through to the upper midrange ( More on treble flaws in a bit ) but the E100 sounds larger, more well separated and effortless by comparison.  How the hell…wha…what!?  The most incredible feature of this little earbud is the immensely effortless sound signature, I find it incredibly addictive and it pisses me right the hell off that my expensive iems have yet to achieve this type of a staging experience.  I’ve not received my Noble K10 yet, so that might change, but this E100 is indeed larger and more aired out by a noticeable degree compared to my last favorite custom: the JH16 Pro.  This is a sound staging titan that makes the previously largest sounding earbud, Sennheiser’s MX985, sound positively lifeless and bland.

Bass

The bass on this earbud is nothing short of a game changer, it is powerful and smooth.  True, the texture is very boring, very classic Sony MDR V6, but what is really boggling my mind here is how much this thing responds to EQ.  Via my Calyx M, which doesn’t have an EQ at all to toggle, the E100 just isn’t reaching full potential in quantity, although it is plenty maxed out in clarity.  Via my Oppo HA-1 and my Red Wine AK120B (On loan, thank you Jim) the E100 showcases its ability to dip and raise in bass quantity unlike any other earbud can.  It isn’t going to win awards compared to something as insane with bass as the Sony 950BT, but for this price and considering it is an earbud, this is damned impressive.

Mids

The midrange is wonderfully forward and incredibly engaging.  Again, I revert back to A/B comparisons with my Sony 1R and I am baffled…both headphones sound the same in clarity.  Although, the Sony 1R does certainly sound more firm and well formed, more solid.  The E100 isn’t that far off though.  Another quality that strikes me is how yummy the midrange bloom factor is.  Some headphone designers just don’t take the time to make sure the midrange actually sounds good with vocals, but this is not the case with the E100.  There are no earbuds I’ve ever heard that sound this forward, this deep and enveloping.  The stage depth is excellent and I can no longer rate this on an earbud level.  This E100 performs in stage depth of field on mid tier Hifi portable headphone levels.  It is very similar to the recent Focal Professional in that realism factor.

Treble

Treble is the downfall of the headphone, but at this point I am asking way too much of it.  It is less sibilant than my Sony headphones and is on par with the lack of hiss factor my Sony Z7 headphone has.  This earbud makes my Fostex TH600 sound hissy with sibilance.  This is odd to me because the E100 is very bright on the upper end, shouty even yet in slow tracks found in Jazz or Big Band genres, the treble retains good quality and smoothness.  The problems rise when you attempt to listen to faster paced tracks, rock, metal and similar messy genres.  The treble of the E100 cannot keep up, so I would recommend usage only with slow to moderate speed tracks.  What is upsetting is the lack of engaging qualities the upper end has, by no means is clarity a problem.  The downfall occurring is a result of it being fairly lackluster in tone and solidty.  If it had lustrous treble, I would never buy another sub $999 headphone again for portable needs.

Sadly, the upper end is just too bright for me.   The problem I have with the E100 is the build quality and the lack of a firm sound signature; it really does feel overly thin to my ears.  If you can throttle down the AKG K701 into an earbud, this is very similar to what the E100 might sound like.  Hisoundaudio has an earbud called The Living, which is rather expensive at $150 and is my pick for the yummiest earbud to date, even which fails to match the E100.  If Baldoor revisits this earbud and improves it, sells it for $99, that would spell the end of portable headphones for everyone else.  With a small treble quality increase, somehow making the experience sound a bit more firm and solid and lastly offering a higher quality housing similar to the Sennheiser MX980…there really would be no reason to shop for portable headphones anymore.  That would ring true for me at least.

Final Impressions

I know most people dislike earbuds in general so I can’t speak for them.  Baldoor took the ball and ran with it right out of the stadium, got in a hot air balloon and starting pouring maple syrup on the players just to annoy them.  The audio community said a product like this E100 is not possible; well…you are all wrong.  Of course you shouldn’t expect clarity on par with ciems or mid tier portables.  If I had to toss a portable price to performance ratio of other products in headphone land, I would say the E100 earbud offers raw clarity on par with some $100+ on ear or full size headphones, but surpasses a lot of them in staging properties.

For around $10, you really can’t go wrong here.  It will make a great birthday or holiday gift for family members or other audio enthusiasts.   For this price, I’ve not heard anything that even comes close to this price to performance.  Great job, Baldoor!  I can’t wait to see your future products.  If you guys make a flagship earbud, please contact me! I would love to be the first to review it for you.  I am a Baldoor fan now; the rumors are absolutely true about this earbud.  It is a best buy, no doubt about it.  Makes the $30 Yuin PK3 and Blox earbuds sound like a muffled ball of haze that are unlistenable.  I really doubt any other audio company wants to even acknowledge the E100 and I don’t actually expect the market to change their values accordingly.  If Baldoor can do this for $10, there is no reason other companies cannot produce full size sets of a similar design that offer the same shocking price to performance value.

Price: $10-$20US

Links: http://www.amazon.com/BALDOOR-Earphone-Durable-Headphone-Laptops/dp/B00K75XZQE

Technical Specifications

Driver Diameter: 16mm
Impedance: 32Ω
Sensitivity(S.P.L): 110±3dB(at 1KHz)
Frequency Response: 20Hz∼ 20kHz
Distortion: ≤2%
Rated power: 10mW
Max power: 30mW
Cord Length: Approx. 1.25M
Net weight: Approx. 14g
Plug: 3.5mm gold plated plug
Color: Black/White

The $12 E100 Earphones by Baldoor
Tonality8
Build & Fit5
Matchability8
Value For Money10
7.8Our Score

About The Author

Senior Reviewer

Self Proclaimed Musicality Guru, Photographer, Audiophile and part time Ninja. I started my audio journey back in 96' and haven't looked back. My ultimate goal in this life is to experience as many Hifi rigs as possible...because I am an audio addict.

Related Posts

  • givemeyourshoes

    cant’ tell if troll or serious…???

    • 24bit

      Very serious.

    • Logical Reason

      No, it’s just one of those headphones that you simply either get it or you don’t. You are either one of the apparently chosen few for which they sit just right, angle just right, that the amazing sound comes through or you are someone that can’t get a good fit and they just sound like shit.

      If I wear them sideways they’re up there if not better than some of the best stuff I’ve ever heard…If I wear them any other way they’re maybe slightly better than some stock Apple buds or dollar store buds.

      So yeah, I think 24bit is correct but the problem is that people question reviews like this simply because they don’t hear “it”…or they just dismiss it all together because of it’s price.

  • petpan

    Is that a calyx m you are pairing it with? If it is, surely you need to review it again while pairing it with a low end player like the sansa clip or a mobile phone.

    • 24bit

      Fiio X1, Sony A16, Clip Zip, RWAK120 and Calyx M were all used.

      • Ben Clayton

        Works perfectly from my HTC One M8. Effortlessly easy to drive.

  • Ben Clayton

    Damn straight – the E100 is insanely good.

    • 24bit

      I’m prepared for many others to not believe my impressions. I was one of those non believers before receiving the bud. NC doesn’t equate to making any headphone suitable for portable use. I love sitting outside with open headphones, taking short walks around with some closed back that don’t isolate well. 99% of the world thinks earbuds are perfectly suitable for travel and casual portable usage.

  • Matt Baumer

    The main problem with ear buds as opposed to iems is noise isolation. Do these block any ambient noise? If not they are basically worthless as portable earphones.

    • Ben Clayton

      No they don’t isolate but I prefer that for my daily commute in central London – I can hear my environmental surroundings as well as the music. Just turn it up louder. Utterly superb earphones at a ridiculously cheap as chips price.

    • 24bit

      There are tons of headphones in various types that don’t isolate, none of them are fully worthless.

      • Matt Baumer

        OK, worthless is an overstatement. Shall we say “limited to use in quiet spaces?” I don’t mind if my Grados don’t isolate for use at home, at night, when the kids are in bed, but in most situations when I want portability, there is also a noise factor; IMHO this is a big limitation on earbuds. I do appreciate the review. Interesting that these are now $25 on Amazon…

        • 24bit

          Grab them on ebay, they are a fair bit cheaper and not likely to go up in price any time soon. 🙂

  • Lucas James

    It’s all true. I bought two extra sets – they are that good. Worn sideways with the drivers pointing down your ear canals (plenty about it on head-fi) – nothing can touch these at the price. Sound awesome out of my iBasso DX50.

    • 24bit

      Seems a fair share of users enjoy them angled like that, but I am not one of them. Normally hanging on my ear is how they sound the best to me, the most solid, most bass quantity. When I angle them oddly like that, they sound super thin and tizzy to me. 😛

      • Ben Clayton

        Yeah I just stick them in my ears as they are meant to be.

  • Dreamriser Kit

    Can you compare this earbuds with Yuin’s flagship, Yuin PK1?

    • 24bit

      Yep! There is no comparison. Yuin’s flagship bud sounds like pure mud next to this. Not only that, but the Yuin sound stage is almost non existent, Yuin had a small sound stage to begin with, bested by the MX series from Sennheiser. This Baldoor is significantly more spacious than all of them. There are no qualities in any Yuin but that even remotely touch the level of the Baldoor, and Yuin still sells their Pk1 at well over $100us. Insanity.

      The Yuins are neutralish, boring, snappy, weak bass, harsh treble. This Baldoor is natural and forgiving with much more bass and significantly better quality everywhere, top to bottom.

      If the Baldoor is only $11us, by comparison the Yuin PK1 should be priced at $1.50

      • Dreamriser Kit

        Interesting. For many years PK1 is known as one of a good earbuds along with MX985. But from what you said Baldoor is almost 10 times better than Yuin. I must admit it hard to believe. Anyway with its price I was convinced to try Baldoor myself.

        • 24bit

          the Mx 980 and 5 were much nicer than the pk1, this baldoor is nicer than the mx980 and mx985 so you wont be let down 🙂

  • ShahDizzle

    I have had these for a while and they are good for the price. Lots of good earbuds out there these days. The issue I had with these were two fold. First, the driver flex was quite bad on my pair so I had to be extra gentle inserting them. And two, the treble was a bit much for me. Makes my ear ring after a while so I don’t know if its just me. With some Eqing its manageable and it sounds pretty good out of just about anything without the need of an amp, so thats always a plus.

    Michael, would you consider reviewing the VE Zens? I was on the review tour for those and really compared the E100 and the Zens. I think with you sonic preferences you’re in for a treat! I myself am getting a pair as well. Would love to read your review on it. Here is the thread for your reference: http://www.head-fi.org/t/759219/ve-a-new-and-impressive-earbuds-brand-appreciation

    • 24bit

      I would love to review them.

      • ShahDizzle

        Why don’t you check out the thread 🙂 I can guarantee you’re not gonna believe how the Zens sound. I honestly was an all iem guy and loved my havi b3 Pro 1 and sony xba z5 but god damn these things rock. and not only that but they rock damn hard. I wouldn’t be reaching out to you if I didn’t think they deserve to be looked at but I think these are undiscovered gems. A lot of people would be interested to read what you think of them 🙂

        • 24bit

          I don’t do the head fi thing anymore, so I cant contact them or add my name to the reviewers list. They will have to contact me directly if they want me to review their stuff 🙂

          • Logical Reason

            I was part of the Zen/Asura tour. Believe me, compared to the E100, at least to my ears, you aren’t missing jack. The Zen was like the E100 minus the mids and lows and the Asura was like the E100 but just a step back in everything (especially clarity). Similar tonality just worse in every way.

            So yeah, I can at least comfortably say that you aren’t missing anything.

          • 24bit

            I just confirmed your findings today. But, it seems Baldoor 1 offed these buds. I purchased a few sets as gifts recently and all of them apparently sound like poop by comparison to the one I reviewed here. I think it was a batch thing, they clearly changed everything in whatever came after the version most of us bud lovers have heard in this model. What a shame, thankfully they are only $10 or so but they sure to sound very different from the original one most of us praise. What on earth was this company thinking!? lol

          • AndroidVageta

            Hey, don’t worry. I haven’t given up on these even after all this time. They’re still my favorite headphone and I’m actually, personally, working with Baldoor (now Mrice) on fixing the E100. I sent them a reference pair a couple weeks ago so they’ll have a LEGIT pair of E100’s to go off of.

            Don’t worry, just a little while longer and they’ll be fixed and we can hopefully level out the quality aspect and make sure they ALL sound the same.

          • 24bit

            Awesome sauce! Please keep me updated when things are ready to go, odds are good I’ll buy a few for xmas stocking stuffer gifts this year.

          • AndroidVageta

            Oh for sure man! The person I’m working with is actually in charge of their Amazon store here in the US so they can fix it locally as well. I’ll be sure to keep you updated!

      • ShahDizzle

        oops just found the link for getting stuff reviewed. Will pass the info along 🙂

  • Albert Broman

    I bought a pair and had an epiphany. That’s right, a religious experience. I bought a second backup pair and it is just as good as the first. As good as the Baldoor is, I learned some time ago that it is valuable to find a reviewer whose reviews you can trust. So thanks, Michael. Have you considered trying the Baldoor folding headset on the Newegg website?

    • 24bit

      Thanks! Didn’t know it existed until you just told me, but no probably not going to get that one.

  • Karben

    Does the E100A sounds like the one you tested ? Despite the different cable ? Thx.

    • 24bit

      Hi. Wasn’t aware there was an “a” version. Can’t say anything about that sadly, never heard it.

    • AndroidVageta

      The E100A is the same as the E100 except it has a inline microphone and controls. So yes they are still the same earbud.

  • Karben

    It’s the same but with a microphone and android’s controls (That’s what the A stands for). Could this affect the sound ? I know it’s a dumb question but I’m new in this business. 😉 Thank you so much for answering me !

    • 24bit

      No worries and Nah, I very much doubt it would sound any different.

  • Pingback: Mrice E100 review - mathew’s web site()

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons