Top positive review
18 people found this helpful
Great phones for the price.
on December 15, 2010
The TDK EB900 in-ear phones are very good phones at this price point (I paid $34). As with most earbud type phones they have their own characteristic sound. To my ears they have a prominent lower midrange and upper bass broad peak, so give a very "warm" and "full" sound to most music. They don't have an extended high frequency response, or great mid-range definition, but are fine for casual listening. As supplied, the TDKs come with compliant "memory foam" "Comply" foam tips and also three different sized spherical silicone rubber tips. All of my listening was with the "Comply" tips, which provided an excellent fit to my ear canals. These tips seal very well if you are careful when inserting them. They provide excellent isolation from external sounds (on the order of 28 dB, which is rare for in-ear phones. I haven't bothered to try the silicone tips since the "Comply" tips work so well and are extremely comfortable.
I compared the TDK EB900's to a set of standard white Apple earbuds, a set of the better (MA850G/A earbuds with Remote and Mic and clear silicone tips), and a set of $99 Etymotic ER6B in-ear phones as well as my Sony 7609 and Sennheiser 380Pro monitor headphones. All comparisons were done using high-resolution 24 bit WAV files of classical music. These differences are also audible using compressed, lossy formats like MP-3, but are often much less obvious.
For most music, the TDKs sound better than either of the Apple products. They have much more isolation, so can provide a wider usable dynamic range at a lower listening level, so are actually safer phones for long term use. The Etymotic ER6B's are a little smaller and lighter. They clearly have a flatter frequency response that does not boost the lower mids like the TDKs so at first sound a bit "thinner". However, after listening a while, you realize that there are upper mid and high frequency details that are much more clearly heard with the Etymotics. The TDKs are also about 6db more sensitive, so have an edge in dynamic range. The TDKs have about as much detail as the Apple white phones, but with much better isolation and virtually no leakage of sound to people standing nearby.
All of the above in-ear phones come off sounding poor compared to the much more expensive, larger and heavier Sony and Sennheiser monitor headphones.
Comfort wise, the TDKs rank near the top of my list. The larger standard Apples are comfortable, but tend to move around and provide little isolation. The "better" Apples have decent isolation but are not the most comfortable and have only "average" sound. The Etymotic ER6s have "double flange" silicone rubber tips. They give good isolation, but for me are uncomfortable to use for extended periods (more than 45 minutes or so). I've tried all the sizes of supplied tips and none are really comfortable for me. Also, their low sensitivity is sometimes an issue for classical music with a wide dynamic range.
One other small issue with the TDKs: The cloth covered "old-school" cable looks cool and tends not to kink very much, but it generates and transmits significant noise if it rubs on anything. If you're wearing a tee shirt it's probably OK, but if you have an ironed shirt collar and tend to move your head very much, you will be aware of the sound being carried up the cable acoustically.
Don't want to offend anyone but I hate to see terminology misused: Some reviews have referred to these phones as having high "cancellation". That is a term that should be reserved for active cancellation phones, which have a microphone and active signal cancellation circuitry. The TDKs are "high isolation" in-ear phones and do not provide any "cancellation" whatever. They strictly attenuate the external sounds by providing a good acoustic seal to the user's ear canal. Phones that provide active cancellation are a completely different type of device.
Also, one caution: Since these phones have relatively high sensitivity, and fairly low distortion, it's easy to find yourself listening at higher than necessary levels. Please, save your hearing and keep the playback levels safe!