Today we’ll be checking out a micro-driver that’s been, for the most part, well-received around the Head-fi forums. Their small size, low price, and sonic performance have made them a budget favorite among some users.
Given my affinity for micro-drivers and that these little guys came highly recommended from a number of respected users, I had high hopes that they would make a great addition to the collection. As you can probably guess from the title, they’re not quite my cup of tea. Let’s find out why.
This earphone was purchased from Gearbest at their sale price of 14.18 CAD. I am not affiliated with Joyroom or Gearbest. All thoughts within this review are my own and not representative of anyone but myself.
You can pick up your own E107 here on Gearbest.
My Gear and I:
Over the last couple years I decided to dive head first into the world of portable audio. After reading pretty much the entirety of IjokerI’s multi-earphone review thread, reviews from other established reviewers, and thus being greatly inspired, I took a chance and started writing my own. Fast forward a couple years and I’ve had the opportunity to write about some great products for wonderful companies like RHA, Havi, FiiO, NarMoo, Brainwavz, Meze and many more. I don’t do it for money or free stuff, but because I enjoy it. If my reviews can help guide someone to an earphone that makes them happy, I’ll consider that a job well done and payment enough.
The gear used for testing was an HTC One M8, an XDuoo X3 (Rockbox update), a Topping NX1 portable amplifier, and my aging Asus G73 gaming laptop paired with either a Plantronics Rig or Creative Recon3D USB amp. I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures, I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even mid-range response, and reduced mid-bass. My favorite in-ear, the Echobox Finder X1 with grey filters is a good example of this.
Packaging and Accessories:
Things are off to a good start with a well-designed package. The front shows off the single-button in-line mic and compact earpiece housings, clarifying these little earphones are compatible with iOS and Android devices. Flip to the rear and you find a helpful list of specifications:
Driver: 6mm dynamic
Frequency Response: 100Hz – 10 KHz
Impedance: 16 Ohms
Sensitivity: 99dB ± 3dB
Cable Length: 1.2m
Microphone Sensitivity: -48 ± 3dB
In addition to this useful info, there are some brief descriptions of the E107’s features, such as a noise canceling (at this price?) microphone to help improve call clarity on your callers end, a unique chamber design to improve bass response, strong passive isolation to reduce noise bleeding in from your environment, and vents to reduce reverberations. So in other words, lots of marketing speak to make it seem like the E107 has some half-decent tech packed into them.
Grab hold of the small velvet strap and give a tug to release the magnets holding the packaging shut, flipping open the front of the package like a compact book. Inside you’re greeted on the left by the Joyroom brand name in edgy text, and on the right the E107 snuggly held in a plastic tray. Below is a plastic, alligator skin textured carrying pouch. Lift the pouch out to find the cable neatly wrapped and tucked into a separate section along with the remaining accessories. Under the tray is the instruction manual and limited 6 month warranty card
The accessory list is not exhaustive, but gives you what you would expect and is of decent quality;
– 3 sets of silicone tips in s/m/l
– shift clip
– carry pouch
The overall unboxing experience, while basic, is quite nice. The presentation is clean and straightforward, the accessories are of decent quality and they add to the overall value quotient. Good job here Joyroom.
Build and Comfort:
Build is a bit of hit and miss with the E107. The earpiece housings and in-line mic module are all very nicely constructed from aluminum with great fit and finish. The jack and y-split are little less impressive being a mix of rubber and aluminum that just doesn’t quite fit together quite right. The design of the earpieces is very basic being a simple barrel-shaped design with some minor flourishes, attractive in it’s simplicity.
Things dip in quality a bit once you take a closer look at the cable, y-split, and straight jack. The cable itself is a touch stiff, subject to memory, thin, and with mixed strain relief quality. At the housings and inline mic, it’s pretty good actually. However, the cheap as chips y-split and straight jack have stiff, stubby, rubber lumps that do next to nothing. The cable is also quite microphonic which makes cable down wear less desirable.
Luckily these minor build and fit and finish woes are countered hard by excellent comfort and ergonomics. To say the E107 is small is an understatement. It’s downright tiny. Not to the extent of AAW’s Q, dubbed a canal phone because the entirety of the earpiece fits in your ear canal, but much small than your average earphone.
Overall build quality is a little below average, primarily because of the mediocre cable and cheap y-split. Comfort is outstanding as a result of the small size, light weight, and traditional housing shape.
Microphone and Module Performance:
The single button control unit is basic, sure, but it does everything I want it to and does it with ease. The button is easy to find, gives of a nice tactile click, and works well with my HTC One M8 offering all the media and call controls I need. No fuss.
The cal quality of this mic is really quite good. Callers always heard me loud and clear without any complaint. When I tested it in recordings, it performed nearly as well as my top tier benchmark, the JVC HA-FRD60/80. Voices were clear and crisp without sounding overly thin or even remotely sibilant. They just came out sounding natural and realistic, not something you can normally say for a basic headset mic. Wind noise wasn’t blocked as well as it is on the JVCs, but that’s really my only complaint.
Micro-drivers are my favorite driver type because they bring with them some nice qualities. Earphones can be smaller and more compact, they often retain the desirable bass performance of a larger dynamic driver, and their smaller size means they’re often quicker and more BA-like in their treble presentation. They can be subject to distortion earlier than a larger driver, but given the low volumes at which I listen this isn’t a fault I run into. The E107’s sound quality really didn’t live up to expectation and as a result is probably the most disappointing earphone I’ve heard so far this year. Let’s start with the negatives and end on a positive.
Treble. Bleh. The E107’s presentation is fizzy, vague, and metallic, lacking definition and overall clarity. It’s actually quite distracting when listening to some of my favorite tracks because in addition to those undesirable traits, it’s also overly prominent. It sticks out like a sore thumb.
Their midrange brings things back a bit and while overly recessed, particularly in the upper mids, isn’t half bad tonally. There is a touch of warmth that gives female vocals a natural presentation. U fortunately this doesn’t quite translate to male vocals while come across overly crisp and digital. Davies and Hodgson’s vocals should have so much more body and emotion in ‘Asylum’ from the Crime of the Century album.
The E107’s bass presentation was this earphones saving grace for me. It’s boosted to a quantity that makes sense within the context of the rest of the signature. It’s punchy, smooth, and reasonably nimble with great texture and solid extension. It has very nice mid-/sub-bass balance for a v-shaped signature; definitely the highlight.
Layering and soundstage depth are really lacking, especially disappointing given these are two qualities I find micro-drivers generally excel in. The E107 came across overly flat and lacking the dynamics that make other inexpensive micro-drivers like the VJJB K2S, MusicMaker TW1, and even the hyper-budget KZ HDS1 so appealing.
Overall the E107’s sound just didn’t do it for me, at all. As nice as their bass presentation is, the cheap sounding treble presentation sucked all the wind from their sails making my listening sessions with them a chore. The flat and uninviting soundstage didn’t do it any favors.
Earphone stand provided courtesy of AuralLife
The E107 comes across to me as a pretty generic earphone with a few redeeming qualities that are over matched by their faults. I like the packaging and presentation, the design and fit are appealing, and the inline mic’s performance is fantastic for a budget earphone. Unfortunately, the sound quality really lets them down and I’d have no issues recommending a number of other products over them.
If you want a comfortable, well-built budget micro-driver earphone with a competent v-shaped signature the Brainwavz Omega would be a much better option. The cost of entry isn’t much higher (19 CAD on Amazon with Prime shipping options), it offers improved sonic performance alongside a similar signature, has a higher quality cable, and you get a more generous 24 month warranty.
Average at best, the E107 ended up being a disappointing buy. If they were my sole earphone I certainly wouldn’t be replacing them with the same model were they to fail. The sound quality, treble in particular, just wouldn’t warrant it. That said, if you’re simply looking for one of the smallest and most comfortable earphones in the budget category with little consideration for sonic performance, the E107 would be fine.
Thanks for reading!
Check out my micro-driver thread on Head-fi to see how they stack up to the competition.
***** ***** ***** ***** *****
Aesop Rock – Mars Attacks
Aesop Rock – Saturn Missiles
BT – The Antikythera Mechanism
Daft Punk – Touch
Dillon Francis and NGHTMRE – Need You
Gramatik – Bluestep (Album Version)
Incubus – 2nd/3rd/4th Movements of the Odyssey
Infected Mushroom – Deeply Disturbed
Infected Mushroom – The Legend of the Black Shawarma
Jessie J – Bang Bang
Kiesza – Hideaway
King Crimson – Red (full album)
Pink Floyd – Money
Run The Jewels – Oh My Darling (Don’t Cry)
Supertramp – Rudy
The Prodigy – Get Your Fight On
Tom Cochrane – Good Times