Most audiophiles know that you get what you pay for. A $20 pair of earphones probably won’t hold it’s own against a $200 pair (the Kinera Sif being a notable exception). But sometimes you need something that won’t break the bank, and won’t break your heart if you drop it in the toilet. And actually, the IPX7 rating on the Flame2 means that it’ll work even if you do drop it in the toilet! As long as you fish it out within 30 minutes. And nothing else was in there…
Budget Workout Earbuds with BASS: Mpow Flame2 Headphone Review
The Flame2 is Mpow’s update on the original Flame, which is a popular seller on Amazon. Among the improvements are an upgrade to the twice-as-fast Bluetooth 5.0, and a 13 hour battery life over the original Flame’s 9 hours.
The Flame2 is very stable in the ear. It’s got the plastic hooks that loop around the back of your ear, and the silicone ‘wings’ that brace against the inside of your ear as well. These things aren’t going anywhere.
When I first put them on, I thought they sounded terrible and lacked any noise cancellation whatsoever. However, this was solved after I switched to larger foam tips, several of which are included. These headphones need a tight fit to work as intended. But after switching, the noise cancellation was suddenly much more impressive. I could hardly hear any outside noise with the music playing.
The Bluetooth 5.0 connection is as always, a welcome and noticeable improvement from 4.1. 3 sturdy buttons on the right earpiece make up the control layout. They click nicely, are easily differentiated by feel, and don’t include any annoying sound effects when pressed. These seem like small details, but nothing irks me more than poor button design, and Mpow does a good job. The only complaint I have is with the power/pause button. Unless you grab the earpiece in exactly the right way when you push it, you’ll end up pushing it further into your ear canal. Not comfy!
Just a disclaimer, these headphones are cheap. So don’t expect them to oust anything you have that’s over the $100 mark. But if you’re looking for bass and only bass, look no further. These things are loaded. Not only is the bass boosted, but the low-mids are boosted too. And once you get the seal tight, you will feel the punch of the low end.
Bass guitars and drum kits sound particularly huge and punchy. Any heavy style of music will sound great, especially hip-hop. EDM too. But as far as the sonic strengths of the Flame2, the only other thing worth mentioning is the horizontal soundstage. Left-to-right panning sounds great for a pair of headphones in this price range. And with the bass sitting powerfully in the center, the Flame2 manages to sound way more 3-dimensional than I expected.
It’s obvious that the highs and mids didn’t receive as much attention as the bass. They’re not terrible, I admit. But things get a little hazy as you go higher up in the spectrum. There’s a palpable lack of detail and clarity. This becomes more apparent if you listen to anything delicate or minimal. Folk, jazz, classical, ambient… the Flame2 is favorable to none of them. But really… with the strength of the bass, the design, and price, it’s something I’m sure plenty of people will happily overlook.
Do you want to workout in the pouring rain and feel a blasting bass while you do it? Do you want noise reduction and a rock-solid fit for under $30? Then the Flame2 just might be for you. Sturdy feel, hefty sound, and in case you haven’t gotten it by now…. they’re $24!
Find them on Amazon
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