Following on the heels of their monumentally successful ES100 Bluetooth Receiver, Radsone has finally announced the HE100, a earphone retailing for a tasty $89. Claiming to offer the same hi-res sound that catapulted the ES100 to superstar status, the HE100 talks a big game. But how does it stack up to other earphones at the highly-competitive $90-ish price point?
Radsone Earstudio HE100 Review
Arriving on my review desk in a small cardboard retail package, the Radsone Earstudio HE100 comes with four pairs of eartips, a cable clip, and a carrying pouch.
In my hands, the HE100 feels solid and well-made, with an aluminum housing that holds up to prolonged abuse while remaining lightweight. Cabling comes in the form of a fixed, 4 ft (1.2 m) cord, terminating in a right-angled 3.5 mm plug. An integrated mic and single-button remote allows for taking phone calls on the go, as well as controlling playback.
Call quality seems decent, with my voice registering clear, and with no issues hearing the party on the other end. And, thanks to the one-button design the Earstudio HE100 remains universally compatible with almost any phone.
In terms of comfort, it’s all to easy to forget I’m even wearing the HE100. Sure, the realistic and intoxicating audio doesn’t help, but once these tiny earphones are placed inside my gigantic ears, the world just seems to melt away. At only 0.64 ounces, this baby is LIGHT.
Easy to drive, you could use the HE100 with almost anything – a cell phone, a hi-res player, some old iPod you’ve got just lying around. But perhaps the most clear-cut pairing would be to plug this earphone directly into Radsone’s own EarStudio ES100 Bluetooth Receiver.
Just slightly warm, the Radsone Earstudio HE100 delivers a relatively energetic and engaging sound. Subconscious toe-tapping and head-bopping will feel par-for-the-course once you get to listening. And while emotive, the lows remain detailed – enough so that bass guitars and drums seem to jump to life, while flatter synths seem bolstered by that same zest. Rest assured, if you like a little punch in your lows, you’ll dig the HE100.
Here the HE100 shows off a clean and clear sound that exhibits no distortion and only a whisper of compression. Overall it’s a very impressive midrange, with a solid sense of fidelity. Everything sounds great with these mids, but rock, hip-hop, and jazz really excel, as they take full advantage of the full midrange.
In the highs, the Earstudio HE100 delivers a robust listening experience, with just a slightly bright profile. However, despite this characteristic brightness, there’s also a fair amount of detail at play. This lends something special to instrumentation and vocals, and works well with the emotive low end. The result crystallizes in the form of very low lows and very high highs, but with a solid midrange in between that won’t let you down.
With good depth and strong placement, the HE100 manages to deliver a real semblance of soundstage. Instruments never seem to crowded or with too much overlap. Likewise, vocals remain distinct alongside guitars, drums, and other instruments. Still somewhat hampered by an in-ear design, it may not be the best earphone for classical compositions, but it sounds pretty impressive with anything else.
With an impressive sense of detail and a not-too-accented frequency range, the sound of the Earstudio HE100 remains fairly analytical and accurate. However, there’s just enough bass and treble to keep things relatively fun and engaging, leading to a sound that works with almost any track.
If you’re looking for a well-balanced sound, and a flood of detail, the Radsone Earstudio HE100 will not disappoint. At $89, this earphone provides an impressive sound for the Under-$100 Crowd.
Still, if you wanted a bit more mid-high emphasis and just a little less punch in the low end, I would recommend the Sennheiser HD1 In-Ear. Though slightly more expensive at $99, the HD1 still offers a goodly helping of audio fidelity in the form of a detailed and nuanced sound.
Bassheads might actually want to eschew both of these models in favor of a more low-end-heavy sound, like that of the Shure SE215. While still not overly-bassy, there’s just a little more warmth at play with this $99 IEM. However, that warmth comes at the expense of some high-end detail, as the SE215 feels just a little rolled-off in the highs.
The Radsone Earstudio HE100 is built around a simple premise: great audio at an inexpensive price point. While not as high-fidelity as some more expensive offerings, they deliver fantastic audio for a faint $89. So, if you need a balanced, budget-friendly earphone, keep this pony in the running.
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