It’s another gorgeous day in Midtown Manhattan, with the warm sunshine filling sidewalks. The smell of grapefruit hangs in the early summer air as a group of tourists pause in the middle of the street for no apparent reason. Complimenting this idyllic scene, the Simgot EK3 pumps some sweet summer jams into my ears. One of only ten review samples in the US, the new Simgot uses three Knowles BA drivers and two different adjustable filters, resulting in four different sound profiles. But with a price tag of $359, just how much sound quality can you expect from this earphone?
Simgot EK3 Review
The EK3 comes in a swanky fabric-covered box that holds the earphones, a 4 ft (1.2 m) cable, a brown leather carrying case, and seven pairs of eartips. A cleaning tool/filter adjustment tool also comes in tow.
While unboxing the Simgot EK3, one thing became immediately apparent: this earphone constitutes a bonafide work of art. From the clear resin shell to the aluminum oxidized nozzles, a lot of time and effort has gone into making this earphone look
fine beautiful DOWNRIGHT GORGEOUS.
On the back of each earpiece, the adjustable filters feature two on/off switches per ear, allowing you to change the sound of the earphone. All at the flick of a switch.
Overall, the earpieces feel surprisingly solid. This impression of strength almost wants me to put them through the ringer, seeing how well they would hold up to constant abuse (I’m betting these things are practically invincible). But somehow, it seems wrong to mistreat such a beautiful piece of technology.
But the Simgot E3K hasn’t forsaken comfort for the sake of a good-looking earphone. To the contrary, the E3K feels as good as it looks, sitting in my ears with ease, and melting away from my memory once I get listening. Isolation helps here too, blocking out the sound of workplace chatter and street noise with relative ease.
Inside each earpiece, three Knowles BA drivers handle sound with three-way crossover. However, the biggest boon in regards to sound quality comes in the form of the adjustable filters. This aspect is so important, I’ve even given the filters their own section in this review!
Adjustable Sound Filters
So, on the back of each earphone, you will find two very small plastic switches.
Here are the settings:
- Switch 1 on, Switch 2 off – Strong Bass
- Switch 1 off, Switch 2 off – Bright Vocal
- Switch 1 on, Switch 2 on – Exquisite Tone
- Switch 1 off, Switch 2 on – Balanced Tuning
Most of my listening sessions were conducted with the Balanced Tuning, but cycling through the different profiles still rewards. The only one with a hard-to-discern difference (for me, at least) was the Exquisite Tone setting. To my ears, it seems incredibly close to the Strong Bass setting, and maybe the bass just overwhelms the impression of the highs when they’re both struggling for my attention. That being said, the Bright Vocal setting did work wonders for pop and some classical tracks.
In the low end, the Simgot EK3 displays a fairly competent sound, with good detail and fidelity. Tracks like C’mere by Interpol and Rudderless by the Lemonheads display thick and fat bass guitars – a feeling only exacerbated by engaging the Strong Bass profile on the earphones. On hip hop tracks, the backbeat comes through with gusto and lands with impact. While not the bassiest earphone ever, the low end remains more than competitive when stacked up against other earphones at this price point.
Mids sound articulate and three dimensional, with vocals acquiring a three-dimensional presentation that compliments instrumentation. On a whole, the midrange seems very well-done, with ample contrast and clarity. Tracks like King Geedorah’s Anti-Matter and The Midnight’s Los Angeles show the Knowles drivers at their best, with lush vocals splashed over a shimmering, glistening canvas.
On the Balanced, Tone, and Bass profiles, there high end seems smooth and tempered, but with plenty of detail. Using the Bright Vocal profile does add a bit more oomph to the highs. However, this also separates and isolates vocals from the surrounding music. Personally, I found it a little difficult to enjoy the Bright Vocal setting. In my case, I found the high end pretty solid right out of the box on Balanced Tuning. Smooth jams like Misstress Barbara’s The Right Time and Ari Lennox’s Whipped Cream sound a little smoother, with highs that never sound too harsh or uncomfortable, while still remaining highly detailed.
The Simgot EK3 injects a sense of space and definition into any track you throw at it. There’s good depth here too (at least in the Balanced and Bass profiles) with a strong presentation. While not as spacious as an open-back over-ear (or even some more expensive in-ear headphones), the Simgot EK3 more than holds its own against similarly-priced offerings from other manufacturers.
Finding the right fit constitutes a key requirement for getting the best sound out of most IEMs, and the Simgot EK3 is no exception to this. During my listening sessions, I alternated between the supplied memory foam tips and my own SpinFit tips. While the supplied silicon tips weren’t too shabby by any stretch, the SpinFit tips always seemed just a little more comfortable.
Swapping between tuning profiles can be a real pain. I think most users will probably stick to the Balanced or Tone profiles. The Heavy Bass setting worked well for some tracks, but it proved a bit too intense for other music genres.
If you’re in the market for a solid, sub-$400 IEM, the Simgot EK3 is definitely worth $359. Right after my first listening session, I initially wrote this earphone off as all gimmick and no substance. However, repeated listening of the EK3 reveals a very impressive sound that offers loads of detail. Despite the sound approaching a clinical kind of articulation, this earphone remains fun and engaging. And the looks can’t be beat, either.
If you needed something close but cheaper, the Mackie MP-240 might offer a similarly-balanced sound, even if it does come across as more neutral. The MP-240 runs a cheap-by-comparison $199, and I have to say, for a budget benchmark, it’s worth every penny.
For bassheads, my recommendation goes to the Astell and Kern Billie Jean. A total bass hog, this earphone delivers more bounce to the ounce than you’ll know what to do with – and for only $349.
Still, the EK3 is one of few earphones that can fill the role of four different earphones. As such, it remains difficult to compare with any other earphone. For sheer value and fun, however, the Simgot EK3 can’t be bested. I’d take this baby over anything up to $500 where style and fun or engagement are concerned.
At $359, the Simgot EK3 might seem a little pricey to some – especially those who have yet to sample the Simgot sound. However, for those who give this earphone a shot, the reward soon becomes evident: fantastic sound in a beautiful package. The adjustable filters and different sound profiles might add an extra dimension to this earphone – and definitely one worth exploring. But with sound this good, I doubt you’ll spend too much time changing it. The MajorHiFi take? This is one Simgot you might need to Sim-get.
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