Inadvertently we have seemingly upped our interest in wireless products by a considerable margin. We have just uploaded our second FIIL review and we have the U-Jays Wireless and LEAR BTC-01 Bluetooth cable articles in the pipeline. Before all that, we have another wireless earphone to review, one that is a much more wallet friendly option. I am talking about the Macaw T1000. Macaw is a Chinese brand that has been going since 2008 but beyond that, I have not got much more information to tell. One thing I have noticed is that if you flip the Macaw logo upside down you still can read Macaw. I was actually provided with these earphones at the suggestion of Penon Audio, where you can pay $29.90 for this and the optional Power Pouch. In the UK I found the earphones for £12.82 from GearBest and Power Pouches on eBay for £8.50, so for everything that I look at in this review you will be paying little more than a score!
When you are dealing with this sort of product everything is set out pretty black and white. You get what you expect. The packaging while basic was still done tastefully with the ability to fold open a flap to get a peak at the IEMs before you open the box. Inside you get a USB charging cable, a few pairs of decent enough quality silicone tips and some spare sleeves for the housing. For storage, you get a rubbery feeling pouch with some gold accents.
I should really talk about the Power Pouch as that can both be used as a storage case and charge the earphones at the same time. It builds on the conventional 5000mAh portable power bank idea by having a silicone jacket with the USB cable inside. So you plug the earphones in then thumb them into the jacket, letting them be charged while you carry them around. The only sad thing about the Power Pouch is that it is made solely for Bluetooth earphones, and the cable won’t be long enough to suit other product types like my phone. That being said this could be a cool accessory for other IEMs like the FIIL Carat Pro we have just looked at! Without the additional power this pouch will provide, you can still expect 5 hours listening time from the T1000 from their 80mA battery. If you are connected to an IOS device it will even tell you how much battery you have left.
For the Bluetooth functionality of this device, you have all the notable boxes checked such as AptX codec supported and Bluetooth 4.1 as the main engine. It makes use of a CSR8645 BT chip. The range was impressive as well with me getting up to 10m with these consistently.
The earphones aesthetic is the classic for those with big dynamic drivers. It utilises a 12mm dynamic that you can see sitting in front of the 26mm long housing for all the circuitry needed for these to run without a cable. The entire housing has been treated with Liquipel, a nanotechnology that will help these resist water. Not in the sense you can go for a swim with these but sweating while you work out isn’t going to cause an issue. Beyond that, they are of course all plastic apart from the fabric shielded cable (a little microphonic) but I don’t know what more you are expecting at the price range. They are built well enough for me. I do wish I had the grey finish instead of the brown, though.
My biggest problem with the Macaw is that they have not created enough distance from the main housing to the circular driver causing these to not want to insert into your ear too deeply. I couldn’t actually seal with any of the included tips because of this. I needed something longer so I forced a pair of Earsonics dual flanges over the larger sound bores and finally got a decent enough seal with the extra length. Having the extra cargo on board to make these wireless creates a much bulkier pair of IEMs. Additionally, due to the all plastic enclosure, they are light and paired with the shallow insertion, were comfortable enough. Let’s not get carried away, they are far from those ergonomic masterpieces such as the Westone W80 and InEar StageDivers but pleasant enough. I do wonder how well they would stay in my ear if I was to go on a hard cycle or run with these as they don’t have a hook method like the Carat Pro did. The woven cable that runs around the back doesn’t have any length adjustment like some more expensive models but unless your head is considerably wider than mine I don’t understand where the issue is with that. I don’t want a load of spare cable to have to manage.
With Bluetooth having its own stigma of sounding worse and with the price tag little over ten quid, I was happy for these to sound rubbish. I must say I didn’t realise you can get wireless earphones for literally under 2 British pounds now so I guess these have to have some sort of trump up their sleeve compared to those next to nothing models. If the fact that the Macaws have had few flaws until now wasn’t enough then maybe these sounding REALLY good will push you over the edge. I will be honest and say sometimes it is quite humbling going from reviewing something high end, in this case, the Westone W80, to something truly entry level. I have to take a little breather while I adjust to a new price point and a lower quality. That was not the case at all with T1000, from my first listen I was blown away by how massive they sound. They have this big, thick bass that truly engulfs you as the listener and uses its sizeable driver to move some serious air. The rest of the spectrum is dialled back a bit, with a shallower midrange and respectful treble.
The bass is that hard-hitting type, one that swallows you up and has the extension to support the body before we dip below 100Hz. That being said it is fast enough to not be near as bloated as the much more expensive Kygo E7/800. The Kygo actually had all out more bass, in every nook and cranny below 250Hz, it had more decibels and lingered much longer. The Macaw gave very satisfying hits but ones that done their best at not intruding on the rest of the sound.
After the bass, it is no surprise that we have a rather veiled lower midrange. In fact, the entire mid section is a little woolly, not being the most defined or forward. Truthfully, it is not lost nor hugely lacking. The treble does sound a little bit smothered. It doesn’t have the extension and compared to the zippy V-shaped Kygo wireless attempt, this doesn’t have anything to note in the treble. No sparkle is in sight and there really isn’t a whole lot to add. The bass certainly takes charge of the sound but while not having the same level of the presence, the rest of the spectrum is clear enough to compliment the bass. They have a slightly distant presentation and in terms of speed and separation these could be a whole lot worse, I mean they aren’t going to be taking on the best IEMs over £50 in this regard but seriously I could enjoy listening to these and that says a lot.
£12 Well Spent
Get some dual flange tips and you will be fully set up with a great cheap throw around pair of earphones that with the perk of being Bluetooth could be great in the gym, on runs, or for casual listening. I would recommend that they lengthen the nozzle a bit and add some space between the driver and main housing but beyond that, I can’t find fault with this very budget masterpiece!