On paper, it makes no sense that I would deal with a brand like Earnine. They sent me an entry level priced balanced armature earphone that doesn’t look like it has any thrills. It comes from Korea where it retails for 52,000 of the native Won, which converted to sterling is about £35. There was only one simple detail that made me want to take some interest in this and that is simply regarding the driver it uses. Earnine’s original mother company was bankrupt so TSST (Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology) swooped in and purchased the soon to be extinct earphone brand. Founded in 2004 one of TSST’s main endeavours was making optical drives. At the bottom of every drive tray, there is a pickup actuator that TSST seems to think has many similarities with a balanced armature driver. One thing led to another and now they no longer make the optical drives and instead are all about making minuscule wide band earphone drivers which by now you must have guessed end up in the Earnine products. Basically the two Earnine models are a demonstration of what TSST BA’s are capable of.
We have seen it all before but this isn’t all that shabby for a package at its very modest asking price. The classic rectangular box comes with a few different tip sizes as well as a single pair of foamies and the little square semi hard case offers protection in a pocketable size.
The form of the earphone isn’t innovative in itself but follows positive trends with a sturdy braided cable and an extremely ergonomic over the ear fit. The comfort is actually great, which is surprising since I have had some misses in the past few weeks with stuff like Dunu’s DK-3001. These almost suction into my ears and then don’t move in the slightest once sealed. On top of that, the all plastic chassis is light and the non-vented design isolates wonderfully.
While I said it does nothing new, the design is actually way more than what I expect for its price. I was actually initially disappointed that it didn’t have a removable cable since the EN-2 (4 times the price) does but I also was expecting it to be £100 at the point based on what I had seen unboxing it. Even with the cable being hard-wired it has a nice portion of memory wire, right angled jack and a clunky one button remote and mic should you plan on pairing this with a mobile phone.
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