Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Musical Fidelity First IEM - The EB50




This is MF first attempt in IEM devices and so far, a month usage of it shows how Anthony Michaelson hifi philosophy have been applied in the design.
I got to know about MF plans of producing earphones and headphones sometime in July 2012 in which I saw a few pictures of the prototypes of the designs. There were 3 headphones and 1 IEM.  The highest grade headphones was in nice brown leather.

Anyway,  MF then decided to delay the headphones production till end of Q1 this year (thats what I have been told) but they released their EB50 IEM in Oct 2012. I got a pair sometime in mid Nov.

So after about 1.5 months of usage, I must say that MF have hit the certain right notes on the design.

Specifications

  • Sensitivity: 100dB SPL/mW (1kHz)
  • Impedance: 26 Ohms ±15%
  • Max input power: 11mW (rated power 5mW)
  • Frequency range: 10Hz-20kHz
  • Distortion: <1%
  • Noise Isolation: better than 96%
  • Driver: 6mm balanced armature
  • Weight: 28g
  • Cable length: 1.2M
  • 3.5mm Gold plated Stereo jack plug
  • Microphone and answer button included


Built

MF claims that the design on this IEM was based their own internal deisgn and not a copy from other IEM manufacturer. To achieve this, they went back to the drawing board and create a product from the ground up, utilising new technology along the way.

I particularly like the thin and lightweight cables that they use, eliminating the 'fatigue' of having heavy cables hanging from your ears. The earpiece itself is designed such that its interchangeable between left and right ears usage. There is no specific designation on which side is left and which side is right apart the different colour of 'screws' on them. One side comes with red colours ''screws' and the other side is in blue.

They also use military-grade aluminium for the outer casing, which offers a strong yet anti-resonance body that is the ideal mounting for the capsule. (Wow.... a bit far fetch I suppose but I guess it will help to prolong the life of this IEM)

The cable also comes with iPhone friendly mic which delievers crispy clear phone conversation. I tried it with iPhone 5 and 4S and it work perfectly on both.

It also comes with a cable strap to manage the cable during storage in its pouch or in your pocket.

Flexibility

For perfect sealing within the ear canal, seven pairs of ear tips are included for personal preference. Also included are fittings for a tighter fit to the ear as well as a carry pouch for safe transportation.

I find the following tip best suits me. 



Sound

It can easily be driven directly from any portable players or laptops. As IEM is more for portability, I mainly tested it with my iPhone 5 and 4S. I repeatedly listen to Hotel California by The Eagle (Live version) and also recently I was hit by a preference towards Hindi songs (weird? Not quite due to the percussion behind hindi songs and also the shrieking high frequency of some of their female singers)... So I also played Chori Chori Hum Gori Se and  Bole Chudiyan.

Hotel California presentation overall presentation was bit flat to my liking, especially for a live version of this song. The vocal was a bit on the harsh side but not painful to hear as the bass from this IEM balances the high freq shortcomings.  Separation of musical instrument however is what I like best about this IEM. There some 'hidden' percussion beats that I did not hear on my previous Shure IEM.

Bole Chudiyan on the other hand did not come out to be as 'shrieking' as I thought it would. For those who are not familiar with this song, the female singer high pitch voice can be a bit deafening if played on the wrong hifi system or IEM. but with this IEM, (I guess due to the design emphasizing on bass), it overshadows the shrieking effect of this female voice. It was well balanced which made me really enjoy this song on this IEM.

Chori Chori then gave me a good exposure to what thie IEM can do when it comes to bass. It provides good solid and controlled bass. Even at higher volumes, no sign of stress on the IEM and also no sign excessive vibration or in laymen Malaysian terms - 'no pecah sound' :)

Vocal however does not sound lively. It does not give me the melodious feeling that I usually get from The Eagles and Hindi singers.

Conclusions

Its not an all rounder or balanced IEM. It does very good in the bass department with good control and detail and not overwhelming. Vocal is definitely not its strongest element where it can sound a bit flat. It does provide a more detailed sound wit regards to musical instrument compared to my Shure IEM.

IEM market is a tough one to breakthrough but I feel MF started off on the right track. For this particular EB50 model, it faces a tough challenge from other IEM brands especially in the likes of Sennheiser, Klipsch etc.

So, to me, it suits best for someone who is looking for warm bass sound and not particular with vocals.

It is priced at RM765 and the authorised dealer is LTB Enterprise.


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