Last updated on: 9-12-19
1More’s single driver earbud is, as of now, a legacy version of their HiFi earbuds that go from dual all the way up to quad drivers (reviews forthcoming). The 1M301 originally retailed for around $30 but has seen price cuts to under $20 from some retailers that still carry stock.
For earbuds acquirable for less than $20, these have the best packaging that I’ve ever seen. I suspect because they just use the same packaging that they do for the more expensive multi-driver versions. The unboxing experience was quite nice – the boxes are aesthetic and sturdy, and the headphones are neatly embedded in a hard rubber packing piece. The replacement tips also have their own case (which could also serve as a hard carrying case for the earbuds) with notches and size indicators.
Included with the headphones:
- manual/warranty booklet
- advert pamphlet
- three pairs of different sized silicone replacement tips
- soft carrying case
- additional hard carrying case
The earbuds fit me decently out of the box with the default medium tips. The nozzles feel a little shallow, but I was able to get a seal just fine, and it didn’t break at all when I moved my head and jaw around. The buds are nice and light and didn’t give any sensation of hanging out and down.
The in-line mic is on the right wire and has a fairly standard three button set-up that do all of the expected basic functions: volume control, track skipping, play/pause, and go on/off calls. The in-line controls didn’t work on my desktop jack on Windows 10 for some reason, but they did work with my iPhone.
The wire is quite nice for earbuds as cheap as these are. The left and right wires have traditional soft plastic insulation which feels sturdy and seems to cause minimal microphonics. Below the joint the main wire actually changes into a woven fabric insulation which is both sturdy and very malleable.
The plug has an right-angled grip which feels decently sturdy, and is also narrowed at the end which is good because sometimes thicker plug grips won’t fit through a device case. The plug fit nice and securely into my device jacks.
All in all these are quite comfortable, aesthetic, and decently built/sturdy earbuds for the minimal price.
Sound And Performance
General impression: The 1M301 sounds impressively good for the price-point they’re at. I couldn’t discern any general flaws that tend to be common among cheaper headphones. In particular the clarity and separation is very good without making the sound feel too thin, sharp, or otherwise harsh.
Sound signature: Pretty flat and neutral, feels very consistent throughout which is probably helped in part by said clarity and separation. The one exception is that the bass is slightly recessed.
Sound staging: While usually nonexistent with earbuds, The 1M301s do feel nicely wide.
Bass: quieter and recessed, but still very clean and decent sounding overall. No upward bleeding or muddiness or other such problems that tend to be common with cheaper headphones. Various drops I tested, though they didn’t have that “umph” that true basshead headphones have, still came through fully and didn’t drop off at all, nor did they lose tone or pitch.
Power/Volume: I couldn’t find impedance specifications, but I can’t imagine it would be particularly out of the norm. The sensitivity rating of 98 is on the low side, so I did have to turn up the volume of my device 20-30% higher than normal to get it to my regular listening volume, but all in all I doubt any device will have problems powering these or getting them loud enough.
Isolation: Not particularly great, somewhere between light and medium. There’s also a little leakage out the back. Might not suffice for people who need to block out louder commuter noise.
Warranty: One year, which is fairly standard coverage for cheaper earbuds.
Update: How do these compare with 1More’s dual driver E1107 earbuds?
Taken from a subsequently conducted review of the E1107’s:
I A/B tested the headphones … to see how each compared to the other … All in all, I’d say the dual drivers do sound slightly better overall – they have improved detail and instrumental accuracy, and coupled with [their] softness gave the single driver a slightly sibilant feel in comparison. The dual drivers did need about 20% more device volume to get to the same level as the the single driver. I also found that the sound-staging of the single driver was actually slightly better than the dual driver.
Is this admittedly marginal overall improvement worth the doubled price tag? I’d say it would be for some, especially those who are inclined towards soft and easy listening. Others I’d say would think the single driver 1M301 sounds quite good enough, so why pay more.
You can read that full review here.
Overall Take, As Compared To The Competition
The 1M301s are impressively decent sounding earbuds for the price that don’t have any significant shortcomings that I could see, save for lesser isolation that might not suffice for some peoples’ public/commuter use. Some people might also prefer more emphasized bass. The 1M301s have particularly good clarity, separation, and resultant wide perceived sound staging. All in all these are a very solid choice for budget earbuds and are definitely in the best-of conversation, and they may very well creep into our list after some subsequent a/b testing with competitors.