Last Updated On: 9-12-19
The E1017s are earbuds that each have, in addition to the main dynamic driver in the bud, an additional driver in the nozzle to handle higher frequencies. The advantages of a so called dual driver design are the same as those of a two way speaker with a tweeter and woofer: a significantly wider range can be produced more consistently, and the individual drivers can be optimized for specific parts of the range, which theoretically results in better overall sound.
The packaging is nice – sturdy and aesthetic, and the overall unboxing experience was pleasant. One thing I initially missed in that picture because it wasn’t so obvious is that the manual booklet is under the black flap in the partitioned inner gray box.
Included with the headphones:
- hard carrying case with size marked placeholders for the replacement tips
- soft felt carrying satchel
- manual booklet
- 3 pairs of different sized silicone replacement tips
The buds fit me decently out of the box and made a solid seal that didn’t break when I moved my head and jaw. I’m actually impressed that they remain as light and compact as they are with the additional driver, though I could feel them hang down slightly. You could invert them and wrap the wire over the ear if you really want to mitigate that sensation.
The E1017s have an in-line mic and 3 button control unit on the right wire that has standard/expected functions: on/off call, volume, track skipping, etc.
The joints feel sturdy and the wire is nice – the smaller left and right wires use standard plastic insulation, but the main wire below the joint has a woven fabric insulation that is very malleable. Microphonics seemed minimal.
The plug and right-angled grip is also nice and sturdy and plugged into my devices without any issues. Also nice is the narrowed insulation right above the sleeve to help the plug fit through any case a device might have.
Sound And Performance
General impression – The E1017 sounds good for the price-tier it’s in. Not top of the line, but decent nonetheless. The overall sound feels very full and warm, yet also nice and soft, making them particularly good for easy listening I think. I found myself kind of forgetting that music was playing multiple times. The clarity, crispness, and separation feels a bit lacking, and makes instruments sound kind of blended together as a result.
Sound signature – Feels very consistent and even throughout, though the bass is emphasized. A second driver that’s dedicated to the upper range gives the E1017 a response ceiling of 40k Hz which is very high, and the threshold required to achieve Hi-Res Audio certification. Even though that ceiling is well above what the human ear can actually hear, what it does imply is that the headphones are easily capable of reproducing up to 20-25k Hz without any drop off before that point.
Sound staging – None really, but that’s something that’s usually nonexistent with less expensive earbuds.
Bass – The response floor is 20 Hz, which is comparatively average despite being a dual driver design. That said, the bass sounded good and strong without any real mud or upward bleed. Various drops I tested all came through solidly, and almost certainly sound better being reproduced by a dedicated driver that’s optimized for the lower frequencies.
Power/Volume – The sensitivity rating of 98 dB is relatively low while the impedance rating of 32 ohms is on the high side, which means these will be a little harder to drive than most budget earbuds. I had to turn my device volume up like 30-40% to get it to my normal listening volume, but, I don’t see any decent device having problems powering the E1017s.
Isolation – Not great, pretty low. If you’re looking for something to drown out any significant amount of external noise there are probably better alternatives.
Warranty – One year, which is fairly standard coverage for budget earbuds, though you’ll start to see a decent amount of 2+ year warranties once you get into the ~$50 price tier.
How Much Better Are These Than 1More’s Single Driver Earbuds?
Other than the additional driver, the E1017s seemingly have the same exact build as the single driver 1M301s (reviewed here) which are currently available for less than half the price. So, does the dual driver actually improve the sound enough to justify the increased cost? I wanted to decide for myself:
I A/B tested the headphones with several songs (and parts of songs) to see how each compared to the other in various categories. All in all, I’d say the dual drivers do sound slightly better overall – they have improved detail and instrumental accuracy, and coupled with the 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. And I did conclude in my review that they are very good sounding earbuds for the price.
Overall Take, As Compared To The Competition
1More’s dual driver E1107s are well built, decently comfortable, and good sounding earbuds for the price, which has come down from the original MSRP with some vendors. They have a very soft and easy to listen to sound signature that doesn’t sacrifice detail and accuracy. I do think there are competitors in the ~$50 price tier that are superior overall, albeit maybe only slightly, but I do also think the E1107s are a solid and viable choice that have a distinct soft and easy to listen to style that will still maximally appeal to some people.