Chinese audio brand 1More continues to push out competitively priced earphones that punch above their weight and its latest entry-level earphones fit the mould.
The Shenzhen-based company is known in audio circles as one of the top Chi-Fi brands - an affectionate term for Chinese hi-fi - and recently updated its popular E0323 dual driver in-ear earphones.
The updated $89 earphones, which go by the E1017 model number, offer excellent sound quality at an affordable price and are a huge step up from some of the earbuds that come packaged with smartphones and music players today.
But do not expect any premium touches or fancy construction.
The E1017 is made of plastic and aluminium alloy to keep the price low. Even so, the earphones look and feel quite smooth and polished.
The earphone cable is wrapped in a durable Kevlar fabric that feels sturdy and tough, while the earbuds are slightly angled and fit comfortably with a good seal.
DRIVERS: 1x Balanced Armature, 1x Dynamic Driver
FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20Hz - 20kHz
VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/5
In terms of sound quality, the dual-driver earphones give bang for the buck.
While the overall sound signature may not be as refined or detailed as the next model up in 1More's earphone line-up, the triple-driver E1001, they suffice for the everyday listener looking for the best price-to-sound quality ratio.
The earphones add emphasis to the bass and treble in particular, something audiophiles describe as the V-shaped sound signature. This amps up the fun factor as it produces responsive, punchy bass and sweet, tinkling highs.
That is why it sounds good across most contemporary and modern popular genres, from rock to electronica to pop.
But even as the bass and treble are boosted, the mid-range - which is where the vocal range lies - does not get too recessed or overwhelmed. Vocals come through clearly and strongly and balance out nicely with the bass and treble, giving the earphones a very well-rounded character.
The earphones add energy and warmth to a variety of genres, from the grunge rock of The Strokes to the electronic-synth tones of Passion Pit.
Those looking for smoother treble and clearer bass can look at 1More's triple-or quad-driver offerings.
The dual-driver set-up is intended for those who want the cheapest option for the best sound quality and 1More has delivered.
Its versatility, sound quality and comfort makethe E1017 extremely good value for money.
• Verdict: 1More has carved a niche in the audio space by offering sound quality above its price point, and its dual-driver earphones mark an entry point into its high-end audio offerings. Music lovers looking to up their game on a budget will not go wrong with these.