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Old 09-10-2008, 11:56 AM
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yuki yuki is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Mesa Az
Posts: 519
Default 2XL Spoke IEMs, $13 well spent review

in-ear buds (spoke)
cable length - 1.2M
driver diameter - 10mm
plug type - 3.5 mm chrome plated
max. input power - 30 mW
impedance - 32ohms
frequency range - 20-20,000 Hz
magnet type Ė NdFeB (just saying that it is neodymium magnet based)

I was in my local best buy the other day making snide comments about skull candy headphones, probably the worst value in pos headphones on the market next to the apple ipod ear budsÖ Well then I happen to glance over and see a new low end brand on the market, 2XL for a whopping $13 for a pair of IEMS with 3 sizes of silicon tips. Needless to say I used my store credit I had left over after a price match to get 2 different pair, the first being the in ear model called the spoke. The packaging is not bad at all, minimalist and easy to open even though it is a blister pack, they can be opened without scissors.

The build quality of the spoke are nothing special, better than other low end Phillips models I have seen but not great at all, typical Chinese OEM quality. The microphonics are bad, it seems the material that the cable is using is a silicon type plastic and transfers sound from bumps and movement quit well. In all though for $13 you can not expect much, they silicon tips are comfortable and soft though.

I tested the 2XL spoke using an m-audio micro and winamp set at flat eq.

Sound quality was surprising however for the price, the sound quality isnít the worst I have heard, it is better than the Sony fontopia IEMís. Bass response at about 100Hz and below is fair; it has a bloated low end though. After about 3 hours or so the drivers do produce more bass than when new out of the box. Bass accuracy is hit or miss, less complex bass such as with little harmonics like with a synth drum seem to fair ok, but instruments with complex harmonics on the bass end seem to cause a fair bit of driver distortion. I used Chicane Ė Low Sun to test synthetic bass (from a drum machine) and the bass was tight and clear, trebles were not detailed, but at the same time not overly veiled either. I really cant compared the lack of detail to any other headphone because the lack of detail is very unique to the 2XL. The Mids to seem hollow though in all cases tested present but hollow. Any high above about 14 Khz seems aliased, almost compressed sounding. Using BWV 1010, a bach cello piece, with very complex harmonics and lows reaching about 60 Hz you can hear how bass quality on a good pair of headphones, the 2XL fail miserably at listenable volumes, the bass seems distorted and very resonant, a plastic kind of resonance on the low notes, mids on this track donít seem to bad but not good.

Some music is ok while other not so good on these IEMís, which still sound better than most low end IEM offerings. Electronic music sounds ok for the most part, vocals are a lacking detail as are harmonics on cello and piano pieces. Surprising enough other than a bit of veiling though BWV 1056 for harpsichord and violin sounds decent. c

For the low price of $13, you really can not beat the value these IEMís have to offer, they beat every pack in I have heard thus far from any dap, including the Sony A815 and the new zune.
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