Our eyes don’t often have the same level of vision, so why should we expect our ears to hear the same way? Taking another step back, why should we assume that we hear things the same as our friends, neighbors, or complete strangers? Most headphones and earbuds are tuned to a certain sound, which does not change based on how you hear things. Admittedly, there are plenty of headphones that sound really good even with these constraints, but what if you could tune your headphones to tailor them specifically to your ears? Do the Even E1 Earphones continue the tradition started by their over-ear sibling? Keep reading this full review to find out.
The Even E1 Earphones include the following features and specifications:
- Type: In-Ear
- Headphone Jack: 3.5mm
- Drivers: 10mm Dynamic
- Impedance: 32 ohms
- Battery: Lithium Ion ~12hrs.
- Weight: 0.8oz
- Hz Frequency Range: 20-20,000 Hz
- Total Harmonic Distortion: (THD) <3%
- dB Sound Pressure Level: (SPL) 110+/-2dB
- Controls: Play, Pause, +/- Volume
- Call Control
- Remote: Inline
What’s in the Box
- Even E1 Earphones with inline controller
- Extra ear tips
- Charging cable
- Cable clip
- Carrying case
If you’ve read our Even H1 over-ear headphone review headphone review, you’ll see some definite similarities in some design elements here, though to be honest, it’s not a bad thing for a company to be consistent in its design. Starting from the bottom you’ll see the 3.5mm plug. The plug has plenty of material around the bottom, providing a good area to grip when plugging in or removing the cable. Moving up you have the same tangle-resistant 32” braided nylon cord as is available on the H1 headphones. The braid is black and white, sticking with the overall design theme, and culminating at the in-line controller.
The controller includes your standard play/pause and volume/track up and down buttons, but it also includes the Even button (more on that later), the MicroUSB charging input, and is really the brains of the whole operation. Coming out of the top of the controller are more tangle-resistant braided nylon cables — roughly 14” — that end at the earbuds themselves.
The earbuds, as well as the cables leading to the earbuds, are color coded to show which ear bud goes in which ear. Even is consistent here as well, the black bud goes in your right ear while the white bud goes in your left. The ear buds have the same design, only color swapped in most cases. Both ear buds include silver rings around the base, and just below the ear tip. The black bud has the Even logo in white on back, while the white bud’s logo is black. Each tip has a small L or R in its opposite color, and the exposed part of the driver filter is silver on both earbuds as well, but otherwise each earbud is completely black or white.
The included zippered soft carry pouch includes the Even name mark and logo in the lower right corner, and when unzipped has a small mesh pocket on one side and two slit pockets on the other. There’s plenty of room in the case to hold the included spare ear tips as well as the short charging cable in addition to the ear buds when not in use.
The design here is very nice. The monochromatic elements just fit, as it is definitely important that your earbuds go in the correct ear to allow Even’s Earprint technology to work correctly.
Ease of Use
Normally you’d think that a simple pair of earbuds wouldn’t have to have an “Ease of Use” section, though these aren’t a simple pair of earbuds. Their operation really isn’t particularly difficult, though there are a few steps before you get started to ensure you’re getting the best possible experience.
Much like the over-ear headphones, the Even earbuds also have a brief setup process to get your Earprint locked in. Upon turning on the earbuds for the first time, you’ll be prompted by Sarah to go through the initial setup. Fun fact: Sarah’s guidance was originally provided by Even co-founder and CEO Danny Aronson, but early testing found that listeners preferred Sarah by a wide margin.
Sarah’s setup only takes a couple of minutes, and plays a series of tones or music in each ear at different frequencies. You just tap the Even button on the inline controller when you hear something and then you’ll move on to the next step. You’re going to want to complete your setup in a quiet area, because otherwise outside noise can absolutely affect your ability to hear the prompts, which will give you an inaccurate Earprint. Granted, you can restart the setup process whenever you want, but you’ll still want a quiet environment in order to set up your headphones most effectively.
When first turning on your Even E1 Earphones, you’re greeted with a cheerful, harmonized group singing “bum” to let you know that your headphones have been turned on. It’s a fun play on the normal booting up noise, and definitely creates a playful first impression. Turning off the headphones results in a singular low-pitched male voice, again saying “bum” to let you know your headphones have been turned off. It’s a little touch, but definitely one that differentiates Even from other powered headphones that usually just have a standard beep or no audible indication at all.
Playful first impressions aside, how do these earbuds actually sound? Pretty freaking good. By default, without the EarPrint technology activated, these are good sounding earbuds. Decent bass, good mids, relatively clear highs, but activate your EarPrint and everything changes. The sound just gets more… “full” and immersive. You can flip back and forth between EarPrint and no EarPrint to really see what I mean.
The EarPrint activation does make things a bit louder, yes, but that’s really not all that’s going on here. The various frequencies are boosted to conform to your personalized EarPrint. It’s really very cool, and something that you’re going to want to experience. You can try out an EarPrint demo on Even’s website, but their products really shine with EarPrint technology on board.
I did have one strange issue that is likely more a result of my computer than the earbuds themselves. On several occasions, I got a very loud static noise coming from the earbuds after switching from my work computer to my Nexus 6P and back to my computer. Even has not seen this issue anywhere else, and I was unable to replicate the issue on different computers and phones, but if by some chance you do run into this issue, you can simply turn the controller off and then back on.
Since I had a chance to try out the H1 Over Ear Headphones briefly at CES, I figured I’d talk a bit about those here. The headphones obviously scored quite highly on our full review, and they do definitely provide a bit of a bigger sound with improved noise isolation over the E1 Earphones. That shouldn’t come as any surprise, however, since the headphones have larger drivers, and the over ear design generally provides better noise isolation than earbuds. That’s not to say that the E1 Earphones don’t sound fantastic — they do — and if you’re looking for a good pair of earbuds they definitely deserve your attention.
Call quality is acceptable here, though the mic is a bit far away from your mouth. This isn’t too much of an issue in quiet areas, though in busier spaces callers may have a hard time hearing you. Callers sound good, as should be expected.
Again you might be wondering, why would we need to talk about battery life for a pair of wired earbuds? The EarPrint technology that makes the entire Even experience possible needs power to run. The battery here is said to last about 12 hours, and I’ve found that to be pretty accurate. Using these earbuds predominantly at the office, I found I’d usually have to recharge about every three days. The earbuds do turn themselves off after a period of inactivity, though you’ll be able to extend your battery life by turning them off manually when not in use. You’ll hear a series of descending tones sung (again, using a simple “bum”) when your battery starts to get low.
Recharging only takes about an hour, so you won’t be without your tunes for too long. The earbuds, as with the over-ear headphones, do not work at all when powered off or when the battery is dead. It was mentioned in the over-ear review and I’ll say it again here, it would be nice if there were some sort of “dumb” mode, or just a straight audio passthrough available when the battery is dead. An hour definitely isn’t too long to wait to recharge, but if you’re in the middle of something it can seem like forever without your music.
Priced at $129, these are definitely not the cheapest earbuds out there, though no other earbud can claim to provide the experience that the Even E1 Earphones do. The EarPrint technology really does add significant value, as the sound is tailored completely to the way your ears hear.
Even is doing something really special in the audio world. Customized sound is something you really need to experience, and the Even E1 Earphones provide an easy way to get on board. Try out the EarPrint demo on Even’s website, and if you like what you hear, take the E1 Earphones for a spin.
*We were sent a review sample of the Even E1 Earphones for the purposes of this review.
Even E1 Earphones$129 USD
- Nylon cables are quite tangle resistant
- EarPrint definitely provides a quality experience
- Big, full sound after setting up your EarPrint
- Setup is quick and easy
- No passive audio mode, when battery dies you're stuck until its recharged
- Mic on inline controller is a bit far away from your mouth