Gadget review: Cowon's EM1 earphones
Currently, Cowon's EM1 earphones have the best budget in-ears in the market along with tangle-free flat cables
Cowon’s EM1 set has been doing the rounds for more than a year now and has been largely ignored. Lost in ignominy and overtaken by ‘bigger’ names such as Creative, Sony or SoundMagic, this piece of audio gear was largely neglected. Even recent Indian upstarts in the budding audiophile domain such as Tekfusion and Signature Acoustics have gained their share of infamy lately. And when we got this set for review, it lay around unnoticed till we started scrounging around for some good in-ears for general use.
The set itself turned out to be surprisingly great. We tried out many of our favourite test tracks and frequency samples, including Porcupine Tree, Floyd and John Mayer and found the overall sound signature to be reasonably neutral. Discerning ears will peg it a tad on the warmer side but hey who expects studio monitoring-grade precision at this price point? Yes, the reproduction isn’t very precise and does lack detail when you pump tracks with high instrument density, but what the headphone lacks in accuracy, it more than makes up for in comfort and isolation.
The fit and isolation are among the best that we’ve experienced and if you really want to cut the ambient noise out during your daily commute, these are the plugs for you. As for the audio performance, they’re not bad at all. The bass delivers just the right amount of thump to get your feet tapping without sending brain-rattling shockwaves down your ear-canal. The in-line microphone and tangle free flat cables are just the icing on the cake.
Over the course of our review we ended up shoving them in and out of pockets and bags and the EM1 took the abuse like a champ -- a testament to its build quality. The asking price of Rs 1,200 may seem a bit on the higher side especially since we’re pitching it as a budget headset, but a quick online search will reveal they’re available for a street price of about Rs 1,100 with a non-microphone version available for as little as Rs 750. If you hunt around and do get them at that price, you’ve got the successor to the infamous EP630 on your hands. In a market that seems to be lacking in cheap in-ear headsets that offer good quality, the Cowon EM1 is an ideal option. When it comes to the average listener, this fits the bill perfectly.
>> Tangle free cable
>> Quality microphone
>> Great isolation
>> Could’ve been more precise
DRIVER DIAMETRE: 10mm
FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20000Hz
MAXIMUM INPUT POWER: 20mW
HEADPHONE JACK: 3.5mm
CORD LENGTH: 1.2m
PRICE: Rs 1,200