Page 3 - Subjective Audio Analysis
Reviewing audio devices require extensively trained ears and lots of experience. Even for audiophiles, it may prove challenging at times to obtain an accurate evaluation of a product without a thoroughly familiar product to use as a simultaneous reference. While I am not going to even try to claim that I am the only trustworthy or best reviewer for sound, it is fact that most computer review sites have editors who are insufficiently trained in reviewing audio equipment. Give them practically anything and all you will read about goes along the line of "good bass, nice midrange, awesome treble, really clear sound, 10/10". While there are many knowledgeable audio reviewers at various respected online media outlets, they are by far the minority.
As I have mentioned in my past audio reviews, there are really no true objective measurements for speaker sound quality. As the reviewer, however, I will put it through a series of subjective tests to try to come up with the most objective rating possible. Yes, it is quite a paradox haha. Tests were conducted primarily wirelessly via Bluetooth with a Google Pixel 3a XL, which has support for AAC and Bluetooth 5.0. After over 50 hours of break-in time, which is well above the typically required period, we put the 1MORE ComfoBuds 2 True Wireless to the tests. All tracks were uncompressed or high bitrate files.
One of the first things I needed to do was changing the equalizer from its Default setting to "Bass reducer". Normally, we would test these earphones with its default mode, but the bass on these ComfoBuds 2 True Wireless far overpowered the rest of the regions, which led to an imbalance and made the midrange into a muddy mess. I was surprised that the default equalizer setting would be so unbalanced out of the box. Thankfully, this setting change is saved to the device itself, so you do not need to worry about changing it for every device you connect to. To give these earbuds the best chance of performing well, I will be performing the tests in both modes to give you readers a clearer picture. Another annoying fact that remains is these ComfoBuds 2 are reliant on how well they sit in your ears. Even a slight rotation can cause the drivers to not be pointed directly into your ear canal, directly affecting the perceived sound quality. This is not too surprising, but for someone who has been using in-ear monitors for the longest time, this was something to adjust to.
Starting at the low end, it seems 1MORE addressed the lacking bass from the original ComfoBuds. With the default settings, the lower regions are brought notably forward in an artificial way. Its forward push felt a bit hollow due to this placement, and unfortunately, it drowned out the upper bass and lower midrange. It was appreciably deeper than the original ComfoBuds with a good thump, but it felt a bit fake. Turning this to the bass reducer equalizer, the bass was still present and provided drive, but it also sounded more natural and balanced with the midrange improved. Bass heads may still prefer the default equalizer, but I definitely am biased towards turning down the low end.
In the middle, the 1MORE ComfoBuds 2 True Wireless were improved from the original, with a bit more depth and character. It provided better clarity and definition. With the default equalizer, the midrange felt underwhelming, especially with the lower parts. It lacked clarity and was covered by bass guitar lines and licks. However, when we moved to bass reducer, the midrange was more audible and came through more naturally. Even so, there still were areas of concern, as the resonance from acoustic instruments like guitars or pianos felt a bit artificial. Voices in this region felt a bit dry and overall lacking in thickness.
In the treble region, the ComfoBuds 2 True Wireless provided a sharp and generally good sounding result. High hats and crash cymbals felt cleaner, although they still had a bit of an uncomfortable clash. Stringed instruments felt a bit more wet here and was not as shrill sounding. Upper frequencies came through nicely, even at the higher ends. Changing between the two equalizer settings did not alter the treble much, which is not too surprising. Altogether, the overall sound was W-shaped on the bass reducer setting, with a decent amount of bass and sharp treble coming through, while the midrange was only slightly reduced compared to the highs and lows. There were some dips in between the bass and midrange, as well as the midrange and the treble. As I already indicated several times on this page, the default equalizer made for a more V-shaped sound, as the midrange was pushed further back and felt very unnatural.
In soundstaging and imaging, the ComfoBuds 2 felt limited in depth and close in its soundstage. While we are limited by its physical closed design and smaller drivers in here, the sound did not feel like it filled the room, but rather just the ear canals. Everything was tight and close to the listener. Directionality was acceptable, but the lacking depth perception felt too close to the user. I did find the ComfoBuds 2 to create a slightly better seal on the ears, so it is not surprising the audio image feels even closer than the original.
In terms of layering, the 1MORE ComfoBuds 2 True Wireless had similar difficulties when there were multiple voices at play. Once again, the finer details and layers felt diminished, causing the overall sound to lose definition. In terms of frequency separation, there was a bit of a dip in between the midrange and bass, but each layer also felt squished together such that it was not always easy to tell the different parts apart. It was a cohesive sound, but the lacking separation made everything feel too clumped together. Otherwise, I will say things sounded less muffled, especially with the bass reducer sound profile.
For microphone testing, I recorded myself twice, first indoors and second outdoors. This would give a better idea of how the microphone performs in ideal circumstances as well as in more challenging places with more background noise. Inside, the microphone worked well enough, even if it was a bit muffled. My spoken words came through clearly still, and was easily distinguishable. In the outdoor test, there was quite a bit of wind and it was picked up very clearly in the recording. The wind ended up drowning out a lot of what I was saying, as you may have noticed near the end. Although it may sound like it, I did not get hit by a car, haha. A bit of wind will overwhelm these microphones quickly despite the multiple microphone pickup.
In terms of its wireless capabilities, the 1MORE ComfoBuds 2 True Wireless were much better. In testing, I was able to match their quoted times for 6 hours of use before needing to recharge and getting 24 hours total. Wireless range was also good, as I was able to maintain a consistent connection in distances greater than 10m and did not drop while moving around my house. There was not much for background hissing noise when turned on, which is great. In terms of lag, I did not notice any significant delay. I play a rhythm game on my iPad that measured the delay to be around 200ms. This was reduced with the game mode activated. Even still, audio appeared to be properly synchronized to videos I was watching, regardless of the operating mode.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
3. Subjective Audio Analysis