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 wirelessly via Bluetooth with a Google Pixel 3a XL, which has support for AAC and aptX as well as Bluetooth v5.0. After over seventy hours of break-in time -- well above typically required period -- we put the 1MORE ComfoBuds True Wireless to the tests. All tracks were uncompressed or high bitrate files.
One thing I learned while using the 1MORE ComfoBuds True Wireless is the fact the perceived sound quality varies depending on how good of a fit you get. Even a slight rotation would cause the drivers to not be pointed directly into your ear canal. This is not too surprising, but for someone who has been using IEMs for the longest time, this was something I had to get adjusted to. It does mean you will have a sound leaking in, but this can be beneficial to ensures users remain aware of their surroundings.
Starting at the low end, the bass on the ComfoBuds True Wireless was acceptable but also a bit lacking. This is somewhat expected, since it does not seal well around the ear, so you will end up losing more on the lower end. Furthermore, the bass was not as deep as I would normally appreciate. There was a bit of thump to the bottom end, but it lacked the fullness and rounded definition I would have liked. Instead, the bass felt hollow and lacked character. The upper bass was a bit more pronounced, but bass heads will be left wanting more.
Moving to the midrange, I found the 1MORE ComfoBuds True Wireless had more of a presence in this region, but it lacked clarity and definition. Its lower midrange felt muddy and moving up was more of a muffled sound. This was even more noticeable with more voices in play. The natural resonance I would have liked from acoustic instruments like guitars or pianos was not present. Male voices in this region tended towards a drier sound and lacking the richness.
Finally, in the treble, I noticed a sharp sounding region, albeit with some uncomfortable underlying results. High hats and crash cymbals were bit clashy and felt loose. There was a notable muffle around the trebles as well. Stringed instruments like the violins felt dry and continued the shriller sound, even in spite of the fact the violin is a shrill instrument in itself. Upper frequencies felt attenuated and fell off as we went even higher. Putting this altogether, the overall sound felt unbalanced with a lacking bass not supporting the presence of the midrange and trebles. This would be somewhat similar to an inverse V, with the notable peak in the middle and a slight peak in the trebles, but generally lacking in the edge frequencies.
In soundstaging and imaging, one thing that worked for the ComfoBuds was the fact these do not create a great seal on the ears, and therefore the sound will sound a bit more open. Even so, I felt like the soundstage was a bit limited in depth. We are still working with a closed design, and the smaller drivers still made the overall sound felt close. Directionality was generally decent, but the lacking depth perception was unfortunate.
In terms of layering, the 1MORE ComfoBuds True Wireless revealed a few more difficulties when there were multiple voices at play. This is not to say we lost any voice, but rather some finer details were less notable or diminished and made the overall sound lack in definition. In terms of frequency separation, each layer was a bit 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. Finally, the muffle and lacking definition meant this sound could have been cleaned up overall.
In the sample recording above, the microphone on the ComfoBuds worked decently well. My voice came through with a pretty natural reproduction. You can tell there was some noise cancellation as my voice dipped slightly in volume when there was some stronger wind, but the execution overall was very usable. The microphone did still pick up on some environmental noises, including stronger wind gusts, some traffic, and the birds chirping in the air. This makes it quite acceptable for voice calls and I am satisfied with its performance.
In terms of its wireless capabilities, the 1MORE ComfoBuds True Wireless was a bit of a mixed bag. In testing, I was able to get closer to around 3 hours at 50% volume before needing to plop the ComfoBuds back in the case for recharging. I was able to easily get around five charges in before needing to charge the whole package, which translates into around 15 hours of use. These numbers are clearly less than the originally quoted 4-hour battery life, but they are also overall a bit low compared to other true wireless solutions. Charging took around 70 to 80 minutes, which is as expected. Wireless range was good however, as I was able to maintain a consistent connection in distances greater than 10m and did not drop while moving around my house. There did not seem to be much lag when it came to casual applications like watching videos, but those gaming may notice the slightest of delays.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis