Reviewed Mar 2010
Details: Budget IEM developed in-house by Cyclone and released under the company’s new ECCI brand
Current Price: N/A (discontinued) (MSRP: $32)
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16 Ω | Sens: 102 dB | Freq: 20-20k Hz | Cable: 3.9’ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 5.5mm | Preferred tips: Stock (wide-tube) single flanges
Wear Style: Over-the-ear or straight down
Accessories (3.5/5) – Narrow-tube (3 sizes) and wide-tube (3 sizes) single-flange silicone tips, shirt clip, and oversize clamshell carrying case
Build Quality (4/5) – Sturdy two-piece metal shells feel solid and are finished in a handsome gunmetal color with the model name etched on the front. The dark-grey TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer) cable is thick and sturdy, with proper strain reliefs on cable entry and a functional cord cinch. Sadly, the translucent hard plastic sheath on the 3.5mm plug is more likely to damage to the cord than protect it, tainting an otherwise excellent build
Isolation (3.5/5) – The extra long nozzles allow for deep insertion of the earphones, boosting isolation above what one would expect for a ported straight-barrel dynamic. On the downside, the bottom-facing vents make the earphones more susceptible than most to wind noise
Microphonics (3.5/5) – bothersome when worn cord-down; good otherwise
Comfort (4/5) – The extra-long sound tube allows the earphones to be inserted deeply without pressing the wearer’s ear into the housings – a good thing as the front edges of the shells are rather sharp. Short strain reliefs and elongated bodies make the earphones easy to wear cord-up as well as cord-down. Either way they are quite comfortable for prolonged listening sessions
Sound (5.6/10) – The PR100 goes after a more mainstream market while still maintaining the balance emphasis of the older PR1 Pro model. The bass of the PR100 extends to 30Hz or so before dropping off, not reaching into the sub-bass quite as well as the PR1, but performing respectably for the asking price. There is a tiny hint of mid-bass emphasis but the overall response of the ECCIs is surprisingly linear. Bass is tight and punchy but not particularly powerful – low notes are heard more than they are felt. The transition to the midrange is smooth and with no bleed. The midrange is obscured by neither the bass nor the treble – it’s really quite pleasant but not the focus of the presentation the way it is with, for example, the Soundmagic PL50. Detail is very good for the price though they are notably lacking in resolving power compared to higher-end IEMs. Same goes for clarity – good for the price but not class-leading. The treble of the ECCIs is fairly accurate and rolls of gently near the top. There is some peakiness in the lower treble and they will accentuate sibilance already present in recordings. I personally found the treble perfectly pleasant on properly-recorded material. Soundstaging is good – not as wide as with the PR1s, but there is space around each instrument and a good sense of air in the overall sound. Positioning and instrumental separation, going hand-in-hand, are both quite decent.
Value (8/10) – For as long as I’ve owned them, the Soundmagic PL30 have been my favorite budget headphones when it comes to over balance. But the $30 PR100 is aiming straight for the PL30 throne, offering a similarly impeccable balance and a slightly meatier overall sound. For those looking for a well-built all-rounder that does nearly everything right, the PR100 is right up there with the best earphones I’ve heard in its class.
Pros: Good isolation and build quality, comfortable, balanced sound
Cons: Microphonics can be bothersome