Music Valley SP1

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Reviewed Feb 2010

 

Details: First model from Chinese manufacturer Music Valley, promisingly dubbed ‘Silver Prologue One’
Current Price: N/A (discontinued) (MSRP: $55)
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 39 Ω | Sens: 107 dB | Freq: 10-26k Hz | Cable: 4.3’ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 5.5mm | Preferred tips: Soundmagic Single Flange, Faux Hybrids
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear

Accessories (2.5/5) – Imitation Sony Hybrid tips (3 sizes), Soundmagic-style foamies, and shirt clip
Build Quality (3/5) – Made completely out of plastic and with a cheap-feeling plasticky cable the SP1 does not impress. Lack of strain reliefs does not help
Isolation (2.5/5) – Oddly-shaped housings make isolation somewhat mediocre. Nozzle is not angled as it is on the similarly-shaped JVC HA-FXC50
Microphonics (3/5) – Can be bothersome when moving about
Comfort (3/5) – My problem with these is the same as with the JVC HA-FXC50 – when the plastic process on the side of the housing is hooked into the antitragus of my ear the plastic strain relief hurts the bottom of my ear quite badly. I find them hard to wear for more than an hour at a time unless I use longer tips and flip the housings upside down

Sound (6.6/10) – The sound of the SP1 does not disappoint – it is a very detailed and well-balanced earphone that falls just short of the Cyclone PR1 in overall clarity. Soundstaging is average but the sonic images are all where they need to be, with the vocals upfront and drums at the back. Bass is extended and tight with the right tips (fit is the limiting factor as the stock single-flange tips sound great but don’t seal for me). Low-end texturing is impressive and the quantity of bass makes low-end detail easier to distinguish than with the Cyclones. The mid-range is recessed slightly compared to the bass and on the dark side, but still quite lush and rich. Compared again to the Cyclones the midrange sounds thicker and more liquid at the expense of some of the clarity and instrumental separation, making them sound just a bit more congested. The treble is less extended and lacks sparkle. Overall, the SP1 are smooth and non-fatiguing, quite detailed, and with very punchy and well-behaved bass.

Value (6/10) – Though the MV SP1 offer a wider soundstage and a bit more detail than the VSonic R02ProII, they lack the usability factor of the R02. I would prefer a more conventional housing, which would alleviate the mediocre comfort and isolation issues. A nicer cable would do wonders as well. With rumors of a new Music Valley model on the horizon, the sound of the Silver Prologue One makes me quite anxious to hear the successor.

Pros: Smooth, dark, non-fatiguing sound
Cons: hit-or-miss comfort, tangle-prone cable, no cord cinch, may sound too dark for some


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About Author

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

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