Spider TinyEar Review

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Added Feb 2013

Details: Spider’s light-and-comfortable entry-level earphone
MSRP: $39.99 (manufacturer’s page); EMic version with mic + 1-button remote has b
Current Price: $40 from Amazon.com; Note: An updated EMic model with mic+1-button remote has since been released
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 18Ω | Sens: 104 dB | Freq: 18-22k Hz | Cable: 3.9′ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 4mm | Preferred tips: Stock single-flanges; MEElec M6 single flanges
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear

Accessories (2.5/5) – Single-flange (2 sizes) and bi-flange silicone tips; plastic carrying case with integrated cable winder
Build Quality (3/5) – The TinyEar uses two-piece plastic housings with hard stems, no strain reliefs, and a rubberized cable of average thickness. The L/R markings stamped into the housings can be hard to see
Isolation (3/5) – The slim housings allow for good isolation
Microphonics (3/5) – Bothersome when worn cable-down; low otherwise
Comfort (4.5/5) – The TinyEar is claimed to be the smallest in-ear headphone on market, and while that’s not exactly true, the housings are quite small and very lightweight. Stems are short and it’s easy to get a seal even though only 2 smaller sizes of single-flange tips are included

Sound (6.6/10) – The sound of the TinyEar is well-balanced with an emphasis on treble. The bass is medium in quantity – punchy but not really enhanced and much flatter overall than the boosted bass of a JVC FX101 or Dunu Trident. Sub-bass drops off rather quickly – both low-end extension and impact are lacking compared to Spider’s pricier Realvoice model.

The midrange is mildly recessed but the balance is good overall – better, for example, than with comparably-priced JVC and Klipsch models. Clarity is decent, helped along by the treble emphasis. Note thickness is on the low side – the TinyEar is not nearly as thick as the warmer, weightier Realvoice. The tone overall is cooler and brighter compared to most sets in the price range. The treble is energetic but seems to be enhanced rather evenly, without any major spikes. The TinyEar is definitely brighter and more treble-heavy overall than the JVC FX101 but still remains smoother and easier to listen to than the harsher JVCs.

The soundstage of the TinyEar is average in size. Good treble extension provides decent air but soundstage width and depth are only moderate. The similarly-priced Soundmagic E10 provides a more open, out-of-the-head presentation and even the Dunu Trident has better depth and layering. Worth noting also is how inefficient the TinyEar is – despite the advertised 104dB sensitivity, it required more power to reach listening volume than any of the earphones I put it up against.

Value (7.5/10) – While not as impressive as the higher-end Realvoice model, the Spider TinyEar provides clean and balanced sound in an extremely compact form factor.  Clearly designed for those with smaller ears, the TinyEar will fit pretty much anyone comfortably, which is good because many will enjoy its clarity and energetic – but surprisingly non-fatiguing – treble.

Pros: Small and lightweight; clean & clear sound
Cons: Microphonic when worn cable-down
 


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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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