Details: Eco-friendly IEM from Thinksound
MSRP: $119.99 (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $100 from amazon.com
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16Ω | Sens: 96 dB | Freq: 18-20k Hz | Cable: 4.2’ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 5.5mm | Preferred tips: Stock single flanges, Comply T400
Wear Style: Over-the-ear or straight down
Accessories (3.5/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (4 sizes), shirt clip, cotton carrying pouch, and over-the-ear cable guides
Build Quality (4/5) – The MS01 is similar in both construction and appearance to the other Thinksound models. The housings are made out of wood and aluminum and the rubbery cable features long strain reliefs and a beefy 3.5mm plug. The cable lacks a cinch but other than that attention to detail is excellent
Isolation (3/5) – Respectable for a dynamic-driver earphone
Microphonics (4/5) – Low in the PVC-free cable
Comfort (4/5) – The MS01 uses a slim, elongated housing to allow for a deeper, more comfortable insertion. The housings are lightweight and the earphones are very comfortable when worn. The included cable guides eliminate cable noise and can provide a more secure fit, though I personally don’t need them to wear the MS01 cable-up
Sound (8/10) – The MS01 is the first earphone from Thinksound’s Monitor Series, said to be designed for pros and discerning listeners. Make no mistake, however—the MS01 still follows Thinksound’s usual signature, offering enhanced bass with clean, engaging mids and highs, only in a slightly more tempered proportion. At the core is ample bass boasting good extension and plentiful impact. The 8mm drivers move plenty of air – the low end of the MS01 is hard-hitting and visceral, outpacing those of the Brainwavz M5 and VSonic GR02 Bass Edition. Despite this, the bass is not too boomy and bass bleed up into the midrange is mild, resulting in a sound that is warm but not bloated.
The midrange of the MS01 retains good clarity and detail. The mids are not as thick and lush as may be expected considering the powerful bass but the MS01 is not as thin-sounding as an RE-ZERO or Sunrise Xcited, either. The midrange is reasonably smooth and not overly recessed – less so, for example, than that of the HiSound Wooduo 2. In typical Thinksound fashion, the treble carries a bit of emphasis for a mildly v-shaped overall sound. Top-end extension isn’t great but otherwise the MS01 is crisp and pleasant, though not well-suited for those who prefer a laid-back treble presentation.
The MS01 also presents a coherent sonic image – the mildly v-shaped sound gives it a reasonably open and airy feel, though more emphasis on upper treble and better extension would help. In addition to above-average width, the soundstage has decent depth and layering. Admittedly the soundstage of the MS01 is less 3-dimensional than that of the VSonic GR06 but the overall presentation is impressive and more to my liking than the flatter soundstage of the pricier HiSound Wooduo 2.
Value (8.5/10) – Thinksound’s formula has always been beautiful in its simplicity – combine one part enhanced bass with one part clarity, add stylish, well-crafted housings made from renewable materials, and package it all with great attention to detail. The MS01 doesn’t stray far from its predecessors – it’s not a monitoring earphone as the name seems to imply, but it delivers great sound and retains the upmarket look and feel of the other Thinksound models. As far as I’m concerned the sonic refinement alone is well worth the price hike over the older TS02.
Pros: “Green” construction; aesthetically pleasing; plentiful bass & good all-round performance
Cons: No cable cinch