As the Model 3 was intended to be used Wireless, all of the following comments will be using the Bluetooth cable paired to my HTC U11 via Apt-x. Through such a connection, the Model 3 sounded dynamic and spacious with very minimal background hiss; when swapping the cable over to a more sensitive in-ear, some hiss was present but this easily remains one if the best wireless implementations I’ve tested. In addition, since I was unable to find a comfortable fit with the included silicone ear tips, I paired the Model 3 with Westone STAR tips. They produced a deeper fit and have a slightly expanded bore producing a cleaner low-end and slightly enhanced treble clarity. I also put the earphones through 150hrs of burn-in to ensure they are performing at their best during evaluation.
The Model 3 assumes a more V-shaped sound typical to consumer earphones. Its sound holds notable mid-bass emphasis with a recessed midrange and slightly more energetic treble presentation. It’s a warm, full and very accessible sound that provides plenty of instant gratification. Of course, this isn’t a perfectly balanced earphone designed for critical listening, but its sound is rich and enjoyable; certainly more tastefully sculpted than models found in retail stores. This is also a presentation that works well in louder environments such as public transport and the gym, where low-frequencies tend to get drowned out. As such, the Model 3’s tuning is well-considered for its intended uses while remaining engaging and balanced enough to be enjoyed at home.
With a hearty emphasis, the Model 3’s low-end is very full, delivering round but nicely textured notes. Sub-bass extension is very nice for a micro-driver; they don’t have the guttural slam of a high-end dynamic but do provide solid punch when called for. Mid-bass holds the main focus of the sound, creating a warm tone and a generally full-bodied presentation that stops shy of thick. Resultantly, the Model 3 isn’t especially articulate nor is bass meticulously separated, but the earphones do produce modest amounts of definition and pleasing dynamics.
This is mainly due to the Model 3’s tighter low-end with nice attack and natural decay creating fair pace and rhythm. Accordingly, though their mid-bass emphasis does create apparent bloat, the Model 3 doesn’t become particularly messy during faster tracks and each note remains focussed and easily discerned. So despite their uneven emphasis, the Model 3 remains a well-performing earphone for the price, especially considering that they are being driven by a wireless source.
As a result of the Model 3’s larger mid-bass emphasis, mids are bolstered with warmth. That said, slight brightness enhances clarity and definition. And, though not transparent or realistic, the Model 3 delivers a clear and mostly natural midrange presentation despite its fullness. Lower-mids are most notably coloured; male vocals are recessed and somewhat chesty down low but with a slight lift into the middle and upper-midrange that prevents veil. Instrument timbre is also less obviously affected with rich, organic piano and guitar. This tuning does sap their presentation of separation and definition but the Model 3 is tonally pleasing and nowhere near thick or congested.
Upper-mids fair better on an objective level. They are laid-back but present, with slight emphasis relative to the M3’s lower mids preceding a gradual dip before their lower-treble. This produces a smooth, clean and natural presentation that flatters female vocals, avoiding both sibilance and truncation. The Model 3 also produces above average levels of resolution that enable it to discern some finer background details that other wireless in-ears skim over. As a result of the slight dip up top, their upper-midrange and treble aren’t perfectly seamless or integrated, but this doesn’t compromise detail presentation.
With a typical V-shaped signature, the Model 3 well balances its warm low-end and more laid-back midrange with elevated treble clarity. This augments their sound with energy and a sense of vividness. Lower-treble is most notably accentuated, producing a slightly more aggressive presentation that benefits treble attack; imbuing guitars, strings and cymbals with a sense of immediacy and crispness. Middle treble is also slightly lifted which aids treble air and separation. They still aren’t a bright earphone in the grand scheme of things, but the Model 3 easily avoids the smoothed off and even dull sound that activity centric wireless in-ears often suffer from.
Still, the Model 3 doesn’t have a hint of harshness and sibilance isn’t emphasized. They also possess great treble extension for a wireless in-ear, producing higher levels of resolution that contributes to their slightly more revealing nature up top. Treble is also quite linear, producing bodied notes with defined texture. Moreover, they effectively avoid sounding overly aggressive and peaky which is very admirable around this price range. Though not absolutely extended and resolving, the Model 3’s crisp but natural high-end is very tasteful and surprisingly technical.
Soundstage, Imaging and Separation –
With a slightly more vivid signature and good treble air and extension, the Model 3 produces a well-sized soundstage. They don’t stretch beyond the head but the Model 3 is hardly an intimate earphone, especially considering its more recessed midrange that can emphasize their sense of space and distance. Imaging is quite good due to their quicker transience and more linear treble. They aren’t pinpoint accurate as they are quite warm and sculpted overall, but directional cues are fairly sharp and vocals well-centred. Separation is mixed, low-end separation is below average due to their bloated mid-bass and some spill into the lower-midrange. However, their top half is quite delineated as it is more linear.
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