Details: Beautiful wood-and-metal earphone from Astrotec
MSRP: est $65
Current Price: $40 from amazon.com; $45 from ebay.com; $47 from mp4nation.net
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16Ω | Sens: 112 dB | Freq: 8-27k Hz | Cable: 3.9′ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 4.5mm | Preferred tips: stock single-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear
Accessories (3/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes), foam eartips, and soft carrying pouch
Build Quality (4.5/5) – The housings of the AM-800 are an extremely handsome combination of brushed metal and lacquered wood, with fit and finish deserving of a much higher price point. The cable is more plasticky and memory-prone than the excellent rubberized cord used on the AM-90 model but still resists tangling well and feels sturdy. The strain reliefs, too, are supple enough to inspire confidence in the construction
Isolation (2.5/5) – Average due to the shallow fit and vented design
Microphonics (4/5) – Decent when worn cable-down; nonexistent otherwise
Comfort (4/5) – The wood-and-metal housings are surprisingly lightweight and designed for a shallow fit. Comfort is very good with both silicone and foam tips
Sound (7.8/10) – While the cheaper DX-60 is a passable-yet-forgettable entry-level headset, the AM-800 leaves the lasting impression of a solid all-around performer. It pursues a mildly v-shaped signature with punchy bass and bright treble. The low end is similar to that of the VSonic GR06 – slightly above neutral in quantity, but far from overbearing. There is less impact and subbass depth compared to the VSonic GR02 Bass Edition but better control compared to the Brainwavz M5 and the lower-end Astrotec DX-60, with the latter sounding downright sloppy in comparison to the AM-800.
The bass is quick enough that midrange bleed is a non-issue, and the overall balance is better than with many competing sets. The AM-800 is less mid-recessed than the GR02 Bass Edition and MEElec CC51, for example. The mids are clear and open-sounding, making competitors such as the Brainwavz M5 appear a little veiled and congested in comparison. The treble of the AM-800 is smoother and less sibilant compared to the GR02 Bass Edition but can still get a touch harsh next to some higher-end sets. There is more treble energy than with sets such as the Brainwavz M5—a good thing in my book—and top-end extension is good as well.
The presentation of the AM-800 is on the large side, with an airy, out-of-the head feel. It is a little wider and more spacious than the VSonic GR02BE and similar to the GR06, albeit with a touch less depth. The treble extension helps, as does the lack of congestion typically caused by mid-bass bloat. Overall, while the AM-800 doesn’t quite have the imaging of higher-end sets, it is more than capable enough for its price bracket.
Value (9/10) – The Astrotec AM-800 is one of the best-looking earphones I’ve come across in a long time, but it’s more than just a pretty face. Average isolation aside, the AM-800 is the total package – well-made, comfortable, and plenty good-sounding. The clear, mildly v-shaped sound puts the performance of the AM-800 in good company with the likes of the ECCI PR401 and VSonic GR06. All in all, there’s really not much to complain about here – the AM-800 is a great mid-range earphone for both first-time IEM users and those seeking to upgrade from an entry-level model.
Pros: Great aesthetics; well-built; impressive sound quality
Cons: Mediocre isolation