Reviewed June 2011
Details: angled-nozzle earphone designed to replace the PR100 as ECCI’s entry-level model
Current Price: N/A (discontinued) (MSRP: $27)
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 18Ω | Sens: 104 dB | Freq: 10-20k Hz | Cable: 4.2’ I-plug
Nozzle Size: N/A (oval) | Preferred tips: Stock single-flanges, generic bi-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear
Accessories (3.5/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes), shirt clip, and oversize hard clamshell carrying case
Build Quality (3/5) – The housings are plastic though the molding quality is quite nice. The cable is plasticky and average in thickness. Unfortunately, there is no strain relief on the plastic stems and no sliding cable cinch on the cord
Isolation (2.5/5) – The PG100 is a vented, shallow-insertion earphone. Isolation is rather average with the stock tips and a bit better with aftermarket biflanges
Microphonics (3/5) – Bothersome when worn cable-down and the earphones are difficult to wear over-the-ear, exacerbating the problem
Comfort (4.5/5) – The PG100 is very small and weighs next to nothing. The housing are meant to be worn like conventional earbuds with the oval nozzles angled for comfortable insertion into the ear canal. The stems are rounded and angled away from the ear – ECCI has clearly done more homework than Yamaha did with their similarly-tiny EPH-20
Sound (5.2/10) – ECCI’s previous entry-level model, the PR100, was a balanced and neutral affair, performing similarly to the pricier PR200 on the whole. The new PG100 is a bit of a departure from the higher-end ECCI earphones, offering a slightly darker and more bass-heavy sound. The bass of the PG100 beats the Soundmagic PL30 and H2O Audio Flex easily in quantity but stops short of the power and depth offered by the bass-monster MEElec M9. The low end is punchy and a touch boomy. There is slight bottom-end roll-off but it’s quite inoffensive. Bass bleed is minimal although the midrange does lack some clarity next to the H2O Flex, sounding veiled and a bit muffled. The overall balance is good – the midrange is not nearly as recessed as with the MEElec M9 but not as forward as with the PL30 or H2O Flex.
A bit of grain is present in the midrange and treble but the PG100 is still smoother than the sparklier, peakier MEElec M9. Indeed, the sound of the M9 is a good bit more v-shaped on the whole so those looking for flat-and-level will be better off with the ECCIs. Top-end extension is moderate – similar to the M9 and many other budget sets. The presentation of the PG100 is average in size, leaning towards the intimate side of things. The Soundmagic PL30 sounds far more open and spacious. The M9, too, has more air to its sound, as well as a bit more width. The slightly veiled midrange of the PG100 doesn’t do its presentation any favors but the earphone still presents a coherent sonic image. The overall tone is slightly dark.
Value (8/10) – Unlike the PR100 model it replaces, the ECCI PG100 sets itself apart from the higher-end PR200 and PR300 models by offering a slightly more consumer-friendly sound in a very different form factor. The compact half in-ear design is lightweight and comfortable and the sound is well-balanced with a slight bias towards the low end. It’s not going to embarrass the other solid entry-level sets on the market but it does provide a very viable alternative.
Pros: Small, lightweight, and comfortable; sounds good for the money
Cons: Mildly microphonic, not as well-built as previous PR100 model