Penon Audio are known to many as a friendly retailer that provides Chi-Fi best hits at an affordable price (and to me, they provide really quick free shipping too). But few know them nearly as much for their own in-house creations, they are becoming something like the Massdrop of Asia. And their newest creation is perhaps their best, it offers a stunning price/performance ratio in addition to a great accessory set. Penon’s BS1, is an affordable $40 USD earbud based upon the venerable MusicMaker Tomahawk. However, Penon’s new earbud builds upon its legacy in almost every way with numerous revisions to both design and sound that make a world of difference in real world usage. Let’s see how the BS1 performs relative to similarly priced models and compared to its progenitor.
I would like to thank Chi Kong Hui from Penonaudio very much for getting in contact and providing me with the BS1 for the purpose of an honest review. All words are my own and despite receiving the earphone free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.
The BS1 is much more pleasantly packaged than the vast majority of Chinese earbuds that usually come without packaging at all. The BS1 rather includes a nice hard box that magnetically opens.
Inside is a zippered hard case, ear guides, shirt clip, extra foam covers (4 pairs of foams, 2 pairs of donuts) and the earbuds themselves.
The case is small and protective, it’s actually an SD card case though the plastic holders can be removed. The foams are nicely cut, Penon also includes both red and black covers to denote left and right since the earpieces look identical. I recommend Heigi donut foams, they aren’t included with the BS1, but they produce a more balanced sound. I will note the properties of each cover in the sound section below.
Next Page: Design
Bit harder to find an earbud with a remote since most are designed for home use from an amplifier. The BS1 is a really solid option as far as sound and comfort go, I don’t think there’s much better until you get closer to $100 and their sound matches what you are looking for. The Ourart Ti7 is a consideration, it has a removable cable so you can swap out one with a remote. However, its midrange is veiled compared to the BS1 despite its higher price.
I love earbuds for work due to their minimalism and lack of noise blocking. Im coming from the VE Monk and am looking to take a step up to something a little more all round (perhaps less piercing treble and a touch more bass), for a price of around $50 (although im flexible really).
Ideally id love a remote just so I can skip songs without touching my phone at work, but this isn’t a deal breaker.
What do you think, sound wise are these the benchmark in the $50 price range?
Thanks again for this info. Sorry for the late response here, but I was awaiting a reply from “Dr Walkman” in Italy who has had my earphones for a long time without being able to find alternatives or even the time to repair them. The grilles are 15mm in diameter according to him i.e. slightly larger than the norm. Regards. Kevin
You can try Aliexpress, a lot of earbuds use generic shells and some sellers sell individual parts for them. Otherwise, you might be able to buy an entire shell for the driver size and retrofit the drivers and cable from your JVC’s into them. I like the Yuin style shells and the MX500 is probably the most common, I believe they accept 14mm drivers.
Thanks for acknowledging my comments, Ryan, as well as your guidance about the foams.
Another topic – do you know any suppliers of replacement round metal mesh grilles for damaged ones in an old but good JVC earphone? I can provide a pic if thus helps. Regards Kevin
Thanks for pointing that out Kevin, I will be sure to correct that! I didn’t feel that changing the foams here was any harder than other earbuds. Try and pinch the circumference of the foam, stretch and slide off perpendicular to the earbud. When installing, I pull one side apart, slot one side of the earbud in and stretch the other side on. The Heigi foams have quite a large opening so they go one quite easily. I think the problem may be pulling on the edge of the foams which can tear them, otherwise, they are surprisingly resilient.
Sorry – a fundamental error in this review: the white dot marker denotes the LEFT earpiece, not the right. I queried this aspect directly with Penon, after feeling that the earpiece felt distinctly odd in my right ear, and ditto with the other, and their reply was unequivocally the reverse of the claim here.
What would be useful to know is the method of changing the foams from stock to Hiegi donuts, as another review states this is very difficult. I can imagine a lot of shredded foams.