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Yamaha EPH-100

Yamaha EPH-100 Review

Yamaha EPH-100
Reviewed June 2012

Details: Yamaha’s flagship in-ear, built around a dynamic microdriver
MSRP: $199.95 / manufacturer’s page
Current Price: $130 from amazon.com
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16Ω | Sens: 104 dB | Freq: 20-20k Hz | Cable: 3.9′ L-plug
Nozzle Size: 5.5mm | Preferred tips: Stock bi-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear

Accessories (4/5) – Bi-flange silicone tips (5 sizes), ¼” adapter, 6.5’ (2m) extension cable, and soft zippered carrying case
Build Quality (4/5) – The EPH-100 boasts a nozzle-mounted microdriver and sturdy machined-aluminum housings. The cable is average in thickness but well-relieved on housing entry and at the L-plug. Driver flex is nonexistent
Isolation (4/5) – Some of the best among all dynamic-driver earphones with the stock bi-flange tips
Microphonics (4/5) – Reasonable when worn cord-down; nonexistent otherwise
Comfort (4.5/5) – Those with narrow ear canals may want to give these a pass due to the nozzle diameter but for everyone else the small, lightweight shells should be ergonomic and extremely unobtrusive. Stock eartips are surprisingly comfortable

Sound (8.9/10) – Taking Yamaha’s flagship spot away from the EPH-50, the EPH-100 utilizes a dynamic microdriver in a form factor much like that of Monster’s Miles Davis Trumpets. Like the Trumpets, the EPH-100 is an excellent all-rounder, but it is tuned differently from the mildly v-shaped Monsters. The bass is strong – deep and punchy, with a mild mid-bass lift giving it significantly more impact compared to most BA-based earphones and leaner dynamics such as the VSonic GR07 and Sony EX600. At the same time, the EPH-100 is far from overly bassy in the conventional sense – while not the most detailed or textured, its bass always remains clean and controlled. Like the Miles Davis Trumpet, which is a touch heavier on mid- and sub-bass in comparison, the EPH-100 is noticeably less boomy than Sennheiser’s IE7 and the older Miles Davis Tribute.

The mids of the EPH-100 are balanced very well with the low end – not recessed, but not quite forward. They are smooth, veil-free, dynamic, and more prominent compared to those of the slightly v-shaped Monster Trumpet. Clarity and detail are good and the note presentation is excellent – the EPH-100 is not overly thick or full-bodied but definitely cannot be called lean, either. The sound is very liquid but lacks a touch of crispness compared to the GR07 and many armature-based sets. The EPH-100 is what many would consider ‘musical’ – it sounds warmer, fuller, and more dynamic compared to sets such as the GR07 but is occasionally less adept at portraying fine details and texturing.

At the top the EPH-100 sounds somewhat smoothed-over compared to the more energetic Monster Miles Davis Trumpet, VSonic GR07, and JVC HA-FXT90, but also has the least potential for treble fatigue. Indeed, it’s difficult to imagine the treble of the Yamahas being overbearing for any listener. The downside is that it is not the most resolving – the highs are more refined than those of the Sennheiser IE7 but not as crisp and clean as those of the GR07. Top end extension is good, however, and the EPH-100 doesn’t lack air.

The presentation of the EPH-100 is befittingly well-rounded – soundstage size is above average, though it doesn’t quite keep up with the GR07 or Ultimate Ears TF10 in absolute width and out-of-the-head feel. Depth is good, as are the instrument separation and dynamics, which allow for better layering compared, for example, to the more flat- and distant-sounding GR07. At the same time, the EPH-100 is not as forward and intimate as the FXT90 and yet sounds open and uncongested, avoiding the more closed-in feel of many lower-end monitors.

THL Recommended Badge 2014Value (9.5/10) – Yamaha’s latest flagship makes a clean break from the company’s unremarkable lower-end models, offering up a comfortable, well-built, highly-isolating earphone in a compact, microdriver-based package. The sound quality is far above average as well, with strong bass, lush mids, and smooth – albeit slightly docile – treble. The Yamaha EPH-100 is easily one of the best-sounding earphones – and one of the best overall packages – in its price class.

Pros: Great isolation; small and comfortable; smooth and dynamic sound
Cons: Nozzle-mounted driver not great for those with narrow ear canals

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ABOUT AUTHOR

ljokerl

ljokerl

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

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224 Responses

  1. Considering this earphone is out of production a while ago + there seem to be counterfeit products, is it safe to buy this earphone via amazon link provided in the review?

    @ljokerl can you say something about this?

  2. For about sixty euros, the EPH-100 headphones have a sound that emphasizes the bass, but also have a good sound reproduction.

  3. None of these (EPH-100, MA750, IE8) have flat bass or sound boring so you should be okay with any of them. MA750 is pretty lively thanks to having a bit more upper midrange than the EPH-100, so it wouldn’t be a bad choice by any means.

  4. Hi joker
    In your several comments you praised eph-100 more than ma750, but on your iem review list, RHAs are ranked very high even above sennheiser ie8,80s. I’m confused, what to buy, when coming from gr07B, which i think has Flat bass,which i think boring.

  5. Both, really – that’s a good price for the IE80, but still more $$ than the EPH-100 and I don’t think it delivers a superior listening experience.

    The extra durability with the detachable cable, over-the-ear form factor, and (I’m pretty sure) 2 year warranty would probably worth the extra $40-$50 for me, if I didn’t care about the superior isolation of the EPH-100.

  6. 1MORE isolation is quite mediocre, most IEMs will do better. I would go with the EPH-100 over the MC3, but neither sounds like the Triples. Triples have a v-shaped sound to them, with some boosted bass and treble. EPH-100 is bassier and warmer than the Triple, while the MC3 is the opposite – it has less bass and a leaner sound. EPH-100 is typically the “safe” choice as it has a very likable sound, but the warmth and extra bass do come at a slight clarity cost compared to the 1MOREs, as you would expect.

    Isolation is fantastic, though, even compared to the GR02.

  7. Given that the IE80 is going for around $179 on Amazon and the EPH-100 around $133, price being no object, which would you recommend for a high quality warm/smooth sound?

  8. Hey Joker,

    I have some 1More Triples and really like them but am looking for something with a bit more noise isolation. I went through several pairs of VSonic GR02s prior and the Triples don’t seem quite as good on the isolation front.

    I’m tossing up between the EPH-100 and the Etymotic Research ER7-MC3. I was curious as to how these compare against the 1More Triples, which of the two (EPH or MC3) would be better, and if it would be worth getting one to replace the Triples?

    Thanks!

  9. Similar scores because they’re quite evenly matched in performance. The best one to get will depend on your needs rather than the earphones.

  10. M6 PRO has a very different sound signature from what I understand… haven’t tried it myself.

    Unfortunately EPH-100 is very unique in both sound tuning and how much it isolates. You can try something like the RHA MA750… slightly different sound tuning but similar quality, tougher build, a little less isolation but still acceptable.

  11. Hello, I was wondering what would be best, the Yamaha EPH-100’s Vs. The RHA MA750. They are similar prices and scores so if you could recommend one I’d greatly appreciate it

  12. Hey joker, i’m on my second pair of eph-100 and the cable on this second pair is falling apart after about 1 1/2 years. I’m looking another iem with better build quality. I really like the sound signature and isolation of the eph-100. Is there anything you can recommend that is similar? I’m looking at the m6 pro but am not sure. A detachable cable would be great but not a deal breaker. Any suggestions? Thanks

  13. That’s a very interesting sound adjustment method, providing two separate jacks.

    Great feedback for anyone looking for a DAP to go with their EPH-100 – thanks!

  14. Recently bought a Xuelin player (model Ihifi 770c) coupled with the Eph-100s sounds really good. This player have two earphone plugs each with different sound signature: one “dark” for vocal music and one “bright” more suitable for instrumental tunes. Oh, don’t work together so cannot plug two earphones!
    One switch off the other. With this new player I can hear so many details that never hear before neither with the previous player (Creative) nor with any smart phone. So to enjoy full the great properties of those iem a decent player is a must! In my case, I found a great Chinese-Japanese synergy!

  15. just might check this out, jokerl, as a compliment to my flc 8s…i now better understand what you’d said earlier about how it’s sound sig differs from the sony mdr7550….it lacks a bit of warmth and musicality…but i do like the details…wish it had more bass muscle, too, howerver….still seeking the best compromise with balance, details, resolution and also musicality/warmth….so might be earsonics velvet…but $$$
    …the new audeze isines, rha cl1 (?) and flc celeste also all look promising…hope you’ll get a chance to review them.

  16. Hi Joker,

    What would be a good IEM to buy <$300 and <$1000 that is warm and smooth (enhanced bass and slightly enhanced mids), but has the detail of and is revealing like an analytical multi-BA IEM?

  17. EPH-100 will be tons more bass-heavy than something like the RE-400. It stacks up very well in sound quality to the other best-under-$150 IEMs, but the sound tuning is just not at all similar to the HiFiMan. Not sure about the AAW but the MA750 and H-100 wouldn’t be similar either. If you’re looking for clarity and a solid built, it might be worth to jump up to an ATH-IM02 from Audio-Technica. These are very well-made and have detachable cables. Sound signature is much more similar to RE-400 also. They run about $170.

    If you’re aiming to stay around $100, the Philips Fidelio S2 would be the closest match to the HiFiMan sound, but I’d also consider the DUNU Titan 1 if you don’t mind a brighter tone. These have excellent bass quantity, more forward mids (especially upper mids), and a brighter overall tone, but in terms of clarity and detail they are a better match for the RE-400 than something like the MA750 or EPH-100.

  18. Awesome, glad you’re enjoying the EPH-100s!

    The 1MORE Triples are overall more balanced than the EPH-100 and have a mildly v-shaped sound signature, but they don’t really have an advantage in clarity or detail. Not the best option if you specifically want to try something with more forward mids, clearer highs, or a wider soundstage.

    I’d rather add a DUNU Titan 1 to my collection at the same price to get all of those things in one shot. It’ll sound very different from the EPH-100, to the point where you might need a few days to get accustomed to the sound every time you switch between them, but it will be a fun contrast.

    Or, if you want something that’s only a slight contrast to the EPH-100, the inexpensive Sony MH1C would be a good way to go. It’s a similar signature with a slightly different balance, and is extremely inexpensive for the sound quality you get.

  19. I wasn’t notified of your reply so i just read it. In the meanwhile I bought the Yamaha EPH-100. I had my eye on IT ever since I came across your site a couple of years ago. And I was finally able to get them through a friend returning from UK.

    I have to say that and it sound absolutely great. You review is spot on! It sounds word for word just as you’ve described them in your review. The isolation is good and the stock eartips were very comfortable.I am very much in love with their sound signature.

    Since you recommended the 1more triple driver earphones how do they compare to EPH-100. Also are other earphones that sound more less like the EPH-100 but differ slightly in say either a little more forward mids or clearer highs or have a wider sound signature.

  20. Hi Joker, how do the yamaha eph-100 compares to cheaper iems like xiaomi pistons? I’ve got a Hifiman RE-400 but have issues with its build quality as the plastic housing for it came out. Looking to replace it with a similar iem(need not be the same sound signature but I do prefer a cleaner sounding 1 much like it, as I mostly and really like hearing vocal tracks). What other alternatives might I have? The RHA MA750, AAW Nebula One, T-peos H100?

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