What I do get on with it is its lively, clear, and fun sound. It’s a sound Beyer DT880 fans, and K701 fans will find easy to get into. It’s got more low-end punch than the K701, and it projects a stage wider than it should considering that it’s just an earphone.
It’s not stereo width described by crazy contrast between frequencies. No tricks. So when listening to Wu Tang Clan, Ghost’ll sometimes rap behind your head. I don’t know about you, but, honestly, that freaks me out. Voices almost linearly from one ear to the other, leaving plenty of room through which air weaves and dodges. But the stage isn’t just wide. It’s full.
Probably the biggest reason for this is that the 1Plus2’s polite bass extends nearly as far to the left and right. It solidifies basically everything above it, giving weight and presence to the super-duper wide stage. Most of the width is on the X-axis. Environmental cues don’t travel that far on the Z axis. Instead, they cover a centrally tall, but relatively narrow crescent on the Y axis.
And thanks to the 1Plus2’s speed, it puts up a pretty good 3D image. It is low-contrast with super-quick recovery. Elements important to staging spring to life and shimmer a bit in their niches. The interplay between each is absolutely natural: neither stuffy, nor too contrasty. You could call it live.
Extension in both directions is great, but what jumps out at you is what’s in and above the midrange. It’s energetic, it’s forward-tilted. It’s sharp where it needs to be, but never too sharp. And this is the biggest reason why I think Beyer DT880 fans will ‘get’ this earphone. That, or they just won’t go back. 1Plus2 completely out-classes the DT880.
The main area where the 1Plus2 leads the DT880 is its forward-tilted midrange. This range never leads to sibilance, though it does get sharp up top. It’s not a hyperbolic tilt but it is obvious. Think CK10, but with a wider upper-frequency stage. And there is no obvious U-shape to the music. There’s just glorious energy, glorious spread, anchored by a firm, but light bass.
It is an earphone totally meant for trance and progressive. And to a lesser extent, EDM. And metal. Oh yes, metal is GREAT through the 1Plus2. Despite packing in two balanced armatures plus a 10mm dynamic woofer, it keeps flawless pace with the fastest Russian trance stuff from the early 2000s. And a multi-tracking young Lars Ulrich couldn’t hope to Dyer’s Eve to out-pace it.
But this sense of speed is somewhat lost on hip hop and jazz. It’s great for classical, edgy enough for live, wide enough for live folk. It’s supremely natural. Come to think of it, you know what the 1Plus2 really reminds me of? Only my favorite earphone of all time, the Grado GR10, that’s what. It’s just more of everything the GR10 is good at. More space, more sparkle, transitions on par, and perfect cohesion. It is, however, a bit brighter than the GR10. I guess that goes in the ‘more’ column.
If only it fit like the GR10.
And that is the 1Plus2’s major gotcha. Keeping it in place, and comfy, is tough stuff. And even when it gets where it’s supposed to be, it has to be situated and re-situate it every five or ten minutes. The cable is nice. The sound is freaking heaven. My god, the sound is heavenly. As said above, it’s more of what the Grado GR10 does, and a lot of that, better. Its accessory kit is good and its packaging so much better than the competition from the region. But it’s a bugger to use in portable kits unless you are absolutely devoted to a philosophy which I consider ridiculous. That philosophy? Best-sound-and-damn-everything-else.
As long as thick midrange and globular bass isn’t your thing, I’d suggest picking up the 1Plus2 over the FitEar ToGo!334. Hands-down, it is the more natural earphone. It may not tap the toes quite as much, or sweeten the mids to the same degree, but holy frack, it sings. It sings so good- just before squirming out of the ears for the fifteenth time.
If Gavin can perfect a chassis that sits flush and stays put, there’d be very little reason ever for anyone that digs this sort of sound to ever think of another earphone. Well played.