Samsung EHS71 Earphones with Mic
(3.5 star rating)
When most people hear the brand name Samsung, they think of the company's HD televisions, the Galaxy line of tablets or the Galaxy S line of cell phones. But what you may not know is that the company also offers audio accessories – in-ear headsets such as the EHS63 and EHS70 - which we have recently had the opportunity to review.
Up next is their top-of-the-line EHS71 in-ear set, which retails at $129.99 and includes an in-line mic for hands-free phone calls. It promises a more refined sound than the EHS63 and EHS70. The $100 -$200 price bracket is a crowded one for in-ear headphones --- let's give the EHS71 a listen to see how they stack up to the competition.
With a polished silver-color aluminum housing, the EHS71 looks quite similar to the MEElec M16 I had reviewed a few months ago. Other than the obvious price difference, the biggest difference between the two is that the EHS71 uses a balanced armature driver versus a dynamic driver for the M16. They are more slender than the M16 and the slim housing is one of the smallest of all the in-ears that we have reviewed. The aluminum material makes the earphones lightweight ---.8 oz. is all these tiny earphones weigh.
Similar to the EHS70, these are straight-angle design which means the EHS71 can be worn either under-the-ear or looped over the ear. Tiny metal filters are used to keep dust and earwax from getting lodged in the nozzle, which is a welcome upgrade over typical soft mesh filters.
The included inline remote control is exactly the same as the EHS70, which means it can also be used with a mobile phone for voice communication (such as an iPad or iPhone). The cable is 120cm (47 in.) long and a cable shirt clip is included to help minimize cable noise.
In the Box
- EHS71 earphones with inline microphone
- Soft leather carrying case
- Silicone eartips (S/M/L sizes)
- Warranty card
- Model #: EHS71AVNSEGSTA
- Refined sound delivery for all types of music
- Comfortable ear-canal gels with aluminum finished heads
- Tangle-resistant cord prevents twisting and bunching
- In-line multi-function answer/call button
|Overhead view||Back view|
Sound Performance Testing
The sound quality performance evaluation of the Samsung EHS71 earphones was carried out exclusively by listening to MP3s and FLAC music stored on my Sansa Clip+. I listened to a number MP3s with bit rates of 128kbps and 320kbps, as well as lossless audio tracks in FLAC and .wav format. A wide selection of classical, rock, alternative and hip-hop music was used in the evaluation.
After a burn-in period of about 40 hours, the EHS71 produced what I would describe as a sharp, detailed sound signature. A "refined sound" is what was advertised for the EHS71, and I can only conclude that this meant the sound engineers decided to emphasize treble and deemphasize hard-hitting bass. The upper frequencies were the highlight of these earphones – a lot of energy and brightness in the upper registers were the hallmark of the EHS71. While I enjoyed this characteristic for the most part, it was not particularly well-balanced across the rest of the spectrum and I found it to be fatiguing to my ears.
Mid-frequencies were detailed and fairly smooth sounding. The detail level was quite good and the EHS71 delivers just as well as other detail-focused 'phones such as the MEElec CC51. Mid-bass was not overly pronounced, which I found pleasing and overall the earphones were on the dark side tonally.
Unfortunately the EHS71 came up short in the bass department. Very little texture to the bass notes, along with a marked absence of punch, left me craving more bass impact. Competitors in this price range, such as the Velodyne vPulse provide superior low-end.
The soundstage of the EHS71 was adequate and neither impressed nor disappointed. It is slightly better than the average $50 earphone, with fairly good presentation of depth and width in most tracks. In this respect they were similar to the EHS70.
|Filter closeup||In-line controls and 3.5mm plug|
Usage on-the-go and Comfort
The included leather covered carrying case and the light weight of the EHS71 makes them easily portable. The inline microphone works just like the EHS70 and performed the same with my Android devices. It is a welcome feature but only is serviceable in relatively quiet conditions --- it does pick up wind noise outdoors. I would not rely on it as my primary headset for hands-free phone calls but it suffices for occasional usage.
The EHS71 does well in the comfort department, especially for those people with small ear canals. The thin nozzle size was a welcome sight for me and I was able to easily get a tight seal in my ears. I found them to be quite comfortable to use while on-the-go.
Cable / Cord Noise
Cord noise, known as microphonics, was essentially the same as the EHS70 with a slight improvement due to the use of the cable shirt clip. As with the EHS70, the nylon sheath cable does a nice job at minimizing cable noise. Bouncing the cable around during exercise produced some cable noise, but it was not noticeable during normal day-to-day use.
Samsung EHS71 Earphones with Mic
The $129-priced EHS71 is a noticeable step up from the EHS70 in terms of sound quality, but it also faces very stiff competition at this price point. It is a clear winner when it comes to sonic detail and treble energy, but its shortcoming in the low-end makes it hard to recommend as an all-around IEM. Similarly, it excels in the comfort area but was difficult to enjoy listening for more than 20-30 minutes at a time due to the overly bright sound signature. It wouldn't be my first recommendation in the $100 price range for an all-around earphone, but if you like your music to sound lively and vigorous then the EHS71 is worth a listen.
Pros: Lively high frequencies; easy to use and comfortable to wear; included leather carrying case is a nice touch.
Cons: Timid bass; sound can come across as overly bright.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5