This inevitable creep towards better and better sound from a budget IEM is no surprise, but the quality which the Xiaomi Pistons exude is nothing short of stunning. We’ve come to expect some rough edges from cheaper models along with features we have to lump rather than like; however this new IEM changes (yet again) our view of what’s on offer for our little bit of money.
Thanks to the guys at Merimobiles for sending us this sample for review – they will also supply the Pistons to the four lucky competition winners (details at the bottom of this page).
The packaging and presentation is understated; once past the simple cardboard outer box, the earphones are displayed in a good quality plastic case, nestled in a piece of rubber which acts as a cable winder, although this might be a bit tiring to use every day. The chocolate-coloured rubber, together with the bronzed look of the Pistons makes for a real visual treat; perhaps a gentle lift for the expectations before the Pistons are listened to. It reminds me of novelty erasers which seemed to proliferate when I was at school – it smells like chocolate too!
There are 3 pairs of spare eartips along with those on the Pistons themselves, and a separate clip for the cable which takes a departure from the traditional ‘peg’ design. It’s more like a money clip; to remind us of the money we saved, perhaps?
The earphones themselves have a solid feel about them; this is not painted plastic but real metal. There’s no weight issue however, the Pistons sit still whether the cable is worn over the back of the ear, or straight down.
And the sound? It’s just bright and detailed enough without being harsh, and also smooth and mellow enough without sounding veiled. It’s a perfect balance. Having said that, with this version Xiaomi have elected to go for a vented design which cuts out a lot of internal reflections. It’s not an open design though, very little audible sound leaks out, or in.
Bass is very nicely balanced, it puts weight under kick drums and bass guitar without pumping them up unnecessarily. It stays in its place and leaves the midrange clear to impress with details and decays, while the high frequencies pick up details such as hi-hats and harmonics beautifully.
There is also a mic/control for Android handsets, but be careful not to be rude to whoever interrupts your listening pleasure!
To be in with the chance of winning one of four Xiaomi Pistons all you need to do is send a picture to either our Facebook or Twitter page of your current setup/headphones and explain why you should win a new pair of Pistons – on October 29th we will choose the four people who we feel deserve some new headphones. Be as creative as you want – we will put our favourite pics in our blog!
For more information on the Xiaomi Pistons you can visit the Merimobiles website HERE.