VIVACOVA was recently invited by BassBuds to review BassBuds in-ear headphones. A pair of BassBuds was sent to us free of charge and we were very excited to open the package. It retails for CAD$85. If you buy online, you can save $30 with discount code BB75257.
We got our in-house guest writer Tom, who was once a recording engineer and now a earphone enthusiast. He personally owns about 8 sets of in-ear earphones and over-ear headphones in addition to a few more sets of Apple earphones came with of his iPod collection. Tom often uses Boss, Monster, and Sennheiser to enjoy his music. Who better to do review this product, right?!
The product appeared in an attractive gift box which included the in-ear buds, several tips, a velvet carrying pouch, and user instructions. The provided tips included 6 sets of silicon single flange tips (small/medium/large in black and clear colours) and 3 sets (small/medium/large) black memory foam or “marshmallow” tips.
Overall the buds have a good balance and feel. The various included tips will ensure a comfortable fit, and the memory foam is extremely comfortable for long sessions. An Aluminium housing, protected cable and weight gives a good fit and finish to the buds. I was presented with a “platinum” colour “Classic” set of buds which had an element of bling (as advertised) as they included a Swarovski crystal, however that colour in particular helped dress down the buds for those looking for a more conservative look. BassBuds are also available as a “Classic Collection” in various finishes including silver, blue, red, pink, black, gold, purple, and yellow. The buds also come in a “Fashion Collection” with several other colour combinations, some rather striking and unique with interplay between the colour of the buds and their tips. Although the fashion or bling element of these buds is clearly a marketing focus of the product, it is refreshing to see some colour available for those who wish to add a little flair. How many black headphones have you owned in your time? For me: too many.
BassBuds contain a mid-cable control button which acts as a toggle switch to answer calls on your Smartphone using the buds. I found this to be a handy feature and although many other buds offer this, it is typically at an additional cost over mere headphone buds. This control button not only gives some welcome weight to the cable for proper placement but it also serves as a great control feature for your music. The button acts as a play/pause (1 click), advance to next track (2 clicks), or revert to prior track (3 clicks). The control button also toggled play/pause for movies and other video files on my new iPad, which I enjoyed. While the audio control feature is useful it took some getting used to for timing to avoid accidentally switching between play/pause when attempting to navigate between tracks. Once learned it was a great feature while enjoying the mobility of the buds. The cable also contains a microphone on the right side which is in-line and at jaw level (on me anyway). The microphone does as promised and allows me to quickly respond/access my Smartphone and I was advised it has good clarity for the person on the other end of my calls.
The cable weight of the BassBuds is a little light compared to some and has a plastic feel. The lack of weight tends to create potential for snags when on the go but the cable is advertised as durable and double wrapped and it seems to be the case. Cable length is 1.2m, or approximately 4 feet, which is a typical length. My view of cable length is that it is a personal preference and I like this cable length offered by BassBuds. Simply put, I can extend the cable should I wish, but I tend to use in-ear buds when I wish to be mobile and do not want to struggle with excessive cord. Cable damage from snags comes to mind (e.g. at the gym). With the BassBuds the cable is integrated into the buds and is not detachable so any damage presumably renders the buds useless – but it is rare to see otherwise at this price point and again the cable appears to be double wrapped and durable.
The buds themselves have a 3.5mm gold plated jack and 9mm dynamic drivers with neodymium magnets. They are advertised as providing a distortion free bass with a crispy treble range. Initially I found the response to be bass favoured with the mids somewhat flat adding to a limited mid-high range. This mix often works well with Pop or bass heavy Club/Dance, Rap, or Hip Hop tracks but tends to lose something when listening to more acoustic music or music with greater dynamic or harmonic range. As I spent more time with the buds I found more detail and overall response, but often the bass weight limited the dynamics of more expressive content. It is not really that the mid to highs lack clarity, it is that the weight of the bass reduces presence and dynamic range in some tracks. It simply defeats the depth of the finer (e.g. harmonic) points of some music. This was far less noticeable when listening to spoken tracks, e-books, pod casts, movies or other videos etc. in which the audio stayed within a narrower band of frequency. That said, despite the accent of the lower frequencies, I found good overall presence for the price point. I have used many sets of much more expensive buds and I found the BassBuds to be more open, tonally balanced, and defined then many buds at twice (or more) the cost.
Pros: Overall good balance and feel with presence and detail in response. Handy in-line phone/audio control with microphone.
Cons: Clearly a bass mix with flat mids but still manages to produce surprising clarity on various tracks.
Bottom Line: BassBuds have an attractive product with quality included accessories. Good fit and finish with sound response, presence and clarity as good (or better) than several higher price buds on the market. If you prefer bass oriented audio you will enjoy these buds. At the price point BassBuds are a great buy.
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