Earbud Review: ThinkSound TS02 8mm High Definition Passive Noise Isolating Wooden Headphone (Black/Chocolate)

ThinkSound TS02 photo

Detail of ThinkSound TS02 earbuds with included cloth case
Detail of ThinkSound TS02 earbuds with included cloth case | Source

Introduction: thinksound ts02

I bought one of the original Walkman cassette players back in the 80s, so I'm pretty familiar with the concept of portable audio players and headphones. I don't consider myself an audiophile, but I do love music and have a rather eclectic, wide-ranging taste in music, from rock to pop, classical to country. I love almost all and enjoy the warm strings of a cello concerto as much as the driving bass beat of a good rock song. Chopin to Speedwagon, Mozart to Adele.

I've also been on a mission to find the best headphones under $100. So far, I've tried NuForce NE600x, Klipsch S4, JVC Xtreme Xplosive HA-FX3X, and others. So, how does the ts02 stack up against those other 'phones (even the reference Klipsch)? Turns out they do pretty well. In fact, the ts02 have become some of me favorite earbuds and one of my best go-to 'phones. Here's why:

Detail and Listening Impressions

Small and light, with high quality of construction, the ts02 by thinksound offer a very comfortable fit (I use the small tips). The packaging is also nice - all recyclable paper and cardboard - with almost no plastic. Very environmentally friendly! The ts02 also includes a nice, soft cotton bag with drawstring for storage. Available in either black/chocolate or silver/cherry finish and featuring a tangle-resistant, 1.2mm rubber cable with a straight, gold-plated 3.5mm plug, they come with a canvas bag and three sets of ear cushions to provide for the best fit.They are also available with an inline microphone, for use with your smartphone. The model tested for this review, however is the standard ts02 without the microphone, but sound quality should be the same.

The sound is very good - full, solid bass balanced with bright but not harsh highs and a nice, warm mid-range. Overall, it gives a very relaxed experience for the listener. Their balanced sound makes the ts02 earbuds very easy to use for extended periods of time, with little fatigue noted. Nearly everyone I have asked to try these out wanted to keep them! Compared to the other earbuds I've tried, the bass is not as prominent as the JVCs or the NuForce. The appearance and overall quality seems much nicer than the acclaimed Klipsch S4, while providing a nicer mid-range experience and comparable soundstage. These are some seriously good-sounding earbuds for under $100!

Specifications

Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz

Sensitivity: 99 ±3 dB @ 1KHz 1mW

Impedance: 16 ohms

Driver: 8mm dynamic

Weight: 10g

Cable: 1.2m rubber, tangle-resistant, Kevlar-reinforced

Plug: 3.5mm, gold-plated

Noise Reduction: passive

Warranty: one year

MSRP: $99 (but available for less on Amazon)


Wrap-Up

The competition for quality earbuds in the sub-$100 range is stacking up, with some pretty stiff rivals from larger brands such as JVC, Klipsch, Sony and others, but with their combination of impressive soundstage, warm, balanced sound and beautiful build, these 'buds from thinksound are tough to beat. Overall, an excellent set of IEMs and well worth the money!

Did you like this article? Please feel free to leave a comment or feedback below, and for more earbud, headphone and tech reviews, follow me on Twitter! @danpetreikis

© 2013 Daniel Petreikis

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