8.9Came bundled with a free RE600 Wired Not good out of the box - needs 2 things before it reaches it's true potential It makes you want to exercise
Pros: Running is a pleasure, not a chore, with these on
They are reduced to $99 from $199
Battery life of 38.5 hoursCons: Inevitable bluetooth dropouts happen occasionally
They stick out of the ears, the wind likes that and throws everything it can at their shiny shells
Out of the box sound is a no go area. They need working on to make them worthy
The fit needs working on to make them worthy
Be ready to put in the necessary legwork to achieve the greatness(i.e watch my video)
HiFiMan TWS 600 – the ugly duckling which can be turned into a beautiful swan
This is a brief description of the first 6 months with my first TWS earbuds. HiFiMan sent me these for my opinion. In the true nature of headfiers to headfiers, there has been no influence on what I write here; good or bad.
The TWS market has really started to spring into life. As we all must realise by now, wireless is the future of the audio industry. Consumers are more than happy to not be trailing wires and stacking components on top of each other to listen to music. Most of which is now being streamed, of course. Headfiers don’t yet, in the main, fall into that category. Many of us have enough cables to open our own stores. The question is- in 5 years time, will cables cease to exist?
The manufacturers are turning to wireless streaming devices in their droves. For the portable market, the revolution has already started. TWS is now here to stay. Samsung and Apple and Beats are well on board, and a few of our favourite companies have also jumped on board. HiFiMan was one of the first. I met up with the TWS 600 in a hotel in Canvey Island. Of all the bars in all the joints, and you had to be in mine… well, I was invited by Mark, of HiFiMan and Headfi fame.
At the time, the TWS had been on sale in China for less than a week. @dill3000 and myself were subjected to a bewildering number of top, middle and cheapy cheapy products from our Chinese friends. We went from the TWS 600 to the Susvara over the course of a busy few hours of work. Ahh….all work and no play. What a chore it must have been, I can hear you say!
My first impressions of the TWS 600? It worked functionally well, the buds and case looked splendiforous, all resplendent and shiny and new. But the sound…. I wasn’t sure on that. The sound was detailed. But, it was thin and crisp. The bass sounded lean and artificial, there was some evidence of harshness in the upper mid and treble region, certainly to my ears.
I was subsequently sent a set. Eventually, my ears got accustomed to the eccentricities of the buds. While I was out running, as you can imagine with me gasping away and pounding the tarmac, certain frequencies were a little more muted. This made the whole experience a little more forgiving. I could appreciate the clarity of the vocal, or lead track. I had been working on eq to alleviate the bass issues and pulled some of the higher frequencies back.
I also had a few problems with the fit, my ears did not really like these buds, and had a particular dislike for the left one, attempting to dislodge it with any chance it got. I crushed a different sized tip into my ear canal and with a few micro adjustments on the hoof, I was able to safely transport them within the lugholes from a to b. The 2 problems had been slightly resolved, but I confess to putting the TWS 600 to one side for a few months.
My Wife did 2 things just after Christmas, both of which took me completely by surprise. 1 – she took up running. I never saw that coming again. 2 – she started using the TWS 600 for her runs. Jo swore by them, and, in fact, still swears by them. Jo is not an audiophile. She thinks we are all stark raving mad. She will think nothing of turning her nose up at a £1000 set of IEMs. The whole thing is nonsensical to the missus. And yet, she has made these buds her own. Jo was using stock tips, no eq and was happily playing internet radio through the phone, happy as Larry! I had not witnessed such behaviour. Jo hates wires. This was obviously the first attraction. Yet the sound signature that I had experienced didn’t seem to faze her at all. These aspects caused a great disturbance in me. I clearly had to take another look at one of the few HiFiMan products I have disliked.
The above video explains my journey. I spent a long time working through the huge stash of eartips I have collected over the years. I would feel too guilty on these pages to confess to how long that time was. You know the score, you’ve been there too, right? If not, think in terms of way too long. You’ll be halfway there. But, in my journey, I learned some things about what different types of tips do to the sound, certainly in my ears, and certainly for the TWS 600, which, incidentally, responds very differently to whichever hat you give it. My first thought, and Mark of HiFiMan’s first suggestion too; the obvious, the good ole foamie. Yep, the Complys was always going to be the first port of call for a bud lacking a bitta bass. Trouble was, when said squishy was applied, things weren’t perfect. There was more bass; it sounded less anaemic but it sounded too thick and artificial and the clarity of the upper mids and highs were too rolled back. The tips supplied by HiFiMan were of a very thin and flexible silicon. I contended that a thicker silicon with a foam insert might just the match I was looking for. I was right. I now have a bass that has a slight punch and have lost the harshness, or glare, in the upper frequencies, whilst retaining the clarity and detail that held a clue to the potential of the TWS all that time ago.
The next step was in finding a way for my strangely shaped ears to lock the 600s into place. I had been sent a big bag of tips from Venture Electronics to go with their Zen Dice LL earbud. 1 of the sets was what I can only describe as a silicon wing. The Dice LL would fall out of my ear. But with these wings in? Happy days! All good! I wondered whether such a set could be found that might fit around the bottom of the TWS shells. A few minutes of web trawling and I got my catch. 2 weeks later a set of wings arrived at my door. Without by chance or design, it appears that the TWS 600 has a protrusion around the middle of each shell. That shell will comfortably hold the silicon wings tightly into position. Once inserted in the ear, there is no need for any adjustments to the earbuds, no matter how much you sweat, no matter how hard you run. They don’t move. And they are not in any way uncomfortable.
I have spent some time with the TWS 600 getting it right. I know there have been those before me who have just sent them back. It has proven to me, as I have been shown time and time again, that it’s not over til it’s over. Things can be done to make a product personal. And effort is always rewarded. Talking of which, is it time to lace up those trainers that are gathering dust under your shoe rack? Let’s go running,