Unboxing / Packaging:
Those familiar with Simgot packaging with recognize the EM1 box as being exactly like the other siblings in the EM line. Slipcover with a lift-top underneath and understated graphics. The slipcover has all the details regarding model so the inner packaging is exactly like the other EM models. Earpieces are in a foam tray at top, carrying case below with accessories hiding inside a box in the lower compartments. This is perhaps a higher level of packing for an entry level model, but it does keep the line in parity.
Accessories with the EM1 are two sets of three tips (balanced and bass enhancing in SML), a soft cloth bag, and instructions. Here we can see the first difference in the entry level and the levels above as the case has gone from being the embossed leather magnetic closure design of the upper models to a simpler drawstring bag but it still serves the purpose well.
Shape is shared by all the EM line of earphones, but unlike the previously reviewed EM2 that used smoked transparent housings, the EM1 uses red/blue transparent housings to differentiate left and right earpieces. The polymer used is light weight, well shaped and comfortable in the ear and offers to move very little. For me seating depth is slightly shallow but with large tips a good seal is fairly easily achieved (this requires a size larger tip than I typically wear). There is a single vent on the inside of the shell slightly offset behind the center of the driver and visible in photo 4 and 5 below. Nozzles are Nickel-plated brass and exit the front of the earpieces with a forward rake.
The driver in the EM1 is the same 10mm titanium plated composite dynamic of the EN700 Pro so we expect to see similar strengths and weaknesses here. (This is nice for those that like the EN700 Pro but want to spend a few less coin). Nominal impedance is listed as 16Ω with a sensitvity of >101dB/mW at 1kHz. I found the EM1 was easy enough to drive with a phone or tablet but does scale some with better amplification. The ceiling is still reasonably low as I didn’t see much of a boost going from something like the xDSD to something like the Burson Swing/Fun combination.
The provided cable is listed as a 4 core 6N OFC braided copper cable. The Jack is the straight TRS style with a brushed aluminum in clear soft rubber coating with a proper strain relief and a cable tie for use during storage. Cable is two twisted pairs that are then twisted together up to the splitter and single above it. The splitter matches the jack in style with brushed aluminum inside a soft rubber casing. From there, each pair exits and runs to a pre-formed hook without memory wire and a .78mm hooded bi-pin connector. This connector style is becoming more common but is still semi-proprietary as not all the recesses are the same dimensions. L/R marking on the connectors are extremely hard to see and a red/blue arrangement instead of the brushed aluminum bands would alleviate this and complement the earpieces as well (just a thought).
Two cards of tips are provided each containing small, medium, and large tips. The first card is the balanced tips, while the 2nd card is low frequency enhancing. Both styles are single-flanged silicone tips but lengths differ between styles with the bass enhancing tips being taller while the matching neutral tips are wider but not as tall. They are indeed enough different to change the signature and it would be nice if Simgot offered the ability to buy extra pairs of your preferred size and type. For my listening, I used some of each style of tips as the bass enhancement was fun for pleasure listening while the neutral/high frequency tips are a bit closer to neutral (but still not close). Unlike some of the other Simgot models, the EM1 is very much tuned for pleasure listening rather than critical listening so you might was well do what you most enjoy right?
I have to admit that with the EM1 sharing a driver with the EN700 Pro, I expected some similarities in the sound profile and some of the same weaknesses to persist. I am very happy to say that the breakdown of the bass at higher volumes on the EN700 Pro does not seem to be shared by its little brother (unless above normal listening levels). That issue may have more to do with shell material and reflections than it does with the driver itself. Sub-bass is present in good quantity with reasonable rumble and roll-off not becoming notable until into the 40Hz range. Mid-bass is in similar quantity to sub-bass and while elevated slightly, it doesn’t bloom or get boomy. There is some perceptible bleed into the lower mids thats add a bit of warmth, but doesn’t detract substantially from detail (partially as this isnt a super detailed earphone to start with.) Overall the low end is good for those looking for headphones for popular genres that need a good bit of slam and rumble.
Lower mids have some shadow from the mid-bass bleed and are slightly recessed but begin to climb forward pretty quickly with upper mids being substantially forward. For this reason higher pitched vocals can sound in front of lower but lower have a bit more warmth and natural tone to them. The climb is gradual so it is hard to pinpoint at exactly what point things start moving forward in the signature and guitar at times seems on even footing with both male and female vocals. String timbre is helped by pushing the mids and upper-mids forward and is better than expected on an entry level product.
Lower treble plateaus as it exits the upper-mids so it is inline with upper mids and gives vocals a bit more energy and life. True treble climbs a bit more forward with roll-off not being evident until above about the 7kHz mark. Sparkle and air are better than expected giving the EM1 a nice open sound. I did detect a touch of sibilance, but only with tracks that are known for having it recorded in and tracks with string noise (AKA Boston) are very prominent due to the treble tuning.
Soundstage / Imaging:
Instrument separation is unfortunately only middle of the pack performance and limits both the stage size and the imaging of the EM1. Soundstage is wider than deep and needs that width as instruments tend to overlap on more complex materials at times. A narrower stage would likely sound considerably congested as a result. Imaging is also good as long as their isnt too much going on, but can get a little off as things get complex. Seating the orchestra in your head sometimes overlaps instruments and sometimes gets them slightly out of sequence. While certainly not critical in an entry level set aimed at the casual listener, this will put some people off.
Thoughts / Conclusion:
Lets just start with this. If you are looking for a neutral highly detailed audiophile earphone, this is not it. If you are looking for something to pair with your phone and listen to your favorite hip-hop or pop, this will do swimmingly well. It has good thump and rumble at the low end, plenty of air at the top, and the mids aren’t down in a hole like so many entry level V tunings tend to be. If I was shopping for a music loving friend for a birthday or holliday gift, these would be one of my top picks as their tuning offers something for those who like bass, something for those who like treble and something for those who prefer a mid-centric tuning. I’m not quite sure how they pulled that off as it isnt a common trick. What they trade to get that, is a bit of detail and they don’t have the worlds best instrument separation both things that can certainly be lived with at this price point. If you have music lover on your gift list, or if you are the music lover and want to give yourself the gift, the EM1 makes a good choice.
- Bass - 6.5/106.5/10
- Mids - 6/106/10
- Treble - 6.5/106.5/10
- SoundStage - 5/105/10
- Imaging - 5/105/10
Pros: Great tuning, very enjoyable with popular genres. Nice departure from typical V signatures.
Cons: Only average detail retrieval, some issues with instrument seperation