In my reviews for various audio equipment, one of the things I always look for is whether or not myself or any user for that matter can tune the overall sound of the equipment to their liking. Being able to adjust the way a device sounds on the fly is really key to getting the most out of any equipment on a song-to-song basis. So when I found out about MEElectronics’ SP51P headphones with the ability to tune the sound using a set of small gears that screw into the back of the earphones, I was excited to see a clever solution to this problem approached in small, portable headphones.
First of all, the basic sound of these earphones is very clear for the price. A bit more full than your standard generic earphones, they don’t quite make the full leap up from entry- to mid-level in terms of audio quality. Any time a cymbal is hit, I find myself wincing slightly from the way the sound sort of rings in my ear, and while lowering the volume clears this problem up, it leaves me listening to my music at a level lower than I am accustomed to. It’s a trade-off I’m not exactly thrilled to make, but then I figure that’s where the performance tuning of this product comes into play.
The MEElectronics SP51P earphones come with a set of 6 small, color-coded gears that screw into the back of the earphones. The silver gears represent neutral bass, the metallic colored ones offer enhanced bass, and the black ones provide extreme bass. When I went to go increase the bass to see just what these headphones could do, I was disappointed to find that mine had shipped with the black gears already inserted. Certainly the bass on this level is a bit stronger than most cheaper earphones, but going downward brought the bass to nearly inaudible levels. Certainly, not everybody likes booming bass, but to take it out of the equation completely is kind of silly.
The earphones’ cord is fairly long, surrounded by a clear flexible plastic that should keep it from getting nicked or scraped up. The downside being that if a break in the wire were to occur, I imagine it would be very difficult to get in there and start trying to tape the wire up. In addition to the different tuning gears, the SP51P’s also come with a few differently shaped covers for the earphones themselves, and these fit in the case just as easily as all of the other items, making them nicely customizable as they might be passed around to listen to different things for different people.
For the list price, I expected a more rich sound from the MEElectronics SP51P, instead getting something only sligtly above the most commonly available, $20-range earphones. Because the design of them is so wide as well, I have a harder time keeping them in and keeping noise out compared to more compact and round designs.
MEElectronics’ SP51P earphones approach a common problem for smaller headphones in a fairly clever way, opting for something that can be done about the actual hardware itself rather than a traditional tuner used to adjust the levels. The concept of these earphones is fantastic, and I hope that MEElectronics continues to pursue this idea, preferrably with some more power in a higher-end model, but these don’t really justify the jump in price from a standard pair to this more specialized set. If you want something a little fancy and unusual without spending $75 on earphones, you can get away with enjoying these, but I found their main selling point of tuning the sound to be an overall disappointment.
Bottom Line: The MEElectronics SP51P earphones address are trying to pioneer a very worthwhile idea: headphones with adjustable levels, but by really failing to deliver on that main promise, they leave a bad taste in the listener’s mouth. Correcting the problem would be as simple as marketing these as bass-reducing headphones for people who don’t like the buzzes and thumps, but as it stands the extreme bass option is anything but.
- The SP51P model includes a microphone which can be utilized with most smart phones and several other devices to switch between listening to music and making a phone call or other recording
- Three different sets of tuning gears that screw into the earphones allow listeners to adjust the bass levels to their liking
- Comes packed with a sturdy, zippered case that houses the earphones and the adjustment pegs which can fit into virtually any pocket comfortably
- The different tuning levels only affect the output strength of the bass, so that other aspects of the sound can not be adjusted
- The highest bass level feels fairly standard at best, with the lower levels becoming virtually bass-free and take away from the listening experience
- The tuning gears are incredibly small and round, which makes changing the settings on the road in a car, bus, or even an airplane an extremely bad idea.
The MEElectronics SP51P Sound Preference In-Ear Headphones are available at Amazon for $42.15.