It’s hard to imagine any part of a car’s engine as a thing of beauty if you’ve ever spent any time “playing” mechanic. And for those who never tinker with their car, the appearance of a spark plug, sans use, might be surprising. Not because of what it does, but because of how it looks. Which is pretty awesome. The best earbuds can also make you feel that way.
Id America agrees and so their Spark Hi-Def In-ear Headphones stand out because it adheres to the design. We’ll deal with that first, and get to how they sound later.
Once you open the nicely designed box, you say “That’s great but I’m never going to store them in this box, so what gives?” What gives is that there’s a leather case for storing the headphones when not in use — and small enough for a pocket but rigid enough not to get crushed. If you never use it, keep the added earbud inserts supplied inside for safe-keeping should you want to swap them out at a later time.
The Spark Hi-Def In-ear Headphones are a bit heavier than you might expect: that would be due to their being made of machined aluminum (contributing to more durability also). And they’re also not waterproof, like the Pyle Sports MP3 player. There’s an in-line control tab that operates in the usual manner, at least if using an iOS device like an iPhone — tapping it to answer a call or double-tapping for moving to the next song, or triple-tapping for going one song back. That the microphone is embedded in the tab should be obvious.
Related: If you want headphones with excellent sound quality, don’t miss out on our Jaybird X2 review.
Not so obvious though is what the headphones contain: an acoustic filter to work in tandem with the 8mm dynamic driver to start. The construction of the headphones comprises two layers of aluminum casing — that’s evident to the eye. As are the colored chrome accents that ride behind the fairly large (by earbud standards, anyway) foam pads you insert in your ears.
The other aspect of the Spark Hi-Def In-ear Headphones that counts is how they sound (some might say this is the ONLY thing that counts). I used them with my iPad and iPhone; in both cases high-resolution audio files, not cheesy, tiny MP3s playing. And yes the general functionality of the control tab works fine with iOS devices. As to what would happen on an Android phone physically, the only way to tell would be to try it out.
Related: Also check out our Harman Kardon Beautiful Sound NI In-Ear Headphones review.
I played a variety of pop songs from the 90s, along with some of my fav classical symphonies (that I carry Mahler on my iPhone should make you afraid…very afraid). You can get more than decent volume working from the Spark Hi-Def In-ear Headphones, but don’t go all the way up as it’s not just bad for your ears, but reaches a point where in-ears without any noise cancellation added start to get mucked. Raised to 3/4ths volume was fine, though.
Vocals were distinct and there wasn’t a time when I was getting razzed by the voices. In-ears are great for stereo separation effects, so try out pretty much any CARS album if you want to hear that. But you need to go to the classics to say whether a headphone can handle the layering of sound, along with bass not overpowering or muddying the audio being heard overall. In the case of the Spark Hi-Def In-ear Headphones, I’d put them firmly at the head of the class, if by “class” you mean the level below Extreme, Top, Really Good, “insert Spark Hi-Def In-ear Headphones” here. I’m thinking that the aluminum construction aids in the sound not “bleeding” out, but again all ears are different, and this could just be me. But then again, I’m the one wearing these headphones and listening to what I want to hear. So if it sounds good to me, so be it.
Bottom line: Solid construction in a pair of in-ear headphones ensures the quality of sound, but also that you’ll be able to hear that sound after multitudes of times pulling these Spark Hi-Def In-ear Headphones out of your pocket or bag (because you didn’t bother to put them inside a case). For $59 you’d be hard-pressed to find such a good-looking pair to adorn your ears, not to mention enjoying the audio they’re outputting.