We tested the Thinksound ts01 using our Apple iPod, Apple iMac internal soundcard and a PC using a Sound Blaster X-Fi Extreme Audio sound card. Music sources included Rodrigo y Bariela’s World, Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D. and Linkin Park’s Road to Midnight. The great thing about wood canal phones are that you can expect a more natural sound that is neither too tight and rigid, or sloppy. It also means that you should expect a break-in period of 40+ hours to let them show off their true colors.
The ts01 produces a convincing soundstage and great imaging that truly highlights the warmth produced by acoustical music. They performed admirably while playing hip hop, and really showed off the bass response of the large 10mm drivers, but we did notice that vocals and mid-range definitely took a backseat to the strong emphasis on bass. Vocals in particular sound more distant than they should. Remember, the ts01’s are designed for those bass lovers, and we feel that they were able to compete directly with earbuds coming from the Monster Beats product line in this category. In fact, they were a lot more versatile and did great across multiple music genres. One of the biggest concerns we have with earbuds of this design, with larger drivers and especially wooden enclosures is their ability to keep up with faster paced genres like electronica and rock. The Thunders did great; they did not distort at high volumes or get sloppy when the pace picked up.
If you plan on using these canal phones for everyday like jogging or working out while walking etc., there are a couple concerns we have. First, because the ts01’s use wooden enclosures, we aren’t sure how they will react to water or sweat. They could possibly warp or even be damaged considerably if the protective lacquer on the wood is penetrated. Another big pet-peeve of ours is the noise generated by the headphone cord (microphonics, in audiophile terms). Because Thinksound includes a cord clip, this can help the issue a lot, but if you plan on walking to work with these, you had better be able to tolerate the noise here. Atomic, based in the UK, has partially solved this problem by wrapping their cords in cloth, which seems to help a lot.
Eco-junkies and fans of high quality audio will be very pleased with the Thinksound ts01 canal phones. They sound great, have a good build quality and best of all, they have a limited impact on the environment. Priced at $75, we feel that the ts01’s can compete with the best-known brands in this space.
- Good sound quality
- Solid, tight bass
- Well-built, high quality parts
- Good value
- Vocals in hip-hop sound distant
- Cord noise