Five months ago we reviewed the Thinksound ts02+mic earbuds and were impressed with their sound quality, nice warm mids and very deep tight bass. Today we are reviewing the Thinksound ts02 canal phones which are essentially the same product minus the microphone and cell phone compatibility.
Touted as “high definition” headphones, the ts02 canal phones feature an 8mm driver housed in a wooden enclosure. Thinksound claims the wooden enclosure helps to provide a natural and accurate music reproduction. Add the hemp-looking cloth bag, the recycled packaging materials combined with the wooden enclosure, and you have a pretty good marketing story right?
What separates the ts02 from the other canal phones in the company’s arsenal is a smaller-sized 8mm driver (the rain micros use a 9mm driver and the larger ts01’s use a 10mm driver) which featurs a solid 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response.
Priced at $79 MSRP, you can purchase the ts02 canal phones from the Thinksound directly or from other online retailers.
Features and Design
The ts02 canal phones come with four different silicon tips to fit any ear size, a 3.5mm (standard-sized) gold plated plug, cord clip and carrying case. Thinksound has increased the warranty since the last pair of headphones we reviewed, to an impressive one year. While the packaging and overall presentation would suggest a pair of canal phones that might fall in the “value” category found at your local Target store, make no mistake, these are high-end canal phones and their $79 price tag should give that away.
Fit and finish of the canal phones themselves are above average, with a high-quality wood stain on the ear pieces and soft silicon tips. Accessories we would have liked to have seen (and which are becoming typical fare lately) would include an audio splitter and airline adapter.
We tested the ts02 canal phones using an Apple iPod nano and an Apple iPhone 4. Music in our tests included Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus, Broken Bells’ The High Road and Johnny Cash’s The Legend of Johnny Cash. We broke the ts02’s in for more than 40 hours before testing.
True to advertising, the ts02 exhibit exceptional bass which although tight and deep, can become overwhelming at times. Midrange audio and vocals are a step back from the front of the soundstage, but are still not drowned out and provide a warm, enveloping feel. Acoustic and vocal tracks in general feel full sounding. Those into hip hop will enjoy the deep bass; we didn’t experience any muddiness in our tests.
After prolonged use, we didn’t experience any major ear fatigue either (read: sore ears) thanks to the softer-than-normal silicon ear tips.
Thinksound has a solid winner on their hands with the ts02’s. Audio enthusiasts should find these ear buds sound great with most, if not all music genres; imaging and a warm midrange really make the ts02’s stand out. Bass is a tad on the heavy side, and may not appeal to audio purists.
The $79 price tag is also a little high, we feel. The sweet spot here should be in the $60-70 range. Overall, the Thinksound ts02 canal phones will definitely be appealing to people wanting a good set of headphones for their music player. Staying true to form, Thinksound did not disappoint.
- Strong bass
- Warm, deep midrange
- Well-balanced highs
- We would like more accessories
- We miss the clear softer silicone tips