Pros: Mids, accessories, design and looks, comfort, build quality
Cons: Availability outside the US, sibilant highs, getting the right seal
Packaging & Accessories: 9.5/10
Build Quality: 9/10
Design & Look: 9/10
Microphonics (higher ratings means lower cable noise): 8/10
Sound Quality: 8/10
My final Rating: 8/10
Review Date: March 2016
Review Price: £140
First of all I would like to thank Echobox for reaching out to me and sending the Finder X1 for review. I had never heard about the brand before, but was made aware about their Indiegogo campaign through a quick Google search.
The earphones are available through Echobox’s website for $199, which translates to around £140. The problem for people outside the US, including myself is the fact that you’ll probably have to pay a hefty customs and import fee on top of the price tag, which might mean the earphones will end up costing you over £180, rather than £140.
Just for the sake of simplicity I’ll be reviewing them at the £140 price tag, but do bear in mind their availability and the limitations of getting them in your country.
Here’s my video review of the Finder X1:
Let’s get on with this written review!
Packaging & Accessories
The packaging on the outside is beautifully designed and looks like something that’s dropped out of Mars, with its well-crafted colours. However, getting things out of the packaging is a pain. This is a very rare occasion where I’ll have to comment on the poor choice of design in packaging.
I found getting the small filters out of the packaging an absolute pain, so much so that I had to use my knife (where I risked damaging the small filters) to get them out! I found this utterly ridiculous as it’s the first time I’ve ever had to do something like this.
Thankfully the package contents are great – on a side note, you get a set of small and medium Comply foam tips, which aren’t included in the packaging, but were included in the box that the Finder X1 came in.
Here’s what you get:
- Hard carrying case
- S, M T-400 Comply Foam Tips
- Red and black filters (Grey pre-installed on the earphones)
- M dual flange silicon tips
- M triple flange silicon tips
- S, 2x M, L silicon tips
I was very impressed with what’s included, especially because of the inclusion of customisable filters, which remind me of my Phonak Audéo PFE 232 earphones and the fact that the earphones come with T-400 Comply foam tips, which is great to improve overall comfort and isolation.
It would have been great to have a soft carrying pouch also included, as I don’t see myself really using the hard carrying pouch on-the-go, unless I put it in a bag of sorts. Unfortunately, it just wouldn’t fit in my jeans pocket comfortably.
Overall I’m extremely impressed with the accessories, and would have given this section a full 10/10 if it wasn’t for the annoying packaging problems I had.
The build quality of the earphones is almost perfect, where Echobox have designed a well-built earphone through its titanium housing.
The Finder X1 is terminated by a straight gold-plated 3.5mm jack, which is a little annoying, as I would have much preferred a right-angled jack which helps the overall longevity of the earphones.
Moving up the thin, yet beautifully crafted cable, there’s a Y-split which has a cable cinch included to better manage your earphones. Speaking of which, I did find the earphones to tangle a little, but it wasn’t a huge problem. Regarding cable noise, the Finder X1 did have slight microphonics to them, but this was reduced when the earphones were worn over-the-ear, rather than the standard straight-down way of wearing them.
The housing of the earphones is really well made, and according to Echobox can survive quite a beating, due to their titanium housing. What I really like about the Finder X1’s housing is the fact that the left and right indicator is very subtly represented by a small brown-ish (right) and black (left) colour scheme found by the entry of the wire to the earphones’ housing. This small colour coding isn’t in-your-face and yet helps with knowing which way the earphones go in! There’s also a left and right indicator very faintly written on the earphones.
The filters are by far one of the most interesting points of the earphones, whereby you can change the sound signature of your earphones by a simple filter change. Now the manual states that the grey filter offers a warmer sound, the black one a more balanced sound and the red filters a treble-orientated sound. In my case, I found the red filter description accurate, however the black filters sounded a lot more warmer and balanced and yet the grey filters were more treble focused and more fatiguing – somewhat in-between the black and red filter! I’m not sure what the reasoning is here, but that was my experiences and I can’t agree with the written description in Echobox’s manual.
Overall, the build quality is almost perfect, and I was impressed with the build quality of the earphones’ housing!
Design, looks, comfort and isolation
In terms of pure looks, I find the Finder X1 to be extremely attractive, where their spaceship style design makes it aesthetically pleasing to look at and are also very low-profile earphones whilst in-ear.
The earphones had decent isolation, mainly because they sit quite deeply in your ears. However, given their relatively low-profile, they don’t naturally block out much external environment noise.
The Finder X1 are extremely comfortable earphones to wear. Despite being made out of titanium, I was impressed by how lightweight they were and how they felt in-ear. As mentioned earlier, they can be worn both straight down and over-the-ear to reduce the cable noise.
I thought to mention my problems with getting the right seal here, as it massively impacted the sound quality (notably the bass quantity). Normally I have absolutely no problems getting the perfect seal through using a set of medium tips, but with the Finder X1 I found myself using the small tips, as I wasn’t getting the right seal and therefore having literally no bass impact or extension. The reason I mention this here, is because some people might have problems with the overall sound quality if they’ve got small ear canals and usually wear small ear tips!
In terms of the Finder X1’s filters, I used the black filters to do my listening tests, as I found the grey filters overly fatiguing (even for a measly 5 minutes listening session), whilst the red filters, as described by Echobox are really made for people with hearing loss – therefore the normal person won’t ever be needing such a bright sounding earphone through the red filters.
As said earlier, I’m unsure why the manual is different from what I heard, but the black filters to me sounded the most balanced out of the three filters. Furthermore, the grey and red filters were extremely fatiguing to listen to, whilst the black filters were less so, but still had this sense of a fatigue.
I found the lows to be decent, albeit not perfect. The sub-bass extension of the earphones was surprisingly good, where the lows were well extended and provided a very nice rumble to them. The mid-bass on the other hand lacked impact and felt a little subdued. I did feel that the quality of the sub and mid-bass could have been a little better with a more refined sound, which would have boosted its lows score a little more.
The mids were quite impressive, but I did find them to be a little veiled which was due to the slightly closed-sounding soundstage. In comparison to other earphones within its range, such as the DUNU Titan 1 and even the DUNU Titan 5 I found the mids on the Finder X1 to be well presented, forward-sounding and reasonably accurate in their reproduction.
The highs on the other hand were a little bit sibilant, even with the less treble orientated black filters. I therefore had to dial down the overall volume and push back the EQ for the highs to make them less fatiguing and therefore less sibilant. It’s also worth mentioning that the highs were rolled off and didn’t provide that extra bit of sparkle which I would have liked to have heard from earphones which are quite sibilant.
The soundstage was decent, but I did find them to somewhat lack an extra sense of space, where the earphones sometimes felt that they lacked room to breathe. The instrument separation was really well done and the tonality was above average. On the whole, I was pleased with the soundstage, but would have liked a little more depth and width to the Finder X1’s sound.
Sound Quality Ratings
Conclusion & Closing Thoughts
In conclusion the Finder X1 is an impressive first try by Echobox in the very competitive earphone market. I do feel that they’re limited in terms of market by having the earphones on really available (without customs and import fees) in the USA, but with that said every company needs to start somewhere!
As for the sound quality of the earphones, I think there’s a lot that can be improved, mainly the less sibilant and fatiguing sound which would make the Finder X1 a lot better. I’m looking forward to seeing what Echobox can offer in the future, with a potential revision or update to the FInder X1, if they decide to keep up with their earphone production! In terms of competition, I would opt to pay less and get a more all-round better sound quality from the DUNU Titan range, or even pay a little more and get the DN-2000 which are in a league above the Finder X1.
Hope you enjoyed my review!