Sick of Starbucks? Sick of the Gap? Sick of Beats by Dre? I hear ya. If you’re like me, you have an aversion to buying things just because they’re popular. So, here’s a little gem for you: Advanced Wearable Audio. Who the hell are they? I have no idea, but my boss put these IEMs on my desk, and I’m happy he did. Let’s find out why these $50 buds will make you happy in this Advanced Wearable Audio AWA-101 Review.
Advanced Wearable Audio AWA-101 Review
Although there’s no over-ear memory wire, the shape of these earphones suggest that the cable is meant to fit around the ear. If you simply pop them in, the IEMs protrude out of the ears. If you want to make the over-ear wire fit more securely, you can use the included rubber covers. Sound isolation is fantastic, and well above the effectiveness of most earphones that I’ve tried in this price range. This might be due to the double flange ear tips, which are the only style of tips these earphones come with. These AWA-101 goes so far down the ear canal that I can taste wax in my sandwich. But don’t let the super-snug seal put you off. I had no problems with comfort.
These buds are the definition of cool. With a sleek, black matte finish and no flashy brand label in your face, the AWA-101 are earphones fit for Batman. The AWA-101 house dual drivers with an independent sound channel for each driver to keep the frequencies clean. The cable is covered with a woven fabric, that not only supports the product’s durability, but also minimizes tangles. The cable also comes with a remote, which allows you to play, pause, skip, answer calls and use your good-for-nothing voice assistant. Call clarity is excellent, but volume will need to be controlled from your phone.
Overall Impressions: Warm, punchy, full-bodied goodness.
A deep and punchy bass gives pop the oomf it deserves. Although the frequencies do get subby, the bass is more dry than reverberating, making any kind of funk sound super tight and solid. And listening to OutKast’s Ms. Jackson, the kick drum hits hard as concrete, giving off a slightly dampened feel. This sound profile will also suit certain people who listen to rock. If you like a meaty low end with tons of body in your rock choruses, then then the AWA-101 will work well for you too. That being said, the low end might not be clean and detailed enough to do justice to acoustic bass instruments. So, put away your jazz hands.
The mids are present, my friends. You’ll get a pretty even midrange here, with a very slight emphasis in the upper mids, causing vocals to sit a little forward in the mix. But the AWA-101 doesn’t ignore the low mids, producing a rich and smooth sound that covers the whole spectrum of sound in this range. Again, many rock fans will find the AWA-101 perfect for that reason. In terms of detail, these buds do a good job in the upper mids but get a little cloudy in the lower-mids. You can hear this when listening to an acoustic guitar strum. The picks in the lower midrange mush together, but the sound becomes more transparent and separated once the guitar hits the higher mid registers. But at its best, the AWA-101 balances clarity with slightly softened edges to produce a warm and expressive presentation of the music.
When listening to a little Bruno Mars, I noticed that the percussion in the high frequencies felt a little dull, or lacking in sparkle. Indeed, these IEMs are on the darker side.That being said, many people’s ears don’t like any sharpness in the high frequencies. The good news is that this frequency range is smooth and easy listening, making even Miles Davis’ trumpet bearable to the ears. I should also mention that clarity in this range is not bad. Strings, for example, although smooth, offered a decent amount of texture and resolve. Golf cap.
You won’t get a huge soundstage from the AWA-101. But although these earphones don’t convey a thoroughly multidimensional experience, they do offer a little depth and height, giving the sound a decent amount shape.
Pop, hip-hop and electronica fans, look no further. The AWA-101 is made for these genres. And most rockers will also love the warm, fleshy sound of these buds. So, I’d call the AWA-101 a pretty versatile IEM. Jazz and classical listeners might want to go with something a little less dark. But at the end of the day, I have heard few bass-leaning IEMs that sound as good (or look as good) for the for the price.
I’m giving these Batman buds 4 skulls. 5 skulls would make them too popular and, subsequently, less alluring.
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